There is some debate about one of the most popular dog breeds, the Labrador Retriever needs in regard to achieving “proper” behavior. Even though the Labrador is general is a loving and easy going animal, they still need to learn what is appropriate behavior, and what is not.
Labrador Retrievers love to have fun, and do require a bit of guidance to begin with when they are puppies. Providing direction in a fun, firm way at a young age will make the Lab into the most loyal dog, well-behaved, fun dog that an owner could wish for. Labs want to please their owners, so positive reinforcement and lots of love is always the way to train your dog.
Labs need some type of exercise every day. A bored dog can become a restless or destructive dog. The excess energy that they build up can be worked off with some games or an afternoon jog. Additionally, the dog and the master can both have fun, and get a great workout. There’s nothing like going for a long run down the road with your Lab, or throwing a stick or a ball on the beach. Labradors are retrievers, and love to play fetch. Remember, when the retrieve the ball and bring it back to you to reward them with kind words or even a hug.
There are ball throwers that are sold at the pet store that make the dog fly clear across the park with ease. My dogs love this gadget, and it has been a life saver. The dogs will get a great workout.
Labs do love to eat, and an overweight dog is an unhealthy dog. Owners need to know the correct amount of food for the weight and the activity level of their dogs. If you can afford it, try to buy premium dog food. When I upgraded the food that my dogs were eating, their coats looked better, their eyes looked clearer, and their overall health seemed to improve. My dogs are my family, and I want them to live as long as possible. For me, it’s worth the extra money.
You have to be careful with some labs “counter surfing.” My 1 year old puppy has jumped up on the counter and grabbed full loaves of bread (plastic included) when I wasn’t looking. She is also very fond of anything chocolate which can be dangerous, so be careful where you leave food items. My food stores have all moved either into the refrigerator, or into the higher cabinets.
Showing your Lab that you care by spending some time together is very beneficial to both you and your dog, and in the long run will help when it comes to your dog’s behavior. Puppies will be puppies, and do need to be disciplined, especially when their behavior can be dangerous to themselves or to others. My puppy liked to chew on computer cords, which can be very dangerous. A quick “no” , and removing her from area usually worked. I also used a few sprays that were designed to repel dogs, and that helped. Bitter apple is a type of spray that works well.
It is also important to socialize your lab to be around other people, as well as other dogs. Many Labs start out as being a little bit shy when they are puppies, so owners must take the time and energy to teach them to be around others and be comfortable. Positive reinforcement and patience are extremely important in these situations.
Labs do excite easily and if a young dog decides to bowl over their new companion, the master needs to firmly, yet gently set some limits. Normally, a gentle push away of the Lab from the person will work. If my dogs jumps on me when I walk in the door, I just turn away, and she calms down almost immediately.
On the other hand, some Labs like to do things like digging huge holes under the fence in the back yard. Usually this is a sign of boredom on the Lab’s part—so it is time to up the ante on exercise, with some extra love and attention as well.
If you are having trouble setting limits, and you feel that you are losing control, there are always classes to help with training techniques. You can do this in a group or individually.
Labrador Retrievers are people pleasers and basically need love, attention and a little bit of effort to get the desired behavior. They are loyal and loving animals and worth every effort you take to teach, train, and just be with them.