Labrador Retriever Dog Breed Guide

I”ve had Labs for about 16 years. We got our
first one when we got married. My husband and his family had always had dogs and to
be fair I didn’t actually like labs as a well, dogs as a child. I was scared of them. But
Duke, the yellow Lab, he just brought me round and we spent lots of happy days walking and
on the fells with the Labs. Then we got married and got our own house. There was never going
to be any other choice. It had to be a lab. Temperament-wise, the dog generally as soft
as butter, and really friendly. That’s the generalisation of a Lab’s temperament . You’re
probably more likely to get a lick than you are to get anything, you know, more sinister.
It’s a really soft-natured breed. They are strong, but temperament-wise I find them really
softie. The thing we like about them is that they tend to lie down at night as well. They’ll
settle by your feet, they’ll be up when you want to get up and go and take them out, but
they’ll settle down as soon as they’re all relaxed and calm. There are two sorts of Labradors, that’s really
the most important part. There are working ones which are bred for field work, shooting,
and there are the show ones that are bred to look beautiful to be in the showroom. Both of them ultimately are Labradors so they’ve
got the same temperament and would make suitable pets. Sometimes the working ones, they’ll
be expecting a bit more mental stimulation, so that you need to give them a little bit
more physical exercise. As long as they’re getting stimulated and a lot of activity,
then they’re great dogs to have as pets. What you’re thinking about with a Labrador
is that all of them are bred to have things in their mouth. So from a behavioural point
of view, if you don’t give them the opportunity to carry appropriate things, then you’re going
to have problems. So they’re going to pick up shoes, dirty underwear, the most embarrassing
thing you can find, your Labrador will carry around. That can cause problems if you snatch
the things from them, because that’s very easy to teach dogs to guard, and that’s when
you might start to get some dogs growing at you because you’re going in to steal it back.
First of all, you don’t want to snatch it from it. You want to go to it with a treat
and then swap the article that it’s got in its mouth for another article that the dog’s
allowed to chew. Don’t give him an old shoe thinking then he’ll ignore your new shoes,
because he won’t be able to tell the difference. Healthwise, you need to have done your checks
before you buy them. So you need to be checking for hip dysplasia and that the parents have
been screened for it, elbow dysplasia, and then current eye certificates, because there
are issues with eyes. But when you own them, the biggest thing you really need to keep
an eye on is their weight, because people refer to them as dustbins on legs. I haven’t seen one that refuses food yet.
From a training point of view, that makes them very easy to train. You’ve got a pot
of food, you’re going to get your Labrador’s attention. Just routine and discipline really. You need
to make sure you’re feeding them at regular intervals and matching the number of treats
to the level of exercise they do. It’s just common sense really. It’s not a big deal but
you just need to make sure that your Lab isn’t getting overweight and heavy because it’s
not good for the legs. At certain times of the year, especially spring
and autumn time, Labradors moult, and we have to pay extra attention to the coat. From my
point of view, the best tool for grooming a Labrador is the Furminator. It is a specially
designed brush or a blade that removes undercoat and loose hair from the dog’s coat. If you get a Labrador, prepare for hair. You
get a lot of hair. The best advice I got was think about the clothes that you wear when
you choose a Labrador, because if you’re going to wear dark clothes, then the dark hair doesn’t
show up as much. And you just have to keep up on your grooming, get a good brush, stroke
it through and get some of the undercoat out and just keep on top of it and it’s quite
short lengths, immediately hoover up. And anyway, they really are loveable dogs.

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