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Labrador Retriever-How to raise a Labrador Retriever.
A little bit of Labrador Retriever history
Labrador Retrievers have first originated in Newfoundland, where fishermen used them to retrieve their nets from the sea. Because they have the right body size and swimming dog characteristics to go far and deep into the water . Labs are super protected from freezing water by their double oiled coat which doesn’t let the water to penetrate in the skin.They are also madly in love with the water and swimming as well.
The Labrador Retriever came from a breeding of Newfoundland dog with a smaller dog in order to adapt in a cold climate and to be faster. In fact this dog is a sprinter and can horizontally jump to a distance of almost 28 feet.
Labradors are named after the Labrador Sea , they couldn’t name them Newfoundland because that name was taken. Labrador Retrievers vary in size from a pedigree to another , sometimes because over breeding or from the climatic changes.
You can find them in three basic colors black, yellow and chocolate . They all have the same eye color which is brown. The "black lab" is great for competitions and very athletic. "Yellow Labs" are perfect for families and "chocolate labs" which are the rarest. In spite of the color of their mother you can find puppies of three different colors in one litter.
Labrador Retriever - How to raise a Labrador RetrieverClick thumbnail to view full-size
The number one family dog
The Labrador Retriever as a breed is highly ranked in numerous competitions around the country. In fact it is one of the most wanted dogs by American families, and people with health disabilities.
They turn out to be very helpful and intelligent dogs. And if you have a family with small children a Labrador is the best companion for your kids. Labs are very loving dogs and quite easy to train. If you set a regular training schedule you will be able to turn them into very disciplined dogs.
They tend to like living in a family environment and to be fully integrated in your family activities. They aren’t the type of dog to be left alone at your home for hours, don’t make that mistake. Otherwise your dog will have a very high percentage to suffer from depression issues in the future.
So if you don’t have so much time to spend with it , this is not quite the right type of dog breed that you can maintain. Although Labrador Retrievers are easy to train and you won’t have to spend much time training them, in fact they are going to meet you halfway.
Labrador Retrievers chilling outClick thumbnail to view full-size
Labrador Retriever Poll
Which is your Labrador Retriever favorite color ?
Some advices on raising a healthy dog
1)How to choose a Labrador Retriever puppy
Let’s begin from the first day you choose a Labrador from the litter. First of all people think they have to take the most energetic puppy of all, because they presume it is the healthiest . But this is a common mistake done by new dog owners.
You see the good health of a dog doesn’t depend too much on it’s energy level. A hyperactive puppy can have the same health issues as a medium or low energy dog. Some Labrador owners might know what I am talking about right now .
So if you pick a high energy dog it will practically ruin your entire house, from carpets to shoe laces, blankets your closet etc. Of course you can try to discipline it in time, but believe it is not such an easy task. Instead choose a medium energy dog , like the one that doesn’t jump and cheers you as soon as you walk in.
2)The Lab's food
Now , I want to make clear that when it comes to raising a Labrador Retriever you have to put in lot’s of effort and money. Labradors love outside activities, they love to run, swim and to catch and retrieve of course.
So be very prepared to afford it’s never ending appetite, they definitely love to eat. I recommend you to be very strict on it’s diet, especially when it grows older. The reason is that Lab’s have a very high risk to develop obesity, and this can lead other problems. Such as stress and anxiety which can lead to biting, or other several bones deformation issues. So pay attention to the food.
There are also some special Labrador food companies that produce a specific kind of food only for Lab's. They are called the pet's ring treat's which have are hollow so you dog won't eat too fast and will have to chew it a lot.
3)A very social dog
Spend a lot of time with your Lab. If you decide to have a Lab don’t just sit on the couch watching TV. Go for a long walk, do some jogging or if it summer swim with your dog, or teach it how to catch and retrieve.
Remember that Labradors are very social dog, and they are particularly breed to interact very well with humans. They can get along with other species, such as cats. If you aren’t such a sportsman or you work all day long, I don’t advice you to take the responsibility of raising a Labrador.
Discipline is going to be the main concern for you and your family. This breed is well known for it’s ability to make a real mess of your home. Lab’s usually don’t reach the mental stage, when you can call them adult’s or fully grown dog’s. I am talking about their behavior attitudes.
They don’t like to grow up, to be responsible for their actions or to take charge. In fact they aren’t the kind of leader dog’s, and this has to be a big relief for you.
Because, Labradors are followers by nature and being so it’ is going to be easier for you to discipline it. Don`t forget that they are followers, and this by definition means that only one member of your family should be the leader.
It is very crucial not to underestimate the leader role. Unless you want your dog to be the leader. But if you want a dog which listens to all your commands you must keep it very engaged with physical and mental exercises. So all it's energy will be drained and it will be easier for him/her to follow your orders.
What to Remember ?
- Labrador Retriever's love family environment and social interaction with other animals.
- They are very smart dog's so you won't make such an effort to train them.
- Visit your dog regularly at the vet .
- Labrador's need a lot of physical and mental activities.
- If you don't have enough time or money to take care of your dog, don't choose a Labrador Retriever .
5)Beware of the little bites
This kind of breed is well known with it`s nickname, the soft mouth dog. They have a very gentle grabbing technique. This has to do with their work as a duck dog, in fact Labrador Retrievers are well known in the world of duck hunting.
Labradors have such a soft mouth that they can easily grab a raw egg and don`t brake it. Despite the fact of a soft mouth, you should not underestimate it`s razor sharp teeth. Labrador Retrievers don`t have a very strong jaw, but if they become aggressive they can literally tear your fingers apart.
So from the first day home you must avoid biting as small as they may seem. If your puppy starts biting, tap it a little bit at his back. This way you will grab it’s attention, from the biting zone to you. You must be very persistent in this biting avoidance technique, because not only Lab’s but all breed’s learn through repetition.
Potty training should be also one of your top priorities. And it is a real challenge if you live in an apartment. Well in fact even if you have a big house with a big yard it has to be a concern.
But let’s talk about the worst that could happen if you live in a flat and you have a big dog like a Labrador. The first month’s won’t be such an issue to clean the poop or anything else . But as the amount of food you give to your dog increases, the amount of trouble will increase with it.
In general there are lot’s of training lessons to avoid such problems. But the best you can do is to immediately pick up the puppy during the process and take it outside to finish it. This way he or she is going to memorize it easier, then don`t forget to clean the poop immediately. Because dog's have a very strong nose and it is going to do it again inside your home if you don't clean it fast.
Also don't yell at your dog when he/she does it, be very patient as in time it will learn through repetition.
7)Pay attention to the health
Another important thing to do when you decide to take a Labrador Retriever is to regularly check it at your vet. It can save you a lot of trouble if you follow the step by step schedule of medical check ups given by the vet.
Some dog's don't need to be visited by the vet very often after a certain age but Labrador's definitely need to. In order to have a calm dog you should also consider the idea of nurturing it.
I know that a lot of people want to avoid this part for a non believable number of reasons. But it is best for you and the dog if you nurture it, in order to have a disciplined lab. Nurturing can be the greatest way of helping the dog. So it can become a healthier, less hyper active and more disciplined pet. If you decide to do it, the perfect age is from 6 to 7 month's, for more information consult with the vet.
Labrador daily activity and amount of food schedule
Your Lab's age
Amount of food divided into meal's
minimal/15 min per day
320 gr/ 4 meal's
minimal -average/ 30 -60 min per day
540 gr / 3 meals
average/ 60 min per day
500 gr / 2 meal's
average-maximum/60-100 min per day
450 gr / 2 meal's
rest of adult age
maximum/100-120 min per day
420 gr / 2 meal's
Labrador Retriever video from Dog's 101
What will you need before you take your puppy home?
You need to do some preparations before you bring your new Lab puppy home. As you now know Lab's are playful dog's and tend to discover and retrieve almost anything. So be prepared and organised at first hand.
Your puppy will need all the love and affection that he or she can get in it's first days. First begin with placing the food of any kind high so it will not be able to reach it, they are very smart dog's and will find food in the most unexpected places.
Then try to get rid of small toys on the floor or under your bed etc. or else it is going to choke with them. If you have a writing table with a lot of gadget's on it get rid of them too. Now make sure that your Lab makes a very long contact with all the family members. He or she has to sniff everyone and everything around your home in order to make a clear idea of the new environment.
Prepare yourself with the following supplies :
- Premium puppy food or high quality food for a good start .
- Stainless steel food and water bowls
- A collar and a leather or nylon 6 to 7 foot leash
- ID tags with your puppies name and your info
- Some grooming equipment suited to your dog
- Stain remover for any accident's
- Dog' shampoo toothbrush and toothpaste
- Some flea tick and parasite control recommended by the vet
- High-quality safe chew toy's for it' teeth endurance
- A little room or at least a crate for it's size (a xl size will do well)
- Clippers to train him or her
- And some treat's
General physical properties
Labrador Retriever's tend to have a general life span of 12-14 years . This is quite a long time compared to other dog's .
Large strong body
If you haven't had a labrador before beware, because this breed can grow up very quickly and reach it's ultimate size in weight and height very soon. Labrador Retriever's are big dog's they have very strong leg's and body, and can put you down if they want to. These dog's have a large chest made which let's them swim deeper into the water . Labrador's can reach a weight of about 55-80 lbs and a height of 6, 5''.
Slightly oiled coat
The hostile cold environment in which Labrador's were breed made it impossible to survive without a warm coat. So they are equipped with a double coat to protect them from freezing temperatures. And a slight natural oil produced by the body in order not to let the water come in.
Webbed paw's and otter like tail
There is one particular physical properties that Labrador's have. And this is a webbed paw and an otter like tail. This physical characteristic help's the Lab to swim faster, almost twice faster than any other dog. They use this giant tail to help them turn around into the water and their webbed paws to dive deeper and swim.