Labrador Training & Breed Information

Part of successful labrador training comes from understanding the breed, it’s temperament and characteristics. So let’s begin…

Labradors are a lively, carefree and attentive dog breed. They are very alert and playful and enjoy lavishing affection on their owner. Labs are extremely lovable and will work hard to please.

Labradors are highly intelligent which makes Labrador training easy. Furthermore, the breed excels as show dogs and at dog sporting events. In fact, Labradors are happy in the great outdoors and love to swim. This is because the breed was bred for hunting both on land and in water. A Labrador is very energetic and is the perfect compliment to an active family.

Labradors is another name for Labrador Retrievers and is, therefore, the same breed.

The History of Labradors

Contrary to popular belief, Labradors were developed in Newfoundland and not Labrador. In fact, the first prototype of the breed was created by crossing a Newfoundland with a small water dog, and was originally known as the St. John’s Water Dog.

The first time that Labs became known as Labradors was when they were called the name by the Duke of Malmesbury in the early 19th century. This was also the same time that Labs became popular with the British Royals who value the breed for their sporting characteristics, which proved useful for hunting.

The Labrador breed that we know today was developed in 1878, after interbreeding with other Retriever breeds took place. Luckily the interbreeding did not cause the Labrador to lose their most desirable qualities or their popularity.

Labradors were recognized in 1903 by the UK Kennel Club and in 1917 by the American Kennel Club. Currently, they are still one of the most popular breed of dog.

The Basics of Labradors

Labradors are a devoted breed that can be a wonderful asset to a family. Their friendly and lovable temperament makes them good with children, visitors and other family pets. They can also be extremely flexible with different environments, as long as they receive sufficient exercise and attention.

Labs have a strong build, plenty of energy, and high intelligence. They are natural hunters and are equipped with an exceptional sense of smell. These traits are what have made them ideal hunting dogs, police dogs, rescue dogs, and even seeing-eye dogs.

Even though Labradors are an impeccable breed, they aren’t for everyone. There are certain traits about these dogs that simply do not compliment the needs of some dog owners.

For instance, while Labs have a shorthaired coat, they still shed quite a bit. Furthermore, their strong build and medium size can make them hard to control if they are not properly trained, and even growing Lab puppies can easily knock down small children.

In addition, since Labradors are friendly dogs, they are by no means guard dogs. This isn’t to say that a Lab wouldn’t protect you if it sensed you were in danger, but they also won’t bare their teeth at an intruder either. Therefore, if you are thinking about getting a Labrador to protect you, think again.

All in all, Labradors are remarkable dogs that make excellent pets, friends and family members. Give them a little love, and they’ll return it back ten fold.

Labrador Training – Know What You Are Doing

Labrador training isn’t difficult if you know what you are doing. That is why so many first time dog owners struggle with this element of owning a dog. It is essential that you take your Labrador to be taught at a proper obedience school, so you can gain the confidence you need to effectively teach your Lab how to be the best he can be.

Below are tips that can help you with your Labrador training adventure.

Labrador Training Tips

House breaking – The first lesson a Labrador will learn is understanding that his washroom is outside, not in your house. This lesson needs to be taught starting from the first day he arrives in your home. You can be successful at early housebreaking by following these simple steps:

Any time you suspect your Lab needs to do his business, take him out
The first 8/9 weeks are critical when it comes to housebreaking. At this time the lab needs to be taken out:

  • Every hour
  • 5 minutes after eating or drinking
  • After playtime and/or exercise
  • When your puppy becomes excited
  • right before bed
  • immediately in the morning (after waking up)

Every time your Lab successfully eliminates outside, praise him as if you’ve just won the lottery.

Obedience class – Enroll your Labrador in obedience classes as soon as he meets the age requirement. Proper obedient training from a qualified dog instructor will help you build the confidence to train your dog, which will help your Labrador take direction from you.

Training consistency – Labrador training needs consistency. This means using one word commands and the same hand signals when training. The more repetitious you are, the faster your dog will learn. In addition, don’t forget to take breaks when training and make it fun. Your dog has a limited attention span.

Discipline – No dog is perfect, and there will be times when your Labrador will frustrate the life out of you and try your patience. This is when you need to enforce discipline. However, this doesn’t mean you should shout at your dog. When your Lab does something you dislike, look him straight in the eye and say in a firm tone “No”. Show him how to properly do as you asked, and then praise him immediately to help him understand. Remember, discipline needs to start at puppyhood. Note: Never hit your Labrador!

Praise, Praise, Praise! – When your Labrador listens to your commands and does things that please you praise him over and over again. He’ll never get tired of hearing it, and will only be more devoted and determined to do things the way you like it.

Proper obedience Labrador training is the best thing for your dog. That being said, there are other things you can teach your dog that you don’t need a class for, such as swimming lesson.

Swimming Lesson For Your Lab

Teaching your Labrador how to swim is a fun experience you can both enjoy. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose a warm day and take a trip with your Labrador and another person to a pond or lake. Make sure the water is calm and that you are wearing bathing gear or clothing you don’t care about. You will get wet.

2. Pick up your Lab and take him out into the water with you. Stop when the water has reached your thighs. The other person should wait on the shore.

3. One hand should be securely placed at the base of your Lab’s tail, and the other supporting his tummy. Gently talk to him as you lower him to the water, and do not release your hold even when he makes contact with the water.

4. When your Lab makes water contact he will immediately start to move his paws and paddle. Give him praise when he does this to encourage him to continue.

5. Once he has some strength to his paddle, take your hand from under his tummy, but do not let go of his tail. Keep your hold so that his backend is level with the front. Continue giving him words of praise.

6. As soon as you think your Labrador is ready, tell the other person to start calling him. Let go of your hold on his tail once you feel him paddling stronger. Follow him closely while he swims to the shore just in case you need to rescue him from the water should he stop moving.

7. Lavish him with high praise and give him a treat as soon as he is successful at reaching the shore.

8. Repeat the lesson and each time increase the distance from the shore.

Labrador Dog Information

A Labrador dog is a wonderful breed that has many great qualities. You need to know all information regarding the Labrador breed before you decide to make a commitment.

Here are the important facts you need to know:

Size – Labradors have a medium build and grow up to 22 ½” at the shoulders. They weigh between 55 – 75 pounds.

Temperament – The Labrador dog is friendly, lovable, loyal, and independent. They are not aggressive or shy. That being said, some Labs, particularly in their first few years, can have high strung qualities if not properly exercised or trained.

Life Span – the average lifespan of a Labrador is 12 – 14 years.

Health – Labradors are a relatively healthy breed, but they are prone to some hereditary problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also at risk of eye problems like cataracts.

Grooming – Labradors have a short coat that is water resistant, and is thick and dense. They do a good job at keeping themselves clean, but should be brushed every two weeks, and more often during shedding season. Labs shed quite a bit, especially twice a year when growing and shedding their coat.

Social Skills – Labradors are incredibly social and get along with everyone. They adore children and adults equally. Labs are even friendly with visitors. This makes them a poor guard dog.

Home life – The Labrador dog can thrive both in the country and city. However, if living in the city, they should be in a house that has a decent sized backyard.

Exercise – Labs require plenty of exercise. They should be taken on 20 – 30 minute walks at least twice, daily. Furthermore, you need to provide them with plenty of playtime. In addition, keep in mind that this breed loves to swim, which is also great exercise.

Training – Labradors are easy to train because they are quick learners. You should enroll them in obedience training if you want them to develop as a credit to their breed.

 

Dog Group – The Labrador is recognized in the Gundog/Sporting group. These dog breeds are known for their tracking skills and hunting abilities. They have impeccable smell, and are exceptionally skilled at retrieving.

Other Pets – Labs are friendly and accepting of other family pets.

First Time Dog Owner – Labradors are a fine choice for first time dog owners. Just make sure you do plenty of research and are ready to make the commitment. A good idea is to talk to other Lab owners to find out what you are getting into.

Choosing Good Labrador Breeders

Due to the fact that Labradors are such a popular dog choice, there is a high demand for Labrador breeders. Thus, there are plenty of breeders that you will likely be able to choose from.

That being said, not all Labrador breeders are interested in providing you with a healthy, quality Lab puppy. Some breeders are only in it to make money. These breeders are typically known as “backyard breeders” and should be avoided at all costs.

To help you distinguish the good from the bad, the best place to look for a list of Labrador breeders is:

  • Online at your national kennel club
  • Online a the Labrador Retriever club of your nation

The following is what you need to find out about Labrador breeders, despite where you locate them:

  • Check if the Labrador breeder is registered with the national kennel club or Labrador Retriever club. If they are not registered what is there reason? Cost is a poor answer and is a good indication that the breeder is only interested in making a buck and doesn’t care about the breed.
  • Ask to see the parents of the liter if they are there
  • Find out the size of the liter. If there is less than the original liter present, where are the others? Have they been sold or did they die?
  • Find out how long the people have been Labrador breeders
  • Find out how many Labrador liters they have every year
  • Check for a guarantee. If you can not register your Labrador, or if it becomes seriously ill within a year can you return it, receive a refund or rebate?
  • Find out the liter’s medical history. All puppies should have been checked by the Vet and have health certificates.
  • Request the pedigree. Find out the background of the Labrador litter. Check for hereditary health defects including hip and elbow dysplasia.
  • Find out if the Labrador will come with a complete and signed Breeders Certificate that includes a pedigree and 3 – 4 generations.

Other facts you need to take into account when dealing with a Labrador breeder include:

  • Is the breeder answering questions to your satisfaction? Do the Labrador dogs appear happy?
  • Do the Labrador puppies seem healthy?
  • Is the premise and are the Labrador’s clean?
  • Do the Labs parents look like the breed standard?
  • Do the breeders only breed Labradors? If not, why not?
  • Is the breeder asking you questions about your dog experience, your lifestyle, and the reason you are interested in Labradors?

You need to feel comfortable with the breeder you choose. There is no point in saving money by buying a puppy from Labrador breeders that don’t have the breed’s best interest in mind. You need to buy a dog that is healthy and happy. Don’t settle for anything less.

Labrador Care – Simple Routine

Labrador care is easy when you make it a regular routine. The following are all the basic care tips you need to keep your Lab healthy and happy.

Labrador Care Tips

Squeaky Clean – Lab’s do a good job caring for their own coat. However, giving them a brush every week or two isn’t a bad idea. Brushing will remove dirt and loose hair during shedding season. It will also help move the oils through his coat for a glossy appearance.

Other Labrador care you can provide in relation to grooming is:

Bathing – Your Lab will need a bath three times a year, once in the spring, once in the summer, and once in the fall.
Nails – Your Labrador should have his nails clipped about every 3 months. Have the Vet or a groomer do the job, or learn how to do it yourself.
Ears – Check your Labrador’s ears twice a month to make sure they are healthy. Labs are prone to ear infections because of poor air circulation in the ears.
Teeth –Brush your Lab’s teeth and give him detabones. This will help prevent disease. Your Vet should also check your Labrador’s teeth.

Move those muscles – Labs need plenty of exercise and need to move around to avoid gaining excess fat. Overweight dogs have health problems.

Good Food– Your Lab needs a well balanced daily diet. Provide him with a regular food schedule, and avoid feeding him humane food which can lead to health problems. Consult your Vet about how much dog food you should provide him, and ask what brand the recommend.

Vet Visits – Take your Labrador for regular Vet checkups each year. All vaccines should be up to date, and he should be protected from heart worm.

Good Water – Change the drinking water all the time. Your Labrador needs to stay well hydrated. Drinking water should be clean and without bacteria and dirt.

Safe House – Your Lab can be quite mischievous when he wants to be. Thus, you need to ensure he doesn’t get into any trouble, and keep all potentially dangerous household items out of his reach. This includes:

Chemicals – house hold cleaning supplies
Houseplants – Certain plants in your home could be poisonous to him if ingested.
Garbage – Don’t leave garbage on the floor where your Lab could easily choke on wrappers or eat bad food.
Sharp objects – A lab can cut himself on knives
Electrical wires – electrocution can result from wire chewing

You’ll discover Labrador care is easy once you establish an effective routine.

Labrador Puppies – Look For The Standard

When looking at Labrador puppies, there is more to consider than simply choosing the color you like best, or finding the cutest one out of the bunch. Every dog has a certain standard that explains the characteristics that distinguishes it as a breed.

To ensure the Labrador puppies you are interested in, are healthy happy Labradors, here is a brief outline of the Lab standard to give you an idea of what to look for:

Head – Large head with broad skull and a defined stop.

Ears – A Labs ears rest close to the head, but far from the face. They are not heavy or large and are the perfect compliment to their features. Labrador puppies with healthy ears have light pink skin on the inside and there should be no foul odor, scabbing, etc.

Eyes – Labs have large round, dark or hazel eyes. The eyes have black rims, and have an alert, friendly and intelligent look. A Lab puppy’s eyes should be clear and not tearing.

Nose – A Labrador has a black, wide nose with distinguished nostrils. Nostrils should be free of mucus.

Mouth – Labrador’s have strong jaws that are equipped with two rows of white teeth that form a perfect scissor bite. The upper teeth slightly overlap the bottom.

Body – A Labrador is endowed with a strong chest that is well developed. His ribs are well sprung and his back is level. They are well proportioned and balanced.

Tail – A Lab has a medium sized tail that gradually tapers at the tip and is thick at the base. The tail looks smooth and is coated in fur. There should be no feathering. The tail is either carried in line with the back or slightly up. It should never hang down, or curl over the back..

Legs – Labrador have strong boned forelegs and well developed back legs with turned stifles. Both sets of legs are strong and straight. They do not turn out or in.

Feet – Labrador puppies have round and compact feet. Their pads are well developed and toes arches. Their feet are straight and do not turn in or out.

Gait – The Labrador should have a balanced and carefree walk. Puppies will naturally be awkward. However, you should still take the time to observe how Labrador puppies you are interested in move. You may notice that they favor one leg or paw. This could be a sign of defect.

Coat – A Labrador’s coat is his most distinctive feature. A Lab has two coats: the undercoat, which is unseen and water resistant, and the topcoat, which is dense, short and straight. The coat has not wave or curl and should feel rough when touched. When buying a puppy, make sure they have no bald patches.

Color – Labrador Puppies are available in three different, solid colors: Yellow, Chocolate and Black.

Skin – A Labrador should have smooth skin this is without blemishes, scabs or bumps. The skin may be pale pink, brown or spotted.

Since the Labrador puppies you are seeing may yet to show signs of the breed standard, make sure you take a look at their parents so you get an idea of what they will look like when they are older.

What To Do When Brining Your New Labrador Puppy Home

You need to have everything ready for your Labrador puppy before you bring him home for the first time. There are plenty of different items you can procure for him, but the following list includes the most important things:

Collar – Buy an adjustable collar that will fit securely around his neck without choking him.

Leash – Purchase a retractable leash so you can control the distance you give your Labrador when walking him. This leash is also good for training.

Food and water bowls – Your Labrador puppy needs two dishes, one for food the other for water. Stainless steel or ceramic dishes are best, as plastic tends to breed bacteria.

Dog bed or pillow and/or blanket – Your Labrador will need a place where he can relax and sleep. Either Purchase him an adult sized bed (24” x 36”) or pillow (45” to 55”). Blankets also add extra comfort.

Crate – Properly crate training your Labrador puppy will provide him with a comfortable space he can call his own. Crate training makes traveling easier, and provides your dog with the supreme relaxation at times when he needs to feel safe. The best sized crate is between 36” – 42”.

Food – Feed your Labrador puppy the same food he was being given by the breeder. This will help him adjust. You can switch his food later if you would like, but to start keep it simple and familiar.

Treats – Have treats handy to please your new Labrador puppy, and to make beginner training easier.

Toys – Labradors are natural born chewers and will eat through any entire wardrobe if given the opportunity. Provide your lab with plenty of chew toys, tennis balls, ropes, bones and durable plush toys to enjoy. Just make sure when you play with him you use these toys so he will know they are his and can enjoy them.

Name – Your Labrador will need a name before you bring him home. Choose a name together with your family, and make sure it is something you all like. Call him only by his new name when he first arrives so he will become used to it.

Now that you are familiar with the physical necessities your Lab will need, the following are other aspects about brining your puppy home that you need to take into careful consideration:

When should I bring my Labrador puppy home?

  • At the beginning of a weekend
  • During a vacation you took for the exclusive purpose of bringing the pup home.

You will want to make sure you will have a few days to spend with the dog before getting back into your regular work routine. Your dog needs to adjust properly so he won’t feel separation anxiety.

Is there any time I should not bring home my Labrador puppy?
Yes. You should not bring a puppy home during busy holidays when you will have plenty of visitors and your house will be out of sorts. It is imperative you make your new puppy feel safe, and that you provide him with a taste of what your regular everyday home life is like so he can adapt.

Make everyone apart of the welcome home party and include other pets
Get everyone involved in welcoming the new Lab home. Make sure they know how to handle the puppy. You should also introduce the other pets to the new puppy. Make sure when the pets interact that you are in the room so you can safe guard the new pup.

Bringing your Labrador puppy home is an experience you can both enjoy. Make the most of it, by making him the star. You should have no other distractions.

 

Labrador Rescue – Home Sweet Home

Labrador rescue exists because there are irresponsible owners who buy Labs for selfish reasons such as to make their kids happy, they like the idea of owning a dog. These people have no idea how much responsibility, cost or commitment is required in order to care for a Labrador, and once they find out, the poor Lab is usually dumped on the doorstep of a rescue shelter.

If you are interested in getting a Lab from a Labrador rescue, but know very little about these volunteer shelters, the answers provided to the common questions listed below will likely be able to help you decide if adopting a Lab is the right path for you.

What is a Labrador Rescue?
A rescue is a shelter that cares for abandoned, unwanted or abused Labradors. There are a variety of rescues all over the world both for Labs and different dog breeds. Those who work for a Lab rescue, volunteer, and are committed to improving the quality of life of the Labs they take in by providing them Vet care and love. The goal of a rescue is to find loving homes for every Lab they rescue.

How can I locate a rescue?
1. Search online for rescues in your city
2. Check rescues listed in your national kennel club
3. Check rescues listed in the Labrador Club of your nation
4. Contact your local human society

Should I rescue a Labrador?
It depends. Can your lifestyle meet the demands of owning a Labrador? Can you provide sufficient exercise, affection and meet all the health care requirements? If you work too much, or are never home, a Labrador is not the breed for you.

Only rescue a Lab if you are looking for companionship and are ready to commit to the responsibility of owning a dog for many years.

Does it cost money to adopt a Labrador?
Yes. There is a fee that is likely used to cover Vet bills or help the other dogs in the shelter.

How do I adopt a Labrador?
You fill out an application. The application is carefully analyzed by the rescue. If you pass, an interview is set up, and you will be asked more questions, and have the opportunity to ask questions yourself. You will also likely be suited to a Labrador based on what you are looking for.

Donations and Sponsoring
You can donate money to a Labrador rescue if you don’t make the decision to adopt. You can also sponsor a Lab and help pay for it’s medical care. Note: Donations given to registered rescues and shelters are tax deductible.

Providing a Labrador rescue with your support will make you feel good. These volunteers work tirelessly to help save the lives of these beautiful dogs. They need all of the help they can get, as do the Labs they rescue. Think about it.

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