I have been browsing a number of posts on one specific Labrador Retriever message board that I frequent when it became obvious that some people just don’t know anything about the Lab breed. They will meet a Lab in passing, usually an older one, and will think what a handsome dog it is and how well behaved the breed must be. What really cooks my noodle is that they just don’t understand how much training went into that dog and how wild and energetic Lab puppies are. So, they bring their 8-week old Lab puppy home and can’t understand what is wrong with their puppy and end up usually bringing it to a shelter or leaving in the side of the road.
It is for this reason that I would like to remind everyone out there what a Labrador Retriever is really like. Here are the Top 5 Things about Labrador Retrievers that everyone should know.
1. Labrador Retrievers are chewers and even more so when they are puppies. They will bite or mouth anything they can get their teeth on. On top of it, their teeth are razor sharp until they are about 6 months old so human blood can be shed and scars will happen. (see article: Lab Behavior Problems: Biting & Mouthing)
2. Puppies have to go to the bathroom a lot. They don’t care if it is cold outside or a snow blizzard, if it is in the middle of the night or while you are at work. They have to go every couple of hours at first. (see article: Housebreaking Your Labrador Retriever)
3. Labrador Retrievers shed! Yes, they even “blow their coats” after they leave their puppy stage and even if you think your Lab’s color coat matches the furniture, you will find fur everywhere. We vacuum every other day just to try and keep up.
4. Energy dogs! Labs have tons of energy and need a lot of exercise. Some Labs will calm down (somewhat) after a couple of years old but most stay in puppy energy mode until well after 5 years old. Schedules and training are a must and it doesn’t matter if you have kids to take places, chores to do, or even if you are too tired. Labs are not couch dogs and it is unfair to treat them as such. (see article: Labrador Retriever Stages)
5. Labs need training! They do not come from their moms knowing everything you see some great, well-behaved, 5 year-old Lab being able to do. Training starts from the moment you get the pup home and continues throughout its ENTIRE life. Persistent and consistent training is the Lab way of life. The last thing you want is your 8-week old puppy to turn into a 2-year old, 80+ lb Lab, that is aggressive, takes over your house, and destroys anything in its path. A Labrador Retriever is only as good as the training it receives from you. If you have a poor mannered dog, it 99% of the time the fault of the dog owner. (see Lab Training Articles)
This is not to say that Labs are bad dogs because it is quite the opposite. It is just important that people know that Labs are only as good as their owners. Those seeking out the possibility of bringing home a Labrador Retriever really need to do their research first before bringing home this particular breed.
Sure, Labs are very cute and Lab puppies are downright adorable. But please, do not bring home a Lab unless you are 110% committed to the mental, physical, and monetary costs of this beautiful creatures.