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The Labrador Retriever is a magnificent family companion dog which is enormously popular right around the world, and for good reason...
Labradors are a remarkable blend of intelligence, gentleness, strength, friendly outgoing nature and handsome good looks. They have so much to offer any dog loving family.
Training a labrador puppy is a whole lot of fun. They are great little students and it's also the time where you will begin to build the strong lifelong bond you will enjoy with your Lab.
The Labrador Retriever is one of the oldest recognized dog breeds. Over the years they have also been known as the Lesser Newfoundland, St. Johns Dog and The Black Water Dog - these days they are simply called a Lab.
Labs are well balanced, strongly built, athletic dogs who have a short dense weather resistant coat (they do shed!). A male Lab will grow to a height of 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the withers, while a female will be an inch or two shorter. Fully grown Labs weigh in at a muscular and energetic 55 to 80 pounds.
There are said to be two main types of the Labrador breed - English and American. The three recognized and accepted colors of the Labrador Retriever are yellow, chocolate and black.
The versatility and intelligence of the Lab has seen the breed utilized in many different "jobs". The Labrador is treasured and has proven invaluable in duties such as - police work, search and rescue, as a guide dog for the blind, drug detection, service dogs, watch dog work and much more...
At its best and when given proper puppy socialization and training the Labrador Retriever is: Highly intelligent, gentle, affectionate, loyal, utterly dependable, good natured, lively and eager to please. They are superb with children, good with other dogs and animals.
Labs become very attached to their human family. They love nothing more than spending time with their family - exploring, swimming, hiking or retrieving a ball. For this reason some Labs can experience separation anxiety and may become destructive if left alone and bored for long periods.
Finding a reputable Labrador Retriever breeder is an important step towards finding a dog which is both physically and mentally sound. Labrador breeders play a crucial role in shaping the health of the breed going forward.
Below are a few of the more common health problems you should at least be aware of when choosing your lab and throughout his/her life. Your Labrador Retriever Breeder and Veterinarian can provide you with more detailed assistance.
As with many of the fast growing larger breeds the Labrador Retriever can be susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. Ensure that the parents of your labrador puppy have gained hip and elbow clearances.
It's somewhat ironic that for a dog who is so widely used as a guide dog for the blind that the Labrador suffers from various eye problems. Many Labs suffer from Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and also cataracts can be a problem - especially in older Labradors.
One of the biggest threats to the health of your Labrador Retriever Puppy is actually controlled by you. Labradors that are overfed or allowed to become overweight are opened up to a wide range of potential health problems. It's crucial to keep your Lab active, healthy and fit through a proper diet and daily exercise - they love to chase a ball!
Labradors were bred in a cool climate. They really do feel the heat, so if you live in a hot climate try to do everything you can to make your dog comfortable. Provide plenty of cold drinking water, shade and cool airflow.
It's important to start your labrador puppy training as early as possible (it's never too late to start though!). Your cute little lab puppy will quickly grow to be a big powerful and excitable dog, which will be hard to control without some basic obedience training.
Labrador Retrievers respond best to positive, non violent, reward based training methods. All they require are some guidelines and boundaries to be set in order to become well respected and trusted members of society. Your Lab will do his/her best for you when training, there's no need for harsh "yank n crank" type training methods. They thrive on the physical and mental stimulation which obedience training provides - plus it is time spent with you which is a bonus.
Early puppy socialization is vital for your Labrador. It helps them to be comfortable around all types of people, animals and our human world in general.
All the basic dog obedience training commands such as sit, down, stay and heel will be enthusiastically and easily learned by your Lab puppy. Anybody who has had the pleasure of living with a Labrador puppy will acknowledge the importance of these two puppy training commands - Training your Labrador to walk nicely on a loose leash and also to stop jumping up on people. This is because of their size, strength and excitable nature - the good thing is they are quick learners.
If you plan to train your Labrador puppy (or older dog!) yourself at home, I'd recommend you follow this comprehensive Labrador training tool - Dog Training Membership Site. This is a huge community of dog lovers who all share the common goal of wanting to raise, train and care for their dogs in a positive, non-violent yet highly effective manner. It's a fantastic community to be involved in.
Some other pages you may be interested in:
All you need to know about puppy training.
How to choose a puppy out of a litter - choosing a puppy.
Check out this extensive list of all the popular dog breeds.
Another excellent resource for lovers of this great breed - training your Labrador.
Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.