Oh my goodness. Labs are lovey-bunnies. The Love Machine. They are a true family dog and crave to be an active part of it.
They love, love and are not embarrassed to show it. They love to cuddle and “share your space”. They’re funny and entertaining. They will lick you to death. For some reason, my Luther loves to lick my forehead and neck. If I’m lying on the couch, he will literally lay at my head, share my pillow, and lick my forehead with so much love and with his eyes closed. Silly boy. I figure I must taste salty good. Is my forehead comfort food?
They are loyal and such good companions. If you’re looking for a companion – look no further. Labs are what we call Attention Hounds. They literally crave your attention and will get it. Period.
They will make you play. They will put soggy toys in your lap. Why? Because you throw it to get it out of your lap. The race is on! They go get it (they are natural retrievers in case you didn’t know), then bring it back and plop the soggy mess right back into your lap again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You get the idea.
Labs are so smart it’s ridiculous. They are extremely easy to train, are highly intelligent and want to please. Labs are food motivated. And actually, I think in their minds, are never full. Use this to your advantage in training. They will “Work for Food”. Since Labs love play – keep the training fun and lighthearted, but meaningful. This is spending quality time with your Lab…and that’s what they want most in the world. YOU!
Let’s spend some time on this subject.
Don’t have time to receive and give love? Pass.
They are space invaders. They are constantly in your way, on your lap, in your chair or bed. Or laying behind you in the kitchen, thereby making themselves a tripping and falling hazard; they lean on you, whine for attention. They might jump in the shower and want to play – yes they LOVE water by nature.
Do you have enough attention to give? If not, don’t get a Lab. Don’t. You will hurt their feelings if you don’t give them adequate attention. If you’re too busy for a love fest, please move on to a different breed, or bypass having a dog altogether. They need love, attention, and exercise.
The playing. AKA copious energy.
COUCH POTATOS, BEWARE! These pups are HIGH energy. No kidding. If they don’t get enough exercise, they will destroy your house. Wait. Even with adequate exercise, they may still destroy your house. I speak with experience here. If you have a show home – don’t bother. If you haven’t read it yet…please read Luther’s Blog “I’ve Been a Bad Boy” . Yeah. Read it and weep. And, if you get annoyed by constant interruptions, just plan on either: A. Change your personality to a more patient one, or B. Change your personality to a more patient one.
Also beware, our trainer said to expect Labs to have puppy-like behavior for years to come, so let’s reiterate: Change your personality to a more patient one. Am I repeating myself? If you already possess copious amounts of patience…then the Lab is for you.
Got kids? Great! Let all of them play outside all day long. Go on – tucker them out! Then put them all in the bath (because they will be filthy)…then put them all to bed (because they will be exhausted). Done!
The intelligence. They jump and bounce, and wiggle and jiggle…a lot. Labs needs constant activity and ability to use their brains. If they’re not learning, they’re destroying. Train, train, then train some more. Am I repeating myself here? Yes, and for good reason. Patience and training equals a happy life for everyone. That’s math I understand.
Let’s talk about your yard.
Labradors need space. Lots of it. Save yourself some grief and heartache; put a fence around your yard unless you live on an acreage. Labs are gun dogs – retrievers. They love to run. These dogs are more likely to tear off in pursuit of some squawking bird or rambunctious squirrel than stay close to home and watch the yard. Oh, and I hope you don’t love green, rolling lawns. Did I mention they like to dig holes? Big ones. Sigh.
Want an outdoor dog only? Or “arm candy”? Move on, nothing to see here.
Remember? Labradors are love-bunnies. They’re rough and tumble and gregarious by nature. They’re messy and have questionable manners when playing. They have extremely long tongues and lick everything…furniture, the floor, the refrigerator door, kitchen cabinets, YOU. Did I mention they are “mouthy”? They will chew on anything. Be prepared with good strong chew toys. They are not embarrassed by any of this; they are not cute and fluffy. They are goof balls! Want arm candy? Get a Lhasa Apso, or a Pekingese and get one of those nifty dog purses to carry them in.
Do you have a show home? Big Mistake.
Labradors shed. Bad! Yes, they have a short coat by dog standards, but this is ridiculous. I found out they have a double coat. Yep. An undercoat and a top coat – the top layer propels water and the under coat is super soft and downy; this layer is for warmth. We’re collecting the downy hair in plastic grocery bags for two reasons; 1. To see how much we get (for fun and future reference) and 2. My husband wants to make a pillow out of it. JUST KIDDING PEOPLE! 🙂
So after research, I found out that Luther is shedding his puppy coat. Never heard of that. I guess he’s transitioning into an adult. Off goes the puppy coat and voila – here comes adulthood. I guess it’s like graduating your human toddler from that super-fat onesie zipped winter coats and into a regular coat. Kids and their growth cycles!
Also, I guess Labs shed twice a year and let me tell ya, it’s not for the faint hearted. I’m still trying to figure out how Luther’s hair gets into my freezer! This is what I know. First, get a FURminator (best ever!!!!) Then…brush, brush, brush some more. Repeat. Every day. And vacuum, a lot. We actually purchased a new one – our old one was no match. Seriously.
WHY or WHY NOT?
I know what you’re thinking…you’re probably saying to yourself… “what a negative article about Labradors!” Actually the opposite is true. I LOVE LABS…I LOVE MY LUTHER! He is an absolute joy and has brought so much love and energy to our home. But, Paw Paw and me could have been better prepared. Did we research Labs? Nope. Should we have? Yes. Instead we saw a cute face who needed a home, and gave him one. Would research have changed our minds? Not a chance. But being prepared would have been half the battle.
And now, since I’ve been around the block a few times, I’ll still say this to all potential new parent wannabees out there: Think you’re ready to have a baby and you’re questioning if you have the patience and “parental instinct” necessary to raise a happy, healthy, well-balanced child? Get a puppy first.
Well. That’s it, that’s all. I wrote this article for the Love of Labs. I have embraced all that is possible within a sometimes impossible home…and it all includes Luther.
You see, It’s easy to turn “why not’s” into why. Just be aware and plan. Know what you’re getting into. Research different breeds and pick the best one for your lifestyle.
Easy as that.
If you have a Labrador, always wanted one…of just love dogs in general, please leave us your story or contact us. Luther and I would LOVE to hear from you.
Ciao and Peace, my fellow dog lovers. Cheers to licking foreheads and pillow snuggles!