The Labrador Retriever has numerous lovable traits—they’re smart, easy to train and make a great addition to the family. Labs are well known to be very friendly and outgoing because they were originally bred to be like an assistant of sorts to Newfoundland fishermen in the early 1800’s.
Then, eventually, they started working as hunting companions retrieving game for hunters. That explains their famous love of water and their namesake!
Labrador retrievers enjoy socializing with both dogs and people. As a result, they have a boundless amount of energy! Labs are eager athletes who require a lot of activity to stay physically and mentally healthy, such as swimming, or playing a lot of fetch.
Exercise is life!
Labs love lounging around outside. They are working breed dogs, so they need at least 45 minutes or an hour of exercise a day. For more active dogs, at least 1.5 hours at best. Something as simple as taking walks.
Just remember that to keep them safe, make sure to use a leash and harness, especially if your lab hasn’t been properly trained or it’s their first trip outside. Due to their high energy level, they have bodies built for physical activity, and if you don’t provide a way for them to release their pent up energy.
They will find ways to do it themselves. Labradors that aren’t well trained or exercised, or are left alone can become destructive. That can mean lots of chewed-on furniture/items, a garden full of holes, and barking, lots and lots of barking. Chewing can become a major problem because of an oral fixation due to their strong desire to retrieve.
Labs love to sleep, too!
Adult Labs sleep for 12-14 hours a day on average. Younger puppies and senior Labs can sleep for up to at least 18 hours each day. Senior Labs can average up to 20 hours of sleep daily. Setting up a quiet spot for them to catch some zzz's is critical for their overall health. It's ideal to have a comfortable warm bed nestled away in a quiet spot for them to be able to sleep in.
Labs have very flexible schedules and can snooze on and off with no worries. If you do happen to make a sudden noise around the house or have kids running around, odds are they’ll just wake up to go see what the fuss is about and go right back to sleep.
Additionally, dogs tend to mirror their owners sleep schedule so they should be able to sleep at night right alongside you. If this doesn’t happen and they are more active at night than they should be, that might mean they’re either still adjusting to sleeping on their own, or they didn’t get enough exercise and still have energy to spend.
Food is fuel
For feeding dogs, it’s common to feed them with kibble or raw meat. Nowadays, it's common to switch between meat and kibble because both provide different nutrients that the other might not have and can make for a completely balanced diet.
Labs are known to eat lots of food quickly. This includes, whatever they’re given. They eat whatever they can when they can! Some might even try to sneak food from the counters or in the trash.
Although this behavior is common, if they do this too often, they would try to eat things that they shouldn’t, like toys, rocks, poop and other non-food items. That means either of the following:
- They aren’t getting enough food and are still hungry.
- They might be sick.
- They might be stressed/anxious.
- They might not be getting enough nutrients from their current diet.
- They’re probably bored, or the cause might be genetic.
If your lab is showing these signs and you aren’t sure what to do, consult with your vet.
Labrador Retrievers' attitude and humble origins are what make it a popular breed. With proper guidance and training, they become an important part of the family, a best friend that provides us the unconditional love and support we need. What’s one great way to show that? Get them the comfiest orthopedic bed, without hurting your budget!