make a friend, save a life.
make a friend, save a life.
It came as no surprise to me when the American Kennel Association announced its nationwide registration statistics on January 26, 2011, the lovable Labrador Retriever maintained its number one position as most registered, popular breed for another year, making the top, number one position for 20 consecutive years. I know that the Lab certainly gets my vote! Of course, I own two of them, so I might admittedly be biased.
I have always had a dog, from the ‘Heinz 57’ model back when I was a kid, to the more recent German Shepherd and Doberman, but up until six years ago, was unfamiliar with the Labrador Retriever breed. Six years and two Labs later, I can share with you what I have learned about living with, caring for and loving the Labrador Retriever.
The first thing that I can tell you from experience is that this breed is truly energetic. Coming from the ‘working’ class of breeds, the Labrador is built for work and unless you regularly take your Lab on hunting or fishing trips, your Lab may not be getting the exercise it needs to maintain its health.
When we adopted our first Lab at four months old, I thought I knew for what I was about
to experience. Maybe I had forgotten how energetic puppies truly are, or maybe I had discounted how much the children had helped with puppy-play. Regardless, I was in for a pleasant surprise with Buddy’s energetic ways. He seemed to have two speeds, ‘go’ and ‘sleep’, there was no in between.
As time passed, I took Buddy for his regular Veterinary visits and he proved to be growing according to schedule with proper weight gain and growth. He was eating a healthy diet with a dog food that was full of proper nutrients instead of fillers. One of the ways that you can tell if your pet’s food is healthier, is by monitoring their defecation. Really, this information was offered to me directly from my Veterinarian. The more filler there is in the pet’s food, the more the pet will defecate. Interesting, eh?
When Buddy approached his teething period, I made certain to have a supply of safe, chewable, squeaky toys… which I replenished on a weekly basis. He learned quickly that it was ok to chew on ‘his’ toys and never attempted to chew on furniture or any other temptation. I need to stress the importance of providing your Lab puppy with a sufficient amount of chewable toys during the teething period. Don’t forget to supervise its play though! Not only will you be bonding with your puppy, but you will be keeping it safe from any potential hazard that the inevitable ripping and tearing of a toy might cause.
As Buddy reached adulthood, not much changed from his puppy days, except for those areas in which he had required training, which were now well-learned. Changing his exercise to suit an adult Lab from a playful puppy, we now run four miles every day, two in the early morning before I go to work and two in the evening after we have our dinner.
Brushing Buddy’s double-coat twice weekly and clipping his claws monthly, whether he needs it or not, keeps him pretty well groomed. Of course his daily dips in the outdoor, in-ground hot tub help a lot too. C’mon! He’s a Lab! Water is the greatest of all temptations to him!
2117 E. Club Blvd
Durham, NC 27704