Labrador Retrievers have many exceptional qualities that have made it one of today's most popular breeds. They are very outgoing and friendly, always looking to please their masters. Excellent in the home with the family and in the field whether as a hunting companion or obedience trial show dog, they are full of enthusiasm and are intelligent and easy-to-train. But owning a Lab is not all "fun and games" and serious consideration should be taken before adding a Lab to your family. Below are ten things to consider before purchasing or adopting a Lab puppy.
- Time- Labs are very sociable and outgoing and crave companionship and attention. They are also energetic and need plenty of excercise. Daily walks and ample training time are necessary to have a happy and obedient Lab.
- Space- As mentioned Labs require plenty of excercise. Before bringing that Lab puppy home, consider whether you will have access to the open space a Lab will need to stretch its legs and run.
- Affordability- After paying the initial purchase price, consider the other expenses that owning a Lab can incur. Labs are a large breed and take more food than a smaller breed. Labs are typically robust and healthy but should have regular check-ups with the vet to maintain their health and vigor. Lab puppies are also notorious for destroying things so consider the cost of losing a pair of shoes, landscape items, etc.... Other costs to consider are the items needed to care for your Lab, such as, dog house or crate, possibly a kennel, dog dishes, dog training devices, and dog toys.
- Family- Labs grow quickly and your new cute little puppy will soon be a large clumsy puppy. Consider whether a Lab will be able to adapt with your family especially if you have small children. Young Labs are exuberant in showing their affection and could unintentionally hurt small children with their play.
- Lifestyle- Owning a Lab will most likely change your lifestyle considerably. If you travel often or work away from home for extended periods of time, a Lab is probably not the right choice for you. Consider as well the lifestyle changes needed to care for your Lab; taking time for training and walks, pottying your dog, and including it in your family outings and recreation.
- Commitment- Labs have been known to live up to 15 years! A Lab will depend on you for its care, companionship, and leadership, so consider carefully the commitment needed to provide for your Lab over the duration of its life.
- Enviroment- Labs take nearly three years to mature from puppyhood. As mentioned before, Lab puppies are notorious for chewing and destroying items. Hopefully, you will be able to train your puppy to avoid most of its potential destructive behaviour in a short amount of time. Consider this fact though if you own an expensive property that you do not want marred and if you have valuable items within reach of a Lab. A Lab allowed to run freely in the same room as your ancient Chinese artifacts is a recipe for a disaster. Labs also shed considerably
- Training- Labs are smart and are easy to train provided that you take the time to consistently work with them. As with any successful training, lots of patience is necessary. If you are new to dog training, participating in a local obedience training program will be well worth the time, effort, and money.