Labradors are large dogs that require training, regular exercise and attention or else they can become very destructive. Make sure a puppy has its own chews and toys because anything chewable left within reach -. shoes, handbags, items of clothing etc – will be modified!
If you are a keen gardener, you might need to fence off areas you want to preserve. Labradors enjoy digging esp. when you’re not around to stop them!! They also love water and a little mud doesn’t bother them at all. Fortunately they have self-cleaning coats and once dry, the dirt just falls off. They shed hair seasonally but other than regular brushing and the odd bath, they don’t require much grooming.
Fleas and Ticks
Monthly treatment for ticks and fleas is a must! Ticks transmit Biliary Fever while fleas cause dogs to scratch. Ninety percent of all skin disorders are caused by fleas. The dog becomes allergic and once this stage is reached only one or two fleas keep the itch going, typically along the lower spine and tail base. Decomposing serum oozes from the scratched areas which causes the typical bad odour that some dogs develop.
Allocating a puppy
We try to match our puppies to the needs of the prospective owner/family. A busy puppy would be better suited to be trained for field trials and carting while a laid back temperament would better suit a family with small children.
Labbies have a reputation of being good with children, and so they are. This is no reason however to allow a child to inflict pain or in any way maltreat an animal. Children need to be taught to respect and be tolerant of the new puppy in the house. Also remember that puppies need a lot of rest.
Should you opt for a bitch puppy, remember that she will come on heat (in season) approx. every six months. She will stay on heat for about 3 weeks and needs to be kept away from entire males. Not only will the males of the area quickly become aware of a bitch on heat, the lady in question will actively attempt to make closer acquaintance. Some bitches are more messy than others but can be taught to wear a special harness (or an old panty with a hole cut in for the tail). It is not fair to ban her outside while in season. The alternative of course is to kennel her, which is the safer but not cheaper option. If you don’t intend breeding her, sterilisation is generally performed at 6 months.
Labradors – like all big dogs – are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia Although there is a hereditary component, exercise and the environment can play a significant role. Slipping on loose carpets and smooth floors, excessive stairs and jumping from ledges can cause serious damage to hip and elbow joints while the dog is still growing and the bones are still “soft”. Over exercise in the first year is a major contributing factor, as is incorrect diet. A puppy should never get serious exercise in the first year because at that stage the growth plates have not yet fused and are much more prone to damage. Play with other big dogs should be supervised and excessive rough play discouraged.