Labs turn into such great dogs that their “spunkiness” is overridden with their amazing adult personalities. Lab puppies are great too, but after raising the breed, there are some things most Lab owners won’t tell you before you get a puppy. Here’s a list of the top 10 things Lab owners leave out when you tell them you’re going to get a Lab:
1. Labs have an oral fixation
Labs are born hunting dogs. When you walk in the door, they usually greet you with a toy, mouthful of food, or apart of your couch. Labs don’t care what gets in their mouth; they just want to retrieve something for you. Essentially, they are bringing you a gift. This can mean troubl e for anything lying out around the house; shoes, blankets, décor, really anything is fair game!
2. Labs drool
Think of a Saint Bernard before you go and buy a large Lab male. Females drool as well, but the larger the Lab, the more drool. So make sure you keep a pile of old rags around to wipe up that drool and a few extra bottles of Windex around the house.
3. Labs Shed
Twice a year, spring and fall, Labs shed their undercoat. This is when you start to see tumble weeds floating across your floor. They shed constantly, but their entire undercoat is replaced twice a year. The best kind of brush to use on your puppy is a Shed Ender. There are name brands of these that are much less expensive, and I would recommend getting the less expensive of the two. Start brushing your lab while they are young so they get used to it and you won’t have to hold them down when they’re older and stronger than you!
4. Labs are prone to ear infections
Labs need their ears cleaned regularly. Because they are water dogs, and their ears hang downward, water does not dry out of their ears very well. As a result, they can develop ear infections. Look for the inside of their ears to be red, watch for itching around the ears (which can develop into “hotspots”) and a lot of head shaking. You can either buy solution at your vets office, or mix ½ water and ½ white vinegar as a great solution for cleaning out their ears.
5. Labs like to eat
Think of the Aluminum foil commercials…a Thanksgiving turkey dinner wrapped in Aluminum foil with a lab pawing at it. Labs like food and they like food anywhere they can find it; their dish, the cats dish, the trashcan, the kitchen table. So make sure that you keep a list of poisonous food in your house and if you have any of those foods, keep them up high!
6. Labs have more willpower than you ever will
Labs must have been bred to be one of the most stubborn dogs. Most labs are highly trainable and can be trained in almost anything. The problem arises when your Lab chooses to act untrained. Labs require constant training. They are smart and they need to be exercised physically as well as mentally. The more tired your Lab is physically and mentally, the less problems you will have with a puppy.
7. Labs think they are people
Have you ever tried telling a Lab they’re a dog? Well, you probably didn’t have much success! Unless well trained from the first day they are brought home, Labs will sit on the couch with you, sleep with you, some even try to shower with you. Remember, they are water dogs. They will swim with you and truly feel as if they are an integral part of your family. In essence, they really are. They will choose an alpha, and usually only follow that one persons command, unless well trained to follow all family members commands. But keep in mind that Labs are people dogs. That’s why they make such great service and therapy dogs. So if your schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of “Lab time,” a Lab isn’t the right dog for you!
8. Having two Labs really is better than having one
Most people who have experienced raising a lab puppy can’t imagine having two at the same time. But labs are pack dogs. Their pack includes not only your family, but also dogs. If you have a schedule requiring you to be gone a lot, separation anxiety can arise and is a hard problem to deal with. This is where it is better to have two labs. Although part of the pack is gone, a member is still at home. So keep this in mind if you have a busy schedule. The benefit in the quality of life for your labs is well worth the training and money of another dog.
9. Labs are expensive
Some labs can reach over 100 lbs. This requires over 8 cups of food a day, two packs of flea and heartworm medications to cover their weight limit, a larger car they can fit into, a larger kennel, etc. An Average sized Lab still eats a lot and requires most of these things, but always keep in mind that Labs are a popular but expensive dog breed. They are prone to health problems due to over breeding. They are even more infamous for getting themselves into health problems (like eating a chicken carcass for example), and believe it or not, they do require a fair amount of grooming.
10. Where there is water, there is a Lab
From a small storm puddle to a neighbor’s pool, Labs have a knack for finding and getting into water. This means your home will have a lovely scent of “wet dog.” Yankee Candle has yet to capture this alluring smell. No matter what you do, you can’t mask the small of wet dog. You just have to accept it.
11. Labs will become surrogate mothers to your babies
Labs are kid-friendly all around! Unless you have the rare owner that trains their lab to not be child friendly, which is always a caution to look out for, most labs will become surrogate mothers to children. They will sleep in front of their doors, share food, snuggle, and be inseparable for their entire lives. This involves quiet a few unwelcome opinions from in-laws and non-dog lovers usually, but tough it out! Your child will not grow up thinking they are a dog just because their first best friend at 15-months of age is a Chocolate Lab.
12. Labs are worth it !!!
Despite everything mentioned about owning a Lab and why they can be difficult, they are worth every second and every penny! They provide unconditional love, home security, companionship, and Labs complete a family the way no other dog breed can because they truly think they are a person. Make sure you have well researched the breed before you decide to own a lab, but know that all your efforts raising a Lab are worth every second!