What is the basic nature of Labrador dogs?
Your Labrador puppy is full of energy and enthusiasm. Because he descends from a long line of hunting and working dogs, he needs firm direction, love and consistency to reach his potential. Set boundaries as soon as you bring your Labrador puppy home. This breed is excessively playful and curious. Your puppy won’t outgrow his boisterousness until he’s 3 or 4 years old.
Exercise your Lab as often as possible, but at least twice a day for 30 minutes each time. Labs are high-drive dogs and they need a chance to burn off excess energy. You can avoid many behavior problems just by giving your Lab adequate exercise.
Train your Lab to respond to the basic dog obedience commands. He should sit, stay, heel, down and come on command. This ensures that you can control your Lab in any situation just by issuing a verbal command.
Use positive reinforcement for good behavior and avoid scolding. Labs love pleasing their owners and they will do just about anything to get in your good graces. If your puppy is acting out and demanding your attention, turn away and ignore him. When he minds, praise him, pet him and give him treats.
Expose your puppy to new things. Take him to the dog park. Teach him to sit while children pet him. Take him for rides in the car. Labs should learn social manners early on.
How to Feed Labrador dogs?
Labrador retrievers are intelligent, gentle dogs who love their food.
· Labrador retrievers love their food. Currently the most popular breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics, the Lab is a gentle, intelligent and family-friendly dog. They are able to manipulate their owner into providing extra portions and frequent treats, and needs a healthy diet and exercise to avoid obesity. A homemade diet should include the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep the dog’s joints healthy, promote the growth of a sturdy frame to carry their muscle weight, and nourish their thick, waterproof coat.
· Cook food for your Labrador retriever that contains a suitable combination of foods. A healthy diet should include approximately 50 percent animal protein, 30 percent complex carbohydrates and 20 percent fruit and vegetables. Choose protein such as human quality meat, fish and poultry. Include muscle meat, a small percentage of rich organ meats such as liver, heart and kidneys, and fish that is high in omega 3 oils Suitable dairy products to use include low fat, natural yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs.
· Select complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potato, and include vegetables and fruits such as green beans, carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower, apples and pears. Avoid corn, which is difficult for dogs to digest and contributes to weight gain. For older Labs with conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, avoid grains altogether.
· Add vitamins and minerals to the food. Adult Labrador retrievers need between 800 and 1,000 mg of calcium daily to support and maintain bone strength. Make your own calcium supplement using ground eggshells, by drying them overnight in the oven and then grinding them in a coffee grinder.
· Ask your veterinarian to evaluate your Lab’s diet regularly to ensure that you are feeding sufficient quantities of essential nutrients. In addition to calcium, young Labs need phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and iron, while adults with joint problems may need a diet that includes glucosamine and chondroitin.
· Avoid raisins, grapes and macadamia nuts, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested regularly, according to veterinarian Sarah Abood of the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Also, never feed your dog anything that contains chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, avocados, yeasty dough, onions, garlic, chives, salt or milk products. Cook all meat, eggs or bones before feeding it to your Lab, as raw meat can contain bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.
· Include a spoonful of vegetable, flaxseed or olive oil in each meal for your adult Lab. The oil contains omega 6 fatty acids, which are essential for the healthy condition of the breed’s thick, waterproof coat. Use only fresh oil, as oils kept too long or exposed to air can turn rancid.
How to vaccinate and groom Labrador dogs?
Visit your veterinarian within first two months. Your puppy will need regular vaccinations to keep him healthy.
Brush your Labrador at least once a week with a rounded-bristle dog brush. He’ll love it and you’ll remove loose hair. About twice a year, your Lab will shed heavily for about three weeks. Brush him daily during that time.
Bathe your puppy when he’s dirty, but use a gentle conditioning shampoo made for dogs and make sure to rinse it all out. Labs can have sensitive skin and frequent bathing can irritate it, which can leave your little guy scratching up a storm.