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Doggy Steps

Does Your Pet Have Difficulty Climbing Up To His Favorite Spot?

The solution is Doggy Steps. It’s just the right height to help smaller and older dogs step up where they want to go - up to couches and beds. It’s also great for pets to step up into cars or trucks.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

How to Select a Labrador Retriever

1 Adopt an adult Labrador Retriever

The advantage of adopting an adult Lab is that you know the temperament of the dog. There will be no unpleasant surprises! You get what you see!

Where do I get an adult Labrador Retriever?

The best place to look for an adult dog would be a Breed Rescue Organization. The dog could be there for any number of reasons. Death or illness of an owner could result in the dog landing in a Rescue Organization.

The lovely thing about Labs is that they are very people centric. So even an older dog will adapt easily to you. Dogs in rescue are normally well cared for. All they need is a loving new home. The national coordinator for the Labrador Rescue program is Luanne Lindsey of Texas. Her number is 512-259-3645. Fax is 512-259-5227.

2 But I want to adopt a puppy!

So you want a Labrador Retriever puppy. But how do you go about selecting an appropriate pup? Initially, make your basic decisions. Decide first whether you want a male or a female pup. Then decide on the color of the pup that you want. What sort of temperament should your ideal dog have?

Once you are clear about your requirements, contact your local kennel club to get a list of responsible breeders. Talk to each breeder to ensure that he meets your standards.

Responsible breeders will X-ray their stock for elbow and hip dysplasia. A good breeder will also show their dogs in field trials, hunts, or obedience competitions. Thus such dogs will be of good stock, clean, healthy, and properly housed.

You should feel comfortable with the breeder of your choice. You should be able to freely discuss with him any matter regarding the Lab such as their breeding programs, goals, or just any other general information. After you have found a breeder of your choice, allow him to help you with the selection of a pup. A good breeder will have a pretty good idea about the kind of pup that will suit
your requirement.

3 What is the difference between a Labrador and a Retriever?

None. The dog is known as a ‘Retriever’ as hunters used it to retrieve game on land as well as water. It is known as a ‘Labrador’ as it originally came from Newfoundland that is quite close to Labrador.

There are 6 types of Retrievers that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
  3. Curly Coated Retrievers
  4. Flat Coated Retrievers
  5. Golden Retrievers
  6. Irish Water Spaniels

4 Do Labrador Retrievers shed a lot of their coat?

Yes. It is rather surprising, isn’t it, that such a shorthaired dog can shed so much! Well here is a surprise. These dogs actually have two coats. One is a soft undercoat and the other is a harder guard coat. These two coats help repel water when the dog swims. The outer coat keeps the dog warm.

Labs normally shed their coats twice a year. This process is called “Blowing.” So at this time you will have a lot of hair on your hands! At other times of the year they shed moderate amounts of hair.

5 How much grooming do Labrador Retrievers require?

Not much but they do need to be brushed down once a week in order to keep them clean. You could get a ‘slicker’ type brush from any pet store for this purpose. When you can hear your doggie’s toenails clattering on the floor, it is time to clip the nails. So you should acquire some nail clippers to accomplish this job. Learn the right method of clipping from your vet.

You do not need to bathe your Lab very often. A bath is necessary only when your pet starts smelling rather bad! This is the time to shampoo him down well and proper. To get rid of dust and mud rinse him off with just plain water and wait until he is dry and brush out the dirt.

Too much shampooing washes out the natural oils from the dog’s coat. And a proper oily coat is necessary to repel water!

6 Are Labrador Retrievers good guard dogs?

If you want a dog to serve the purpose of a guard dog, then a Labrador Retriever is not the right choice. They are far too affectionate and people loving to make good guard dogs.

7 What sort of work are Labrador Retrievers good for?

Labs are, of course, excellent hunting companions as they were originally bred to retrieve game on both land and water. They make simply great pets, as they are so large hearted with oodles of affection.

Their affectionate nature qualifies them to become outstanding therapy dogs. They are such a source of comfort and solace to the lonely, elderly, and ailing! Their sharp sense of smell can be put to great use in sniffing out narcotics or bombs. Since they are easily trainable they make superb service dogs.

8 In what colors can Labrador Retrievers be found?

The usual colors that Labs are available in are black, chocolate, and yellow. Quite often yellow labs are referred to as Golden Labradors. Actually the color yellow ranges from nearly white to fox-red or gold. However, the Golden Retriever is quite different from the Labrador.

9 Do Labrador Retrievers like swimming?

They love to swim and take to water quite naturally. This again stems from the fact that their ancestors were trained to retrieve game from water. But this does not mean that you can just toss your little pup into the water and expect him to swim. He has to learn how to swim just like he has to learn everything else.

If there is an adult dog to imitate, your pup will learn how to swim from him. If not you too could wade into the water and let him follow. But just watch out for those sharp little puppy claws! They will really dig into you if he tries to climb up on you while in the water!

When you first introduce your pup to a large body of water, let the entry be very gradual. There should be no current in the water and there should be no sharp drop. Allow your pup to splash around by himself. Gradually he will gain the confidence to go deeper and swim on his own.

A word of warning, do not let your dog go alone into the water. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, he might find it difficult to get out. He also needs help to get out of the pool. Another thing is that Labs shed quite a lot of hair, so check your filter to prevent it from getting clogged with doggie hair.

10 How are Labradors with children?

By and large Labs are very good with children. But do not let pups and children be alone together unsupervised. Neither of them is really aware of their strength or size. They could accidentally harm or hurt each other.

A Lab would never hurt anyone intentionally. However, they could knock a child over in their exuberance to play. Vice versa, a child could also hurt the pup! You have to teach your child how to play with the pup. You also have to train the pup about how it must behave with a child. Please remember that if your Lab is not exercised sufficiently he is more likely to cause accidents.

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