CHALLENGES TO OWNING A LABRADOR RETRIEVER
Though initially Labrador Retrievers may seem to be the
ideal pet, there are
challenges to owning an
animal of this type. Below are many areas that need thought and consideration
before you adopt. A Labrador Retriever is NOT the perfect pet for everyone!
Size - Labradors are large – extra large sized animals. The standard size for males range from 24 - 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh proportionally from 65-75 pounds. Females stand around 21.5 - 22.5 inches and weigh 55-65 pounds. They normally possess extremely active tails making clean sweeps of coffee and end tables. Quite simply they need room. Uncluttered houses are a must!
Exercise - Labradors were developed as a sporting breed able to handle a day's hunting routinely. They need to have hard consistent exercise daily (20-30 minutes twice a day is usually sufficient) or they may have difficulty adjusting to the "calm house pet" role expected by most owners. A fenced in yard is especially important in providing the dog enough exercise. As a sporting dog they are easily distracted by birds, animals or moving objects; they must be kept leashed when being exercised outside of a fenced yard to keep them from running away.
Shedding - They shed their coats a minimum of twice a year, however in Florida they tend to shed moderately all year long. Because of the coat, grooming every other week is to your advantage. If you require a fastidiously kept house - Don't get a Labrador. You will always have dog hair around, especially in rugs, on furniture, and OH YES, occasionally even in your food. Oh - and you will have to vacuum much more often than before - or little furballs will accumulate along your baseboards!
Health & Care - Labradors are known to be prone to skin problems - allergies as well as dry and brittle coats. They also are known for problems with hip dysplasia and eye defects. Feeding one medium-sized dog for a year will run you between $250 -$400 depending upon type of food and additional supplementation. Labradors must be fed a high quality premium food to prevent costly skin problems - which means you will not be able to buy your food at the grocery or discount store - and will have to make a special trip to the pet supply store. Veterinary expenses for annual checkups and shots will cost around $75 a year, plus any additional vet care your dog may require through the year. This would include a yearly heartworm test and monthly heartworm preventative, costing around $100 a year. If you do not give your dog heartworm preventative, it will probably contract the parasite and must be treated which costs between $300 - $700; if your dog is not treated, it will die. Topical flea preventative medications, which are very effective, cost around $100 a year. There are other expenses such as toys, collars and leashes, brushes, shampoos, toys and nylabones for chewing.
Neatness - Labradors are easily housebroken and make great housedogs. They tend to be messy drinkers, dripping water on the floor after they take their drink. Many Labradors slobber and when they beg for food they can drool up a storm!
Training - Many wish to make their Labradors into good canine citizens. A good beginner's obedience class costs between $50 - $100 plus the cost of any special equipment. Moreover, Labradors tend to be sensitive or soft in many training situations. They must be handled carefully with a loving, firm, but nonetheless gentle hand.
Velcro Dogs - Labradors are faithful companions. They are usually always by your side, many will follow you from room to room. They will lie in the kitchen while you cook and at your feet while you watch TV. If you don't want that much togetherness, a Labrador isn't for you!
Small Children - People automatically assume Labradors are the perfect dog for a family with children. Labrador puppies quickly grow up to be rambunctious, strong bundles of energy that easily can play too rough with young children, especially when they are 6 months to two years of age. We don't normally recommend young Labradors for families with children under the age of 8.
Guard Dogs - As protective guard dogs Labradors are LOUSY!!! Though they may bark and growl defensively, when it comes down to brass tacks - they'd just as soon kiss the intruder and show him the jewels as corner him instead of protect.
Outside Dogs - Labradors make poor outside dogs. They develop skin problems and flea allergies if kept outside. They frequently develop thunderstorm anxiety. As sporting dogs they are easily able to dig out of a fence or sometimes climb over it when left outside for long periods of time unsupervised because they want to be with people. They also are frequent targets for theft if left outside in a backyard when the owner is away from home. Labradors are very social and pack oriented; they frequently develop behavior problems when they are kept separated from their families. A happy Labrador is an inside dog. In fact, most dogs are this way and do better as inside dogs.
Addictive - Very few people own only one Labrador, we simply find them habit forming and contrary to popular opinion, they are not cheaper by the dozen!