Labradors do tend to be protective of their families and homes but are usually happy to greet company, too. With the strong retrieving instinct, they can develop into destructive chewers if not given appropriate toys and guidance. Labs may tend to "mouth" people and the solution is often simply to give them a toy to carry around, so their mouths are already full! These are very strong dogs and early training is necessary to have a dog that walks nicely on lead.
An automatic food feeder might sound like a modern luxury, but it’s actually a great solution for busy pup parents (or those who don’t like to get out of bed to feed their pet, ha). The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder allows you to schedule up to 12 meals in advance which could reduce the burden on a dog sitter (or the need/cost altogether, if the pet has a doggy door to relieve itself). Another benefit is the slow release feature which helps dogs who tend to gobble down their food too fast (an unhealthy and potentially dangerous habit). This item comes in at a higher price but comes with a stainless steel bowl (and it’s dishwasher safe too!). And if you’re feeling extra generous, you can even throw in a dog food auto-ship service!
Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Labrador Retrievers were developed to be hunting dogs. They are athletic dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored, which they may express by becoming rambunctious and destructive. Control your Labrador Retriever's bounciness AND keep him mentally stimulated by following the training program in my book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

North Carolina State University is looking for DNA samples from Labrador Retrievers for a genetic study that evaluates unique DNA changes that may be associated with the congenital heart disease, tricuspid valve dysplasia. At this time, we would like to collect DNA samples from 100 Labrador Retrievers. We need DNA from both healthy Labrador Retrievers... Read more »
Labrador Retrievers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Labs will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.Hip Dysplasia: Hip dyplasia is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.Elbow Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It's thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog's elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem or medication to control the pain.Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This orthopedic condition, caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints, usually occurs in the elbows, but it has been seen in the shoulders as well. It causes a painful stiffening of the joint, to the point that the dog is unable to bend his elbow. It can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age. Overfeeding of "growth formula" puppy foods or high-protein foods may contribute to its development.Cataracts: As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow over time. They may develop at any age, and often don't impair vision, although some cases cause severe vision loss. Breeding dogs should be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthamologist to be certified as free of hereditary eye disease before they're bred. Cataracts can usually be surgically removed with good results.Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, dogs become night-blind. As the disease progresses, they lose their daytime vision, as well. Many dogs adapt to limited or complete vision loss very well, as long as their surroundings remain the same.Epilepsy: Labs can suffer from epilepsy, which causes mild or severe seizures. Seizures may be exhibited by unusual behavior, such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It's important to remember that seizures can be caused by many other things than idiopathic epilepsy, such as metabolic disorders, infectious diseases that affect the brain, tumors, exposure to poisons, severe head injuries, and more. Therefore, if your Lab has seizures, it's important to take him to the vet right away for a checkup.Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD): TVD is a congenital heart defect that has been increasing in prevalence in the Labrador breed. Puppies are born with TVD, which is a malformation of the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart. It can be mild or severe; some dogs live with no symptoms, others die. TVD is detected by ultrasound. Research is ongoing to learn how widespread it is in the breed, as well as treatment.Myopathy: Myopathy affects the muscles and nervous system. The first signs are seen early, as young as six weeks and often by seven months of age. A puppy with myopathy is tired, stiff when he walks and trots. He may collapse after exercise. In time, the muscles atrophy and the dog can barely stand or walk. There is no treatment, but rest and keeping the dog warm seems to reduce symptoms. Dogs with myopathy should not be bred because it is considered a heritable disease.Gastric Dilataion-Volvulus: Commonly called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs like Labs, especially if they're fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, or drink large amounts of water or exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in his stomach, and blood flow to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is drooling excessively, and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate. If you notice these symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.Acute Moist Dermatitis: Acute moist dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin red and inflamed. It is caused by a bacterial infection. The more common name of this health concern is hot spots. Treatment includes clipping the hair, bathing in medicated shampoo, and antibiotics.Cold Tail: Cold tail is a benign, though painful condition common to Labs and other retrievers. Also caused limber tail, it caused the dog's tail to go limp. The dog may bite at the tail. It isn't cause for alarm, and usually goes away on its own in a few days. It is thought to be a problem with the muscles between the vertebrae in the tail.Ear Infections: The Lab's love of water, combined with his drop ear make him prone to ear infections. Weekly checking and cleaning if necessary helps prevent infection. If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Labs, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
The first written reference to the breed was in 1814 ("Instructions to Young Sportsmen" by Colonel Peter Hawker),[11] the first painting in 1823 ("Cora. A Labrador Bitch" by Edwin Landseer),[11] and the first photograph in 1856 (the Earl of Home's dog "Nell", described both as a Labrador and a St. Johns dog).[21] By 1870 the name Labrador Retriever became common in England.[11] The first yellow Labrador on record was born in 1899 (Ben of Hyde, kennels of Major C.J. Radclyffe),[11] and the breed was recognised by The Kennel Club in 1903. The first American Kennel Club (AKC) registration was in 1917.[11] The chocolate Labrador emerged in the 1930s,[11] although liver spotted pups were documented being born at the Buccleuch kennels in 1892.[11] The first dog to appear on the cover of Life Magazine was a black Labrador Retriever called "Blind of Arden" in the December, 12th, 1938 issue. The St. John's dog survived until the early 1980s, the last two individuals being photographed in old age around 1981.[21]

This is the spitting image of my dog! I had her give them away as gifts this year! Resin, so will hold-up for many years to come. The bone is, indeed, a great surface to use a Sharpie to write a name. I chose to write "I (heart)..." messages. The word "I"...then a red heart...then the recipient's name. Here is DAZEY and her ornament she's giving away... (see photo)

The Labrador Retriever is the descendant of the St. John's Water Dog, a working dog from the island of Newfoundland. The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury is said to have seen St. John’s Dogs retrieving nets for fishing boats, and then had the dogs imported to England. These dogs from Newfoundland were subsequently bred to develop the Labrador Retriever we know today.
Where dogs are concerned, you can’t go wrong with a bone. This all-natural beef bone from Pet ’n Shape is sure to please, even if it looks a bit morbid under the tree. It’s ideal for larger dogs, especially those with a slightly aggressive chew, and is completely digestible. With no artificial additives and plenty of protein (but little fat), it’s a healthy treat owners say is a big hit with big pups.
The Labrador Retriever not only loves kids, he enjoys the commotion they bring with them. He'll happily attend a child's birthday party, and even willingly wear a party hat. Like all dogs, however, he needs to be trained how to act around kids — and kids need to be taught how to act around the dog. As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child. If a Lab has had plenty of exposure to other dogs, cats, and small animals, and has been trained how to interact with them, he'll be friendly with other pets, too.
Better Dog Beds Through Science: Casper has taken the human mattress industry by storm with its futuristic and scientific spring free designs, which have won endless awards and acclaim, including high praise from Consumer Reports, Wired and Good Housekeeping, while Time Magazine named Casper’s mattress one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2015 and Architectural Digest called it “the perfect mattress, according to science.” Dogs spend half their lives sleeping, and the folks at Casper claim to have done 11 months of canine sleep studies and developed over one hundred protypes. The resulting Casper Dog Mattress was designed by the same engineering team behind all of Casper’s mattress products, crafted with a combination of pressure-relieving memory foam and durable support foam. It immediately got the same kind of rave reviews the big versions did, from Gizmodo, Fast Company and CNN, which called it “the perfect mattress for every dog.” Dogs like the feeling of protection and for this reason many prefer bolstered beds - this one gives them four-sided peace of mind. It is also owner friendly, very durable and bite and scratch resistant, the durable cover repels fur, it is easily removable and machine washable, and for dog safety, zippers are hidden. Because dogs often like to scratch or dig before laying down, an inherited instinct of digging up dirt to find cooler ground, they designed the bed’s surface with excess material on top to mimic the sensation of pawing at loose earth. And just like Casper’s human products, it comes with a 100-night sleep trial. In three colors and four sizes, $125-$225
Whether you’ve brought home an older dog from the shelter or just got a new puppy, teaching them to use a potty bell will help immensely with accidents. The Potty Bell by Caldwell’s Pet Supply Co. is 26 inches long and easily slips over a door handle or knob. From there, work with your dog to learn cue words about going outside to use the bathroom, and give them treats near the bell to get them to nose it. Eventually, they’ll learn to ring the bell whenever they want or need to go outside. Colors include black, blue, brown, green, red, and yellow.
My dog loves this! She gets super stoked when she sees me take it out for her to play with. I combine a level 1, level 2 & this level 3 Trixie game, & it keeps her busy for a bit. I am a professional dog trainer & recommend interactive games to my clients, and Trixie makes by far the coolest & most durable (unless you have serious chewers or highly destructive dogs). This one is pretty difficult, so unless your dog is beyond food motivated, opt for a level 1 or 2 to pique your dog's interest in puzzle games first, otherwise your dog may give up. A super fun toy, especially if your dog enjoys nose work.

^ Candille, Sophie I.; Kaelin, Christopher B.; Cattanach, Bruce M.; Yu, Bin; Thompson, Darren A.; Nix, Matthew A.; Kerns, Julie A.; Schmutz, Sheila M.; Millhauser, Glenn L.; Barsh, Gregory S. (2007). "A β-Defensin Mutation Causes Black Coat Colour in Domestic Dogs". Science. 318 (5855): 1418–23. doi:10.1126/science.1147880. PMC 2906624. PMID 17947548.
The Labrador Retriever has a strong hunting instinct and loves to roam. They are active, but calm and obedient if trained properly. Swimming and retrieving are the favorite activities of this breed, and they make good hunters on the field, and wonderful swimming companions. Regular exercise is a must to keep them fit. Labradors are keen on learning, easy to get along with, affable types that get along well with other animals, children, and just about anyone they meet. The Labrador Retriever temperament makes them a top choice for families and excellent therapy dogs, but not an especially good choice for guard dog duty.

- Exclusions: Hill's Pet Nutrition food and treats (Hill's Prescription Diet, Hill's Science Diet, Hill's Ideal Balance and Hill's Bioactive Recipe); select Pro Purina brands (Pro Plan, Muse and Beyond); Petsafe Brands (PetSafe, SportDOG, ScoopFree, Pup-Pee Solutions, Piddle Place, Radio Systems, Gentle Leader, Premier Pet, Solvit' and Simpsons Adventure); Educator E-Collars; PetcoOne and WholeHearted Memberships, Repeat Delivery orders and subscriptions; out-of-stock items, prior purchases, Donations, Petco Gift Cards and eGift Cards.
If you’re not totally sure exactly what type of toy or treat to give, Shirley Braha, who’s mom to Instagram-famous Marnie the Dog, recommends giving the gift of replenishing treats. “The first thing that comes to mind is a BarkBox subscription, because I feel like dogs are always running out of treats, and high-quality treats are weirdly expensive.”
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