Best Made in USA Dog Toys: Because of all the work I have done reporting on the food industry, I’m frankly scared to give my dog chew toys made in China - which means almost all chew toys on the market. That’s why I love West Paw, a Bozeman, Montana-based company that makes all of its great products to exacting standards right here in the USA. My dog has always loved their plush toys (she still sleeps with one) but now she has grown into a powerful chewer and avid retriever, and because it’s almost impossible to find domestically made tennis balls, we use the durable Jive Dog Ball, made from a latex-free, BPA-and-phthalate-free, solid rubbery material that she hasn’t been able to even dent. It bounces, floats, and comes in three sizes. It’s part of the bigger Zogoflex line, all made of the same safe, clean and ultra-durable material, in a wide array of chew toy shape and sizes. These are great for outdoor play.

Dog is Good, a Dog lifestyle company, creates and markets gifts and apparel for dog lovers. Located in Los Alamitos, CA, the company sells wholesale and retail, and licenses the brand to numerous manufacturers in the pet, gift and home product industries. Primarily still recognized as an apparel company, Dog is Good is quickly gaining recognition in the gift and pet markets. They have also developed a reputation for generously giving back to animal welfare organizations.
One of the most popular breeds in the USA, the Labrador Retriever is loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making a great family dog. Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, it is among the top choices for service dog work. Labs love to play, especially in water, never wanting to pass up the opportunity for a good swim. These lively dogs have an excellent, reliable temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs. They crave human leadership and need to feel as though they are part of the family. Labs are easily trained. Some may be reserved with strangers unless very well socialized, preferably while they are still puppies. Adult Labs are very strong; train them while they are puppies to heel on the leash, and not to bolt out doorways and gateways before the humans. These dogs are watchdogs, not guard dogs, although some have been known to guard. They can become destructive if the humans are not 100% pack leader and/or if they do not receive enough mental and physical exercise, and left too much to their own devices. Show lines are generally heavier and easier going than field lines. Field lines tend to be very energetic and will easily become high strung without enough exercise. Labs bred from English lines (English Labs) are more calm and laid back than Labradors bred from American lines. English Labs mature quicker than the American type.
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With the Lab’s physical strength and high energy level, early socialization and puppy training classes are vital. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of 7 weeks and 4 months and beginning obedience training early on will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. Puppy training classes serve as part of the socialization process and help the owner learn to recognize and correct any bad habits that may be developing. Labs are devoted, intelligent, and enthusiastic companions who need to be included in family activities.
Labradors as a breed are curious and exploratory and love company, following both people and interesting scents for food, attention, and novelty value. In this way, they can often "vanish" or otherwise become separated from their owners with little fanfare.[49] As a breed they are highly intelligent and capable of intense single-mindedness and focus if motivated or their interest is caught. Therefore, with the right conditions and stimuli, a bored Labrador could "turn into an escape artist par excellence".[15][50] Many dogs are also stolen.[51] Because of their curious nature and ability to "vanish," along with the risk of being stolen, a number of dog clubs and rescue organisations (including the UK's Kennel Club) consider it good practice that Labradors be microchipped, with the owner's name and address also on their collar and tags.[49][52]
The head should be clean-cut and free from fleshy cheeks; the bony structure of the skull chiseled beneath the eye with no prominence in the cheek. The skull may show some median line; the occipital bone is not conspicuous in mature dogs. Lips should not be squared off or pendulous, but fall away in a curve toward the throat. A wedge-shape head, or a head long and narrow in muzzle and back skull is incorrect as are massive, cheeky heads. The jaws are powerful and free from snippiness- the muzzle neither long and narrow nor short and stubby.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies. 
This is the one toy guaranteed to turn heads at the local dog park. The Cannon shoots tennis balls 30 feet down the field, saving your arm from unwanted wear and tear. Simply pull back the handle to deploy the rubber band inside, load up a tennis ball, and then squeeze the trigger to send your pup sprinting downrange to chase down the ball. [$16.99; amazon.com]

Outside North America and Western Europe, the Labrador arrived later. For example, the Russian Retriever Club traces the arrival of Labradors to the late 1960s, as household pets of diplomats and others in the foreign ministry.[75] The establishment of the breed in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former USSR) was initially hindered by the relatively small numbers of Labradors and great distances involved, leading to difficulty establishing breedings and bloodlines;[75] at the start of the 1980s, home-born dogs were still regularly supplemented by further imports from overseas.[75] Difficulties such as these initially led to Labradors being tacitly cross-bred to other types of retriever.[75] In the 1990s, improved access to overseas shows and bloodlines is said to have helped this situation become regularised.[75]
The Labrador Retriever was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1917, but pedigrees for this breed can be traced to 1878. The breed is split into two main types: field-bred, or American Labrador, and show-bred, or English Labrador. While both types come from the original Labradors bred in England, there are differences between them. Show-bred Labradors tend to be stocky, with a calm demeanor, while field-bred Labs are leaner and more energetic.

Jack Vanderwyk traces the origins of all Chocolate Labradors listed on the LabradorNet database (some 34,000 Labrador dogs of all shades) to eight original bloodlines. However, the shade was not seen as a distinct colour until the 20th century; before then, according to Vanderwyk, such dogs can be traced but were not registered. A degree of crossbreeding with Flatcoat or Chesapeake Bay retrievers was also documented in the early 20th century, prior to recognition. Chocolate Labradors were also well established in the early 20th century at the kennels of the Earl of Feversham, and Lady Ward of Chiltonfoliat.[27]
Coloring books are a fun way to de-stress after a long day. Your friend can doodle away while curled up with a cup of tea with their pet (or wine — we’re not judging). And they can even frame their artwork or put it on the fridge! The Doodle Dogs adult coloring book features 68 pages of hand-drawn designs for all difficulty levels (perfect for kiddos too!). And with a low price tag, you can brighten your friend’s day without spending a lot of green. This option may even leave room in the budget to throw in some markers to go with it!
If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.
A dog could sure use a fitness tracker this time of year. All holiday season, ham and turkey has been mysteriously “falling to the floor,” right in front of an all-too-willing doggo. The Whistle 3 Pet Tracker tracks your portly pup’s steps and whereabouts, and it displays it all to you on the Whistle app. It’s an easy way to keep track of Pooh Bear’s fitness—whether or not you’re also tracking your own.
While most shelters and rescues cannot determine a dog's exact breed, some facilities may utilize DNA tests to determine the genetics of a mixed breed dog, and AKC registered Labs may be surrendered to a shelter. Even with proof that a dog's heritage includes Labrador Retrievers—and though the dog may show the physical characteristics of the breed—the individual dogs' personality traits may differ from the breed standard.
Another option for a GPS tracker is the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker. This small, lightweight tracker attaches to your pup’s 1-inch collar or harness and is able to determine their location, as well as their active minutes throughout the day by using cellular, GPS, and wi-fi technology. If your dog leaves the designated safe place (say, your yard or your house), you’ll get notified right away via email, text, or through the app. The tracker is waterproof and has a battery life up to seven days. The app is available for iOS and Android. Subscription plans are sold separately.
Breeders should sell puppies with a written contract guaranteeing they'll take back the dog at any time during his life if you become unable to keep him, and with written documentation that both the puppy's parents (and if possible, his other close relatives) have had their hips, eyes and elbows examined and certified by the appropriate health organizations. Seek out a breeder whose dogs are active in field trials, hunt tests, agility, obedience and other sports that require athleticism and good health, and not just ribbons from the show ring.
Personalized Dog Gifts From Susabella: Susabella.com is an online gift company that specializes in unique pieces from artists, all handmade, so no two pieces are identical, and many of them are customizable to the recipient. They have a whole section of pet gifts that includes this personalized ceramic dog bone-shaped holiday tree ornament (just $20), as well as different sized food bowls, treat jars, food scoops and leash hangers ($20-$50). For personalization in time for Christmas, orders must be placed by December 11.
Outdoor Labrador Retrievers love to spend time outdoors. Their thick, water-repellent coat keeps them warm and dry through many weather conditions and they enjoy any opportunity to run off some energy. Swimming is a favorite activity of many Labs. However, time outdoors is best spent with people rather than alone: Labs thrive on interaction, but they are also known to roam due to their hunting instincts. A fenced yard may be necessary to prevent wandering.
Puppies of all colours can potentially occur in the same litter. Colour is determined primarily by three genes. The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat's eumelanin pigment granules, if that pigment is allowed: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a chocolate coat. The second (E) locus determines whether the eumelanin is produced at all. A dog with the recessive e allele will produce only phaeomelanin pigment and will be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus. The genes known about previously[36] have had their number increased by the introduction of the K locus, where the dominant "black" allele KB is now known to reside.[37] Black or chocolate Labradors therefore must have the KB allele. Yellow Labradors are determined at the E locus, so the K locus is irrelevant in determining their colour. Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat's colouration, which in yellow Labradors varies from white to light gold to a fox red. Chocolate and black Labradors' noses will match the coat colour.
Last (but certainly not least) is one of our favorite ideas: giving your pet loving friend pup sitting services via Rover.com. Depending on the amount you select your friend can redeem for a variety of services including dog walking, grooming and overnight stays. Users can search for qualified dog sitters who can watch after their pup at a moment’s notice. They even have the option to have sitters drop off, pick up or stay in their home. This is a gift that both your friend and her dog will no doubt appreciate!
Labrador retrievers are easily recognized by their broad head, drop ears and large, expressive eyes. Two trademarks of the Lab are the thick but fairly short double coat, which is very water repellent, and the well known "otter tail." The tail is thick and sturdy and comes off the topline almost straight. The feet are described as "webbed," with longer skin between the toes to aid in swimming. Color can range from black through chocolate to a red/yellow or even almost white.

The Lab is America's number one dog, which means there are plenty of people breeding Labs who are more interested in filling the demand for Lab puppies than in breeding healthy dogs with good temperaments. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
What could be better than finding out the breeds that make up your dog? A Dog DNA test can help with this and can also help detect potential risks for diseases that are passed down through the puppy’s parents. Once the recipient receives the DNA kit, they’ll simply swab the inside of the dog’s mouth then mail it back in a prepaid envelope. Then, in less than a month, they’ll get a detailed report back including a copy that can be shared with the vet.
The high intelligence, initiative and self-direction of Labradors in working roles is exemplified by dogs such as Endal, who is trained to, if need be, put his wheelchair-bound human in the recovery position, cover him with a blanket, and activate an emergency phone.[59] A number of Labradors have also been taught to assist their owner in removing money and credit cards from ATMs with prior training.[60]

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.

The life expectancy for Labrador Retrievers is generally 10-12 years. They have relatively few health problems, but are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, ear infections and eye disorders. Labs that are fed too much and exercised too little may develop obesity problems. It’s very important that they get daily exercise along with moderate rations of food.


What could be better than finding out the breeds that make up your dog? A Dog DNA test can help with this and can also help detect potential risks for diseases that are passed down through the puppy’s parents. Once the recipient receives the DNA kit, they’ll simply swab the inside of the dog’s mouth then mail it back in a prepaid envelope. Then, in less than a month, they’ll get a detailed report back including a copy that can be shared with the vet.
As a result of specialised breeding there are significant differences between field and trial-bred and show-bred lines of Labradors. In the United States the former are sometimes mistakenly referred to as "American" and the latter as "English" although both field and show types are bred in both countries.[41] In the United Kingdom they are called "Field" and "Show". Dogs bred for hunting and field-trial work are selected first for working ability, where dogs bred to compete in conformation shows are selected for their conformation to the standards and characteristics sought by judges in the show ring.
The human-to-human reticence of the dog lover can be misinterpreted as anti-social behavior. But it’s usually nothing personal. The truth is, many days they only care to communicate through face licking and belly rubbing. In order to avoid any confusion or negative social consequences, allow them to communicate the critical message in plain English. The world isn’t such a hostile place when you wear your intentions on your sleeve – or even better, on your chest.
Considering the love I have for Riggins, it shouldn’t surprise you that I have a tiny obsession of art featuring his cute furry face. You aren’t able to turn your head in my apartment without seeing an artist rendition of my adorable mutt staring back at you. Some would call it an addiction. I call it a careful collection of artistic items featuring my baby boy.
A cozy pair of slippers makes an excellent dog gift for dog moms who have plenty of cold floors throughout their house. Keep their toes toasty with a pair of cute pooch slippers like the Fuzzy Nation Dog Breed Slippers from GreaterGood's Animal Rescue Site. These slippers feature a warm faux fur lining, corduroy exterior and stuffed doggy head embellishments. Your dog mama will also enjoy knowing that her slippers helped feed shelter animals.
With the Lab’s physical strength and high energy level, early socialization and puppy training classes are vital. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of 7 weeks and 4 months and beginning obedience training early on will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. Puppy training classes serve as part of the socialization process and help the owner learn to recognize and correct any bad habits that may be developing. Labs are devoted, intelligent, and enthusiastic companions who need to be included in family activities.
The brainchild of a glass studio in New Jersey, Hot Paws is a unique dog paw print molding kit. After forming the print from their moldable material you send it right back to Hot Paws in a prepackaged container where it will be cast in glass. After a couple of weeks your friend will receive a gorgeous glass impression of their dogs paw which can be used as a paperweight or hung as an ornament.
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The hardest thing about putting a gift guide together is resisting the urge to buy every single item on it for myself (thanks to my self-restraint, I only gave way to one). And it was no different for the Top 10 Must-Have Dog Mom Gifts. Being a dog mom, I picked things I wouldn’t normally purchase, but since it is Mother’s Day, I would treat myself to. It’s a tough job, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Still, it would be nice to be recognized, and since Oscar isn’t going to make me a crappy macaroni-laden card any time soon, I don’t feel guilty about splurging for any of these awesome Dog Mom Gifts.
All of those characteristics make the Labrador well-suited to a variety of active families. He’s perfect for homes with rowdy older children, but may be a little rambunctious around toddlers, especially as a puppy or young dog. Singles and couples who love the outdoors also match up well with this breed, and his size and even temperament make the Labrador a great companion for active seniors who love to walk and would appreciate a dog who looks intimidating, even if he is more of a lover than a fighter.
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