If you have recently gotten a Labrador or you are thinking of getting one then you’re probably wondering how to keep it happy.
So, how do you keep a Labrador happy? To keep your Labrador happy there are lots of things you need to do. The main ones are to give it an hour of exercise every day, to give it lots of training, to give it lots of attention, to keep it occupied and to take it to the vets when you’re supposed to for regular check-ups.
There are actually a lot of ways to give your Labrador exercise, attention and to keep it occupied. In the following sections, I will mention a number of tips that will help you to give your Labrador each of those things.
Ways to give your Labrador exercise
It is important to give your Labrador exercise on a daily basis since Labradors are a breed that needs to get daily exercise in order to be fully stimulated.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults. Puppies are generally recommended to get 5 minutes of exercise per day per month of age (source).
Below are some ways you can ensure that your Labrador is able to get the daily exercise that it needs.
The most obvious way to give your Labrador exercise is to walk it. You might find that your Labrador will still have energy even after an hour’s walk, if it does, you could try making the walk more challenging for it.
You can do make it more challenging by walking it further, walking it more quickly, walking it in a hilly area, you could let it loose at the dog park (if you can get it to come back reliably) or you could put a weight vest on it that weighs no more than 10% of its body weight.
Another way to get it to wear itself out quickly would be to get it to learn to play fetch. It is an effective exercise because it gets your Labrador to do a lot of running without much rest.
You can watch the video below to see how you can train yours to learn to play fetch.
Walk it with other dogs
You could also walk your Labrador with other dogs.
By doing this you will be able to get it to wear itself out more quickly since it will be doing more exercise by playing with the other dogs. It will also help to get it to socialize which can help to improve its behavior.
Teach it to swim
You could also teach your Labrador to swim.
By doing this you will be able to get it to do a lot of exercise since the act of swimming requires it to move its legs around quickly in order to stay afloat. It also works well in the summer since it will help to keep it cool.
Use a dog walker
Another option would be to get a dog walker to do it for you. This would be helpful on days when you are unable to exercise it yourself. There are apps that you can download that allow you to find dog walkers in your area.
Give it attention and keep it occupied
Below are some things you can do to help keep your Labrador stimulated during the day.
Tug of war
One way to keep your Labrador happy would be to play tug of war with it. Most Labradors love to play it so you’ll likely find that yours will enjoy playing it a lot. It is also a good way to keep it entertained when at home since you don’t need too much room to do it.
Another way to keep your Labrador stimulated would be to spend time training it to do things. This would have the added benefit of improving its behavior and getting it to be more responsive to you.
It would help to start by training it to do simple tasks and then to build up to training it to do more challenging things.
Lots of toys
Another option to keep your Labrador occupied would be to give it lots of toys to play with. By doing this you will be able to keep its focus on something you don’t mind it focusing on instead of something like your sofa.
If your Labrador is going through the teething stage then it is especially important to give it lots of toys to play with since it will naturally want to chew things at this stage.
Another option would be to give it some puzzle games that are designed to make your Labrador have to think in order to get the reward.
Give it chews
You could also give it chews to chew on as a way to keep it occupied. There are also some that are designed to calm it down that you might want to have around for when you think that your Labrador might start to misbehave.
On days when you will not be home for a long time, one option would be to take it to doggy daycare.
Keep your Labrador cool in the summer
Labradors can get quite hot in the summer and it is important that you take measures to keep it cool.
The first thing that you can do is to groom it around once a week. By grooming it you will be able to remove any loose fur that it has which will help to keep it cool by allowing the air to penetrate its fur.
Don’t shave it
It is also important to avoid shaving it. The reason for this is that shaving it will make it much easier for it to get heatstroke. This is because the skin is not supposed to be in direct contact with the suns rays and the fur is meant to help regulate its temperature.
Give it access to water and shade
It would also help to give it access to water, a cool room and shade throughout the day so that it can stay cool and avoid being in the sun for too long.
Teach it to swim
As mentioned earlier teaching your Labrador to swim is a good way to exercise it in the summer since it requires a lot of effort and the water will help to keep it cool. However, it is important not to let it be out in the sun for too long when it is hot since it could cause it to get heatstroke even when swimming.
Exercise in morning or evening
It would also help to give it exercise in the morning or evening so that it can avoid being out in the sun when it is at its strongest.
Use air con
If you have air conditioning then you could also keep your Labrador cool by setting the air conditioning to be at a lower temperature.
Things to consider
If you want to keep your Labrador happy it’s important to take it to the vets for regular check-ups so that it can stay healthy.
If your Labrador is still a puppy, it will need more attention. However, because its bones and joints are still developing it will also not be able to get as much exercise as it could cause damage to it.
It is generally recommended to give it 5 minutes of exercise for every month of age that it has. Instead, you could stimulate it by playing with it and training it.
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