Labrador Retriever Warning Page



"I've heard Labradors are 'minimum care' dogs. They must be very clean if they don't require baths!"

Although it's true that Labradors seldom need bathing, many people would not consider them "clean" by nature. Remember these are sporting dogs. Rolling in unmentionables, diving into mud puddles and drinking out of toilets are all favorite sports! And then there is all that fur... Labradors shed profusely at certain times of the year. No matter how clean the hair might be, those tumbleweeds rolling around on your floor are unlikely to win you any "fastidious housekeeper" awards.

"I'll get a yellow puppy because I have light colored carpeting.."

Great idea...but only if all your clothes are also light colored! Black or chocolate hair is much less noticeable on dark clothing and hardwood floors, but not terribly appetizing in the butter.

"Shedding won't be a problem... I'll just keep the dog outside."

Perfect solution, as long as you plan to move outside too! Dogs, like humans, are pack animals, and do not do well in solitary confinement. Boredom can lead to impromptu landscaping projects, cable rerouting or deck remodeling. Labradors are especially gregarious and will go to great lengths to seek out companionship.

"The kids have been begging for a puppy!"

This is a tough one. If the adults in the household aren't the ones who truly want to raise the puppy, this could be a disaster in the making. Puppies don't stay cute and portable very long! Children grow up somewhat more slowly, but they do grow and change, developing new interests along the way.

"We have a toddler, and we'd like the baby and the puppy to grow up together!"

If you have a lot of energy and the right puppy, yes, this will work. But be aware that puppies and very young children tend to bring out the WORST in each other. Take a look at your child's toys -- from a puppy's point of view, those are ALL puppy toys. From a young child's point of view, the puppy who just chewed up his favorite stuffed animal was very bad; if the child hits or yells at the puppy, the puppy will not understand. Labrador puppies can be very "mouthy"; sharp puppy teeth on a toddler's flesh during playtime can (understandably!) bring forth high pitched screams, which the puppy interprets as "hey, this is fun, let's play this prey game some more."

"Labradors are such smart dogs, a puppy will be a snap to train!"

Well, yes, but that intelligence can just as easily work against you. It's tempting to meet the wonderful Guide Dog at the office or the neighbor's laid-back six year old and think they just "come like that." The reality is Lab puppies DO learn very quickly; if you aren't working with them EVERY DAY while they are young, they will teach themselves what they think they need to know. Unfortunately, they aren't reading the "perfect puppy" manual, so their idea of "home schooling" might not be exactly what you are looking for.