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Smart boy Ninja!

I was young once, twice actually – once when I was young like all of us and second the day my golf set arrived. I was excited to the core and carefully unfolded my prized possession. As soon as I was about to hit the ball with my club, the bulbous head of Driver #1 hit the stationary blade of the ceiling fan. Ninja, our Labrador, suddenly charged forward with loud clamour and leaped up, intent on taking a snap at the offending fan blade.

In that commotion, we returned the golf clubs to their bag and decided to give golf a try some other time. Later, we found Ninja reposing on his paws and surrounded by some suspicious-looking yellow chips. Obviously he had spent his time biting into something fascinating enough to be minced into bits and fragments but not meritorious enough to be swallowed. I picked up a few of those pieces, which smelt and felt like vinyl rubber. It was then that I realised that my darling doggy had found the brand new canary yellow top flight XL golf ball with 475 dimples.

I think Ninja had heard the myth that at the core of every golf ball, there is half-an-ounce of honey, which gives the ball its stability during the flight after being hit by the sweet spot of the club. Probably, he had gone for that honey. But till date, Ninja has not told me whether he had found the honey and had licked it clean or whether he had succeeded in debunking the honey myth. Smart boy, Ninja!

All love and little discipline…makes Lab a perfect boy

All love and little discipline…makes Lab a perfect boy

Intelligent, energetic, lovable…Labs are a pleasure to be with. But these active dogs need to be trained to make them behave in a desired manner. We all love Labs…and why not? Labradors are adorable, extremely affectionate, good observers and fast learners. These versatile dogs can perform variety of jobs, are capable of working under harsh conditions and have one of the friendliest personalities and last, but not the least, they love to be with you and please you. Their friendly nature can be an added advantage during their growing up stages. A Lab owner should take maximum advantage of it by socialising their puppy/dog to various people, other dogs and also to different environments. But, do not let your dog to be over-friendly or over-socialised as he can become uncontrollable. Teaching your Lab basic manners can be a great aid while socialising him.

Every Lab owner will agree, that they believed Lab is the easiest breed to have at home and to get trained, before they got one. But soon they realised that their cute puppy is a hard nut. The “Oh! So sweet” words turn into “Oh! My God…look what you did??” If the energy of these dogs is not used productively, then these hyper-active dogs turn into verocious eaters, pull on the leash, jump on people, and become a chewer.

No one loves food more than a Lab and they can go on eating even when they are not hungry. So, feeding the right type of food in right quantity is important. Do not encourage wrong food habits for your dog. Besides, excessive chewing is a result of boredom. Labs are a high-energy breed and you have to keep them occupied mentally and physically, otherwise they can take their energy out in unacceptable ways. It’s always a good idea to give them regular exercises and enjoyable play sessions. You can also provide various chews and food dispenser toys like kong toys to keep them occupied and happy. Besides, with a little training like leash training and teaching him sit on command can work wonders to his temperament.

Labs are smart dogs and very quick to pick up commands. But we need to understand when and how to use these commands. For example, a simple command like “Sit” can be used to make our spoilt Lab a sweetheart. Just use the ‘Sit’ command to make him sit, while you can do a couple of things, like:

  • Your Lab is a foodie and he just can’t wait for his bowl to be filled up. Make him sit and prepare his food and fill the food bowl and then release him to eat it.
  • It’s walk time and your Lab is over-excited to go out and is not letting you put on his leash. Make him sit and put it on and both of you are now ready to go for your daily exercise.
  • While walking, your Lab spots other dogs and becomes highly charged with energy and starts pulling on the leash, calm him down by making him sit for a while.
  • Ask your dog to sit everytime he meets someone during his walks. Praise and treat him for good behaviour and then let the person pat him.
  • You have to open the front door as you wish to go out or somebody is waiting at the door and so is your sweet Lab, all the more excited to go out, just make him sit and you can open the front door.
  • Both you and your Lab love car rides but the only problem you face is that he is too excited to let you open the car door while getting in and taking him out. Don’t worry! Just make him sit while you open the car door.
  • The door bell rings and your Lab is in his full bouncing stage, ready to jump on the person who is at the door. Just make him sit, while you get up and see who is there.
  • Your Lab loves a particular treat and seeing it in your hand, makes him all the more excited. He wants to jump on you to take that treat. Make him sit while you give it to him and then release him to let him eat it.

Like these, each one can think of loads of situations where they wish their dog to sit. This way, you can avoid many unfriendly situations. Once your dog knows the command ‘Sit,’ you can use it at various occasions, but initially you will have to practice it and reward the dog accordingly. Labs are not meant to be couch potatoes, so get up and have a great time with your Lovely Lab!!!!!!!!!

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK. She can be contacted at: poojasathe11@hotmail.com, Ph: 9820596903, 022-24165358 – Mumbai.)