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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.)

“Paw-Tales” l July-Aug 2006

Ginger – a Friend, Partner, a defender…
Pets are wonderful companions and dogs are the best. He is friendly, confident and a faithful comrade. My pet, Ginger, a golden Labrador is a loving, playful dog, true to
his Lab characteristics; he is affectionate and hates to stay alone.
When I come back from school, he greets me with total exuberance. He jumps up and if I am not careful – I can be floored!! His eyes are very expressive and if we don’t give him the desired biscuit, he simply sulks.
The most comical antic of his is when he chases lizards and birds. I only have to say “Lizzi Bizzi” and he goes berserk. He barks and jumps and tries to catch the
lizard, and when he cannot reach it, he reacts comically. His antics always leave us in splits of laughter. He is  a great companion and we all love Ginger.
– Vrinda

Nutrition needs of your Lab

If you have a Labrador Retriever or are planning to have one, then it is extremely important to take care of his nutrition, which not only helps him keep in shape, but also keeps his coat healthy and shiny.

 

Many of us are fascinated with a Labrador Retriever, owing to his placid and lovely temperament, besides his distinct abilities to be a disaster and guide dog. But, only few of us are able to rear a beautiful and proportionate Lab. The problem lies with nutrition. Only a well-balanced nutritious food can help your Lab grow to his breed characteristics. Let us see what are the specific characteristics of a Lab and how proper nutrition can help maintain them.

Unique structure of the Lab coat

Structure of the Lab’s coat is unique. His hair is strong, dense and short, which means the Lab can endure even ice-cold water. When retrieving in the countryside, Labs have to negotiate bushes and thickets that can cut them. Their dense fur is a great help in preventing lesions. The water glides over the coat, as it glides over the feathers of a duck, hence they are less wet than other breeds after a swim. They produce more sebum than other breeds. Sebum is the oil secretion of the sebaceous glands that waterproofs the hair. Labs sometimes develop a hypersensitivity to specific allergens such as dust mites or pollen. This condition is called atopy.

Labs have a natural predisposition to excess weight

Compared with other dogs of similar weight, the Lab’s body mass consists of less muscle mass and more fat. Epidemiological studies show that he is among the breeds with an increased risk of obesity. They often tend to be greedy. That makes it essential to maintain a proper exercise regime and to follow ration recommendations.

A protein diet promotes lean mass, favouring muscles over fat. Specific nutrients play a significant part in ensuring that dogs do not put on unwelcome excess pounds.

Common ailment: arthritis

In expending energy, the Lab puts his joints under a huge amount of stress. In time, the cartilage is damaged and this wear and tear may lead to arthritis, as the animal gets older. Maintaining an optimum weight is the best way to relieve joints. Cartilage is a water-cushioned shock absorber. When a joint moves, the coefficient of friction is equivalent to ice moving against ice. It ‘glides’ effortlessly. In time, this friction damages the cartilage. The major supplementary source of glucosamine and chondroitin (1000 mg) helps preserve a well-hydrated cartilage matrix. Chondroitin sulphate inhibits the action of enzymes that cause the destruction of cartilage. Its high water retaining capacity ensures proper cartilage hydration. Glucosamine (precursor of glycosaminoglycans, the principal components of articular cartilage) stimulates the regeneration of cartilage (especially promoting the synthesis of collagen).

Lab’s visual and cognitive capacities engendered by prudent selection

Whatever his function, the Lab always commits 110% of his powers. He is a disaster dog that works himself to exhaustion to rescue people all over the world. He can be trained to find explosives and drugs as he is able to distinguish 5,00,000 different odours. The average human recognises around 4,000 His size, endurance, character, intelligence and stability make him the ideal guide dog. He also has a proven track record as an assistance dog for people with motor disabilities. Guide dogs become the eyes of their masters, so it is essential that they possess acute twenty-twenty vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in the crystalline lens and the retina in significant quantities, protecting them against damage caused by oxidation. With an average life expectancy exceeding 12 years, the older Lab can develop some behavioural complaints. The synergic antioxidant complex helps maintain cognitive functions and plays a role in preventing senility.

Royal Canin’s Lab food

Royal Canin offers Labrador Retriever 30, which not only nourishes the coat but also protects the skin. It provides the building blocks the skin needs. With 30% high value biological proteins per ration, every meal provides dogs with all the ingredients essential to a healthy coat. It also helps in maintaining ideal weight by harmonising energy intake with lifestyle. It controls the energy content in food as it has ingredients they need to produce powerful muscles without excess fat. This food is available as a kibble with a shape and texture, which promotes the feeling of a full stomach. Its size forces the dog to chew, which encourages mechanical brushing of his teeth, combating the build-up of dental plaque.

It also relieves joints by controlling body weight and incorporating glucosamine and chondroitin. This Lab food also nourishes cartilage, combats inflammatory mechanisms and degenerative mechanisms stemming from oxidative stress.

The food also preserves visual and cognitive capacities by nourishing the crystalline lens and the retina as it is a source of lutein and zeaxanthin.

A well-balanced and nutritious food will make your Lab beautiful and proportionate.