Top 10 reasons NOT to get a Labrador!
- You are looking for an outside only dog
Part of what makes Labs “Lab” is their affectionate, people loving nature. This trait makes them VERY unhappy when they don’t have a high amount of interaction with you. A Lab confined to the backyard can become destructive and LOUD! Imagine if you left your children alone most of the time until they reached adolescence. The wild child you are picturing is similar to what will happen to a Lab left alone that much. If you aren’t planning on your dog becoming one of the family – a Lab is not the breed for you!
- You don’t like dog hair
Labs shed – a little all year round and then a couple of times a year- look out! If you have a problem with Lab fuzz becoming part of your dietary fibre or you’re compulsive about always dressing in black – this is not the breed for you! Labs also need regular grooming to keep their skin and coat in good condition. You can easily learn to do this yourself or have your dog professionally groomed, but grooming time is something to factor into the amount of time you will need to spend caring for your dog.
- You Have No Sense of Humour
Labs are born with a sense of mischief. If you really see nothing funny about waking up to a cold, slobbery tennis ball in your face or a puppy that decides that 2:00 a.m. is a great time to play fetch – perhaps another breed or an older dog might be best.
- You are a clean freak
Muddy paws on your clothes, nose prints on every window in your house and car, and did I mention the hair? Also, when Labs get old they usually get incontinent and smelly. Enough said… If you can’t relax and enjoy it, you and your dog will both be miserable.
- You are a couch potato and hope your dog will be too.
Labs are sporting dogs, bred to retrieve game all day. They need regular exercise, especially as puppies, or they can become destructive and unhappy. If your longest walk in the past month was from the couch to your bed – perhaps a more sedentary pet would better suit your needs? Without exercise your pup will grow into a fat or obese adult. An overweight Lab will almost certainly end up with painful arthritis and may also develop joint injuries requiring surgery costing many thousands of rands.
- You like everything to stay right where you put it.
Labs have a last name “Retriever”, from the Latin meaning “to put EVERYTHING in your mouth and dance around with it!” The retrieving instinct SHOULD be a part of every Lab so if you object strongly to your dog happily strutting out to greet company with your underwear in his mouth – perhaps you should continue your search for the perfect breed.
- You are approaching getting a dog as a temporary condition.
Labs are addictive – but they will also hopefully live a long time. Dog ownership is a commitment for the life of a dog. If you figure your dog will head for the shelter once the kids are in school – please reconsider getting a pet! Lab rescue is full of dogs that have lost their homes as a result of changes in life circumstances. Some are not preventable and the dedicated volunteers who care for these dogs are ready and willing to help – but the changes that ARE predictable should be taken into consideration BEFORE making a commitment to a dog!
- You don’t like meeting new people or you don’t have time for training.
Your new family member will need obedience classes to help him become a well-behaved canine citizen. Without training, the behaviour that makes you laugh with your puppy, could become dangerous in an out-of-control-adult dog. Obedience school is a dangerously easy place to make friends. It is also impossible to walk down the street with a beautiful Lab dog and NOT be stopped by strangers. Labs are people magnets. Got a problem with this? Maybe a something in the guard dog family would serve you better?
- You want to make a quick buck breeding dogs.
Last year Labrador Rescue spent hundreds of thousands of rands working to save hundreds of dogs. Most of these dogs wound up in rescue because their owners had little idea of the time, commitment and effort it takes to own a dog. And their breeders had little idea of the proper techniques for placing puppies in the RIGHT homes. These rescue dogs are a testament to the fact that there are too many carelessly bred Labs. If Lab breeding is done right it is RARELY a profitable adventure. Health clearances, veterinary care, and puppy supplies are just a few of the many expenses that occur as a result of an “uncomplicated” litter. If you consider the possible problems you may encounter, it is easy to see why breeding is NOT a money making venture!
- You are looking for a guard dog.
Did I mention the part about Labs loving everyone? They will be eager to assist the thieves that are breaking into your home; probably even helping them carry out the silver. If you are looking for protection this probably isn’t an endearing quality… maybe that guard dog is looking better.
- You look at that little 3-kilo ball of fur and offer up a silent prayer that he’ll stay that size.
Labs should range from about 50 to 60 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh in anywhere from 28 to 36 kgs. Overweight labs can weigh over 50 kg. This is a lot of dog. If you cannot stop yourself giving your dog extra treats or don’t plan on heeding my advice about obedience classes, you may find yourself with an out of control, furry, wiggly, monster with a tail that can clear a coffee table in one great swoop! As an alternative, there are several wonderful smaller breeds to choose from.
- You think dogs make great nannies for small children and a wonderful lesson in responsibility for older kids.
You are partly right. A Labrador and a child often form a loving, inseparable bond. However, the ultimate responsibility for any living, breathing creature must always fall to an adult. Children can be wonderful dog groomers, trainers and best friends, but they need adult guidance. You should also remember that Labs are big enough – even as puppies – to knock down a small child. Small children and dogs should ALWAYS be supervised when together, for both their sakes!
Whoops! That was a few more than just ten reasons. This is an area that Lab Rescue is passionate about and we can’t help be blunt. We see so many labs surrendered because their owners had the wrong expectations of the breed. Please consider each of our points above so that you can enjoy many happy years with your new Lab!