You may have finally decided you and your family are ready to get a dog, but can't decide what breed to get. You've done all your research, talked to friends and neighbors with dogs and you still can't decide. You've probably found one name mentioned a lot: the Labrador retriever. You're wondering what life with a Labrador retriever would be like. Nothing will prepare you for the joy and fulfillment your Labrador retriever (Lab) will provide you with. All he or she will ask for in return is your unconditional love.
There are many reasons why the Labrador retriever is one of the most popular dogs around, as well as one of the most popular pets. Their love and devotion is unending. From the time you bring him (or her) home with you, they will begin to shower you with love. They are affectionate, gentle, mellow and full of energy. Be prepared to spend a lot of time playing with him, at least while he's a puppy, and this phase can last up to the age of three. Even as an adult, the lab loves to play, especially loving the water or retrieving things for their owner. Frisbees and balls are something he never gets tired of playing with. If he doesn't have these things available to him, don't be surprised to see him coming to you with a rock in his mouth. This is his way of letting you know he's ready to play catch.
It is recommended that you begin training your Lab as soon as he is old enough to understand basic commands. If you don't feel you have the time or knowledge to train him yourself, enroll him in some sort of basic obedience school. They are very intelligent animals and will learn quickly. Because of their high-energy drive and large size, they need to learn obedience to avoid destructive puppy behavior done out of boredom. They are very eager to please and catch on to new things very quickly.
Most Labradors are kept as indoor dogs and they are delighted with this idea as nothing pleases them more than being next to people in their family. They love attention and being petted. Because of their loving nature, they aren't usually used as guard dogs. They are just too affectionate to be taken seriously by strangers. That said however, they do bark and sometimes that is enough to scare off any unwanted company. Labrador retrievers have very few bad habits, as you'll find out. They are not territorial, destructive, and aggressive, or possess any of the other bad habits you see in many dogs. You can leave them at home and know that they are secure enough to be happy even if you're gone to work or you are out and about. They will merely wait patiently for your return.
They do have a huge appetite and love to eat food or treats. You will have to keep him on a steady diet to avoid obesity, which can cause health problems later in life. Given a good healthy life style, your Labrador can be with you 12 to 14 years, with each year being better than the year before.