Is a Labrador for you? If any of you out there are considering getting a Labrador, or any dog for that matter, I hope that you have considered your decision carefully. Getting a dog, especially a Labrador will mean that life as you know it will never be the same...
So what or who prompted me to write this post? The numerous people that I meet on my daily walks with Cleo...
Everyone is in awe of Cleo... they are amazed when they see her riding quietly in the front passenger seat of my little car. They are amazed when she sits and stays on command. They are amazed when she leaves the countless monkeys that we see everyday alone.
And because Cleo is so well behaved, many people have asked me what breed she is and told me that they too would like to get a Labrador.
So what's the problem with getting a Labrador? Aren't Labradors sweet natured? Aren't Labradors great family dogs?
Yes Labs are GREAT but owning a Lab means a WHOLE LOT of responsibility - that means that you need to have TIME for your labrador.
Why? Because Labradors are very high energy dogs. In fact Labradors have endless amounts of energy. This is one of the reasons why they are the most popular breed for service dogs as they can work all day without getting tired.
Cleo is barely tired from her daily hour long walks. When we get home there'll be a 20 minute game of fast paced "fetch" with her tennis ball before she's content. And even then she's not tired...
So if your Labrador does not get the exercise that she needs, be prepared to have your home destroyed! And I mean DESTROYED!!!
When Cleo was a puppy she did not get regular walks because I had a regular 9-5 job. That meant that I could only take her out on weekends. And on top of that she suffered from separation anxiety because she could not understand why everybody abandoned her everyday.
As a result our home was DESTROYED!!! She ripped all our furniture to bits. She tore off cupboard doors! She killed all our plants! She broke and chewed everything whithin reach!!! We were at our wits end. But we could not punish her because it was our fault she behaved that way.
Obedience school was disastrous for Cleo. She would sit when she was supposed to heel, walk away from me when she was supposed to Down Stay etc. She only managed to get up to Pre-Novice.
The instructors insisted that we use a Choke Chain on her. We refused and that was when we decided enough was enough. Cause we knew that Cleo was "disobedient" in class cause she didn't see the point. And so we trained her ourselves... And she has come out tops in our books!
Labradors are not the best at Obedience because they are highly intelligent dogs. They question your every command. Again this is a very important trait that makes them great service dogs - they think for themselves before executing commands from their handlers.
Hence if you think that you'll be winning Obedience Trials with a Labrador, think again... if anything you'll be the laughing stock of your class... like I was.
So how come Cleo is so well behaved? Well it was a result of lots of love and TIME to play with her, TIME to exercise with her, TIME to train her and TIME to understand her.