We have had our Labrador, Floppy, for almost three years now. Although I had dogs as a child, my Mum mainly cared for them. Floppy is our first family dog for me and my children, with me being her main carer. Here are my top tips for caring for your Labrador, based on what I have found so far.
I have found Floppy to be a very intelligent dog. She is also very calm and is an extremely friendly dog. We have taught her a few tricks, such as asking her to sit, beg, lay down and to bark only three times if she spots something she wants us to be aware of. She was toilet trained after about a week, which was quite fast compared to other dogs I had as a child. I think that she is the kind of dog that could be taught a lot more, with a bit of time.
She tends to get very excited when we have company, jumping up and expecting a lot of fuss from anybody that steps through the door. We usually put her upstairs when friends visit, as Floppy expects them to play as with her as much as S and H do. After an initial greeting, where she jumps up and runs to get her favourite bone to show them, she calms down. Some of my friends think she’s crackers and have given her the nickname, “Crazy Dog,” due to her excitement when she first sees them. She has been good with small children. H was about two years old when we got Floppy. Because of her excitable nature, we do keep her upstairs when H and S’s friends visit as she is a bit too much for them and is strong enough to push them over (she hasn’t actually done this but I don’t want to take the chance).
Exercising a Labrador
Floppy needs quite a bit of exercise. Although she has been easy to teach tricks to, she is not so easy to walk though our town. She is very distracted by people, other dogs and is quite scared of larger Labradors as well as Alsatians. I find it difficult to stop her from pulling on her lead, especially if there are any distractions near by. Instead, I walk her down the fields near my parent’s house, where there are less distractions and more areas for her to explore. She is a very determined dog, if she wants to do something, she will. I am not sure if this is a Labrador trait or just part of Floppy’s personality.
Food for a Labrador
I received a special, personalised hamper from Royal Canin for Floppy which she loves. The hamper contained a handmade squeaky bone toy, a personalised food bowl, a personalised treasures crate and some Royal Canin dog food for her to try. The dog food was specifically for her breed and age. Labradors are prone to gaining weight so I was pleased to read that this type of food contains kibbles that help to reduce food intake. The calorie content of the food is also tailored to helping Labradors maintain their ideal weight. Floppy is really enjoying this food.
She also enjoys a treat now and again. She likes pigs’ ears and meaty sticks mostly. She should never be given bones, such as spare ribs, as this makes her very sick. I was told that dogs should enjoy bones like this so a friend urged me to let her have a couple of the bones I’d left from tea one evening. Poor Floppy was very ill that night. We learnt very quickly that the traditional idea of giving dogs left over bones was not suitable for our Floppy Dog.
Grooming a Labrador
Floppy doesn’t really need much grooming. A quick brush now and again is ok for her. She tends to lose hair when the summer arrives, as she loses her winter coat. The hoover gets lots of action during this time. As we walk her mainly in the fields, she has her claws trimmed every other year at the moment.
Where to find out more about specific dog breeds: The Royal Family
Royal Canin are introducing a Royal Family feature on their website. Here, you can learn more about the most popular dog breeds and register your own dog to be a part of the community. I shall be having a look at this to learn more about Floppy’s breed. Food is available from local stockists (there is a searchable map on the website for your area) according to age, activity, breed, size and lifestyle of several different types of dogs. I didn’t realise that there was such specialist foods sold for specific breeds before. Floppy will certainly continue to enjoy her new dog food for many meals to come.