How Active Are Labradors?by Naomi Millburn
Labrador retrievers are loyal and affectionate dogs. They require a lot of daily physical activity, making them a major commitment for owners. Daily walks and supervised outdoor exploration are not enough activity for these Canada-bred sporting dogs. Labrador retrievers also need high-intensity exercise sessions, because they're among the most active dogs alive.
Naturally Active Dogs
Labrador retrievers are naturally active canines long associated with hard work. The earliest Labrador retrievers were bred to work alongside fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada, going after fish that had broken free and occupying other jobs that required swimming. Later bred with setters and other game dogs, they became true retrievers.
Labrador retrievers are highly energetic dogs. Their activity needs are similar to those of dogs including golden retrievers, Irish water spaniels, Australian shepherds, English springer spaniels, Portuguese water dogs and Siberian huskies. Their activity requirements are higher than those cocker spaniels, Scottish terriers, beagles and Great Danes. Labs' activity requirements are much higher yet than those of dogs such as Shih Tzus, bichon frises, Lhasa apsos and French bulldogs. Dogs of this last group can generally satisfy their daily fitness needs through outdoor walks and outdoor or indoor play sessions. Labs are in the group of dogs considered most active.
Ample Daily Physical Fitness
Labs should receive no fewer than two daily hours of physical fitness. Labrador retrievers who don't move around enough can easily become overweight, which introduces the risks of medical ailments and even premature death. Keep your Lab fit with a minimum of three brisk walks daily and more extensive exercise at some point every day. Swimming, jogging and running all make suitable forms of Lab physical fitness. They also benefit greatly from retrieving sessions -- a throwback to their pasts. These kinds of activities work their muscles and condition their physiques.
Exercise and Behavior
When Labrador retrievers don't satisfy their physical activity needs, boredom is often the result. Bored Labrador retrievers are notorious for wreaking havoc on their homes as a result of frustration and anxiety. Prevent disasters and recurring behavioral problems from happening by always making sure your Lab has plenty of physical outlets. If your dog is stressed out because he simply isn't getting enough exercise, he might turn to digging, persistent barking and pesky chewing behaviors. Giving the Lab the exercise he needs, daily, is the first step to overcoming behavior problems.
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- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images