Exercising Your Labrador RetrieverGood Exercises For Your Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dogs in the world, definitely number one in the US and UK by registration. Bred as a hunter and retriever of waterfowl in the early 1800s, Labradors were developed from St. John’s Newfoundlands and other gun dogs. Labs are still used for hunting as well as search and rescue and guide dogs. Police and other law agencies often use Labradors for their detection and working abilities.

Breed Type

Gun or Sporting dog

Physical Characteristics

  • medium (more in the UK) to large (more in the US) size dog
  • muscular and strong
  • Labradors have a double, or interwoven, coat (a short dense undercoat and water-resistant outer coat) that is fairly waterproof. Its coat, strong tail and webbed toes make Labs excellent swimmers.

Personality

  • naturally high energy dog
  • enthusiastic, social, good natured
  • friendly with other dogs and people
  • love fun and games.

Best Exercises

  • Walks – If walking is your main exercise routine, these dogs need long strolls to work out energy (30 min +).
  • Fetch – Lab love carrying objects and are very good at it. Endless games of fetch are alright with this breed.
  • Frisbee / disc throwing – Labs aren’t particularly known for jumping, but they will love the chase.
  • Flyball – The power version of Fetch where dogs race over hurdles to a box that shoots out a tennis ball, then race back while carrying the ball. This game tends to be fast and exciting, even if you train casually, and it works off a lot of energy.
  • Chasing games – Not just with you but also try dog parks with other dogs (if your Lab is trained and his individual temperament is amenable). Also, try chasing toys.
  • Swimming – Labradors were bred to be in the water and they love it. If you are anywhere near a safe open body of water that allows dogs – lakes, ponds or swimming pools – let her indulge her natural tendencies. Combine with fetching or chasing games for more challenge.
  • Hiking – A Lab is in his element in the woods. If you and your dog are in decent shape, try some longer challenging hikes. He may be in sensory overload and completely distracted so, train him for hiking or keep him leashed.
  • Agility – A mental challenge and fun because of the different activities involved.

Suggested Exercise Plan

  • 2x a day for 30-45 minutes each (optimal)
  • 2x a day for 30 minutes each (good)
  • 1x a day for 30 minutes each (minimum)

A good routine: a 30-minute walk in the morning and a vigorous 20-minute game (fetch, chase, obstacles, etc.) in the afternoon, every day.

Things To Note

Physically, Labrador Retrievers have tendencies for arthritis, hip dysplasia, and knee problems.

Labs are known for a very, very healthy appetite and so, are often overfed. An inactive Lab can become obese quite easy, leading in turn to some of the health issues listed above as well as diabetes.

This breed is quite fun-loving and can get boisterousness. This and her lack of fear may require training early on and firm handling at times to make sure she does not get out of hand. However, these dogs are easily trainable.