Before You Adopt
The American Kennel Club has ranked the Labrador Retriever as the most popular dog breed in the U.S. since 1991. Labs are highly intelligent, playful, affectionate, good-natured and eager to please. They crave human attention and need to feel a part of your family. Labs also can have boundless energy, which needs to be harnessed through plenty of exercise and positive training. A well-exercised, well-trained Lab will be a better-behaved Lab.
If you’re considering adding a Lab to your family, we hope that you will first consider these facts:
- A Lab has an average lifespan of 10-14 years, which means that you need to plan ahead. Is your lifestyle settled enough and do you have sufficient time and financial resources to make a Lab part of your family for that many years?
- A puppy will not develop bladder and bowel control until 6 to 9 months of age and will need to be taken out after eating, sleeping, playing, drinking and every 2 to 3 hours during the day in addition. If you are considering a puppy, is someone in your family home all day? If not, are you prepared to consider doggy daycare or a pet sitter to give your puppy the bathroom breaks, exercise and attention he or she will need when you are not available?
- One of the top reasons that dogs are surrendered at animal shelters is what people consider to be bad behavior, which in many cases is just a lack of good-manners training. Are you up to the challenge of providing the consistent, positive training and daily workouts that a Lab requires?
- Did you know that dogs go through an adolescent period (similar to a teenager) during which they will have more energy, be more rambunctious, and challenge your authority more? While your teenager may take many years to pass through this stage, by 2 to 3 years of age, with your time, love and patience, your Lab should become the more mature, settled dog with whom you had hoped to share your life. If this adolescent stage might prove to be too difficult, perhaps an older Lab would suit your family and your lifestyle better.
- In addition to making wonderful family pets, Labs were bred for highly demanding jobs and excel as working dogs – therapy, assistance to the handicapped, search and rescue, hunting, and sports such as agility, dock diving and obedience competitions. However, while they may bark to alert you to visitors to your home, the one job at which a Lab is usually hopeless is a watchdog. Your sweet, friendly Lab will more likely greet an intruder and happily show him where the goods are stashed.
- The National Council on Pet Population, Study and Policy estimates that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, of which 3 to 4 million are euthanized. Of the dogs entering shelters, 25% are estimated to be purebred.
If you decide that adopting a Lab is the right decision for your family, please review our Adoption Process and Adoption Policies for further information. If the right Lab for you hasn’t made his or her way to our adoption list just yet, please be patient and keep looking at our list. The right Lab is out there for you – it might just take your Lab a little time to realize that you’re looking for him or her.