Activities For Golden Labradors

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Introduction

The Golden Labrador is a friendly happy dog who loves nothing better than to be with their owner. Another love of theirs is food; they love filling that belly of theirs which can result in an overweight dog. If the Labrador had a choice, they would prefer to snooze by your side, or eat, or both - it is as simple as that. Luckily, you can use their love of food to get them up and active. Not only will they burn off the treats they earn, but they will tone up their body and become more healthy. Labs, as they are affectionately known, also have another passion, and that is swimming. If you have a river nearby or live near the beach, a walk to the water is all you need to offer this dog. They will be bouncing and ready to go the moment you reach for their leash. If you have neither in proximity to your home, an inexpensive child's paddling pool or even the garden hose will suffice. Your dog needs as much entertaining as your children do, and if you are clever, you can do both together. All it needs is a bit of ingenuity, a plan and the tricky bit - implementing the plan. Don't just leave your pooch mooching on the porch everyday. Spice up their life - add some games to their to do list!

Toy Inventory

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Existing toys
New toys
Storage basket or box
Activity description
Dogs enjoy toys and your Labrador will be no exception. But just like children, your dog can tire of the same old toy, day after day. This activity is good for a rainy or cold day, when your dog is confined  inside. The game consists of getting your dog to find and gather up all of their toys. If you have taught your dog the name of each toy, you can just ask them to find the fluffy cat! Each toy that they bring to you earns them a treat. Then bring out a few new toys, wrapped in paper or in bags, and give them to your dog one at a time. It is a great idea to rotate your dogs toys to keep them interested. When you take them out of play, check for damages and if they are broken, throw them out (while your dog isn't looking!). While they are playing with the new toys, wash and clean the others, and put aside a few of them for another rainy day. In this way you can vary your dogs toys, keeping play interesting. If they have a real favorite though, let them keep it, otherwise they may hunt the house down looking for it. Keeping them happy is the purpose of this activity.
Step
1
Teach the name
When your dog gets a new toy, train them to know the name of it. Then when you want them to find their toys, you can begin by asking them to find the red ball. Your Lab will amaze you with their memory recall of the toy names. To make the game more of a challenge, spread their toys out around the house, so they have to 'hunt' each toy down. Then they bring it back to you, drop it in a basket, and sit for a treat.
Step
2
Examine each toy
As you get each toy, and while your dog is off hunting for another, check each toy for broken bits. Throw the damaged items away while your dog isn't looking. Then at the end of this part of the game, give your dog lots of praise for all their work and give a good hug and pat for their efforts. Now its time for phase two.
Step
3
Phase 2 - present time!
Have a few new toys on hand that you have wrapped in paper or are in a bag. Most dogs love ripping paper off, perhaps it's the neat tearing noise it makes. Offer your dog a present and let them open it. Let them play with it for a while, then offer another. You only need two or three new toys to make it fun. While they play with their new toys, teach them the name of each. Pick up the toy, and call it a name. Then put all the toys in a line and ask for the blue duck. This activity gives them a mental workout and will help when you need their help to clean up. Put away some of their other toys for another rainy day and leave them with their new toys and a few oldies.
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Surfs Up

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Towel
Ball or two
Leash
Snacks and water
Activity description
A visit to the beach is like the ultimate outing for your Golden Labrador. Whether you have to drive or can walk to a nearby beach, your dog will love either alternative. Check out where all the dog friendly beaches are, and choose one to visit. Then load up with dog and toys and head out for the day. Your dog will love running along the sand, splashing in the waves, and meeting all the other dogs who are visiting as well. Your part, for most of it, is to just supervise and watch! Your friendly pup will be running and greeting each new person and dog. Be sure to pick up after your dog, so that others can enjoy the beach, too. A day at the shore is a great opportunity for your dog to socialize and for the most part, it will be a relaxing day. If you play 'fetch', be prepared to have several dogs racing after the ball. Have a spare one in case it disappears! The fresh air and the soft sand provide a great workout. Have a few treats on hand and fresh water for your dog. Then pop them back on the leash to head home. But first, you may need to rub them down with a towel unless you don't mind sand in your car.
Step
1
Chose a location
As with any trip out, you need to know where you are heading. So go online the day before you want to go, and check out all the beaches in your area. Make sure that your choice is dog friendly. Estimate the time of travel, and decide how much time to spend there. Then, prepare for the day out by getting some treats ready for you both, and some fresh water. Pack the car if you are driving so you can just get up and go without any hassle on the day.
Step
2
Catching a breeze
Dogs love to smell the breeze; if you are driving, have them safety belted to the seat, and put the window down slightly so they can lap up the breeze. Upon arrival at the beach, put your dog on a leash to begin with and walk to the beach. At this stage your Labrador will be very excited, so it's best to just let them off the leash, if permitted, so they can go crazy!
Step
3
Recall practice
Once your Lab has gotten rid of the first flush of excitement, start walking along the sand, and call to your dog. If they ignore you, go to them and clip them on the leash. Then walk with them for a few minutes. Release them and in a few minutes try again. If they come immediately, give them praise and a treat so they know they did well. If they don't obey, go to them and clip the leash on again. They will soon learn to obey, or they will be on the leash.
Step
4
Throw the ball
Once you have the obedience thing sorted, you can bring out the ball for them to chase. You can throw it into the water so they get a bit of a swim. Labradors love water. Be aware the other dogs will probably chase the ball too. This will just add incentive for your dog to get it first! The soft sand and the water will take its toll on your dog, so call time out and relax for a few minutes with a snack and a good fresh drink of water.
Step
5
Relax and enjoy
Once your dog tires, take them along the beach for a stroll. This activity is a great time for bonding with your pooch. Then wander back to the car and return home. Your dog will be snoozing in a few minutes, quietly reliving their adventure with gentle yips and woofs in their sleep.
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Agility Course

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Hoola hoop
Dog jumps
Tunnel
An A-Frame structure
Activity description

You can get involved with agility events with your Golden Labrador if you are interested, as there are many clubs around to join. But you can build an agility course quite cheaply in your back yard and invite a friend and another dog to join in your event at home. Agility courses offer a challenge to your dog as they need to follow your direction to complete the course. This activity would make an ideal weekend event for your dog, and once the components of the course are assembled, it only takes minutes to set up the course. Training your dog at home before you join a club can get your dog use to certain challenges without the distractions of other people and dogs. If you have two dogs, they can each take a turn while the other watches. The obstacle course is mentally and physically challenging for your dog. You require patience while you teach your dog this new set of tricks. But once your Lab gets it, they will want to play all the time.

Step
1
The start up
Before you start teaching, you need a course. Although it may cost a bit to begin with, it will be worth the effort. If you have a handyman or can use a hammer yourself, then all the better. Try some low jumps for the dog, a tunnel made from a large tube from a building ventilation firm, and an A- Frame structure with narrow horizontal slats so the dog can get a grip to climb up it. A hoola hoop can be hung from a tree branch to jump through, and a plank raised a foot off the ground on bricks provides an obstacle for your dog to walk along.
Step
2
In the beginning
Take your dog around each obstacle and teach them how to manage it. This takes time and may take several attemps from your Lab. Relax, its not a televised event, let your your dog learn at their own pace. Let them enjoy the process. You may want to complete the course with your dog, providing an example and encouragement. Treats at each stage will provide incentive.
Step
3
A full run
Once your dog knows what to do, go around the course with them, directing them as to where you want them to go. They have to follow your directions, not make their own. This is a team effort and will teach your dog how to follow your instructions. Then when your dog understands the game, you can compete against other dogs in a friendly way. We stress friendly, it has to be fun for your dog!
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More Fun Ideas...

Exploration Day

Having a Labrador is the perfect excuse to get out and about, and to explore a new area in your neighborhood. Go online and check out the areas around where you live and find a new park that welcomes dogs. Pack some snacks, fresh water,  and maybe a ball or two. The fun begins when you and your trusty dog head out on an adventure for the afternoon. You want to give your dog as much to do as possible, so the longer the walk the better. A walk to a nearby beach, a stroll along a hinterland track, or a new park to explore are all good contenders. The benefits include elevated mental ability, health and a sense of happiness - for you both!

A Date with a Playmate

Labradors are outgoing friendly dogs, who generally get along well with other dogs and people. If you work a lot, consider asking a good friend if they would visit with their dog on a day that you are away. Perhaps you could help a stay at home mum by paying them a fee for an afternoon visit each week. Your pooch will enjoy their visit , and an hour of activity with another dog (that they get on well with) will be a welcome break from monotony. Even if your bestie doesn't have a dog, just their company for an hour or so will help. Labrador's love company and the money will be well spent, ensuring your pet and your friend both benefit from the arrangement.

Toy and Food Puzzles

A great activity for a Labrador who will be alone for a while, is to give them a Treat Ball, a Buster Cube or a Kong toy that are readily available in pet stores. Treats are stuffed into the toy and are left with the dog to work on during the day. This is ideal for the working owner. Make sure your dog understands how these toys work, you may have to help them the first time.Your dog has to learn to shake the toy, roll it, or just move it around to get the goodies. Take care to choose the right size for your dog. If you have more than one dog, this may not be the game to leave them alone with as dogs can get possessive of toys.

Conclusion

When dogs are young, they tend to make their own fun. But as they grow out of that stage, they can become bored being left at home alone all day, or just sitting on the porch watching the world go by. If your Golden Labrador gets to this stage, they can become a problem. They may bark a lot because they are bored, they may dig your precious garden to shreds. If they are indoors, they may take up interior restyling by rearranging your cushions and their stuffing, or de-potting your plants! A busy dog is a good dog. A tired dog is a good dog. So the trick to keeping a healthy, happy dog is to give them things to do.