Activities For Labrador Retrievers

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Introduction

Labrador Retrievers are best described by two words: "friendly" and "energetic". This particular breed of dog has become famous for their ability to get along with everyone they meet - a Labrador Retriever has no troubleĀ  making friends with other dogs, cats, and children due to their winning personality and affectionate nature. But Labrador Retrievers are also very active and lively dogs who need to be introduced to new and creative activities on a consistent basis, in order to burn off all of their excess energy. That's where we come in to help; we've put together a list of distinct activities that should give your Lab quite the workout while also helping your dog bond with you in new ways. Read ahead to learn how you can give your Labrador Retriever the workout they need.

Tug-of-War

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 Minutes
Items needed
Dog Rope
Activity description
This activity is an oldie but a goodie; to engage in a good old fashioned game of tug-of-war with your Lab, you'll need a rope, a lot of patience, and a firm grip on your position as the leader of your pack. Tug-of-war is an easy to do, hard to master sort of activity because it requires you to develop something of a golden touch - you'll have to pull hard enough to give your dog a sufficient challenge but also not so hard as to hurt your Lab or antagonize it to the point of prompting them to become overly aggressive.
Step
1
Get the tools of the trade
First and foremost, you'll need a good and sturdy dog rope for this activity. You can buy one of these for a pretty low price at your local dog store. Make sure that you get a rope that won't pull too hard on your dog's teeth, and be sure to check if the rope has any harmful chemicals in it.
Step
2
Time for some doggie drills
Next up, you'll want to get your dog acclimated to the rope and the concept of playing tug-of-war as a whole. Labrador Retrievers are very even tempered breeds, but they might become overly aggressive if they're unable to discern a game of tug-of-war from a more serious scenario. Work with your dog and help them understand that the activity is a simple game.
Step
3
Find your Midas touch
This last step coincides with step two, as you and your Lab will have to develop a sense of rapport with each other over time. Even if you already have a strong bond with your dog, you'll have to find that fine line that separates a playful back and forth from a full on battle. Simply put, you'll have to learn how much strength you should and shouldn't exert while trying this activity with your dog.
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Hiking

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
30 Minutes
Items needed
A reliable hiking trail
Water (for you and your dog)
Nutrition
First Aid Kit
Activity description
This first activity is a favorite among a large amount of Labrador caretakers and is considered to be tried and true in the court of public opinion; Labrador Retrievers are naturally well suited for the great outdoors, and they'll enjoy the opportunity to put their muscles and senses to the test. If you're planning on going for short hikes with your Lab, you won't need to pack as many supplies; be sure to bring ample amounts of water and nutrition for yourself and your dog, as well as a first aid kit for emergencies. Longer distance hikes also don't require too many supplies, but they do demand a certain amount of experience on the trail and know how.
Step
1
Scout ahead
Whether you plan to hike up a relatively steep mountain, or you plan to trek down an artificially carved out trail, make certain that you know the lay of the land before you and your Lab even arrive at the location. Figure out the flora and fauna that inhabit the area and be aware of any potential environmental hazards.
Step
2
Get the right supplies
As mentioned before, shorter hikes won't require a lot in the grand scheme of things; as long as you bring along the essentials (basically food, water, and a first aid kit), you should be good to go. Longer hikes or more difficult trails might require that you bring a harness or dog backpack to help your Lab better navigate the terrain.
Step
3
Venture forth
After all of the preparations have been made, there's nothing left to do other than to set out on the trail and take in the splendor and grandeur of nature; hiking is great exercise, so be ready to sweat once you hit the trail. But otherwise, have fun and keep your eyes peeled.
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Scent Trails

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Hard
20 Minutes
Items needed
Dog's favorite food
Leash
Harness
Activity description
This activity will put your Lab's innate sense of smell to the test; the scent trail activity involves covering your dog's food with something that emits a strong smell, hiding them around a wide, open area, and encouraging your dog to find the aforementioned treats using their sense of smell alone. This activity can be quite the challenge for both dog and caretaker alike, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't exactly work out the first time around; try to hide the treats in areas that are relatively easy to scout the first few times, then gradually place them further and further away as you and your Lab experience consecutive successes with this activity.
Step
1
Preparations checklist
Firstly, do you have an open area to try this activity out with your dog? A large enough backyard can serve as the perfect place to give this activity a try, but a local park is the next best thing if you don't have access to an area like that. Next you'll need to have an ample amount of your Lab's favorite food, a sturdy dog leash, and a harness that won''t pinch, pull, or choke your dog.
Step
2
Hide the goods
It's important that you try to hide your dog's favorite food for this step; if your Lab has become fond of hot dogs, bits of pizza, chunks of deli sandwiches, or any sort of food that gives off an aroma, you'll want to use those to create a scent for your dog to follow. You might want to even consider placing one of those types of foods at the end of the trail, as not to confuse your Lab with multiple scents while they're on the prowl. Stick close with your dog, and steer them clear of any potential hazards with the leash and harness.
Step
3
Go the distance
As mentioned before, this activity can take a lot of time to master; if you find that you and your Lab aren't having much success with this activity, try using a different set of foods to create the scent trail and placing them closer to your dog. Over time, your dog's natural instincts will kick in a they'll learn how to distinguish the scent of their treats from the others around them. After experiencing a few early successes, it's imperative that you gradually increase the difficulty of this activity to keep your Lab on their toes.
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More Fun Ideas...

Dock Diving

This activity relates to swimming; you'll need a body of water for your Lab to swim around in and a buoyant toy that will float on the water's surface after you toss it in. The idea here is to toss your dog's toy into the water and then have them fetch it and bring it back to you. Give it a few tries and see if your Lab takes to this activity.

Swimming

Labrador Retrievers were bread to help old Canadian fishermen reel in their catches back in the 1800's; that's actually where these dog breeds get their names from! So don't be afraid to introduce your Lab to a swimming pool, these dog's were quite literally born to be able to dive into bodies of water and swim around with ease.

Agility Course

The high energy inherent to Labrador Retrievers will compliment this activity perfectly; get a number of brooms, ladders, and sturdy boxes together and create a DIY agility course or find a nearby area that already has a professionally built agility course in working order. Your Lab will enjoy the opportunity to show you what they are made of on an obstacle course.

Conclusion

Labrador Retrievers are very energetic, enthusiastic dog breeds with durable frames and high functioning brains. Never be afraid to introduce your Lab to new and different activities, according to their ability over the course of your time together; Labrador Retrievers are incredibly smart dogs who need to have their bodies and minds tested from time to time. They are also not particularly fond of routine, so take steps to keep monotony from setting in. It's just like the old saying goes; variety really is the spice of life! Mix things up from time to time, and you and your Lab almost certain to enjoy the change of scenery that comes with veering off the beaten path.