Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques, Books
Massachusetts, United States
Posted December 5, 2012
Champ was a black lab who recently passed away at 15 from kidney failure. It was very sad, but my whole family knew it was his time to go and that he's better off now than he was suffering. We got him when he was just a puppy from a friend who owned labs, and he was fantastic from the beginning. He was fairly easy to train, very smart, and very energetic. Labs are the best outdoor dogs, because they will go anywhere and do anything that involves being outside, especially if there's a body of water. As we live on the lake, Champ grew to love it more than anything. He would run as fast as he could across the entire yard and leap into the lake, always landing in a belly flop and swimming as soon as he hit the water. He was great at playing fetch--which are what labrador "retrievers" are known for--and he never ran away. We didn't even need to keep him on a leash or fenced in, because we knew that even when he went off to play with the neighborhood dogs, he would always come home (because that's where the food was, ha!). He was extremely friendly, but a little skittish with very young kids, though he would tolerate their rough petting for awhile and eventually just walk away. He never got violent, but he always barked whenever someone pulled in the driveway or walked to the door, and it was obvious that he was very protective of our family. Though he did struggle with some weight issues for a few years, causing him to develop benign fatty tumors, he never lost the urge to be active and run around outside for hours. He was very smart and easily learned the basic commands--sit, stay, lay down, come, etc.--and I swear he could really understand us when we were talking to him about anything. Champ was the perfect dog, and I completely recommend labs to any owner with plenty of outdoor space. The only thing I have to warn is that labs, when they're puppies, are very hyper and rowdy until they are trained, so I would watch them around young children. They're liable to knock your kid over when they want to play, just because they don't understand how to be calm yet.