The Labrador is extremely intelligent and enjoys learning. The dog thrives on praise and should never be trained using harsh methods; experts rely instead on reward based methods as it responds particularly well to food and toy rewards.
The fast-growing Lab pup is almost as big as an adult at six months and should be trained at an early age to prevent the exuberance and unruly behaviour from spiralling out of control.
Due to their easy trainability and genial temperament, Labrador Retrievers have been used as guide dogs for the blind, assistance dogs and therapy dogs. Their keen sense of smell has led them to be employed by the military and police force to sniff out explosives and contraband, track criminals and as search and rescue dogs.
Most Labs have a tendency to become obese — if fed too much or not given enough exercise, they will fatten up rather quickly. The dog also needs daily exercise and games to keep its active mind occupied and can become depressed and destructive without it.
Labs enjoy outdoor exercise and are especially fond of swimming.
The short, dense coat is easy to keep healthy and benefits from regular brushing.
In general, the Labrador retriever is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the breed is prone to hip dysplasia, several eye disorders (including progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts) and epilepsy.