You might have seen videos of kids playing with Labradors which seem to be very cute. So, you might be thinking that kids and Labradors make a wonderful combination.
But, Is it true? Are Labs good with kids?
Yes, Labradors are one of the best dog breeds in the world, that go well with kids. They are kind, gentle and loving which makes them a perfect a dog breed when you have kids.
But is this the case every time?
I have heard about children who have got injuries while playing with Labs. What about the case of smaller kids and toddlers? Can you leave a Labrador retriever with kids alone? What could you do to prevent unintentional harm to your kids?
This article explains you everything about Labradors and kids.
Are Labs good with kids?
Firstly let me tell you two facts related to Labradors.
What qualities does a dog need to stay properly with children? Less aggression, good and even temperament, gentleness, loving and affectionate nature and finally intelligence. You find all these qualities in a Labrador retriever.
A Labrador is less aggressive in nature with gentleness and good temperament. They are loving and affectionate towards people and also have the intelligence to adapt to different people quickly and easily. This is the first fact about Labradors which you need to know.
What is the second fact?
Labradors have plenty of energy to play, run and greet people. They get very enthusiastic and bouncy while greeting people and playing with them. So your Labrador might knock off your child unintentionally in the process of showing him love and affection. If your Lab is over-excited, it could run over children and some times even elderly people.
This is the second fact about Labradors which you should always remember.
But issues related to this over-enthusiastic and bouncy behaviour does not occur every time. It also does not occur with every Lab. I remember an incident when my first Lab almost knocked my mom down while playing with her. But these kinds of incidents never occurred in the case of my second Lab. Why?
So, Why do these issues arise?
Although a Labrador perfectly suits the role of a friendly family dog, one needs to remember that it is a dog and it has the animal instincts in it. Labs being gun dogs, which belong to the category of hunting dogs, still have the hunting instinct in their genes. It still prefers to use its mouth for various activities, even for the purpose of exploring its surrounding world.
Problems for your kids due to your Labrador behaviour could arise only under certain circumstances such as,
1. If the Lab is not trained properly
So when you have kids at home or when you want to involve your kid with your Labrador, one of the first things your dog needs is effective training. This is one of the first and important things you need to do as soon as you bring your pup home.
Training your Lab modifies the way it interacts with the people surrounding him. By doing so, your dog understands the right way to behave with people and especially with kids.
This is very beneficial as it ensures the safety of kids while playing, thus avoiding unnecessary accidents.
Labradors are not usually aggressive. They are calm by nature, which makes them ideal pets for kids. But this does not mean issues do not arise. The way your Lab shows its affection, or the way it greets, or the way it plays could sometimes lead to dangerous situations. There is more potential risk, especially with kids, as they cannot handle the dog properly.
Thus, training your Lab improves its overall behaviour and adapts its behaviour in a way suitable for being a family dog.
Life with a trained Lab can be more enjoyable both for you and your Lab. Whereas life with an untrained Lab makes your life difficult and finally disrupts the emotional bonding between your dog and your self.
You might be thinking, training is difficult?
Actually, training a Labrador pretty easy when compared with training other dog breeds. Labs are fast learners and intelligent enough to grasp your instructions while getting trained. They even have the tendency to please owners with their tasks and expect rewards. This makes training them an easy job.
You can search and find out some good training information on the internet or you can simply get a high-quality dog training course to train your little friend.
2. If the Lab is not exercised enough
When it comes to Labradors, they need a lot of exercise.
Labs were initially bred for highly demanding works such as retrieving nets and fishes which sometimes involves an all-day activity. Hence a simple walk once a day will not be sufficient for a highly energetic breed like Labrador to vent off its energy.
Exercise is very important for its physical and mental well being. Lack of proper essential amount of exercise may induce destructive and unwanted behaviour in your Labrador.
Have you heard of dog zoomies?
It is just an outburst of your dog’s energy that has been built up and unused. Although these zoomies are normal, they could be dangerous sometimes.
During zoomies, your dog might unknowingly run into people and even kids which is often uncontrollable. Hence it is essential to provide an essential amount of physical stimulation for your dog.
Along with physical exercise, you should also engage your dog in activities that provide enough mental stimulation for him.
Check for a good training course that could provide the essential mental stimulation for your dog to avoid unwanted behaviour.
3. If the dog is mishandled
This is another reason why dogs get aggressive with kids sometimes. Kids sometimes treat dogs like toys and handle them harshly. Various ways of mishandling your dog such as poking him, pulling its ears, or trying to take a ride on him could irritate your dog.
Labradors are usually very patient and do not show aggression unless provoked excessively. But this may not be the case every time and with every dog. Hence it is important to teach your kids, how to behave with dogs properly.
Make your child understand that, dogs are not toys. Teach them to touch and handle dogs gently. Make your kids understand the right way to handle a dog to avoid unnecessary accidents.
Smaller kids and toddlers may not understand the way to handle dogs well. Although Labs behave carefully with smaller kids and even toddlers, they are more suited to kids who are a bit older.
Are black Labs good with kids?
Some people do not prefer black Labradors, as they assume them not to be friendly and safe. I don’t know why this way of thinking came up. It may be because of their overall appearance or their coat colour. But this is a myth and your dog’s temperament does not have anything to do with its coat colour.
But the purpose for which the dog has been bred for may have an impact on their temperament and overall behaviour.
For many years black Labs have been favoured as gundogs and have been used as a working dog. You usually notice more black Labradors in the working dogs’ line. Because of this reason, black Labradors are considered to be a bit more intelligent and headstrong with high energy and agility. These qualities are essential for a working dog.
Because of this, it is considered that training a black Labrador may require a more experienced and strong owner when compared with training a show type Labrador. Some researches indicate that dogs that were originally bred for show purposes tend to be less aggressive and less playful.
However, this is not the case with every black Labrador, as i have seen black Labradors that are wonderful with kids.
Even black Labs are good with kids and they are wonderful family dogs.
Are chocolate Labs good with kids?
When we talk about chocolate Labs, they were mainly bred for their appearance in the show ring. Although chocolate Labs appear in both show lines and working lines nowadays, they were mostly used for show lines for many years.
This makes their genetic behaviour less favourable for working jobs when compared with Black Labradors. Thus a chocolate Lab can be considered calmer and quieter in nature as most of them were bred for acquiring the show type Labrador.
Show Labradors are considered usually as sweet and relaxed when compared to their American counterparts. They are also considered to be trained easily, even when you are an inexperienced dog owner.
Thus chocolate Labs are good with kids and they make great family pets.
When someone asks me, Are Labradors good with kids? I say them surely that Labradors are wonderful with kids in all aspects.
But leaving your Lab untrained could lead to the development of bad behaviours that can be harmful sometimes.
Hence, as a responsible owner, it is important to understand that, things go well only when your Lab is properly trained and exercised.
Here is the ultimate training guide to make your dog well behaved with kids.