Is a Rescue Lab Right for You?

Labrador Retrievers are intelligent, strong, active dogs. They make great family pets, but they require a good deal of attention as well as regular exercise. Labs are “people” dogs that thrive on companionship and love.

All Labs need exercise, training, and care. A rescue Lab may require extra attention to help him adapt to his new home.

Questions to Consider Before Getting a Lab

Are you home enough?

Consider your lifestyle and household schedule: Do you work long hours? Are you busy with community and child obligations? Do you travel often? If the family has many commitments outside the home, you may not have enough time to provide adequate exercise, training, and care for a Lab.

Labs do not do well alone in a fenced yard, tied out, or in a crate all day. Labs left alone often exhibit behavior problems such as chewing, excessive barking, digging, and territory aggression. Many of the Labs surrendered to us have already proved unable to tolerate being left alone for the average work or school day. If you will be out of the house all day, you’ll need to hire a dog walker or find someone else to stay or visit with your Lab.

Do you have the time and ability to exercise a Lab?

A well-exercised Lab is a happy dog. Labs need a consistent exercise schedule of at least 30-45 minutes, twice a day (morning and evening), every day. Labs do not exercise themselves, whether inside or out. You must interact with them, go for a walk, or play.

The number one reason Labs come into our adoption program is because their former owners did not have time for them. If you don’t have enough time to give a Lab adequate exercise, it’s best to consider another choice.

Do you have the time to train a Lab?

Well-mannered Labs are made, not born. Training takes time but yields enormous rewards: a dog welcome in many places, a strong bond, and more relaxed environment for people and pets.

Are you able to care for a Lab’s health?

Labs are considered a “wash and wear” breed, but they do shed seasonally. Labs also need to have their toenails cut regularly and their ears cleaned and checked for infection. These jobs are easy for the Lab owner to do.

Like all breeds, Labs are prone to certain hereditary conditions. They can be prone to allergies (food, skin), joint problems, and hip problems. As with all dogs, regular veterinary care is essential.

Is a spotless house important to you?

Labs love to swim and enjoy the outdoors. They can carry fleas and ticks. They shed—a lot. (Yellow Labs tend to shed more than the other colors.) If you require a perfectly neat home, do not get a lab. Labs are always willing to donate hair, muddy paw prints, and puddles of rainwater to your decor.

Additional Considerations for Rescue Labs

Building a relationship

Rescuing a Lab requires a special kind of person—one who is committed to building a loving, trusting relationship with a Lab that may be confused about his or her new environment.

Training a rescue Lab

Rescue Labs may have acquired bad habits that need to be replaced with good habits. If you adopt a rescue Lab, you will need to teach the Lab what is expected in your house. For example, the rescue Lab might have been allowed to sleep on the sofa in his previous home. If you don’t want him on the furniture, you will need to teach him where he should sleep. Rescue Labs are likely to need additional training as well to ensure that their behavior complies with your expectations.

Rescue Labs and children 

Families with children require special consideration. Homes with children aged 10 and under must have a fenced yard to adopt a rescue Lab from LRR. There are no exceptions to this rule. In addition, if you have children, you must be committed to supervising all interactions between the Lab and the children. If your children are young, consider whether you are ready for another “child” in the form of a young Lab.

Be aware that families with young children might wait 6 months or longer for a suitable Lab. We do not place rescue Labs in homes with young children unless the Lab is well socialized and has a positive history with children. The supply of rescue Labs meeting these criteria is limited, while demand is high.