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The Health Benefits of Training Your Labrador Retriever

Everyone knows that training your Lab has lots of benefits in terms making your pet easier to live with but there are also lots of health benefits to training. A well trained dog is likely to live longer, be happier and be healthier than an untrained Labrador Retriever.

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Dogs thrive on physical and mental stimulation and both contribute to a dogs overall health. Dogs that are bored or don’t get enough exercise are more likely to develop problem behaviors like destructive chewing, excessive barking, and soiling in the house. These behaviors can develop in response to a number of stressors but one of the most common are dogs that don’t get enough mental and physical stimulation because their owners are away all day at work. While some dogs handle these conditions well, others need more company and to be kept busy.

There are lots of options out there including dog walkers, canine hikers, and doggy daycare. Signing your Labrador up for one or two days of activities during the week can help break up his routine and provided the needed stimulation. However, most of these activities require that your dog have some basic manners and behave well with other dogs. An untrained dog is difficult to control in these kinds of situations and may not be welcomed into them. So, another avenue of exercise and mental stimulation is closed to the untrained dog.

At the Vet’s

The ability to properly examine your pet can make the difference between detecting a problem early and treating it versus discovering it when it is too late to be treated easily or, sometimes, at all. An untrained dog is less likely to hold still and behave while at the veterinarian’s, making the vet’s job that much more difficult. It’s also harder to run accurate tests and treat your pet when they have no training.

Cognitive Dysfunction

As dogs get older they can develop an Alzheimer’s like disease known as cognitive dysfunction. Several studies have shown that dogs that receive training and participate in dog sports throughout their lives are less likely to develop cognitive dysfunction. Labradors that have already developed cognitive dysfunction can slow the progression of the disease. Dogs that have been training all along tend to reduce the overall risk of developing it. Labradors that do develop it but have been training all along will develop it at a later age and it will progress more slowly than it otherwise would. This, along with the exercise factor, is probably one of the biggest and best benefits of training.

Lots of Exercise

Trained Labs are easier to take places and much more fun to play with and walk or run. As a result, they get taken more places and get exercised more. Untrained dogs tend to be left in their yards because no one likes to be dragged around by their Lab. Providing your retriever with lots of exercise is one of the best things you can do to keep him healthy.

Exercise helps reduce the risk of obesity which can increase your Lab’s risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart issues, respiratory issues, and surgical complications. It’s good for his heart, his lungs, and his entire body and it provides lots of mental stimulation too.

Best of all, as your Labrador ages, keeping him active and exercised will delay the development of arthritis and, once he has it, slow the progression of the disease. It will also make it easier to make use of alternative therapies like acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic care that can make your dog more comfortable and prolong his lifespan and improve his quality of life.

It’s Really a Matter of Loving Your Lab

Training has so many benefits to it. If you love your dog and want him to have a good life, then training is a no brainer. Train your Lab and you will make his and your life better. Guaranteed.

Photo credit: cmm1970/Flickr

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