The Labrador retriever has been earning praise for its hardworking and loving nature for as far back as in the early 1900s even before the American Kennel Club AKC officially recognized the breed.
Yes, Labradors are great with children. They have a calm temperament, very low aggression levels, love being petted, and don’t mind the occasional prodding. They are rambunctious and can keep up with the children’s energy levels making them the perfect family dog.
Why are Labradors good with kids?
Labradors are friendly.
Labs are genetically predisposed to be loving and affectionate. Their friendly nature was bred into them over the years, and they are now considered the most compatible dog breed for all types of people. To further nurture their innate friendliness you should:
- Remain calm during your interactions with your Lab.
- Provide a safe space for your dog to retreat.
- Speak to your dog, not shout.
Labradors are even-tempered.
Did you know that it is hard to annoy or even provoke Labradors? They have a lot of tolerance for behavior that they don’t enjoy. A good example is being aggressively hugged and climbed on by small kids. A Labrador’s even temper is no reason to provoke or allow your kids to annoy them, but it definitely makes them safer canines to have around your children.
When getting a Labrador, get a history of their parents as this trait may vary to a certain degree from one dog to another.
Labradors are not aggressive.
When looking for a dog breed to keep around children, it is essential to look out for aggressive tendencies. Labs are known to be laid back, patient, and non-aggressive. A study conducted in 2008 showed that Labradors are among the least aggressive dog breeds. Labradors aren’t aggressive to humans and other pets.
However, it is important to research your dog’s inherited traits and life experiences that may have a bearing on your dog’s personality. When treated poorly or feeling threatened, Labradors may act aggressively, so it is important to teach your children how to treat the pet kindly and affectionately.
They are such goofballs and playful.
Labradors have a wealthy sense of humor. They can be silly and goofy, making you and the kids laugh all the time. I’m, serious, have you seen all those Youtube videos of Labradors acting all goofy? They are real.
Having kids, I bet you do understand how playful they can get. Kids and Labradors have a matching playful nature at heart. Even as they grow older, they maintain that childlike spirit and are always up for fun, playing, and games.
They are trainable.
Labradors are easy to train. With a house full of children’s mischief, you need to have a dog that can follow house rules. These intelligent canines have a need to please their owner, making them highly trainable. They are always up to the challenge and will surprise you with their loyalty. Their brains need frequent stimulation, which the kids can provide with games. Due to their high intelligence levels, they also adapt well to situations.
A trained Lab can be trained to have socialization skills necessary to deal with the erratic nature of young children.
They are high-energy dogs.
Labradors are high energy dogs that need regular exercise. A healthy, properly fed, and trained Lab can be active for hours on end with few breaks. Having kids means the two will have a great time as their energy levels match perfectly. A fit and exuberant Labrador will be happy living in a household with tiny active humans to run around with all day long, keeping them from getting bored.
They help guard the little ones.
Labradors can be amazing guard dogs with the right training. By nature, they are protective and always ensure no harm comes to their owner. Historically, Labradors have worked with law enforcement and can, therefore, be trained to guard against intruders. They are loyal and trustworthy, making them the best pets to ensure no trouble comes your way or to your children.
Labs get along with other pets.
Labs are very tolerant of other pets in the household. They aren’t prone to hurting other animals just for fun. They are known for their gentle nature, making them the perfect canines to have around other pets. Socialization plays a significant role in their ease to thrive with other pets.
How do I make my Lab more accepting of other pets?
- Introduce your dog to other pets at a young age. This allows them to create a good relationship over time. It is also possible for adult Labs to be friendly to other pets.
- Allow the two pets to form a relationship on their own. Don’t force your Lab to be around the other pets.
They are easy to care for.
Most parents understandably avoid bringing pets to their homes due to the additional responsibility it adds to them. Labradors, fortunately, aren’t like other dog breeds; they have minimal demands on personal care and grooming. Their beautiful short coats shed less and do not demand constant care. Their coats only need brushing once or twice a week, and with no tangles, it’s a breeze.
Things to consider before deciding to get a Lab when you have kids
Labradors have exceptional qualities that have made the breed jump to the top of the leader board of the most popular dog breeds. Owning this breed, however, isn’t all fun and games. Serious consideration should be taken when adding a Labrador to your family.
- Do you have enough space for a Lab?
Dogs need both indoor and outdoor space. Labradors are an active breed and fairly large; therefore, they need a generous amount of space. They have long, thick tails that swish around a lot and can knock things off shelves.
Labradors need large clear rooms with access to a garden where they can go to the bathroom and have enough room to play.
2. Will a Lab suit your lifestyle?
If you and your kids aren’t home often, then a Lab isn’t the best idea for you right now. Labradors are active animals, and they require exercise; therefore, lazy lie-in will be a thing of the past once you get them.
Labs also shed hair, love getting muddy while on walks, and love to swim. It is crucial to understand about dog shedding before getting a dog if you are concerned about keeping your house clean. Your lifestyle needs to adapt to your Labrador’s needs as well.
3. Will a Labrador fit in with your family?
Labradors are great family dogs in the right households. Owning a Lab puppy is a lot like having a child. They can be easily hurt by children when they step on them, trip over them or climb on them. However, if you have kids over five years old, it is easier as they can walk about an hour or more without having to be carried, and they understand a dog’s basic needs and how they should be treated.
Are you an indoor type of family? Labradors are active dogs that need a substantial amount of exercise daily. Lack of a good exercise regime that burns of a Lab’s excess energy will result in destructive tendencies such as chewing shoes, curtains, and sofa legs.
4. Can you afford a dog?
Dogs are expensive, not with regard to the cost of buying but the cost of keeping one. To keep your pooch healthy, you need a sizeable amount to purchase healthy dog food. Veterinary insurance is a great idea too considering all the necessary procedures it covers. If you enjoy traveling and your pet can’t come, you will need to incur the cost of boarding kennels. All the above costs and more come into play, which you need to consider carefully.
Games that your Labrador can play with the kids
Labradors are high-energy dogs with a knack for games that stimulate their brains. In the absence of exercise and a fair amount of activity, Labs result in destructive behavior. Games are also a great way to create and strengthen the bond you share with your canine friend. Games are also a great way to squeeze in some obedience training.
Here are fun games that you and your kids should try out with your Lab:
This game helps your kids teach your Lab how to sit still even as they walk circles around them.
How to play:
First, you will need to decide n a sound you’ll make whenever your Lab wins or plays the game right. It can be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘good’ or a clicker. In addition to making the sound, you need to give your dog a treat. Sit your Lab next to you, stand still, and just observe them. Once your Lab is completely still, make the ‘you have won’ sound and give them a treat. Slowly work your way up to more extended periods of stillness, such as three seconds and more. Once your dog learns to sit, still start moving parts of your body and putting them back. If he stays still, he gets another treat. In the long run, you should be able to move around your dog while they remain still as a stone statue.
Hide and Go Seek
Hide and go seek for dogs is a lot like the original game, except you hide one of their favorite toys.
How to play:
Pick one of your Lab’s favorite toys and ensure they know it by name. Have your dog sit as you take the toy into another room and place it within their view from the other room.
Head back and tell your dog to find the toy. Mention the toy by its name in a happy, energetic tone. Once he brings the toy back, praise him and possibly even give him a treat. Gradually increase the difficulty level of the game.
The Shell Game
The shell game is a fun brain game for your furry friend. The game is meant to develop a problem-solving skill in your dog.
How to play:
Get three cups and a few treats. Have your Lab watch you put some treats under one of the cups then overturn it over a flat surface with the other two empty cups. Begin to shuffle the cups then stop. Encourage your Lab to find the cup with the treats underneath. If your Lab gets the right cup with the treats, then they get to enjoy the treats. If not, you repeat the process again.
DIY agility game
This is a great game that reinforces your dog’s agility, burns excess energy, and covers the day’s exercise requirement.
How to play:
If you choose to play the game inside the house, make hurdles out of blankets, pillows, or unbreakable things. If you opt to do this outdoors, you may need to use creative hurdles for the challenge. Adjust the hurdles to suit your dog’s height. Now make your get over the hurdles after which he receives a treat until he is worn out. To make it fun, add a variety of jumps, turns, and twists.
Jump rope is a fun mental stimulation game that involves eye and body coordination. The trick is that your dog needs to concentrate on the pace of the game, jump and target a specific spot on the ground.
How to play:
You need two people, each holding one end of a rope. In the middle, you can use a stick to mark a spot for your dog to concentrate on and show how much space there is to work with on either side. Teach your dog to jump on that specific spot. After a while, add in the rope and cue in your dog whenever he needs to jump. It takes practice, but it is a lot of fun and puts in a day’s exercise.
Remember you may be able to teach your dog a game in a sitting, they may get bored, and that is all right. Take breaks and repeat the game later on during the day so that your Lab can understand it better. The aim is to have fun, so do not hold back and enjoy yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions about Labradors and Children
Are Labradors aggressive?
No, Labs are not aggressive. They are smart, gentle, and love companionship. They’re friendly with kids and other pets.
Are Labradors child friendly?
Labradors are great with children. Their even temper and tolerant nature make them okay with being hugged, petted, and even prodded occasionally. They have an easy-going attitude and love to roll around and play.
Do Labs love to cuddle?
Labs are affectionate animals that enjoy cuddling as a way of building a strong bond with their owners. They are considered one of the cuddliest dogs. Then a Lab feels comfortable, they will cuddle. If they are anxious, stressed, or sense danger, they are not going to cuddle.
How can I make my children comfortable around the Labrador?
Even though Labradors are good with kids, there are a few things that both your kids and the dog need to get used to. If your kids are afraid of dogs, it is important to start the acclimation process slowly. Instead of letting your Lab run around freely, you could first confine them to certain areas of the house or property. This way, your kids get to spend time with the dog when they want to. You will also need to teach your kids the appropriate friendly behavior around the dog.
Can I get my kids involved in caring for the Labrador?
Yes, you can. Getting the children involved in pet care is a great idea. It instills virtues such as responsibility and friendship as the two bond over the time they spend together. The task that you assign your children should be based on their age and maturity. Younger children could assist with feeding the dog on a daily basis. Older kids could help with walking and cleaning the Labrador.
Labradors are the perfect pets for a family with children because they not only enjoy playing in the outdoors, but they also share an undeniable zest for life. They are patient with children, very loyal, and naturally bond with family members. They are agile and obedient and would be a joyful and worthwhile addition to your family.