Q&A on Labrador Retrievers

(This was for an interview for a report for school I think…– sws)

Sorry it took me so long to do this.  The holidays were a little busier than I expected.

I only answered the ones that fall into my areas of knowledge (several of these are opinion based and you need to keep that in mind.)  You’ll get different answers depending on who you ask.

The ones at the end will need to be answered by someone else.  A few of them should go to a vet and the others to a breeder.  I really don’t know a lot about the history of the breed.
1. How many times a year do labs go into heat and what are the effects?

Normally every 6 months, but this can vary with the dog. I have found that dogs with irregular cycles tend not to be easy to breed. I normally will not work with a dog during the heat cycle. It tends to cause too much trouble for male dogs in the area and it isn’t worth the risk of her getting lose. We shut them down for around 3 weeks.

2. How do labs differ from a Chesapeake Bay retriever?

You will get many different takes on this (since most of it is opinion based) Labs tend to be a little softer and easier to work with. Chessies can take the cols better but they are harder to train. They also don’t play well with others. They tend to be very protective and will only work for their owner. Keep in mind that this isn’t true of all of them, but many of them are this way. Chessies make great dogs, but you have to be a little more careful with them. Labs can be put into almost any situation and they will do well.

3. Why do labs bite more than other dogs when they are puppies?

Breeding. Labs are mouthy dogs. They love to hold and carry things. Most pups tend to bite as a form of communication, but labs do it more than most breeds. You need to stop it as quick as you can, but don’t over discipline on it.

4. Why are labs such good swimmers?

Breeding again. Their feet and tails are built for swimming. Their coats also shed water quicker than most breeds.

5. Why are you supposed to feed labs large breed dog food instead of just regular dog food?

Some folks feel that higher protein diets make young dogs grow faster and it leads to joint and bone problems.

Some folks feel that the Large Breed diets are a marketing plan and controlling the dogs diet through portions will accomplish the same things.

6. How would you recommend training labs with treats?

I don’t recommend that you do. All training should be based on verbal and physical praise not food.

7. Why does my lab not prefer rawhide bones?

I have no idea. Most dogs like them, but they arn’t really good for your dog, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

9. What conclusions can you draw from the Labradors hunting abilities?

This one is kind of open ended. Labs that are bred to hunt tend to have better noses, bodies and minds for the tasks. Many of the labs out there don’t have these abilities because of bad breeding combinations.

10. Can you list some medical disabilities and the effects they have on the labs life?

The biggest that I see are hip and joint problems. These kinds of genetic defects are common in line bred animals and have to be closely monitored to keep them from happening.

14. What is the lowest temperature a lab can be outside in without having to be brought in?

This depends on the dog and what kind of condition he is in. My labs are ok when it gets down into the teens. Anything below 0 and I will bring them inside. Dogs that live in the extreme north can take a lot more because they are used to it.

Protecting a dog from cold requires that they are kept dry, out of the wind and that they have plenty of calories so they can generate heat.

18. When you are hunting with a lab and they are gun shy what do you do with them? Explain how to gun train them.

You really wouldn’t be hunting with a lab that was gun shy. This should be fixed at a young age.

Gun Shy dogs are created by mistakes that people make. Dogs should be conditioned from birth to gunfire.

We start out pups in the laundry room from day one. This gets them used to lots of banging and noise. We also keep a radio playing around them (Country and Western makes the best hunting dogs 😉 This gets them used to sounds, voices and changes in volume.

The next step is to carry a shotgun ( or something that looks like a gun ) around them during feeding time. You want them to see guns on a regular basis and think of them in a positive way.

When the pups are older 3 to 6 months, we start to introduce birds. Quail or pigeons work for this. I like to pull the flight feathers out of one wing and let the dog retrieve the live bird as it flutters to the ground 15 to 20 feet away from him. After you are doing this and he loves it, have your training partner fire a 22 blank pistol about 150 feet away as your dog is chasing the bird. Slowly move the gun in closer over time until you can shoot it while the dog is close to you and still chasing the bird. After you can do this, move out 150 feet away and start over with a 410 shotgun. Move in. Then start over with a 20 and a 12. It will not take long for your dog to connect guns with birds and this is what we are looking for.

22. How do the chocolate labs differ from the black labs and why do some people say that chocolate labs aren’t as good for hunting?

This is opinion based. I have hunted with some great chocolates and some really bad black labs. Black is a more popular color and breeders tend to go with what works.

23. How come my chocolate lab won’t jump into the back of our truck and how do you fix that problem?

It could be several things. Some dogs are not good jumpers. It could also be a sign of bad hips. One of my labs could jump at a younger age but was unable to as he got older.

You can train this with dummies. If he is big enough to reach the truck start throwing dummies into it for him to get. You can also start feeding him in the truck bed. This will get him into it. If you have a raised bed, this might not be a good idea. The last thing you want is for him to fall out trying to get in.


8. Why do you think they put such a heavy license tax on dogs in Canada around 1885?

11. How does a dog get lime disease and what does it do to the dog?

12. Can a dog catch a disease from a person and if so how do you get rid of it?

13. Why is a lab more likely to get sunburned than a human and if so what SPF rating would be good for them?

15. Why do animals need more water in a cold temperature?

16. How do you know if your dog is too cold?

17. Which two breeds were bred together to make a lab and if you can explain the logic in the breeding process?

19. When and why did Queen Elizabeth start breeding labs?

20. What are the differences between British and Irish labs and do they have an affect on their hunting abilities?

21. Where do English labs come from versus British labs and how do you tell the difference?

24. How do you think the Labrador Retriever impacted the hunting industries and the families of America?

25. How do you train your lab to read and what can it understand by reading?

When you activate either the continuous or the one shot button does the dog hear a tone also?

QUESTION: When you activate either the continuous or the one shot button does the dog hear a tone also?
Only if you want it to. Every mode setting that has tone (1,2,3, 5 & 7) have a separate tone button that has no stimualtion.

The only one that combines tone with stimulation is mode 7 where you have a stimulation only button, a tone only button, and a tone with a
one second stimulation delay button.

??? Here are the mode settings for the SD 400

MODE-1: 8 levels continuous + 8 levels momentary + separate tone button

MODE-2: 8 levels continuous + a level 8 instant “hot” button for dangerous situations + separate tone button

MODE-3: 8 levels continuous + a “plus 2” button that allows you to increase the stimulation level by 2 levels without changing the dial +
separate tone button

MODE-5: 16 levels of continous stimulation + a tone only button.

MODE-6: 16 levels of momentary stimulation + 8 levels momentary

MODE-7: 8 levels continuous + 8levels tone with one second delayed continuous stimulation + separate tone button

Mode 4 is the multi dog setting.

What is the difference between the Tri-tronics 80C and the 80M ?

QUESTION: What is the difference between the Tri-tronics Sport 80C and the 80M – hard to see the difference while cruising the descriptions.

ANSWER: The C has 12 levels of continuous stimulation and 6 levels of momentary.The M has 6 levels of continuous stimulation and 12 levels of momentary. I prefer the C over the M. This is a much better collar than the Companion.  It has a 1/2 mile range compared to the 200 yards you had on the Companion and it does have a tone on the dial feature. Please let me know if you have any questions.  We do appreciate your business.Thanks,Steve Snell