dog breed selection and changing lifestyles

Recently I’ve had several new clients who are facing challenges with their high-energy, young dogs.  There is something in common with all of these owners; they are seniors now, well into their 60’s and looking forward to enjoying their retirement; their “golden years.”   While they want to be active seniors, they seem to be learning that they aren’t quite up to the task of keeping up with their energetic pooches.

One couple has explained that they’ve had Labrador Retrievers since they first married and raised their kids with a Lab in their home.  They are very loyal to the breed.  Labs are great dogs… they are smart, motivated to please their “people,” easy to train, social, loyal, a pretty terrific breed (which is why Labs are consistently at the top of the list of Most Popular Dog Breeds).  Labs are also very active dogs that require a lot of exercise and play. Keeping a Lab mentally and physically stimulated is essential to limiting boredom-related behavior challenges.

My clients want my help taming their beloved Lab so that he will quietly entertain himself and not be quite so demanding of high level play times and exercise.  Hmm…

I love it when dog lovers are committed to living with these amazing animals and wanting to have a four-legged companion. However, it is very important that, as we age and our lifestyle changes, we consider how these changes could impact the dog we are looking to add to our homes.  If we are slowing down, consider a breed that prefers to be a home-body instead of one that would rather be your jogging partner.

As for my clients with the Lab… we’ve strengthened his basic obedience skills to hone his self-control, got him a few terrific dog puzzles to keep him mentally stimulated and he attends a great doggy day care three times a week to keep him active and socialized.  He and his “people” are doing great!

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