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Searching dog profile: The lovable, versatile Labrador Retriever

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The American Kennel Club’s most popular dog is also the best sporting breed in the country. Here’s what you should know about Labrador Retrievers if you are considering adding one to your family.

You would have a hard time finding someone in the US who cannot identify a Labrador Retriever on sight. Laboratories inhabit every corner of the country, with their happy nature, their athletic skills and their loving attitude as family dogs.

For hunters, the family friendliness and the “work hard, play hard” attitude of a laboratory make them an ideal sports pup. As a natural retriever, she can be trained to hunt highland birds and do so with vigor. But she seems to be duck-blind.

Their thick double coat and medium to large figure make them the perfect dog for cold, wet hunts. In addition, her swimming paws, muscular body, and oar tail make her one of the strongest swimmers of the water dog breeds.

How to choose one of the world’s most fabulous hunting dogs as your next field partner.

Choosing a Labrador Retriever Breeder for Sports

Photo credit: Dora Zett

Under the umbrella of the Labrador Retriever there are two different sports lines: the American Labrador and the British Labrador. Laboratories labeled “American” or “British” usually come from specially bred hunting lines. The main difference is how the lines are grown for field trials, the specifications of which vary from country to country.

In short, American studies focus on performance under pressure British trials Focus on dogs with ideal manners and a definite ability to stay calm and still in the field. The American line tends to develop a more capable, high octane and endurance machine that meets the expected high level of performance American field trials.

If you are looking for an intense, high energy pup to dominate the field, American labs are a great choice. They are great dogs to hunt, test, and guide day in and day out. If you’re looking for a bird dog that can turn it on and off in the field, a UK lab might be a better choice.

It is important to distinguish between lines of Labrador bred as pets, support animals, working dogs, or show dogs. There is even a separate range of English Labradors that are not hunting specific. In order to solve many problems in advance, it is best to ask the breeders what they are breeding their labs for.

Expect a premium for a Quality hunting puppy. A value between $ 800 and $ 2,000 or more is not uncommon as this cost includes reimbursing the breeder for the costs associated with the puppy.

The breeder should have each puppy tested for health problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia, heart problems, exercise-induced collapse syndrome, and progressive retinal atrophy. In addition, good breeders always offer information on vaccinations and veterinary checks.

What to expect from your Labrador

Labrador puppiesPhoto credit: Natalia Fedosova

Labrador Retrievers are a medium to large breed. Men typically weigh 65-80 pounds and women weigh 55-70 pounds. Parent size often gives a good idea of ​​how tall your pup will be as an adult. Some labs can easily weigh nearly 100 pounds at maturity. So ask before buying.

Labs come in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, chocolate, red, silver, and black. While color can be a beautiful attribute, it is important to focus on high quality hunting traits and health versus color when choosing your pup.

Expect your Labrador to be your constant companion for 10-12 years. The first few years of a Labrador’s life are usually their most intense and active time. Laboratories are well known chewers and require daily exercise to keep the mind and body occupied. In addition, they can be recalcitrant, hyperactive, and destructive if not given proper boundaries and exercises.

But they are also easy for DIY enthusiasts work out and they respond very well to food-motivated training efforts. A laboratory peaks at the age of 4-6. But with the right training, she can easily go to the field in her first year and appear with serenity.

Labs shine when it comes to retrieving games, Dock diving, miles of trails and much more. Keep them active and you will all be happier (and fitter!).

Labs are incredibly outgoing and social dogs, and it’s important to nurture this socialization between their first 7 weeks and 4 months of life. Puppy training classes and exposure of the puppy to a variety of situations early on can help him become a confident and friendly partner in the field and at home.

Final thoughts

Often times, once people have a Labrador, it becomes a breed of a lifetime for them. It’s hard not to love an animal who shows affection for everyone so easily and with so much exuberance.

The biggest plus of a Lab for hunters looking to train their own dog is their ability to both forgive and be hardworking. More sensitive hunting breeds like setters and spaniels tend to take a gentler hand. And pointers are often too energetic for many households.

Laboratories strike a good balance between the home and hunting lifestyle. And like a good wine, they get better and better with age. If a Labrador Retriever is the right dog for you, you can have a fun, silly, and loving adventure with the newest member of your hunting family.

Dog Breeds

Even Puppies Get the Point

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Dogs’ ability to understand us and respond to our attempts to communicate with them has long been considered a fundamental part of the close relationship we share. More than two decades ago, researchers first provided evidence that dogs can follow human pointing gestures.

Many studies have since shown that when humans point at one of two identical objects to indicate the location of the food, dogs respond by choosing the one pointed more often than we would happen to expect. This may sound like an easy skill, but maybe that’s because it’s so easy for us. The idea that another species can respond to our hint is a big deal.

As with any significant discovery, this topic has been discussed at length. Behavioral questions mainly revolve around whether dogs are learning what this gesture means from spending so much time with us, or whether they can naturally understand that pointing is a way to get their attention to something interesting.

It is difficult to study for practical and ethical reasons. Most adult dogs have a lot of experience with humans. Raising dogs without such contact for the purposes of scientific study would be cruel and totally unacceptable. It would also be pointless because such dogs would be so poorly socialized and so fearful that they would not be able to participate in studies. However, puppies are a different matter.

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In a recent study, researchers used the fact that young puppies have limited experience with humans to examine their ability to respond to human pointing gestures. The 375 participating puppies were between 7.3 and 10.4 weeks old (mean age 8.4 weeks). The puppies were loaned out by Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit group that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. The 203 females and 172 males came from 117 litters. In terms of breed, there were 98 Labrador Retrievers, 23 Golden Retrievers, and 254 Golden Retriever / Labrador Retriever crosses.


The experimenter hid food in one of two places and either (A) pointed and looked at the bait container, or (B) placed any marker next to the bait container. (C) Puppies exceeded chance expectation with both social cues, but not in an olfactory control state. Source: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.17.434752

In the study, the pups had a choice of two containers, one of which held a piece of snack food. While one person was holding the pup, another caught the pup’s attention and either pointed and looked at the food reward container, or showed the pup a marker (a small yellow block) and then placed the marker next to the correct container. Based on the dot gesture, the pups chose correctly more than two-thirds of the time. They correctly picked almost three-quarters of the time the person communicated the location of the food by placing the marker.

In control trials, where puppies were not directed and were likely to choose based on the smell of the food, their decisions had a success rate of 48.9 percent – essentially random and slightly worse than you’d expect based on chance alone. These experiments showed that puppies could not find the food by sniffing it out.

Multiple replications did not appear to improve the puppies’ performance. This suggests that they don’t learn the task while studying. (They had either already learned the task even though they were so young, or they could do it without having to study.) Previous studies in adult dogs – both lap dogs and assistance dogs – found similar success rates for the pointing task, and were even higher Success in the marker task.

Another aspect of this study examined the genetic basis for the variation in dogs’ ability to find food based on human information about their location. They found that 43 percent of the variation was due to heredity, confirming a long-standing belief that genetics play a role in dogs’ social and cognitive abilities. This is an important finding. In order for selection to affect a dog’s ability to respond to human communication, as there are many theories about the domestication of dogs, there must be a genetic basis.

It is important to understand that even a natural ability can be adaptive. Hence, it is not that dogs either have an innate ability or need to learn that ability. The idea that behavior is binary is extremely out of date. In fact, an influential 1967 study in my field of ethology had the brand name “Ontogenesis of an Instinct”. To understand why it was so dangerous, it is important to know that ontogeny means evolution.

The study looked at changes in a pattern of behavior that was believed to be instinctive: a gull chick pecks at one point on the beak of an adult gull to trigger feeding. Such species-specific behavior patterns were viewed as innate rather than learned. In a series of studies, Jack P. Hailman, PhD showed that learning took place and that gull chicks improved their chopping accuracy with practice.

The idea that instinctive behavior can be improved and that learning occurs in relation to such behaviors was revolutionary and has changed the field significantly. But here, more than 50 years later, we are still debating whether behavior is instinctive or learned. It is more complex than that, and we have to accept that learning can play a role even in natural and species-prevalent behavior.

One possibility that must always be considered is that dogs have a tendency to learn the ability to follow human gestures. That is, it can be easy and natural for them to learn. In fact, it can be so simple and natural that it can be difficult to find dogs who have not yet learned how to do it. The current study provides evidence that even young puppies who have not had extensive experience with humans can perform this task and – equally interesting and important – that there is a genetic basis for this behavior. However, dogs have not been shown to have this ability in the absence of experience with humans.

The researchers say it fairly in their work: “Taken together, our results show that the social skills of dogs are very important in early development and that the variation in these traits is strongly influenced by genetic factors.”

Source * thebark.com – * https://thebark.com/content/even-puppies-get-point

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Dog Breeds

How to Tell if Your Dog is a Genius

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Anyone who has lived with a dog knows their ability to learn the meanings of words, even those you wouldn’t want them to know. How many times did you have to spell the words “going” or “dinner” to avoid an explosion of excitement?

Previous studies have looked at how non-human animals, including chimpanzees, sea lions, and rhesus monkeys, learn words. But now, a paper published in Nature shows that some dogs learn the name of a new object after hearing it just four times, a skill previously believed to be limited to humans.

The researchers found that this skill was not common in all dogs studied, but may be limited to a few “talented” or well-trained individuals. So how do you know if your own dog is a genius or not?

The study was simple and easy to repeat at home. Just follow the researchers’ steps to see if your dog can learn the names of objects that quickly. But don’t worry if your dog doesn’t have this ability. This can only be due to his race or previous experience.

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Whiskey and Vicky Nina

The new study included a collie named Whiskey who knew 59 objects by name and a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina who knew 42 toys.

The researchers tested each dog’s knowledge of their toy by asking them to bring each toy in turn. Neither the owners nor the experimenters could see the toys so as not to influence the choice of dogs.

Once it was determined that the dogs knew the names of all of their toys, the researchers introduced two new objects, each placed one at a time in a group of familiar toys. In this test, Whiskey chose the new toy every time. Vicky Nina got the right one in 52.5% of the attempts, which is a bit more than chance.

Learn new names

For the next part of the study, the dog was shown a toy, given its name, and then allowed to play with it. After repeating the name of two different new toys four times, the dog was asked to choose one of the two new toys.

No known toys were included in this part of the experiment in order to prevent the dog from choosing the right toy through exclusion. Knowing the name of all the other toys, the dog may choose the right toy, guessing that the unfamiliar word must indicate the unfamiliar toy.

Both dogs opted for the new toy more often than chance would predict, suggesting that they actually learned the name of a new object very quickly. However, her memory deteriorated significantly after 10 minutes and almost completely after an hour. This shows that the new learning needs more reinforcement if it is to be maintained.

Read More: Six Tips For Grooming Your New Puppy According To Science

The test with the new toy was also done by 20 volunteers with their own dogs, but these dogs did not show the ability to learn new names after a few hearings.

The authors suggested that the difference between the performance of the two dogs in their test and the volunteer dogs means that the dog may need to be unusually intelligent or have a lot of name learning experience in order to learn new names quickly.

A dog surrounded by toys.

Clever dogs

It is likely that a combination of factors are at work in these experiments. It is significant that the most common breed used in studies of this species is a border collie, specifically bred to perform audible commands and very highly motivated to perform tasks and please the handler. Yorkshire terriers also enjoy mental and physical stimulation.

Similar tests have been carried out by other research groups, usually using border collies. In 2004, a dog named Rico was found to know the names of 200 different objects, and in 2011 Chaser learned 1,022 unique objects.

Other breeds may be less interested in playing with or fetching toys. For example, greyhounds such as salukis and greyhounds are primarily bred for hunting or racing and are therefore generally more difficult to train. They may not show any interest in toys at all and be far less motivated to please the handler.

Smart dogs can learn new names quickly.

Both test dogs in this study received extensive training through play and social interaction to pay attention to the names and characteristics of the toys. This could make them more likely to notice the differences between new and familiar toys and to care about the verbal cues associated with them.

While their training was not formal, it was nonetheless positive reinforcement training, a powerful method of teaching animals and people. The dogs have undoubtedly learned their skills to a great extent.

It is entirely possible to train all dogs to perform tasks, including learning the names of objects. However, the degree to which they are willing and able to learn and perform the task depends heavily on the breed of dog and the motivation of the individual dog.

If your pet is an Afghan or Saint Bernard, don’t expect them to be interested in spending hours getting toys for you. On the other hand, if you have a border collie or poodle, their abilities can only be limited by your imagination and commitment to playing with them.The conversation

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Dog Breeds

10 Most Challenging Dog Breeds That Are Full Of Love

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All dogs need love, attention, and training – but some dog breeds need a little more than others. Every dog breed has its strengths and weaknesses. That doesn’t make any particular breed less loveable, but these 10 dog breeds may need a lot more patience and obedience training than others.
These breeds tend to be intelligent, independent, and stubborn, making then the least obedient dog breeds. Successfully training one of these breeds should win you an award!

00:00​ – Intro
00:30​ – Afghan Hound
01:19​ – Chow Chow
02:04​ – Basenji
02:45​ – Bulldog
03:24​ – Bloodhound
04:08​ – Pekingese
04:45​ – Dachshund
05:22​ – Welsh Terrier
06:03​ – Beagle
06:37​ – Borzoi
07:10​ – Outro

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