There are few things more idyllic than growing up with a dog for a best friend. The right dog makes the perfect companion for all childhood adventures, and the connection that a kid shares with their dog is unbeatable.
The Labrador retriever is easily one of the most popular dog breeds today. Known as the perfect family dog, it’s easy to understand why parents want to have that furry friend around for their kids.
But are labs good with babies? It can be hard to decide if you’re ready to introduce a dog to your baby, especially if you’ve never had a dog before. It’s always wise to do some research before making such a big decision.
The good news is, Labs are known for being extraordinarily good with babies. In this labrador and baby guide, we will look at what makes labs so popular, why they are considered a great family dog, and why they get along so well with babies and kids.
The Most Popular Breed
One of the great things about labs is their impeccable track record. An extremely popular breed, labs have claimed the number one spot for most adopted dog breed for the last 30 years.
Fun, smart, energetic, and easy to care for, it’s not hard to see why people love labs. They have an upbeat personality that is infectious and they have an incredibly stable personality. They’re versatile dogs with abounding energy and intense gentleness.
On top of all that, labs love their people. They are known for their dependability and loyalty towards their owners. Because they love people so much, they are relatively easy to train and easy to trust.
While they love to chew and might destroy a shoe or two, you shouldn’t have many behavior problems with your lab. Because of their stable personalities, they are known to have one of the greatest temperaments a dog can have.
The Lab Temper
Labs are smart dogs. They pick up on training fast and they perform at a high level for their people. They have an incredible intuition that allows them to learn fun tricks like “play dead” and “say goodnight.”
As far as people-loving dogs go, labs rank high on the list. They are extremely social, meaning they’ll claim just about anyone as their best friend. They’re empathetic animals, known for showing kindness when their people are feeling sad. And they’re one of the least aggressive breeds out there.
As such an even-tempered dog, they are hard to provoke, which makes them a great family dog. This is especially true if you have kids.
Some dogs hate being played with, tugged at, jumped on, or generally pushed around, but labs are playful and energetic. While they might not like having their tails pulled (and children should be discouraged from doing this), they aren’t likely to retaliate if it happens.
Because of their kind and gentle nature, it’s easy to trust that a lab will love your baby about as much as you do.
Labs are known for being highly trainable. Because they are such people-centric dogs, they love to please. That drives their motivation to perform well during training, making the whole process an enjoyable experience for them and their humans.
They are also reward-driven dogs, which means a yummy treat is all it takes to get them going. Responding to positive reinforcement is a trademark of the lab, and part of what makes their personality so lovable. It’s easy to tell when they’re happy – which, admittedly, is most of the time.
Labs are also incredibly adaptable. They quickly grow accustomed to their people, babies included. It doesn’t take long for them to adjust to changes, like a new baby in the family, and they tend to adjust well to those changes.
Labs and Babies
It should be clear by now that labs are fun and dependable. Not only that, but they’re great family dogs. They love you as much, if not more than you love them. So what more should you know about labs and their track record with babies?
Whether you’re bringing a new dog into your family or bringing your new baby home to your dog, it’s a comfort to know that labs are ridiculously good with babies. Their cheerful personality and abounding friendliness make them a lovely companion for any kid, regardless of age.
Just as dogs form strong bonds with their owners, they form strong bonds with their owners’ babies, too. As a sensitive breed, they can usually tell that a baby is defenseless and may grow quite protective.
Clumsy but Lovable
Labs are playful and energetic, which means they have no trouble keeping up with the kids. It also means they can be a little clumsy. When you have a new baby around, it’s important to keep an eye on how they play with the dog.
Because they are such playful creatures, a lab can often come across as too energetic. But with the right training, they’ll soon learn how to behave well around the whole family. Knocking a kid down while they’re playing doesn’t mean the lab is trying to hurt anybody. Usually, it’s just a case of having four left paws.
The Introduction of Lab to a Baby
It’s always a good idea to take certain precautions when introducing a dog to something as small and fragile as a baby. Babies come with all kinds of different sounds and smells that the lab might not be used to. Thinking through a plan of action should be your first step.
Make sure that your dog is well-trained. As we’ve noted, labs are crazy smart. It won’t take them long to pick up on the necessary basics, like commands to “sit” and “lay down.”
Giving your dog a chance to smell some of the new baby supplies, like toys and diapers, is a great way to prepare them to meet the baby. Let them get to know the nursery, the baby’s space, and even baby clothes. This will help the adjustment process go that much smoother.
Introduce your dog and your baby in a calm environment. There’s going to be a lot of change for both of them, so there’s no need to add unnecessary stressors to the situation.
And finally, don’t leave them alone together. You’re probably rolling your eyes at this one, but it’s a good thing to remember that even the most trusted dog is still a dog. And dogs can be unpredictable.
As your baby grows more comfortable with your dog, it’s expected that you will grow more comfortable with them being together. That being said, until the baby is old enough to know not to playfully pull the dog’s tail, they should never be alone together.
Things to Watch
It’s important to pay close attention to a lab’s behavior when a new baby arrives. Most of the time, they adjust quickly, but labs are extremely dependent. They always want to be with or near their people, and a baby may impact that.
Since they are such a dependent breed, they may act out when a new baby arrives. If the lab is used to all the attention, it may not know what to do when a baby starts sharing that attention.
Making sure to walk your four-pawed pal every day is a great way to keep them happy and obedient as they adapt to the newest family addition.
Are Labs and Babies Compatible?
A best bud, a friend for life, a companion unlike any other – it’s easy to see why labs are such popular family dogs. Not only are they energetic and playful, but they are loyal and sensitive. What kid doesn’t love growing up with a dog by their side?
Labs are known for their gentleness for babies. As one of the most popular dog breeds in America, Labs are a great option to consider if you’re looking to make a furry addition to your family.