The Labrador Handbook

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We were fortunate to be given a copy of Pippa Mattinson’s new book: The Labrador Handbook to review.
 
Pippa is a zoologist and the founder of The Gun Dog Trust, the UK’s first gundog training and welfare charity. She manages a website of her own as well as The Labrador Site which has published several SlimDoggy articles.
 

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

 

I was pretty excited to get the book. Her previous book, The Happy Puppy Handbook, was an invaluable resource for my niece when they got a new puppy. They still refer to it even though their puppy is now three years old. While her new book is dedicated to Labradors, you don’t have to be a Lab owner to come away educated.
 
First and foremost, there are fabulous pictures of Labs scattered throughout the book – I’ll share a few of my favorites here. But the second thing I noticed and appreciate is the level of basic, practical advice that is applicable to every dog parent. Every dog owner will find guidance and words of wisdom from someone who has raised and trained dogs for years.
 

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

 
The first few chapters are particularly useful for folks in determining whether a Lab is the right dog for their family and lifestyle. Labs can be exuberant, so if you want a couch potato, a young Lab is not for you. Determining where to get your Lab is just as important – do you adopt the dog from the shelter or track down a responsible Labrador breeder? Pippa provides some excellent advice in making that decision.
 
One reason Labs are so popular is their natural tendency to be a team player while in the field as a working dog has carried over into their everyday interactions with their family. They are happy-go-lucky family members, eager to be a part of the team. With that joie de vivre or “exuberant enjoyment of life” comes some challenges and there is no shortage of training advice in The Labrador Handbook.
 

The Labrador Handbook_1
 

In addition to training insights, the book contains a wealth of daily dog care, grooming and health information. From an examination of key health issues to be aware of, to the basics of daily care for your grown dog is provided. A lab is susceptible to the same health issues every dog owner should be aware of, but some, like hip dysplasia are prevalent in Labs, so extra caution and monitoring should be used.
 
The chapters I really enjoyed were the ones on exercise, of course. As I mentioned above, Labs are team players and are happy and excited to be involved in a variety of outdoor and indoor activities. Running, hiking, swimming, retrieving, service, agility, rescue, you name it, you will find Labs doing it. Pippa provides an entire chapter on advanced training, activities and sports for your Lab. Everyone is sure to find something there to learn and enjoy with any dog. She even provides a chapter on fun games to play like Freeze. Anyone remember playing “statue” as a kid, well it’s kind of like that!
 

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

 
If you have a Lab, or even if you don’t have a Lab, this book contains an abundance of practical wisdom about choosing a dog, raising that dog, training them, feeding them and most of all enjoying them. She covers puppy-hood, adolescence, sexual maturity/breeding and finally old age with insights into the pitfalls and potential problems with each stage.
 
It’s a great resource to have on hand – and also makes a great gift for the holidays! You can buy it here or from Amazon.
 

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

Photos source: The Labrador Handbook

 
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12 Comments

  1. how great is that? you have your own handbook! It’s always good to know some things about the breed and to learn more about our fourlegged friend…. I wonder why no one wrote a handbook for weimaraners… maybe because that’s science fiction?
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

  2. Always good to have resources like this for people interested in the breed. They give a much better approximation of day-to-day life than a simple wiki article does.

  3. I loved the pics too. They’re amazing.

    Although goldens are also gun dogs, they seem to have a split in the lines. Goldens that come from strong hunting/retrieving lines tend to be more reddish while the companion type dogs are more blonde or cream colored.

    It doesn’t seem that Labs have had that same kind of split. And all labs seem to have that exuberant energy that is key to working dogs.

    Good thing you’ve always had jobs for Maggie and Jack to do. I suspect they’d find some mischief to get into if you and Steve didn’t keep them so busy exercising.
    Pamela recently posted…What Are You Thankful For?My Profile

  4. Labs are a wonderful breed, but sadly, so many are family dogs because they are so good with people and kids, but families often don”t give the labs the exercise they need. Sounds like a great book.
    Emma recently posted…Eat More Duck Said The ChickenMy Profile

  5. That picture with the tennis balls. I love it. Daisy was part lab and full of energy and puppy like until her last days.
    Julie recently posted…Week in reviewMy Profile

  6. I’m a sucker for handbooks. I got several before the pups came into our lives to prepare myself as best as I could – this one sounds great. I’ll pin it.
    It’s a shame that most lab owners are not aware of the fact that Labradors are actually working dogs who really need a job in order to thrive and be well behaved.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Water Healing, aka Hydrotherapy, for dogs has many benefits!My Profile

  7. Sounds like a great book!!!! I couldn’t agree more that a young lab is not the right choice for a family who wants a couch potato dog!
    KB recently posted…A Shocking TransitionMy Profile

  8. Breed specific books are a must-have in my opinion. There isn’t much cuter than a Lab puppy. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Tractor Supply Co. ~ It’s Not Just For FarmersMy Profile

  9. What pawsome photos! I love the idea of breed specific books, they can help anyone out who may no nothing or little about a pet and keep them from making a mistake they might regret. What a great review!
    Monika recently posted…Happy ThanksgivingMy Profile

  10. The photos were priceless. I will forward this post to my old neighbor. She lost her 2 yr old lab in an accident and has since gotten another. She would enjoy this post learning about the book. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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