Labradors – can you ride / run with them?

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  • Labradors – can you ride / run with them?
  • Lofty
    Member

    We’re getting a Labrador – what are my chances of getting it to come out for a trail ride / run with me without major hassle / training?

    Premier Icon nuke
    Subscriber

    Depends on the type of lab…ours is from working stock, is not as big as some of the more ‘classic’ labs and she’ll happily go out for an hour and a half/10 miles. Lots of stops for rest, treats & water but she’s way ahead of me on the ups, I’m just quicker on the downs.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Yes, but are you in full control of the dog: for its safety, for other dogs safety and other peoples safety?

    Wouldn’t training be the first option?

    joolsburger
    Member

    Wait until the dog is at least 18 months old before any long rides as it could be bad for developing joints. Other than that and the dog being trained properly no problem. Rode with my lab loads.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    trail ride / run with me without major hassle / training?

    You really don’t mean “without.. training”, surely?!

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    Firstly, great photo nuke.

    Secondly, I assume you don’t have a photo of said Lab cos if you do and I find out you’ve started a dog post without a photo I’ll report you so help me I will!!

    I’d not recommend it without training. You don’t want it slowing you up/getting under your wheel when descending and it help to get it road wise ie trained to run to your left and close.

    Other than above they are great dogs but not bred for long distance so not too far/fast or it’ll have troubles latter in life.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    OP Means without any additional training.

    My Lab was a light one she’d run with us all day long and loved to get out, the thicker heavier ones aren’t built for running as far so as others have said it’ll depend.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Don’t know about Labradors but I had a dream the other night that my cat was a ‘trail cat’. It was ace!

    ChunkyMTB
    Member

    Was he trying to be more Dog?

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    Our old cat used to always come with us and the dog on walks. Proper two hour strolls and she would just hang out about 10m behind us.

    Miss that cat.

    wors
    Member

    Our old cat used to always come with us and the dog on walks.

    Mine does that!! Hangs back, up trees, behind fences. It’s comical πŸ˜†

    sharkbait
    Member

    That’s where my hat went!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    OP Means without any additional training.

    Hmm, well my dog, and I’m sure many others, required specific “traildog” training. I guess you could try it without any…

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    Most Labs are loloping great hunks of bounding lovely clumsiness.*

    Ours is totally unaware it even has a tail.

    Said tail is capable of removing items from coffee tables in a single happy swoop, and just in case it missed anything it will swoop back several times to ensure table is clear of lights, mugs, tissue boxes etc.

    I tried taking ours out with us on the bike he just kept trying to turn around in front me forcing me to brake suddenly and then stood looking for approval for his ace spinning on the spot skills before running off to collect a stick that whilst hanging out of his mouth he could run along side and jam in the spokes.

    We only tried Bike + Lab once!

    *Stereotyping based on experience, which on STW is probably Doggist or Labist. They are of course very clever and trainable but I don’t think they are natural trail hounds like a Springer might be.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Hmm, well my dog, and I’m sure many others, required specific “traildog” training.

    Mine managed just fine but she was trained as a gun dog so very obedient.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    trained as a gun dog

    How did he get his paw round the trigger, we couldn’t work that one out when we tried to train ours as a gun dog.

    jimster01
    Member

    I tried taking ours out with us on the bike he just kept trying to turn around in front me forcing me to brake suddenly and then stood looking for approval for his ace spinning on the spot skills before running off to collect a stick that whilst hanging out of his mouth he could run along side and jam in the spokes.

    The dog will need extra just to run at the side or behind you just to prevent this happening.

    Will you be getting the Lab from a pup, if so train them fully and walk them a little and often to prevent problems later on in life.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    How did he get his paw round the trigger, we could work that one out when we tried to train ours as a gun dog.

    It was a she, smaller paws.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    My Lab is packing heat!

    user-removed
    Member

    My dog (not a lab) was reliably good at walking heel – took him five minutes to get his head round heeling to the rear wheel. That said, on the downs, he falls behind a bit and on the ups he usually enjoys a bit of recovery time πŸ™‚

    badllama
    Member

    Over time the back end of labs get weak it’s well known within the breed I really would not use them as trail dogs.

    tonyd
    Member

    I’ve been reading up a fair bit on labs amongst others lately. I’d second joolsburger that you should wait until the puppy is 18 months or so. Lots of important development in those early months and with a breed that suffers from hip/elbow problems they could be exacerbated by too much exercise early on.

    Also, look for a field lab rather than show and one from a good working background.

    A lab was top of our list but that changed to a spaniel (cross) for various reaons, one of which is that they’d probably be more suited to ‘trail use’ (mostly running for us, too busy on regular riding routes to risk the dog I think).

    andyl
    Member

    Just take it easy and build up. I too prefer to start them at 18 months ish, but minimum 12. I would make sure I knew the dogs history though (parents hip scores etc).

    Start off on the lead on nice easy routes or if the dog heals well try and get it to ‘wheel’ ie sit just behind the back wheel.

    Generally on the trails I ride I let her go in front, she is much quicker at responding to rock slips, fallen trees etc and generally it is when I think I know best and choose another line that I end up having a bad crash and end up hanging over a barbed wire fence.

    Just make sure you can trust your dog, get it to heal/wheel when needed, recalls promptly and take lots of breaks and don’t overdo it as you will cripple the dog. Next time I would go with something with longer legs than a spaniel for the types of rides I like to do.

    Oh and always have a plan in case one of you gets injured – ie someone who can pick up the dog.

    a gun dog (proper one, not a show one and with good background) should be able to go all day eventually but with plenty of breaks and choosing the terrain right. If going for a more intensive ride obviously lower the duration. I sometimes arrange to meet the OH for an ice cream at a tourist spot and she picks up the dog and then I carry on.

    Rockape63
    Member

    Over time the back end of labs get weak it’s well known within the breed I really would not use them as trail dogs

    I agree….I used to take my lab/springer out for 12 mile rides and he was way in front most of the time, but for a lab I think you should avoid it for long term reasons. Running is fine, its the down hill riding stuff that will cause the issues….and damaged feet.

    scaled
    Member

    When i first started riding again I’d take my ex FiL’s lab out for a ride on the flat, about 8 miles or so and the last couple of miles were always a pain in the ass.

    Dog would refuse to do more than walking pace, I’d always had GSDs crosses or collies which would both run all day, at full pelt until they collapsed.

    I’d rather have a collie x for a trail dog any day of the week, better runner and less likely to launch itself into the nearest swollen river

    grim168
    Member

    I take our three year old lab to gisburn sometimes. I started him on the canal tow path by us to get him used to the bike. Just had to speed up everytime he jumped in. I prefer him in front to keep an eye on him. Stop every so often to give him a rest but he just buggers off into the trees. Oh and he cheats by straightlining the curvy bits.

    elliott-20
    Member

    I’d be cautious taking a lab as a trail dog.

    They sure like exercise but not too much, 15 -30 minutes a day is plenty for them. They are not running dog they are thinkers.

    My current lab is reasonably fit and well trained but I wouldn’t take him on the trails.

    It’s also worth to point out that labs will all, at some point, suffer from hip problems. Most vets and breeders we’ve dealt with in the past usually advise it’s better to keep their high physical activity to a minimum.

    Collies are better trail dogs. They will jet keep going for the thrill of the run. Mental dogs.

    ChunkyMTB
    Member

    Lab’s are built/bred for short bursts of power. Charging through thick undergrowth, swimming and fetching.

    They aren’t built for endurance such as trail running in IMO.

    ross980
    Member

    Lab/Springer cross? Tell me more. Two of my favorite breeds (had a Springer as a kid – fantastic dog but completely bonkers).
    We’re planning on getting a dog when our youngest is a bit older. Potentially looking at working cockers or Springer/cocker cross. Interested in lab/Springer cross (I like gun dogs, can you tell?)

    Rockape63
    Member

    Lab/Springer cross? Tell me more. Two of my favorite breeds (had a Springer as a kid – fantastic dog but completely bonkers).

    Well, Ive always loved Labs, but they can get a bit fat and slow and my in laws have always had English springers who are great fun dogs….so i thought I’d track down a cross. I found a litter in Gloucestershire, both parents were working dogs and the Liver coloured springer got in wuth the golden lab and a litter of black pups arrived.

    I had first dibs and chose Barney who has turned out to be such a great dog. Highly intelligent, he really wanted to be trained and is so obedient, gentle and loves people. I’m sure they can’t all be like him, but he is special. Great looking too.

    noteeth
    Member

    I love labs – been around ’em all my life… but I’d be wary of taking some of the heavier/lower-slung, uhh, models out as trail dogs – largely for the joint/hip issues mentioned above. Dogs to task: they are mud n’grunt workers. And exceptional food hoovers.

    That said, a bit of lab can make for some good trail mix: one of my favourite dogs of all time was my uncle’s lab/collie/alsatian cross – essentially a fast, intelligent, superbly-behaved wolf. πŸ˜€

    jonah tonto
    Member

    my lab is too old now and its heartbreaking that she gets excited when the bikes come out. as above though, they arent best suited to distance, she used to love the short, local, downhill runs where she had time to recover while we pushed back up.
    if you get a lab, i would give it glucosamine and plenty of fish oils from day one. they all suffer from joint trouble. best house dogs imo

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Subscriber

    Does anyone ride with a Dalmation? Weren’t they bred to run alongside the carriages of the gentry?

    noteeth
    Member

    Weren’t they bred to run alongside the carriages of the gentry?

    I usually have CFH run alongside my carriage – carrying a selection of hot drinks & magazines.

    stanfree
    Member

    As above really , my chocky lab used to come up the Pentlands for a slow 10 mile reservior loop but he is 9 now so I dont and wont take him far . Apart from not overdoing the miles to avoid hip / joint problems please be careful in the warmer months as they do overheat very easily . I remember mine hyperventilating for about a half hour after I took him out for an easy 6 mile slow flat cycle. I had to hose him down for ages and give him plenty water to get his breathing back to normal . Now I only take him to the beach when It’s really hot.

    Labs are great dogs and great companions , Mine is currently under my worktop with his head on my feet. πŸ˜† I’ll struggle to find a better or more loving dog when he goes. πŸ™

    Frankenstein
    Member

    Think you will be too heavy for the dog.

    joolsburger
    Member

    I’ve also got a Labrador Poodle cross and he is a brilliant trail dog. He is really big but light and has amazing stamina so might be worth looking at one of those too.

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    Another Springer/Lab owner here. He loves big mountain walks and coming out for rides, seems the perfect mix of traits from the breeds for an outdoorsy lifestyle type dog. I think the only outdoor activity he joins us on that he doesn’t actually love is kayaking but that’s mainly because he prefers to swim alongside it.

    Muke
    Member

    Works well with singlespeed πŸ˜€

    hainey
    Member

    Chocolate Lab owner here. Most of the advice on here is pretty good. From a biking point of view ours is great, really aware of bikes keeps out of the way etc but we can’t take him anywhere near livestock cause he likes to chase which limits things somewhat. Running wise ours just keeps on going. He trained with me for a marathon and was running 20 miles no problems – just ensuring he had plenty of water and a snack for half way.

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