Engaging in bonding activities with your Labrador pups while they are young is important in raising healthy, happy pets.
To this end, we have provided some bonding activities that you can do with your Labrador retrievers according to their developmental stage:
At 0 ‒ 2 Months Old
Until your puppy is 2 months old, there may not be many bonding activities that you can do with them.
At this stage of their puppyhood, they are still too busy exploring the world, learning how to walk, and learning how to be a puppy in general.
So, the best thing you can do is to observe them and keep them out of harm’s way.
At 2 Months Old
For bonding activities with your Labrador at this age, you can find them a toy or a ball that will fit in your their mouth.
If you’re going with a ball, make sure that it is not too small. Otherwise, they might end up swallowing it.
You also want the toy that you will buy for your Lab puppy to be soft. You can use this toy to throw and let them chase it. Every time your Lab picks up the toy, praise them.
You can also find an open space like your backyard to let your puppy roam and run. Make sure it is not too big; you want them to be able to easily come back to you when you call them. You can also try to make your puppy follow you as you walk.
At 3 Months Old
Offer your 3-month-old Lab pup plenty of toys since they will start to teethe at this age and will want to chew everything.
Playtime is also important to help your puppy spend their energy and bond with you. You should also focus on teaching your Lab how to walk on a leash with you.
At 4 Months Old
Your dog is getting bigger, so you can start trying to go on jogs with them. Try not to make the jogs too long or tiresome. Remember, your Lab is still young at four months.
You can also try to see if your Labrador retriever puppy wants to try swimming when they are 3-4 months old. Try going into a shallow pool with them.
Bear in mind, however, that you should never force your Lab into water. You should let them test it out for themselves.
If you want to stay on the more cautious side, then you can get a tough inflatable mini-pool for them.
At 5 Months Old
Your little Lab puppy may not be so little anymore. While they may not be a baby anymore, they will still be a bundle of energy.
You may need to increase how often you walk them, let them run around in the backyard, play fetch, swim, and more to help them use up their energy.
If your Lab tried swimming before, then you can try spending a whole afternoon swimming with them! Again, just don’t force your puppy to swim, especially if they look tired. Let your Labrador puppy enter and leave the water as they please.
Your Labrador will also have a longer attention span now, so you can try to go on longer walks, bike rides, or plays.
At 6 Months Old
Most puppies, especially Labradors, are very agile at 6 months old. You will notice that they are much more coordinated and stronger, too.
To help them exercise and work on your Lab’s skills, you can play more intense games of fetch by throwing it further. You could also encourage them to jump higher and run longer. Another activity you can try is making a mini-puzzle or obstacle course to challenge their brain and coordination.
At 7 Months Old
Your Labrador puppy will probably enjoy most of the games and activities that you do with them by now. However, you do not want them to grow bored.
You can try any of the activities mentioned earlier, but be sure to switch it up. Even if your Lab has a favorite game, they will get bored of it quite quickly if that is the only game that you play.
At 8-12 Months
At this stage, your Labrador puppy is slowly becoming an adult. Most dogs tend to start “calming down” at this age as they feel more like an adult now.
However, that can vary based on each Labrador. Some Labs are full of energy, and they will want to play for as long as 2 hours a day!
However, you can try out the activities mentioned above at this stage if you wish. Most healthy Labrador retrievers will just need 1 hour of exercise. If your Labrador is a bit more relaxed and enjoys snuggling more than playtime, 45 minutes of exercise a day is totally fine.
All in All
It is important to know what your Lab puppy can handle based on their age. By learning when they can start swimming, try out puzzles, or go for long runs, you will know which activities are appropriate for your puppy based on their age.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for tips on what you can do to train your Labrador pups at various stages of their development, you can also check out our blog post on the subject here.