Are Labradors Good With Kids?
[Complete Guide]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Are you planning to adopt a puppy? Do you have small kids at home? Are you wondering which dog breed is ideal for kids? We have the answer. Think no more. 

The Labrador retriever is a perfect company for kids. They are friendly, loyal, kind, easy-to-train, and gentle. They can be fun to have around, calm, and a great partner for playing outdoor games as they require higher amounts of physical activity.

Not to forget, the labrador is a tailor-made breed for therapy. We have a lab in our dog training center, Millie (chocolate lab). She has such a calming and cheerful influence on the other dogs who come here. Additionally, their company can help hyperactive kids get calmer and even-tempered. All in all, the lab is the right choice if you want to give your child a loving and enjoyable canine company.

In this article, we will discuss why Labrador retrievers are good with kids, the prep work to make them adapt to your home, and a few safety tips.

Reasons That Make Labradors Good With Kids

Labradors make outstanding company for all ages of humans, but few characteristics make them great with the younger generation.

Protective Nature

In general, labs are not aggressive. But they are loving and passionate about their owner and the family, especially the kids. As lab owners, you can sleep or leave the house with utmost peace of mind knowing that the lab is there to take care of your little one. They make the optimal family dogs. 

Being easily trainable, labs can make good guard dogs that protect your kids from strangers. They are quick learners, and this quality makes them recognize good people from the bad ones and will never let harm befall the kids. They are not the most aggressive biters but will bark out loud in case of threatening situations.

Gentle in Nature

Being calm and low on aggression levels in general, the lab puppy can make the small children feel safe and secure around them—their decent temperament and consideration to other animals/pets in the house, like cats or birds. 

Lab puppies have inherently good socialization skills. In fact, they are the “Good boys/girls.” Infant kids and children under the age of five can be very unpredictable in behavior. Labs can understand the kid-mentality and act accordingly. This aspect makes them the perfect canine babysitter for your loved one.

Terrific Playmate

Kids below the age of five can easily get distracted in a game or an activity at home. They can act naughty by running around the house and creating a ruckus at home. It can be challenging for working parents to run around the kids.

They have good stamina and can be the ideal playmate for high energy levels and outgoing kids. Labs can help you manage the mischievous kids with ease. They can act as the kids’ partners in crime and ensure your kids’ safety during playtime.

These are some of the factors that you can consider while selecting a pup for your kid. 

Preparatory Steps While Adopting a Labrador

Please note that labs require a certain amount of preparatory steps before getting accustomed to your home and surroundings. We will discuss this aspect in this section.

Dog Equipment and Accessories Setup

You will need to make a list of items to purchase before bringing your new family dog home. A few of the necessary things to be included in your shopping list would be:

  • New dog bed
  • Leash
  • Safe chew toys
  • Dog grooming supplies (including brush)
  • Outdoor game equipment (Tennis balls or Frisbees)
  • A lot of Nutritional dog food (Recommended by a veterinarian)

A visit to the nearby pet supply store will be sufficient to procure these items.

Veterinary Help

Schedule an appointment with a registered vet before bringing the dog home. An initial checkup is necessary to confirm that the dog has no health problems and in good shape. Additionally, it is recommended to take your dog for period checkups every few months to ensure the health status is OK.

Set Time for Training and Outdoor Activities

Bringing a new canine member to your home is an added responsibility. You and your family would need to set some time apart for exercise like outdoor walks, games, and puzzles with your canine friend.

Engaging them in obedience training will be crucial during the initial phase. They are fast learners once they get comfortable with you and the surrounding environment. Keeping them stimulated mentally through plenty of puzzles and toys is a great way to maintain their overall well-being.

Taking the lab to professional dog training centers can be super beneficial. Learning new tricks means you can even let them participate in pet contests, and that will boost their confidence and strengthen the bond they possess with you.

Home Realignment

Please come to terms with the truth that bringing a new puppy home can be a messy affair. Their childish tendency to chew on anything in sight should be taken into consideration.

Ensure the puppy is confined to specific areas/rooms at your home where there are no expensive furniture or valuables kept in an accessible position for the labrador puppy.

Additional Decision Factors

Once the aspects mentioned above are checked off your to-do list, you are good to go. As bonus content, we felt like including a couple of additional deciding factors/traits before fixing the dog breed.

Dog Size

Labradors fall under the category of large-sized dogs. The adult dog (male) can weigh more than 85 pounds. At the same time, the females can grow above 55 pounds. 

If you have a small-sized home with inadequate space for the dog to run around, take a step back and consider owning smaller dog breeds. Knowing the size of the puppy’s parents from the supplier can be the right way of estimating the pup’s full-grown size.

Home Environment

Labrador dogs are generally calm and gentle in nature. But if you live in a joint family setup with many members, the loud noises can trigger stress in dogs. 

In the next session, let’s go through some safety measures for your children starting to live with a dog.

Precautionary Measures for Children

Labradors are good with children. They are large and brimming in energy. So, it is advisable to ensure a few safety measures are adopted while your kid and the labrador interact in close proximity.

  • If your child is an infant, limit interactions with the dog and ensure there is always an adult present when the dog is near the baby.
  • If the child is in a crawling phase, make sure both the child and dog are not together during the crawl time. This situation increases the chances of mishaps.
  • Give clear instructions to your kid to not irritate the dog by poking, pinching, climbing, or any forms of physical attacks.
  • The kid must know the importance of respecting the dog’s privacy. Do not let your kid disturb your dog while they are eating or sleeping.
  • Labs require time to accept the human hug in the initial phase. If not appropriately trained, hugging them can cause a build-up of anger. Kids, on the other hand, prefer hugs as a display of affection. Train your dog to receive hugs before exposure with kids for safety.

Wrapping It Up

A labrador retriever’s typical characteristics indicate that this breed of dog is an ideal companion for kids and makes them family pets. Their gentle and protective nature, ease of training, and calm mentality make them gel along quickly with the younger humans.

Having said these elements, both the dog and kids need a cool-off period to get accustomed to each other. Taking the required preparatory steps we discussed becomes crucial while adopting a lab as one of your family members.

Bringing a lab to your residence is an excellent way to teach kids maturity and responsibility. Allow them to feed the dog and give them water once in a while. Being avid learners, labradors can also provide the owner an added advantage of being a guard dog and ensuring the home property’s safety.

Your free time and weekends can get extra exciting with a lab in the house. They are terrific playmates to have with energy radiating out of them. If you belong to the world of fitness freaks, taking out labs for walks and jogs can enrich your workout quality.

Last but not least, never forget to have regular checkups for your lab with the trusted vet to ensure the dog is fit and fine.