Among dog owners, Labradors are touted as excellent running companions and are one of the most loved dog breeds around the world.
Labradors are trained to be physically strong and fit; hence they are a good preference for someone looking to get into marathon activities.
Read on to find out more about how fast they can run and matters relating to their running abilities.
How Fast Can a Lab Run?
Labradors can cover as much as 35 miles per hour. Being a general estimate, this is still impressive for a dog, with speed being debatable for long distances. Compared to German shepherds and greyhounds, a Labrador is not considered much of a sprinter and is more suitable for longer running.
The composition and body mass influence their play and running power, with some saying that the black Labrador is the most energetic.
Are Labradors Long Distance Runners?
Technically, Labradors are gun breeds trained to work and be in the shooting fields. Due to their muscular bodies, they can endure running for a whole day. How fast and far a Labrador can run depends on factors such as:
1. Fitness Level
Your dog’s fitness level highly contributes to its ability to run and the distance it can cover.
A Labrador Retriever that is obese has a low fitness level and hence cannot be able to run fast or cover any meaningful distance.
Canines can only be able to run fast if they are trained to increase their stamina and skills. Labs that go through frequent training are fit and have advanced running skills.
Aging affects the canine’s ability to run faster and for a longer duration. Aging is accompanied by conditions such as stiff joints and weaker limbs, which is why most of these canines adapt to walking or running slower as they add more years.
In contrast, Labrador puppies cannot run faster, hence the need to reach ten months old before taking them through the relevant training techniques that will sharpen their running skills.
3. Weather Conditions
The speed of Labradors changes accordingly to the weather conditions they are exposed to, although they can withstand the summer heat, heavy rains, and cold weather conditions.
Try exposing your Labrador Retriever to different weather conditions and monitor how their speed and running efficiency are affected.
The speed and distance a Labrador can cover rely on some components in their stride. These are the frequency of their steps and the length of the single-step cycle they make.
Generally, larger Labrador Retrievers take longer and fewer steps compared to the small-sized ones.
5. Energy Levels
Just like humans, canines need an adequate supply of energy that boosts their metabolism to stay active and hence be able to run faster and for longer. Your Labrador pet can run pretty well during the early morning hours after they have had a good night’s rest.
As the day progresses, there is a variance in their energy levels because of the weather, their diet, or because they are tired and sleepy.
Tips to Prepare Your Labrador to Run Faster
You have the power to make your Labrador have an enjoyable running experience and make them perform their utmost best.
Some of the tips to make your canine run will include:
1. In Stages
Labradors must gradually build up their running skills, and only efficient training and practice can make them perfect.
These running skills are done in stages by adjusting the distance and adding a mile every few days of their running period.
Exposing your Labrador to long distances right away strains not only them but also has the potential to slow them down and hinder progress.
2. Health Check
Before subjecting your dog to extreme training conditions, ensure you get them checked at the vet to determine if they are fit for training or not.
Only a healthy dog can run well and run for longer durations without experiencing any breakdown.
Before and after a run, ensure your dog is well refreshed, which helps them to maintain their composure and keep them ready for the next run.
Canines tend to have long nails, which act as a distraction while they are running hence lowering their speed and efficiency in running.
If you are in pursuit of knowing how fast they can run, ensure your dog is physically groomed and they have no obstructs such as long nails or long hair blocking their vision while in motion.
Canines can suffer from dehydration, especially during the summer heat. Before training, ensure you dehydrate your Labrador and bring a water bottle for them after the training exercise.
Also, ensure you have their hydration salts for adding to their water if they are exhausted, have excessive panting, or suffer from the heat.
How to Train a Labrador Retriever for Running
The first step in training your Labrador for running includes taking them to a Vet to determine if they are fit for running.
A trusted vet will assess their body condition and health and give relevant advice if they are suitable for running or not.
If your dog has an excess weight that will deter them from running, you might want to help to shed off the excess fat and help maintain their body for the running exercise.
The extra weight puts a ton of strain on the dog’s joints and legs, slowing them down and preventing them from covering a longer distance while running.
The next step involves gradually building the retriever’s endurance to make them get used to the oncoming training.
Do not let your Labrador run fast in a single try, mainly if they are not used to it. Like other marathon runners, allow your dog’s stamina to build up and determine if you want a long-distance buddy or a sprinter. However, a Labrador is built for distance rather than seed than other canine breeds.
After picking a shorter route for a start, maintain the consistency and give your Labrador the weekends to rest to ensure they are reenergized for the following training process.
If you maintain the consistency for a week or two and notice that your Labrador is adjusting well, it is okay to increase the millage, but always check them by the vet for better performance.
Running Safety Tips
As some dogs can maintain being close to their owners at all times, some are easily distracted and will sprint into the streets when they notice any commotion. Running with your fur baby is a fun activity that should be done with the necessary precautions in mind.
These precautions are such as:
- Stay hydrated
- Ensure you have your safety kit with you in case of any danger
- Low-light visibility
- Train the dog on when to stop and when to continue running
- Have the right running equipment with you.
When training the Labrador on an extra-long route or a challenging trail, it is essential to train them on when to stop, especially if they show signs of fatigue. Getting them too worked up can result in adverse health conditions, which makes them inactive.
Dogs are surprisingly fun-loving, mischievous, and active. Regardless of the Labrador’s age, breed, or personality, the proper stimulation goes a long way in making your dog active and calming them down.
You can mentally stimulate your dog by taking them for walks, engaging them during play, and providing them with mental stimulation.
Signs that your dog might be exhausted include:
- Whining and crying
- Ying down or sitting and refusing to move
- Pawing and scratching at you to pick them up