Labradors are Dumb: My Boy Leroy

by JT McGee

I don’t think I’ve introduced my pup yet. Meet Leroy, my (roughly) 10-month old lab-mix pup.

I’ve had him for about three months, and it’s been a blast. Dude’s a total idiot — unless you have food, which instantaneously turns him into a modern-day saint.

I’ve had a lot of dogs in my life. A pure-bred golden retriever. A pure-bred lab.

Then an assorted mix of lab-german shepard , lab-everything-under-the-sun, and a chow-golden. Oh — and a lab with the ex. Whoops.

Dogs are what lead me to my child-free for life viewpoint. They’re a pain in the ass, but awesome to have, and exactly the reason I never want kids. After all, you can put a dog in a kennel, but doing the same to a kid is child abuse. Man, I’d make a terrible father.

Anyway, I wanted to take this time to recommend getting a dog. Not just any dog, but a rescue. Preferably, a lab- or golden-mix of something. I swear, they’re not only the best/smartest (sometimes) dogs, but after having a couple pure-breeds, the health benefits of mixing dogs is obvious. My poor pure-bred golden and lab had the worst of problems over time. Mixing, despite what the AKC might say, is the best thing for a dog. Unfortunately, careless breeders have put money before the health of man’s best friend.

They say labs take the longest to mature. And it’s totally true. My boy Leroy still thinks he’s a 7-pound puppy, even though he’s roughly 70 pounds of pure stupid muscle. I love him all the same. But he’s also the friendliest dog in the world, as all labs are.

The oral fixation with this dog is strong. Probably stronger than any lab I’ve had before. He will put anything in his mouth, proudly bring it to me, and expect that he’ll get a “good boy” for it. He loves newspapers, which is a pain because I have a million WSJs laying around that I don’t read.

Sidebar: Newspapers require you get a paper copy with an online subscription because they want to boast broader circulation numbers. It’s a waste of trees, delivery time, and money, but what you you expect from an industry on its death bed?

He’s currently in training for beer fetching. Although he’ll happily open/close the fridge for you, getting him to grab a beer has been the hardest step. Now that he knows “touch,” he’s getting a heck of a lot closer to actually opening the fridge, grabbing a beer, bringing it to you, then going back to close the fridge. Getting him to open the fridge was a piece of cake — I left my friend to watch the apartment/dog on vacation, and he was determined to turn him into a booze-fetcher.

A few things for dog owners:

  • Get a clicker – A clicker is a way to bridge the gap between an action and a treat. You can make a dog associate the sound of a clicker with food. Thus, when you make a click for a particular action, the dog knows he did something right and a treat is on its way. It makes training a dog 10x easier for all of $2. I swear it’s like cheating. I’ve never used one before — instead using an excited “yes” as the marker — but now, I wouldn’t ever go back.
  • Don’t feed your dog horse shit – The reality is a dog didn’t choose you. You chose the dog. Don’t subject it to death-in-a-bag because you’re too cheap to pay $10 more for high-quality food. Go to dog food advisor and see what’s really in your dog’s food. I joke about my dog eating better than I do. He should. After all, he doesn’t shop for me, I shop for him. Even if I were starving, I’d never take him off his expensive (but worth it) dog food. Good food adds years to a dog’s life, and will literally save you a billion bucks in vet bills. The foods on TV are largely terrible products. Please, if you do nothing else today, lookup your dog’s food on the site and see how it ranks.
  • Dogs are the (single) man’s best friend – This should be obvious. Luckily, my pup has a penchant for women. Good boy!
  • Potty training – My dog was pawned on me as being house- and kennel-trained. BS. He was kennel-trained, but certainly not house-trained. It took a week to fix that. Anyway, if you have a puppy (or a worthless cat), Nature’s Miracle is awesome. They’re going to have accidents. Prevent future accidents by spraying the area with Nature’s Miracle. Pro-tip: it also takes blood out of fabric, you know, if you’re a murderer or something.

Anyway, I’m rambling today.

Net-net: don’t feed your dogs crappy food, get a clicker, and be a responsible pet owner and get your dog spayed or neutered. I’m off to teach my dog the final leg of beer fetching. Wish me luck!

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