Neutering or spaying not recommended until your puppy is done growing,
refer to article
There are other articles on this and most vets now also recommend waiting
until your dogs is done growing.
There are many reasons, old enough to go under anesthesia,
done growing as when they are fixed this interferes with
their bone growth. Being a responsible is number one,
I have never had one of my labs get pregnant or inpregnate a girl
unless I want them to..I am a responsible owner, whether I have one or 7 dogs,
I always watch them and do not leave them
outside alone, whether they are in heat or not.
I always watch my dogs until I know they are trained, some at age 2 others
age 4..Every dog is different, just like children...
Just love your dog and you will have a happy healthy dog..
Here are a few things you'll need for your new puppy:
Your Responsibilities that come with getting a puppy:
NAME! - Short and simple names are easier for your pup to recognize.
For those who
are not familiar with the AKC and UKC registration naming, please visit
IDENTIFICATION- The wondering trait comes with all dogs, so we
firmly encourage you to find a good collar with a permanently
attached name tag,
including current address and phone number. As an added measure,
you may also consider microchip identification. Your best bet is to never
let your dog out of your sight and fence in your yard so they can
play and be safe.
COLLAR AND LEASH-
Your pup will be growing pretty rapidly
the first couple of months.
If you plan to collar it, expect to replace the collar often.
The collar should fit snugly
but allow for 1-2 fingers
width of space between collar and neck.
Nylon collars work fine for pups. NYLON
washable collars, adjustable, 12-16 inches
for their first collar and as narrow as you
can find, I prefer 1/4- 1/2 inch.
Your leash should be of leather,
and no more than
6 feet long and ½ inch wide
FOOD AND WATER DISHES-
We recommend stainless steel or ceramic or heavy
weight plastic food
and water bowls. Puppies need frequent watering,
and their water must be kept
in a routine location
away from bedding.
Do not leave water down all day until your pup is house broken.
Leave a bowl outside however for when
they are playing outside and they can drink more.
NEVER let a lab drink continuously,
they may develop bloat which can kill them..
GROOMING - Labs don't need a bath often.
That is a characteristic of the breed
that makes them favorable. They do need (and love) a weekly brushing.
Brushing helps simulate the oil glands that
keep their coat clean and fresh.
It also helps reduce the amount of hair found on your
carpet and wherever else.
Most Pet stores sell brushes suitable for Labs.
Purchase a flea comb and a good brush.
Always check their teeth and their ears and paws.
Brush your pups teeth with doggy
toothpaste if you would like, it is a great bonding process.
Their nails should be clipped regularly.
Some Lab's nails need clipping more than others,
depending on the rate they grow and where they are walked.
If you look closely,
there is a dark vein down the middle of the nail.
Clip off the part where the vein isn't present.
Just clip off the points and
walk them on a cement surface and let them dig in a safe spot in your yard.
If you mess up and clip too close,
it can be a messy situation, so be careful.
I use flour or a special product to stop the bleeding.
We have found the scissor-type
to be the best and easiest to use.
Chew toys can help spare your house and
furniture from the wrath of your new pup.
Balls and knotted rope work well too
(but avoid tug-of-war and games that encourage
your puppy to fight with you).
Do not use training dummies for toys if you are planning on
hunting your lab.
We use 10-inch rawhide Retriever rolls to satisfy our dog's chewing habits
and they love them.
I like fleece stuffed animals for them to play with,
gumabones are great toys also and they love kong toys with treats stuffed inside.
Hard rubber balls and balls design that are indestructable are wonderful toys for you pup.
Kong toys stuffed with p-nut butter of non fat yogart mixed with some canned salmon and
Bedding must be washable. A radio or ticking clock can help soothe your
puppy to sleep during the first few nights at his/her new home.
Avoid bedding that can be easily chewed-up. Make sure the bedding is clean and
dry at all times.
We highly recommend using a crate as a place for your
puppy to sleep at night.
Your pup will develop a sense of security with the crate
and will readily use it when traveling.
Many Lab owners I know use crates throughout their pet's lifetime.
Labs require the size for Large breeds.
I recommend 2 crates,
one in the family room and one in your bedroom, the one your bedroom should be the
plastic vari kennel model 400 series.
PUPPY PROOFING YOUR HOME:
Once you decide where your puppy will sleep, think about which areas
of your house and yard are going to be off limits. It's a good idea to limit access
that your pup has to your house and yard, not only to make the task of
housetraining easier, but to also make it a safer environment.
If you have a swimming pool,
be sure your pup does not have access to it. We can't tell you how many horror stories
we've heard of puppies drowning in family pools.
Puppies are known to chew on anything.
That could mean furniture, shoes, the siding on
your house, carpet, etc. Chewing is normal behavior for a puppy,
so provide lots of safe toys to satisfy this
leave a pup/dog or anyone in a car for more than 10 minutes.
That is too long if it is hot outside or you live in the south.
Do take your dog with you unless you are planning on bringing him in wherever you are going.
This is your responsibility to your animal, to keep them safe.
Put the kitchen trash in either the garage or high enough to be out of your
Be sure electric cords are not exposed; they can be very hazardous. Some plants are toxic.
Take an inventory of the plants in your house and yard and consult a local plant nursery
to determine if any could harm your pet.
Check all fencing for holes and gaps that a pup can squeeze through.
FEEDING YOUR LAB
Generally, puppies are fed a Puppy Food formula for the FIRST 4-6 months only.
Your pup will be eating some type of puppy food, large breed formula when they leave us.
I also recommend 1 teaspoon of yogurt a day. Always cover puppies food with hot water
before you give it to him/her.
Make it look like a bowl of cereal. It will help slow down their eating and prevent bloat,
which can kill your dog very quickly.
Do not leave water down for puppy all the time until he/she is asking for the door
and is housebroken.
Ice is good to chew on and helps their sore mouths.
I also give my dogs, once they are about 6 months old fruits and veggies, eggs, steak,
NO BONES, chicken, whatever I am eating. Mine love cranberry sauce.
Please switch to puppy to adult food by 6 months old
unless vet recommends something different or we discuss something to the contrary.
We recommend that you follow the advice of your vet.
Improper feeding can actually stunt your puppy's growth and
may contribute to serious health problems like obesity, bone disorders,
and heart or kidney disease.
I like an adult food for your lab by 6 months that has glucosamine in it, many do now,
Science Diet Adult does as well as Wellness, Adult formula and Nutro Large breed.
Fromm Gold has glucosamine and chondrotin in the puppy and adult formula.
We will discuss all this and any other concerns on your visit with your puppy.
I give my labs a 1000 mg. fish oil capsule once a day, when they are 6 months old..
TREATS - Treats are a real good way to reward your Lab for favorable behavior.
They are useful for some training purposes or just for fun, and Labs love them.
I avoid overdoing them when training though for the simple reason they start to
I believe praise is the best reward for reinforcing good behavior.
For treats I always keep some kibble in my pocket.
Many of my treats are fruits and veggies, apples, etc, in moderation.
If you like to make your own, it is a great idea as you
know what you are putting in your treats, yogart, p-nut butter,
wheat flour or corn meal, honey, I have found many recipes in different sites,
if you need help finding them let me know..
Definite Don'ts on Treats!
Here are items to avoid:
No Chocolate: This can be dangerous for dogs.
No Cookies: High in fat, low in nutrition.
No Dairy products: Many dogs are lactose intolerant, which causes diarrhea.
Yogurt is not a dairy product that bothers them so please give them yogurt every day.
Put some in their Kong toy and freeze it for them.
They will enjoy lapping out the frozen yogurt
and it will keep them busy for a while.
No Bones (from meat and poultry): Can break into shards that may stick in
or intestine. Can also break teeth.
We also highly discourage feeding lots of table scraps.
They're not good for the health
of Labs and teach them bad etiquette.
Veggies and fruit are very good for your lab, in moderation.
Grooming Your Lab:
Keeping your new Lab well-groomed helps maintain its overall health.
Brushing the Coat - Labs don't require baths often,
but frequent brushing helps reduce the baths they occasionally do need.
Brushing stimulates the glands that
provide the oils that keep a Lab's coat clean and odor-free.
After a full-day in the field with all the mud and the water,
we brush our dogs to get them clean again.
This also removes loose hair that otherwise may end up in your house.
Training, Discipline, and Exercise:
Do it Yourself? - We highly recommend you train your own Lab
if you have the time and knowledge to do it.
A good part of the training process concerns teaching the
owner how to handle the dog anyway.
There are many good books that will teach
you how to do this. It requires a lot of time to do a proper and thorough job.
You can also join your local Retriever Club and get help from fellow members.
There are many good professional trainers available too.
HOUSETRAINING YOUR PUP- Please be patient. Housetraining begins with the
first day. Always use a selected area of the yard. Take your puppy out as soon as
it wakes up in the morning, after naps, immediately after meals and drinking, and
just before bedtime. Take your puppy out every ½ to ¾ of an hour when you are playing
with the pup in the house the first few weeks and always use the same door.
Young puppies are rarely able to go through the night without the need to eliminate.
You must take the pup out several times a night the first week or so.
We cannot stress how important it is for you to be available for your pup
during the housebreaking period.
We also understand you can't be Superperson and be
everywhere at once.
The best scenario for a Lab puppy is a small, confined area
for sleeping and shelter from the elements with easy access to
the great outdoors for peeing and pooping
and exploring and you with him when he goes out at all times,
to make sure what he is chewing on and that he does not get lost or hurt.
They do not like to be outside alone anyway.
When your puppy has an accident in the house, immediately take it
outside once the pup is done.
Do not make a big deal out of the accident as you are reinforcing bad behavior.
That goes with all behavior you do not like, it is best to distract them and
do something else with them if they seem to want to get in trouble,
it is usually just boredom. If you find that your pup has had an accident,
just ignore it and bring him outside and see if you can get him to go again
and then big praise.
Be aware, most of the time it is the owner's fault
when a pup has an accident in the house, not the pups;
so be consistent.
Praise your puppy often for good elimination habits.
Consistency is necessary as your
pup depends on going outside at the same time every day.
You should be able to have
your pet trained within a one month period. Here is a good link to even more
information on housetraining:
DISCIPINING YOUR PUPPY- Be consistent with your pup.
Don't allow it to get
away with bad behavior one time and be disciplined for the same thing the next.
Firmly correct your pup when it does wrong, and praise it with petting,
hugs and affection when it does right. NEVER resort to harsh physical punishment.
There is nothing more damaging to the bond that develops between owner (or handler)
and Lab than harsh physical punishment. Use "NO!" in a firm voice as a proper means
of correction. Labs respond to tone-of-voice very well, even when mildly used.
Always avoid yelling at your Lab.
Your point can be made more effectively through a firm and abrupt tone.
Be sure your Lab knows who's in charge...and that better be you.
Family quarrels will upset Labs too.
My Labs will sometimes leave the room when I'm working
on the computer...hmmm. They sense when matters are tense.
My last words: when handling your Lab, treat it like you would your child;
after all, it will become one. Make it a good, well disciplined child.
EXERCISING YOUR PUP-
Exercise is very important to the physical
and mental health of your pup. Fitness is also the first step in avoiding
obesity and the problems that come with it.
NO JOGGING, HIKING, JUMPING OR ANY POUNDING OF
THE JOINTS UNTIL YOUR PUP IS 2 YEARS OLD!!!!!!
LABS LOVE EXERCISE-
as well as the added attention they get from
spending time with you. Be careful not to overdo it, or you could cause
health problems ranging from exhaustion to heatstroke to bone problems
during the growing years. Your Lab will be a great inspiration for you to
stay fit as well. Whether you're into slow walks, brisk walks around
the neighborhood, daily workouts on training,
your Lab will demand a
lot of exercise and provide excellent company
during these types of activities.
This is a great opportunity for bonding.
Introduce your new puppy to water when it's young.
Do not allow it in the deep end until it becomes familiar with paddling around.
Before long it will become second nature. If you don't have a pond of your own,
find a local park that has one and make routine visits there.
Be sure your pup has been immunized for parvo first though.
If your dog is ever overheated, cool him/her off from the outside in!
Wrap in icepacks, small sips of water and get him/her to the vets
Any questions be sure to feel free to ask me at any time
through out your pups life.
6 weeks: pups get a puppy shot from my vet.
10 weeks: a repeat puppy shot from your vet. plus get some
Frontline for ticks and
fleas and your interceptor for heartworm.
Buy just a few as they go by weight and
the puppy will be gaining weight fast
14 weeks:the pups last booster and rabies. some vets
do not like to give these
vaccines together and may have you come back the
following week for the booster.
I recommend you do not give the rabies with the
booster as this is too much on the
pups immune system.
Always bring a stool sample with you to the vet.
It is a good idea to bring you dog to the vet every year for a physical,
not necessarily booster shots however.
I would like your vets opinion on
doing Titers, measuring the
dogs blood supply to see if he/she needs any additional booster shots yet.
Usually by year 3 or sooner the titers should show plenty of some vaccines.
I do not use Leptospirosis vaccines as they have caused serious reactions
in some of my pups.
Ask you vet if there are many cases of it in your area.
I do not believe in the lyme vaccine either.
If dogs get lyme, which many will despite the vaccine,
they really do not get that sick with it...
but do give them the antibiotics if they test positive for lyme.