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    1. #11
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      All good advice, I agree with pretty much everything that has been suggested.

      My advice is this. Be patient. Lab puppies can be very difficult to live with. They bite. They chew. They jump. They will tear up anything they can put their teeth on. They will test you every chance they get. At around 7-8 months old, just when you think they are "getting it", they become teenagers, and forget everything you taught them. Keep your expectations low, but make your standards high. Always keep things fun for the puppy. Keep your training sessions short, and always end on a positive note.

      After a couple years of hard work, patience, and hours and hours of training, one day they will grow up, and then you will understand and appreciate all the hard work and effort it took to raise that little Lab puppy. Raising a Lab puppy is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy every minute of the journey.

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    3. #12
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      Congratulations! I saw in one of your other posts that you have at least one child. My kids were 7 and 9 when we got our lab puppy two years ago. It was our first puppy, and we hired a trainer to come to the house a few times in the first month. It was hugely helpful. She worked mostly with the kids on what to do when Archie nipped or jumped, and emphasized how important consistency is. She also taught us learning games we could play with him. One or the other of the kids almost always came to classes with me the first year, but for us those first few private lessons were well worth it. Have fun! Archie is two-and-a-half now, and such a wonderful family dog!

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    5. #13
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      One other suggestion is if you aren't home during the day, hire a dog walker for a mid-day potty break/play session. Also baby puppies usually eat three times a day so the dog walker could feed the puppy too.
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    7. #14
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      I only work 3 days per week. Those days my Dad will come over 1-2 times to let him out and feed him!

    8. #15
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      I'll see what I can add



      When can you start taking a puppy for walks on a leash? Even if just down the block...?
      -We didn't take Murphy out until about 16wks. I was the over protective


      When do you start using a collar?
      -Immediately. Like others have said, take it off before he goes in the crate.


      We live in Wisconsin where it's snowy... How big of an area should I have cleared off for Teddy to do his business?
      -Not a "huge" area, but sufficient enough for him to walk and "sniff". Try and make this area where you'd like him to go all the time, even in the summer months.


      While doing his business, do I keep him on a leash or is me being out there with him sufficient?
      -Keep him on the leash. He needs to know that you mean business first (pun intended) and then after he's done, you can play. This comes in handy for during the night when he'll whine to go out. Obviously, you're not in the mood to play at 2am. Make sure you keep the trip short. Small praise like "Good boy" and then right back to bed.


      We are crate training. Is it smart to have a crate in our bedroom for nighttime and another in the laundry room for when we're gone?
      -I think one crate is enough. I recommend the laundry room crate (that's where Murphy is). It's much easier since everything is in one room (food, water, his bed, etc.) Plus if he has an accident, it's easier to clean up.


      I've read to not keep much in the crate for the first few weeks between accidents and chewing. What all do you recommend be in there with him?
      -I left a Kong and a nylabone (regular one, not a puppy one) in there for Murphy. I made the mistake of leaving a plush bed in there...I woke up one morning to stuffing EVERYWHERE. Never got one again. He also ate a chunk of it (which I am surprised/thankful that it came out that afternoon).


      Best puppy toys?
      -Puppy kong (large, blue one) is the best and is still Murphy's favorite. The Kong safestix is a great one as well. I swear by the Kong rubber toys (the plush ones tend to get eaten ). The Kong squeezz line rocks too - the squeaky noise keeps him entertained. (But remember - don't leave those in the crate and monitor him with the squeaky/plush toys!)


      Do I need a sweater or anything for him when we go outside?
      -Nope, but if it's cold, you need one. You don't know how long he'll be dragging you around the yard. Could be 5mins, could be 10. It all depends on what he feels like


      Pet insurance... Yes or no?
      -I'd say yes. We haven't gotten around to it for Murphy yet, but definitely.


      When has a puppy gotten all the shots necessary to socialize?
      -About 12-16wks


      When driving in a car, should I purchase a car crate?
      -I don't think so. A harness of some sort is sufficient. There's a thread somewhere on here about the safety ratings on the latest devices. I'll see if I can find it


      I've heard having a radio or some kind of white noise on while you're gone helps. Any opinion on this?
      -Do it. I left (and still leave) the iPad on when I leave. I used to set it on the floor next to the crate, but now I just set it on the counter. I have the QVC app loaded and leave it on when I go out for extended periods of time. (Disclaimer: I watch QVC 24/7 so I think he likes it due to knowing what it is and the people talking make him feel like someone is there. People talking is the best to leave on IMO, so any news stations or talk shows.)


      How big of a puppy bed should I buy initially? Looking at putting it in the living room to lounge on when we're home.
      -I recommend a Primopad (Primo Pads). Murphy ripped up anything we put in there and the Primopad is the most indestructible one I could find. Members on here recommend them as well. They're basically giant rubber mats (but they're comfortable to the dogs apparently LOL). I'd recommend that for the crate bed and then maybe something plush for the living room. Murphy doesn't have a bed in the living room, as he enjoys sleeping on the couch, in the recliner, or under the counter.

      Keep us updated (and post lots of pictures!)
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    9. #16
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      Lots of good advice already. Her's my two cents:

      Puppy walks:

      I don't go on full-on walks with my dogs until they are loose leash trained, at about six months (though they are not perfectly trained by this point, they are really catching on and ready for short training walks in the real world). Some puppies don't even want to go on long walks for a bit, and I would not force it. Practice loose leash walking inside, or out front, or in the driveway, etc. for a few minutes at a time. Never let them pull. The loose leash walking thing is a big issue for a lot of people. Someone mentioned the 'forced exercise' rule of thumb, so you'll want to follow that as well.

      Collars:

      I put a collar on my pup when I pick them up. Make sure you have tags. As a pup I leave collars on in the house, but NOT in the crate. My adult dogs are naked in the house, but that's just a personal preference.

      Snow/potty spot:

      You don't need a large spot.

      Leashing while potty training:

      YES! Puppy should potty before playing and by leashing him, you can enforce it. Stand still and quiet like a tree, let him do his business, use your words like "go potty", reward and when he is finished feel free to take off the leash and play. Give puppy x amount of time to potty and if he doesn't go, carry him inside, crate for 10 mins. and try again. This will eliminate the puppy that goes outside, messes around, then potties as soon as he's back inside. I can't even tell you how great it is to have a dog that is in the habit of doing his business right away! It comes in handy when the weather is bad, you're running late for something, you go to dog school, etc.

      Crate:

      Yes on crate in bedroom. I'd personally put the second crate someplace where you spend a lot of time versus the laundry room. There will be times when the puppy will be crated when you are home and it's easier on the puppy if he is still with you versus in a room alone. Some examples would be, you are waiting for the puppy to potty (as in example above), you have guests that cannot deal with a puppy (i.e., a friend with a crawling baby stops by), the puppy needs a "forced" nap, you are cleaning up a potty accident on the carpet, someone is stopping by quickly and you cannot manage the puppy, your child has a friend over who is afraid of dogs, etc.

      Stuff in crate:

      I prefer stuffed Kongs and would keep several stuffed and in the freezer for crate time, examples above, and I'd always place one in there before I left the house. Besides the puppy, this was the only thing in the crate. There may be other toys deemed safe that others have used. My dogs did not get bedding until they were about a year old as they chewed it.

      Puppy toys:

      Can be nearly anything you find at the store as long as he is supervised. You will hear stories about every kind of toy available hurting a puppy, and typically this is due to lack of supervision or attention.

      Sweaters:

      Typically no. But if your puppy doesn't have an undercoat, that may change this? I'm not sure. I've never had a Lab without the coat of a bear.

      Pet insurance:

      I don't have it. I did, for a bit, but for me it has cost more in the long-run. Now, I put the monthly premium aside in a dog emergency fund and I carry a zero balance credit card that covers as much as pet insurance would cover. It would have been excellent when I was a lot younger, when I could not get that type of credit and had less money -- however, you have to be able to pay upfront and are then reimbursed. It just depends on your situation. Just like any type of insurance, if something comes up, people really appreciate it, but if you do the long-term math, it typically does not pan out.

      Puppy shots:

      I take mine to a trusted and reputable puppy class after second shots, around ten weeks. I have friends come over with vaccinated dogs or I might go to their place. If I take my puppy out, I carry him. Depending on his temperament, I may put him in a shopping cart with a towel at a dog-friendly store. Linus went to a few open bars with me as a puppy and sat on my lap (the good thing about getting a puppy in the summer)! When he was fully vaccinated, I was less worried about where he walked, and by that time they are too big to carry anyway.

      Car crate:

      Always a great idea!

      White noise:

      I left music on for my dogs, but I have two dogs and a cat, so probably didn't need to.

      Puppy bed:

      Get one big enough for a full grown dog. No reason to purchase new beds for every growth spurt. He will be nearly full size within about six months of bringing him home.

    10. #17
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      Thanks for all of the advice! We're beyond excited. 1 more week!

    11. #18
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      Your going to get a lot of different advice but also the same advice. Here would be mine

      Quote Originally Posted by Lidlsadie View Post
      Hello! Teddy comes home in 3 weeks so I'm frantically trying to prepare and makes sure I have some idea of what I'm doing (never had a dog before!) Teddy is a chocolate lab and will be about 7.5 weeks old when he comes home! I have a couple of questions if you don't mind!


      • When can you start taking a puppy for walks on a leash? Even if just down the block...?
        Right away, it is a lot easier to teach them to walk on leash when little than when 75 to 100 lbs pulling on you. Since winter time I would practice this in the house as well. I would walk around your house and yard as they get bigger. Basically what I did was week 1 and 2 around the house. In the driveway, the walk in front of my house. Week three we went to the neighbors house, week 4 two neighbors houses etc. Just short trips maybe 5 minutes or so.
      • When do you start using a collar?
        I put it on when I picked up from the breeder. I would get a good adjustable one cause they will grow fast. In just 2 months they will outgrow the puppy one. Again remember you are establishing the rules the day you bring them home. The puppy you are training now is the dog they will grow into.
      • We live in Wisconsin where it's snowy... How big of an area should I have cleared off for Teddy to do his business?
        As big as you need. Depends how deep the snow is and so on. If you only have a few inches then wouldn't bother but if it is over his head then yeah you do not want to make going outside sucky because that could prolong potty training. Going outside to potty should be fun and lots of praise. I would keep boots you can slip on and go right by the back door cause when those pups have to go it is NOW!!!!
      • While doing his business, do I keep him on a leash or is me being out there with him sufficient?
        Leash for a while pups have just been on the planet for a few weeks everything is new and exciting and they will be exploring everything and putting everything in their mouths. Everything, there may be times you put them on leash in the house.
      • We are crate training. Is it smart to have a crate in our bedroom for nighttime and another in the laundry room for when we're gone?
        Yes I would. Because it gets cumbersome moving the crate. I had 2 crates one in bedroom one in den.
      • I've read to not keep much in the crate for the first few weeks between accidents and chewing. What all do you recommend be in there with him?
        I put nothing but a towel, even that got removed as he started chewing.
      • Best puppy toys?
        Kong Puppy toys and Nylabone Puppy chews, like the keyrings. Puppy toys are softer rubber. Pups have Puppy teeth they will lose in a few months and they are building up strength so soft chewy toys are great. Hemi had a soft rubber ball with a flashing light in it he loved. Every dog is different and there is no perfect toy so be prepared to try a few. Some will be hits others not.
      • Do I need a sweater or anything for him when we go outside?
        Shouldn't. As a puppy your not going to be outside for long stretches of time. 5-10 minutes.
      • Pet insurance... Yes or no?
        I have it and would recommend getting it immediately. As a puppy they paid me more than i paid them the first year as they will usually pay for vaccinations and so on. Not so much anymore, but it is good idea to have. A simple bee sting on the weekend when they chomp on a bee or something, emergency vet can run you $500
      • When has a puppy gotten all the shots necessary to socialize?
        You should be socializing right away. I mean immediately. This is one of the most important things. However you need to do it smartly. They can meet lots of people, they should be meeting lots of people. They should meet dogs but they should eb dogs you know are healthy and vaccinated. Like family and friends. You should be doing this as much as possible.
      • When driving in a car, should I purchase a car crate?
        Up to you, I use dog seatbelts because a crate won't fit. However there should be something to keep them safe and restrain them. You do not want a puppy running around in the car while your driving.
      • I've heard having a radio or some kind of white noise on while you're gone helps. Any opinion on this?
        I play classical music, also there are Music albums you can buy "Through a Dogs Ear" calming music designed for dogs.
      • How big of a puppy bed should I buy initially? Looking at putting it in the living room to lounge on when we're home.
        I would honestly wait a few months. When your home the puppy will not be lounging. When they finally do crash it will be wherever they fall. I highly recommend this Amazon.com: North States Superyard Play Yard, Grey, 6 Panel (Discontinued by Manufacturer): Baby because there will be times when you want to cook or need a break and so on. As they get older this can be separated into section to protect electronics like them getting behind the TV and so on especially as they enter the teething stage and electric and cable cords look like fun. You can use it to block off certain parts of the house. You may use it several times in the dogs life. Like when the dog is recovering from injury or surgery from spay or neuter when you need to keep them calm.

      The first few months are extremely rough. They really are. Just remember things get better, come here to complain and get advice. Take lots of pictures they grow very fast. This time next year you will pretty much have a full grown dog.
      Last edited by Jeff; 01-11-2016 at 04:07 PM.

    12. #19
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      When can you start taking a puppy for walks on a leash? Even if just down the block...?
      You shouldn’t be going for “walks” formally. Labs do have lots of energy, however it needs to be expelled on their terms. Not yours. For example, if you have a back yard, let them run around. Throw toys, let him chase you etc. This gives him the opportunity to stop, rest, smell things etc.

      When do you start using a collar?
      As soon as pick up. I’ve known a couple of breeders that say bring your collar to “claim” your pup. The breeder keeps that collar on the pup until it’s time for you to pick the pup up. Make sure you buy a smaller size. After a few months, they will need a bigger one. I buy just a simple snap buckle in a half inch width I think. It’s pretty adjustable – you will find every few weeks you will loosen it.

      We live in Wisconsin where it's snowy... How big of an area should I have cleared off for Teddy to do his business?
      Realistically, maybe 5 square feet. They don’t need much room at all. I would suggest going outside with them on a leash every single time. Yes, it is a lot of work HOWEVER, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

      While doing his business, do I keep him on a leash or is me being out there with him sufficient?
      It stops them from associating outside time as play time, when it should be bathroom time. I suggest staying calm, no speaking, no talking, no frustration, and no excitement. Have a command that means “GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW”. For example, our boys were trained with “DO A GOOD BOY”. I know that it’s silly, we’ve done it for years and years.

      Stand in one spot. Plant your feet…remember you aren’t going for a walk. It’s bathroom time. I tell people to use a standard 6 foot leash. That is all the room the pup gets. He can go to the end of it and that is it. I pretend that I am a tree. He can try to pull me, but he won’t succeed.

      The minute that he squats, say nothing. Let him finish!!!!! As soon as he stands give him MASSIVE PRAISE, PETS, EXCITEMENT, JUMP FOR JOY, DANCE, WAKE THE NEIGHBOURS, WHO CARES!!!

      This is a great thing to teach. My black lab is a working dog – in short, I needed him to be able to go to the bathroom anywhere, any time, and on any surface. This meant, standing outside with him in the rain, sleet, snow etc. Gore-Tex is your friend…


      We are crate training. Is it smart to have a crate in our bedroom for nighttime and another in the laundry room for when we're gone?
      It is smart to have a crate wherever you are. This means, if you are in the kitchen cooking, have his crate open and in plain view of you. If you are watching TV, have the crate open and in plain view of you. The more access he has to the crate, the more he is going to associate it as HIS. You can feed him for the first few months in his crate. You can keep toys in their during the day for him etc.

      Just remember, tell him he is a good boy every single time he goes into the crate on his own terms.


      I've read to not keep much in the crate for the first few weeks between accidents and chewing. What all do you recommend be in there with him?
      Honestly, nothing really. Bottom line, if you can’t be home with him to let him out every hour or so…there will be accidents. The less you have in the crate, the easier it is for you to clean up. The only “toy” I would leave would be a black extreme Kong. There is very little chance a lab will ruin these. They are safe. My boy is a professional toy destroyer. It has taken us a lot of time and money to figure out what he can and can’t destroy.

      We tried a few crate beds…all were destroyed within no time. We would keep a folded towel inside during the day. Eventually, we just kept him on the plastic tray and that was it.

      Best puppy toys?
      This is totally dependent on the pup. Kongs are good for various reasons. Other than that, you will just need to experiment.

      Do I need a sweater or anything for him when we go outside?
      Probably not. A labs coat is made to insulate them in the toughest conditions…especially water. That’s why they make such great adventure dogs. I’ve heard some people say things like “he is an indoor dog, we remove all of his undercoat so he gets very cold. It’s not hard to tell if a dog is cold. We have done a lot of search and rescue runs in horrific weather conditions. Sleet, snow, -40 degrees celcius. My boy is a trooper…he is cold, but he wants to work. The weather won’t stop him. That’s the great thing about labs.

      Pet insurance... Yes or no?
      Up to you. Some people LOVE it, some people HATE it. Do your own research and decide. We personally do not have pet insurance.

      When has a puppy gotten all the shots necessary to socialize?
      I think 16 weeks is usually all shots. However, this does not mean wait until 16 weeks to socialize. No dog parks or anything like that. If you know fully vaccinated dogs, after a few weeks, I would introduce them.

      Socialization for dogs does not mean the same thing for humans. When we think of the word socialize, it means with PEOPLE. However for pups, socialization is so much more. It’s not just about meeting dogs, and people. More importantly, it’s about introducing them to new environments, new surfaces, new tastes, new things etc. Socialization for working dogs can be anything to walking through water, walking over metal floor grates, walking up and down stairs, etc. Yes part of this is “desensitization” however, the more of these things you can introduce to your pup, the better. A great thing I was taught was to go to parks with big play sets, and walk your dog through. Up the stairs, down the slide, across a swinging bridge etc.


      When driving in a car, should I purchase a car crate?
      Up to you. Pups less than 6 months, I usually keep in a dog hammock in the back seat of the truck. After 6 months, I transition them to the trunk behind the seats. Honestly, the dogs prefer this. It’s safer for them if you hit the brakes. It’s cute and nice to have them in the front seat – but if you start them in the front, before you know it, they will try to sneak up to the front seat while you are driving down the highway…labs are not the most graceful dogs, and they certainly aren’t aware of their size….ever.

      I've heard having a radio or some kind of white noise on while you're gone helps. Any opinion on this?
      No idea. It certainly won’t hurt anything.

      How big of a puppy bed should I buy initially? Looking at putting it in the living room to lounge on when we're home.
      If you are very serious about crate training…no dog bed. If the pup wants to lounge, it should be in their crate. It is important to train your pup to have a strong understanding that the crate is their place to sleep, and relax.

    13. #20
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      This is such a good thread with lots of good advice and suggestions. Maybe we should make this a sticky?

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