What does your neighbour with the wonderful two year old Lab say? Would they puppy sit, dog walk, be a second home? Help you? Where did their dog come from and where did they train, can you too?
I scanned most of the replies and think you're getting great advice. Especially about health clearances. There is nothing more tragic than a lab with early arthritis, exercise induced collapse, blindness... the list goes on. If dog-day-care is expensive, wait till you see the vet expenses you could run up with a poorly bred but much loved lab.
(I don't know about the breeder you were thinking about, but it isn't hard to get 5 star reviews on a Lab puppy because... hey, it's a Lab puppy! What's not to like about a Lab puppy? It's only down the road that the bad stuff turns up.)
If I am repeating what some others have mentioned, I apologize. But here are a few thoughts I have:
Your family... you have a 9 and 12 year old. They should be very engaged in raising this dog and learning how to teach it obedience. You might do all the research and put in the time and then find the kids are inadvertently sabotaging your hard work. They have to be totally committed to making the dog the pet they like to be around. You have a 12 year old boy... GREAT!!! He and the dog both need to run off steam (on leash, however. The dog will always be faster than the boy.)
Go to classes.
Old parents... I'm 68 and have 200 pounds of labrador in my house (there are 3 of them). One is a crazy-balls-to-the-wall, they-don't-get-any-more-field-bred-than-this labrador. I've had two knee replacements. And avascular necrosis of one knee cap. In short, I'm sort of a gimp. I can take them anywhere. I walk all three at the same time around the neighborhood. It's all in the training. ("Wait" is huge. I go through a door first. They sit. When I tell them... they can join me. Saves being up-ended from behind or pulled onto my face. Just saying.)
Yes, it would be best if someone was with pup consistently early on. Imagine how scary the world is for a baby dog. But after that... I always had labs when I was working full time. But we constructed a sheltered run in the back yard. I don't believe a dog should be left in the house when you're not there. (Think of all the terrible things they could ingest, the damage they can do to your stuff. The electronics! The carpets! The upholstered furniture! Don't ask me how I know!) Not in your house... but they can be left in their house/run. It in no way makes the dog lonely or neurotic, because you will have already socialized your dog.
You're a police officer. Maybe you have associates who are K9 folks. They could give you practical advice about how to live with a big dog. If some of the K9's are detection types, maybe retrievers... probably labs... their handlers could give you even better advice about what to expect with the breed. You probably know someone who knows someone.
Start now learning about the dog-classes and training clubs in your area.
I had a lab puppy while working full time and being gone from the house 10 hours a day, plus being single with no one else to help. It is doable but time consuming and costly. The first year, I spent a small fortune in doggie daycare, he went two sometimes three days a week. On the days he didn't go I was lucky that my mom was able to stop by at lunch to let him potty, but that was just a quick 15 minute pee break out of his crate. And if you are gone at work all day and have a lab puppy at home, you can't stop at the store on the way home from work and I never made evening plans during the week (which I prefer not to anyways lol). So if you are determined to do it and make it work, it is definitely doable to work full time and also have a lab puppy. Most people do work full time.
Finding the right breeder goes a long way too. and planning ahead.
ETA: Yes sometimes rescue/re-homes are problem dogs. But having adopted two dogs and fostered over 30 over the years (plus been involved in the adoption of so many more and have many friends who foster dogs) - if you do your homework you can find the RIGHT adult with no major issues for your home. I adopted Rocky when he was about 2 years old. He came from a bad environment. But his temperament could not be better. seriously. I fostered many labs who had no major issues. well balanced and adjusted they just needed a bit more daily exercise and some rules (but even there nothing crazy). Or some were surrendered for reasons unrelated to their behaviour and they had been well raised (ex: death of owners; one was a break-up where neither could keep the dog, major move, ect.) If you work with a reputable rescue they'll assess the dog prior to making it available for adoption. Or by the same token, if you pick the breeder in the same way you would screen for a PUPPY then you'll find a dog that was well raised, socialized and trained.
I fostered MANY teenage dogs of active breeds. they were my favorite, 99% of them were GEMS. mostly they just needed proper exercise daily both physical and mental and some boundaries/training. Just like a puppy.
Last edited by Tanya; 03-16-2017 at 08:10 AM.
Rocky and Penny (Feb 10 2013 - July 23 2016)
The people who have the really obnoxious labs are the ones who thought a good dog comes that way right out of the box. They end up living miserably with a dog they no longer want or they spend a fortune on trainers (usually ignoring what they're told, because it's the dog's fault not theirs) or they surrender/rehome it.
I've purposely stayed out of this conversation until now. The OP has been given a ton of good advice regarding placing a Lab puppy in their home. Most of the people here know my story, and I'm not going to go all through it again.
I will say this. Lab rescues are filled with Labs from people who've see that "perfect" Lab, calm, well trained, gentle, etc. The problem is they have no idea what little a$$holes Lab puppies can be, and just how much time, effort, successes, failures, frustrations, and sometimes tears it takes to get that puppy successfully into adulthood. Lab puppies bite, jump, and chew. You can't take your eyes off of them for 2 seconds or they will definitely be doing something they shouldn't.
Those of us who've had Labs for any length of time know a tired Lab is a good Lab. Leaving a under 6 month old puppy for more than 4 or 5 hours will result in a puppy who is a problem waiting to happen.
I went over 20 years between puppies, mainly because my professional life was not conducive to having a puppy. I adopted 4 older Labs during that time. While I didn't have the experience and satisfaction of raising those dogs, they were some of the BEST dogs I've had.
I'm 58 years old and I've been semi-retired for about 6 years, and that's why I decided it was time for a puppy. Without going into all the details, I'm on my 3rd Lab puppy in just over 4 years. Honestly I'm exhausted. I'm puppied out. Brooks is 10 months old, and he's a fairly high drive dog. He pretty much never stops, I spend 2-3 hours per DAY working with him, and another hour or so working with my 5 year old, Sophie. Every day, rain or shine, cold or hot.
Sophie didn't fully mature until she was almost 3. Brooks has a long way to go. I lost the second puppy when he was just over 18 months old to a heart related issue, he was really starting to mature, but I never got to that point.
To the OP, I can fully appreciate you're wanting a puppy. But as others here have advised, I'd highly recommend you contact your local Lab Rescue and adopt. Trust me when I say you'll be glad you did.
Some great advice here and I appreciate that.
We are going to take the summer (if not more) and really make the right decision for all involved, most importantly the dog, whatever we may choose. I don't take all the advice given lightly; it will weigh heavily in our decision.
My folks insist they'll be there for us, whatever we choose. We've had dogs all my life, from German Shepards, Brittany's, Yorkies and our beloved Doxie. Working with the dogs has always been at the forefront of our raising the pups. I hate seeing ill-behaved animals and most of all, abused or neglected animals; I've seen far too many at work and will not allow that to happen. We've always raised our kids to respect and love the animals. If they're laying in their bed, they want quiet time and leave them alone. If they want to play, play with them to get their energy out (both kids and dogs ). I know we would be a fantastic family but like I've said previously, I want to make sure the dog will be happy and not neglected, in their eyes at least.
I will be researching the health factor heavily. I've seen some breeders with those "accolades" but never fully understood what they meant until now. Thank you for that!
I'll post what we end up doing eventually but we're going to take the summer, if not longer, to contemplate the decision.
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