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    1. #1
      rthomas61's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2017
      Thanked: 6

      Hello...and a question, kinda long too!


      New member here and looking for some information. Hopefully, this is the right sub-forum for my question.

      My wife and I own a home in Massachusetts and have 2 children; a 12 year old boy and 9 year old girl. We had our Doxie for 13 wonderful years,and, unfortunately, he has crossed the Rainbow Bridge 2 weeks ago. Though we enjoyed the breed very much, we are leaning towards a larger "Fun" dog for the family.

      My wife works as a teachers aid during the day and I work as a Police Officer 3p-11p. As you can see, our time is fairly broken up. During the summer, we have a seasonal campsite (camper) in Bourne. My wife would stay there all summer and I would be there on my rotating days off.

      Herein lies the dilemma....

      I am often subjected to working dayshift overtime/court etc. That would leave our future family member home alone in the house for 8-9 hours of the day, usually not more than that. Our neighbors at the cape have a beautiful Yellow Lab that is the most gentile and quiet lab I have ever seen. Perhaps that's where we developed the affection towards a larger breed. We sometimes visit the in-laws in Maine and used to leave our Doxie with my 70+ year old parents who own a Yorkie.

      Our concern is this....

      1. The time "alone" that our new pup will have to endure, both as a "pup" and throughout his/her life

      2. The ability of the pup to be both gentile and undemanding on my parents and their dog.

      I would love to hear your opinion on our dilemma. We love the Lab breed. They are beautiful and if they are anything like our neighbors dog, both fun and very good with the kids. I just don't want to subject the dog to any unnecessary stress with being left alone should the need arise and the "burden" my parents might have to endure should they decide to watch our future furbaby.

      Hopefully, this makes sense. I have read about a lot of breeds and just can't see us getting into another "small dog" with the kids growing older. I want them to be able to toss the ball and play and walk with the new breed and it seems a Lab is just the ticket we are looking for.

      Basically, we want a "fun" dog that we can take on rides, run around with and play ball with. We don't have a fenced yard and are on a corner lot with2 driveways so it would be a front yard play area.

      Any help you folks might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated!

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      Shelley's Avatar
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      May 2014
      United States
      Thanked: 1445
      Hi there!

      In your situation, I would try to get an older puppy, or a retired show dog, that has some training. It's not fair to leave a growing puppy routinely for 8-9 hours at a time, it's Ok occasionally for an adult dog, but not during the critical growth, training and bonding period of a puppy for the first year or two. You could get a pet sitter or trusted neighbor to let the puppy/dog out etc... If you could time a puppy coming home when your wife is out for the summer, (probably too late for this season) it could work to get a puppy, because by the time it is time to go back to school, they puppy should be crate trained and housebroken, if your family works hard, but still too much for your parents to take on for a while.

      A Labrador puppy will not be "gentle and undemanding" for your parents for at least a year or two, and will need to be taught to be gentle with the Yorkshire Terrier. Labrador puppies are rambunctious, and don't know they are bigger than their smaller playmates, and can accidentally hurt them.

      Puppies, especially Labrador puppies require a huge time commitment at first, to have the time, training and patience to become and well behaved member of the family. Labradors are Great family dogs, but they do not come straight out the chute that way.

      So my advice would be to call around and see if any breeders near you have an adult they want to retire, that is already good with kids and small dogs. In this case I would not go the "rescue" route, because you have kids, elderly family members, and small dogs in the family, a well socialized show or competition dog that has good manners and reliable background would suit you really well I think.

    3. The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Shelley For This Useful Post:

      Abulafia (03-14-2017), barry581 (03-15-2017), Charlotte K. (03-13-2017), Doreen Davis (03-13-2017), katALlabs (03-13-2017), POPTOP (03-13-2017), smartrock (03-13-2017), SunDance (03-13-2017)

    4. #3
      Senior Dog
      SunDance's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Ellicott City, MD
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      Shelley said what I was going to mention and then some.

      Much good luck with your search. Welcome to the board. (stick around regardless of what you end up getting)
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    5. #4
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Eastern Ontario Canada
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      welcome and sorry for your loss.

      A note that labs generally take MANY years and LOTS of training to become gentle and quiet So expect at least 2-3 years of crazy and then a few more to settle into lower needs!

      i'll start with question 2 first: that is going to take lots of time and training. labs are rambunctious puppies that get big fast and have lots of energy. Depending on how diligent you are with training and socialization it will take more or less time to get the puppy to be "calm" around the yorkie and not jump/bump into your parents. There are actions you can take from day 1 to limit the success they get when jumping on people and then further training you can do so it's not a huge issue BUT labs are big and energetic so some care will need to be taken until they are adult (let's say 3-4 years old). So your parents may not be the best dog-sitting option for many years yet, have another option. But yes a well socialized lab with some care should absolutely learn to respect the yorkie - now I will note this also depends on the YORKIE - are they going to instigate the other dog? are they socialized and ok with bigger dogs?

      No fenced yard will take more care and work. I don't believe in letting a dog offleash in an unfenced area until they have learned a solid recall. But you can make use of a harness and a long line (with supervision of course). Consider this as a complicating aspect for exercise and for general care (you'll have to leash up the puppy during house training, etc.

      1 - time alone will be more of an issue for a puppy. They can only hold their bladder as babies for an hour per month of age so you'd need to have a neighbour or friend or dog walker come let the puppy out mid day. Once they are older and have ability to hold thier bladder, then it's not terrible (though some will disagree) HOWEVER, the dog deserves your attnetion the rest of the day. Ex: I work away long hours so I don't go out on evenings because my dog has already been alone 9 hours. Plus it means waking up very early to ensure he gets exercise and attention before I go from work and he eats up a lot of my evening. A young lab will need on average an hour or more of exercise daily. Walks are a good part of exercise but a young dog needs more running around time PLUS mental stimulation (labs are hunting dogs and smart so you need to work their brain).

      So sure I think your scenario can work with some possible issues (like you parents may not be able to dog sit for awhile; get a dog walker the first few months) but will require a lot of your time to train and exercise and the lack of a fence makes exercise just a bit more work until they have a solid recall (which will take a while - yes puppies tend to stay closer but once they get more confident they are more likely to explore and find other things like exploring of higher valu than just being with you). A young lab is a lifestlye.

      one good option would be to adopt an adult lab from a reputable breeder or from a reputable rescue! In fact, because of my schedule and not having $2000 to spend on dog walkers for the first 6 months, my plan is to get a "non puppy" from a breeder for my next dog (or possibly a rescue depending what I find first)..
      Last edited by Tanya; 03-13-2017 at 01:05 PM.

    6. #5
      Senior Dog
      Doreen Davis's Avatar
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      May 2014
      New York
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      8-9 hours without some form of daycare to break up the pups day i.e. someone coming in to let them out/walk them etc. is a challenge for a young pup. I would recommend an older pup too as Shelley describes. The bigger issue from someone who has been through it prior to getting ours trained up to our Invisible Fence is the issue of no fenced yard. Without a 'bullet proof' recall, I don't like dogs off leash (ours don't have one so whenever they are off our property, they are leashed).

      Our Anthony (the chocolate) came from a breeder on the Cape when he was 7 mo, I'd look for a bit older though, he was a terror for chewing things (still is). We don't name breeders publicly but when you get enough posts you can PM me and I can let you know. There is also a rescue that puts their dogs in foster home to test the issue of kids etc. up in RI that might have an older lab, kid and rambunctious tested (Save A Lab), you can find them on FB and their website.

      And finally, labs take a loooooong time to be that quiet, gentle pup you see from afar :-) and it takes a lot of work to get them there. We still have a 'snarfer' i.e. I can't leave him in a room without him 'stealing' something. Maybe being with an officer of the law would help him!

      Good luck and certainly stick around.

    7. #6
      Senior Dog
      smartrock's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Carolina in my mind..
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      I will also vote for Shelley and the others' suggestions for considering a slightly older young dog. Your neighbor's yellow lab must be an adult, probably an older adult. If you read through some of the threads on biting, you will find that lab puppies are very mouthy, nip, tear clothes and make children and adults cry. However, once they have matured some, it would be hard to find a nicer family dog.

      We've gotten dogs anywhere from 9 weeks to 11 months of age over the years and by far the easiest was an 11 month old bullmastiff who had developed endometriosis so wasn't going to work out as a show girl for the breeder, and the most challenging for me was our first lab, who we got at 9 weeks of age. My kids still talk about how he ripped their "best yoga pants", sweatshirts, ate socks and everything else in sight, and no amount of exercise seemed to be enough. Everyone thinks they want a cute little puppy, and heaven knows lab puppies are among the cutest, but they can be little terrors. Because of your work hours and the ages of your kids, Shelley's suggestion to go for a slightly older yet still young dog would make things easier all around.

      Here's our thread on biting suggestions: Puppy biting!

      As for your parents, I don't know how old or capable you're talking here. My 87 year old mother cannot handle even my 10 year old lab- he's too strong for her even though during the day he's a big couch potato and as gentle and well mannered as can be. She could not handle him on a leash if he decided to turn back and smell that one particular smell they passed 5 feet ago. Many of us on here are in our late 50s to early 60s with puppies or young labs and manage OK, especially once the landshark phase is over and several rounds of obedience classes have been taken. Their little brains stay puppy-fied long after their bodies have reached adult size.

      Good luck in making your decision and let us know how things go. As others have said, we can't name breeders on the open forum but some of the members are breeders and can give you feedback on a breeder through private messaging, if you wish.

    8. #7
      Senior Dog
      POPTOP's Avatar
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      May 2014
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      Hello and Welcome!

      So sorry for your loss. They are never with us long enough.

      I am one who homes seniors; I consider them the best of the best. Doing that I know there are young adult dogs who were kept by a breeder to be shown and it just did not work out for whatever reason. That may be a good choice. Remember, they have often lived kennels with runs so they might need potty training. I found it only takes about a week and they are solid in that department. They have the capacity to "hold it" where a puppy is not. Also, talk with the breeder and let them know your situation, the traits you are looking for.

      IMO, you could not pick a better breed.
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    9. #8
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Jun 2014
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      It sounds like you and your family would make a lovely home for a Lab!

      Regarding the time alone, you'll have to hire a dog walker for at least the first year, maybe a bit more. Expect that to cost about $20 per day. Not only is that too long for the pup to hold it, but too long for the pup to be completely alone. It's expensive, but it's well worth the investment to not come home to urine and feces all over and a completely wired and crazy puppy. I don't know about your lifestyle or expenses, but $400 a month is a lot and might take some serious adjustments. If you have neighbors or family close-by, perhaps you could cut that cost in half with a responsible teen or a stay at home mom or someone who works from home but could use the extra spending money.

      You'll also have to adjust your expectations. Lab puppies can be a nightmare and require a lot of time and effort. Training classes, everyday training, consistency, etc. and then the part you cannot control, which is maturity, and that can take awhile, about four years for some. You'd also want to find the right breeder because the Labrador temperament varies wildy from dogs that require three hours of running per day to be great family pets to dogs that are content to hang out, take a few walks and live it up on the weekends when you're up for it. Young Labs with 70+ year olds, unless that 70+ year old is in exceptional shape and health, could be a bit much. They also pester other dogs to play and can accidentally hurt small dogs, especially when they are immature (again, that could easily be the first few years). Oh, and Labs are NOT known for being "undemanding". They are often velcro dogs and want lots of attention. It takes lots of time and effort, and the right breeder/temperament to get a dog like the one your neighbors have. Also, don't expect to play ball with that dog without a fenced yard, especially not the first several years, without a ton of training or some type of invisible fence, and even then, I'd be wary. They like to chase squirrels and cats and have a hard time resisting other dogs, kids, people and sometimes cars.

      With the right amount of time, effort and money (training, purchasing from a great breeder, training classes) you'll get the dog you want, if you go to the right breeder. You may ask your neighbors where they got their dog, to start, and what type of work they put into him or her. If they are retired and are home all day with the dog, their level of effort may sound small, but that's just because they are home training the dog all day, they just don't know it.

    10. #9
      Chief Pooper Scooper
      JenC's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Thanked: 2358
      I agree, aim for an older dog. And look for a rehome from a reputable breeder or a breed rescue. While rescuing from a shelter may be a noble thing to do, it can also be an unknown for you if you are looking for an easy going dog that's quiet and happy to be home for 8-9 hours at a stretch.

      You certainly CAN do it with a puppy, but you will have to do lunch breaks and lots of training, which might be feasible if you are in the right mind to do the work.

    11. #10
      Senior Dog
      Abulafia's Avatar
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      Sep 2015
      Pacific Northwest
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      I am going to make the perhaps unpopular suggestion that a Lab may not be the dog for your family. Certainly a Lab puppy is not.

      Labs are the epitome of the people dog—I cannot imagine any Lab (and again, especially not a puppy) being anything other than miserable having to be alone 8 to 9 hours a day. Now, I'm not sure how often that would occur—only when you have overtime / court?—but that's really a heck of a lot of alone time.

      And if you have a puppy or anything other than a mature and well-trained older dog, that is going to be time in a crate. And either way, the dog is going to need some out-time from the crate during such long days.

      Moving on:

      1. I think it is not a great idea to choose a future "fun" pet based on a clearly mature, probably fully trained, neighbor's dog you see at your vacation home. I understand the instinct, but I don't think that's a wise way to choose what will become an important part of your family.

      2. I would not personally ask 70 year old parents w/ a Yorkie to housesit a Lab puppy unless I wished to be disowned.

      3. I worry about your schedule and the lack of mention of how you will train the dog (or indeed who will do the training).

      On your specific concerns:

      1. Time alone—yep. That is just too much time alone. Certainly for a puppy, but even for an older dog if it's on anything other than the rarest of bases. Labs are a people-oriented, people dependent breed. It's part of what makes them such absolutely wonderful dogs—but that's only if you can give them this key aspect of what they need: to be with their people. While older Labs may do much better w/ alone time, every time I have seen a Lab w/ behavior problems it is because the Lab has been poorly trained (or not at all), and / or left alone too much. And a Lab with behavior problems is a lot of dog to be dealing w/.

      2. "The ability of the pup to be both gentile and undemanding on my parents and their dog." Nope. There is no way in heck you should expect such.

      On a few other things:

      "I want them to be able to toss the ball and play and walk with the new breed and it seems a Lab is just the ticket we are looking for."

      Please don't get a dog for your children. A dog is not an accessory or a prop in a commercial.

      I am not going to comment on the corner lot with no fence and play in the front yard, because I must politely admit I am not sure you are being serious.
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