Living with a Labrador Retriever

Tips on how to handle the favorite dog in the US

Living with Labrador can be very exciting and interesting and each day is full with new adventures. However, there are some important things that every owner should have in mind, for one dog to grow up as an equal member of the family.

Each dog has to go through the basics in order to understand and react properly to his owner’s needs. But, owners should also do the same in order to understand the dog’s needs.

You have a totally elaborated training, essential for dogs bellow if you decide to have a dog as a family pet. This is not training for guard dogs, or for your personal safety needs, but for a dog which will live in your house, sleep in your house, eat in your house, which will play with your kids and will love to spend time with you and others, simply, a dog which will be part of the family.

I honestly encourage all of the future owners to read both books for dogs “Before you get your puppy” and “After you get your puppy” written by Ian Dunbar, the worlds known doctor of science for dog’s behavior. He is the one to call when the relationship between owner-dog is off the boundaries. The books offer you new and different approaches which will be surely helpful and functioning.

You can see his addressing on one of TED’s conferences in the video below:

Labs learn fast. But, as all other puppies, the labs as well have short term memory and you should be very patient while you are training it in order to have best results.

Essentials:

The necessary equipment for the dogs and the owners as well who want to lighten up the process of training and the living with a dog:

Cottage-Crate:

If you cannot afford one, because it can be pretty much expensive, you can try to make such little house or cottage from an old laundry basket. You should attached two baskets (one above another) and to make a door (or a hole) at the one end. This is an essential for every puppy and it can be really helpful.

Fence:

The fence should mark the space in which the dog can play freely without any control.

Blanket:

Blankets are also essential for puppies because most of them want to sleep with the same when you first brought it in your house. You should find an old winter blanket and to leave it with your dog.

Containers for food and water:

The containers should be metallic because if they are plastic, the dog can gnaw and destroy them.

Leash:

You should by dog’s leash which can be used when the dog will be older as well. Chain leash are very useful for training, but those are not very practical for walks, because if the dog pulls you it can injure your arm. Leathern or cloth leashes are the best because you can easily control the dog during walks.

“Kong toys”:

These toys will always be interesting for the puppy. You can fill them with food all over again. The original may not be found in all stores, but you can make one at home, for example from an empty box of effervescent tablets.

Labs are actually retrievers and the best toy for them is ball or particularly gumball which is loaded with rubber in the inside so the puppy can gnaw it without destroying it.

There are few tips in Dr. Ian’s book “Before you get a puppy” and “After you get a u puppy” which I’ll mention them briefly.

labradors-favorite-dog-in-usa

A lot of puppies end on streets because of Bating, or the ‘call of nature’ is made on inappropriate place and Barking.

You have to learn your puppy to take its time for WC where do you want with CRATE TRAINING. What does it mean? Just as you have adopted the dog, you should prepare all of the above necessary items and to put the puppy in its Crate, to cover it with its blanket and for the next two weeks you should let the puppy to accommodate on his new home and as well on you. Puppies usually pee on every half an hour after they drank water, and poop one hour after every meal. So, these are the best timings when you can take the puppy out of its Crate, put on its leash and go on a walk.

You can take the puppy wherever you want, and after every ‘job well done’ you should prize the dog with some words and afterwards you can use them as command. Then, you take back the puppy in the Crate and you prize him with a reward, usually a ‘Kong toy’ loaded with food. This is the best way to train your puppy to take its ‘call of nature’ on the place where you want and then the puppy can run freely into your home. At night, the puppy should be placed in a fenced area in which it will have enough space for facilitating. This covers few fields of the training, the puppy will learn where to facilitate and it will be calm while you are watching TV or something. The puppy will know its territory and will spent its time in the Crate playing with its toys. You should spent an equal amount of time when its puppy and when it get older. Usually, everyone plays with puppies and everyone it around it, but when it becomes a dog, all of a sudden, everyone avoids it and that can cause serious problems with the dog’s behavior.

Labs, as every dog, want to play with their mouth when they are young. This is a normal behavior. Puppies shouldn’t be punished because of it or to be learnt not to bite. Puppies should learn how to use their mouth and to control it and this stage is called BITE INHIBITON. Labs are not aggressive dogs and they will not hurt you! When they are grown, they do not use their mouth at all! Let the little puppies to bite you, but if they bite harder, shout out loud ‘Ouch’ and pull out your hand.

That will help them to understand that they shouldn’t bite you that hard. They will learn it easy, because when they are in their cattle and playing together, if one of the bite bites too much, the other one will squeal and that means end of the game. Dogs bark and that is their way of communication. Labs are not noisy dogs. But, you should also pay attention on the BARKING because it can become irritating for us and all your neighbors. When dogs bark, we should first find the cause. Then we should teach the dog on the commands: ‘Voice” and Shhhhh/Silence’. How can you do it? You should find the reason for barking and let the dog to bark for some time and meanwhile pronounce the words ‘voice’, ‘voice’, and the dog is rewarded for barking. You should repeat this as long as the dog had learnt to bark on the command ‘Voice’.

Then the dog should learn to command ‘shhhh’. You should first say ‘voice’ and the dog starts to bark and then immediately say ‘shhhh’ and you give food to the dog as a reward and it will stop. You should also repeat this few times in order the dog to memorize the actions. You can search on the net for other also interesting commands. Read and find your own way to train your dog.

Labs do not moult so much, and you will not have to brush it every day. However, there are some two periods of moulting per year, and the dogs moult a lot of their fur. The best solution to this is to learn the puppy to get used to brushing, bathing, gleaning ears, cutting its nails and etc.

You should brush your puppy once a weak. This will maintain its fur shiny and healthy during the moulting. You can buy a dog-brush in all Pet-Stores. I honestly do not recommend the FURminator brushes, because it will nip off the fur. Labs have longer fur on their back and shorter on the outside of the stomach and under it, and this kind of brushes will damage its fur. You should use a usual brush, it shouldn’t be expensive. You should brush from the head to the back till the end of the tail, the outside of the stomach, the stomach when the dog lays on its back, the neck – form the beginning of the mouth to the stomach and the legs. You should brush it as long as you want and also remove the fur from the brush.

You should bath your puppy one in 2-3 months. You should give it a bath as you bring it home. Not because it is dirty, but to learn. During the bat, use sponge so that you can wet the puppy. You should first water the body and then with the sponge to rub out all the shampoo (use shampoo for dogs, not for humans because they do not have the same PH level and can damage the fur) and then wash out the shampoo. You should use warm water (not too hot or too cold). At the end, water the puppy’s head, put a small amount   of shampoo and rub it with the sponge. But be careful with the water not to get into its ears, eyes, nose or mouth.

You should clean the puppy’s ears once a week. If you do not know how, you should ask a vet. It is very simple. Take one wet tissue and first you clean the outside part of the ear and then the inside.

You should also cut its nails once a month. If the puppy spends a lot of time walking on asphalt, then the nails will be probably being shortened. When it comes to cutting the nails, you can ask a vet about it, because you might cut more than you should and harm the puppies paw.

Once you adopt the puppy, you should look for a registry vet, usually the one that is nearby. It is very important to be satisfied from the vet and his work, and if you think that he is not taking enough care for your puppy, you should ask for a second opinion.

In the first months, you must pay attention to the vaccination for the puppy. We give you the schedule below for the proper vaccination, which might be different depending on the vaccines.

Before each vaccine, the dog should have been previously purified from parasites (worms and etc) and then to take the vaccine. This is very important for improving dog’s immune system.

After the first vaccination, the puppy should be isolated for 14 days. This is a period in which the puppy should be bathed, or to have a contact with other dogs or to be in a place where other dogs live. This isolation should be repeated after the second vaccination as well.

Age Recommended Vaccines Optional Vaccines
6 to 8 weeks Disteper, measles, parainfluenza Bordatella
10 to 12 weeks Disteper, hepatitis, parainflueza, parvovirus Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordatela
12 to 24 weeks Rabies  
Each 1 to 2 yrs Disteper, hepatitis, parainflueza, parvovirus Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordatella
Each 1 to 3 yrs Rabies  

You should purify the puppy from inside parasites every three months in its first year, and after that, every 6 months. You can do this with a pill for purifying which has an instructions and it is usually connected with the weight of the puppy.

The puppy should be purified from outside parasites as well (ticks and etc.). You should do this twice a year with ampoules also with instructions given.

If some of your questions were left unanswered, you should always contact your vet.

Depending on the puppy’s condition, every 6 months it is recommended to add some vitamins in its food such as AD drops or calcium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *