Raise a Labrador

Edited by Deepthi Gottumukkala, Robbi, Mian Sheilette Ong, Graeme and 3 others

The Labrador retriever is known as an ideal dog breed for any home. Because of the Labrador's even temperament, it's especially good in homes with children. It's a breed with an amazing temperament. Labradors love to do anything to please you. They are known to have "soft mouths", which enable them to pick up and carry a an egg without breaking it. This ability is important to them. As retrievers, they need to bring wild fowl, shot from a distance, back to their hunting masters without any lacerations. Labradors have a high energy level and are considered athletes in the canine world. If you are determined to have a Labrador in your home, you have to be prepared to spend your precious time, effort, and resources. A Labrador is a smart, loyal, gentle, and loving companion. Learn how to raise your Labrador well and you will reap the benefits of having a four-legged best friend, for years to come.

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Getting Ready for Your Labrador Puppy

They say that a family isn't complete without a family dog. Deciding on getting a Labrador puppy is a momentous thing for any family. It's absolutely the right time to add that special member to your household, especially since it's one of the most popular canine breeds today.

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Before you offer that special dog his forever home, read the following suggestions to make sure you know everything you need to know about Labradors, making you ready to accept this beautiful pet into your home.

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  1. 1
    Get a comfortable bed
    .
    You can buy a puppy-sized bed at first so your puppy will know it's only for sleep or rest. If you purchase a huge bed, the pup might think it's okay to do his toilet business on it. You can choose to place the bed in your room, living room, or anywhere the pup will be relaxed in.
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  2. 2
    Purchase stable stainless steel food and water bowls
    .
    Make sure that the food and water bowls are made of stainless steel, stable, and topple-proof. Puppy and adult Labradors can be very active and they might tip the bowls, play with them or chew them when they're empty.
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  3. 3
    Prepare a travel crate
    .
    A travel crate can be very useful for car-rides and for potty training. Place your puppy inside the crate and close it when he sits or lies down. Do this after eating and then open the crate door after thirty minutes so that he may know it's time to go potty.
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  4. 4
    Ready the chew toys
    .
    Chew toys are the best toys for puppies because they love to use their mouths during this stage. You don't want your hands to be their chew toys, right? These are also good for exercising them at a young age while waiting to complete their vaccines.
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  5. 5
    Designate specific tasks to each member of your family concerning the care of your new puppy
    .
    Every family member should have a hand in caring for your new Lab puppy. Give puppy care duties to your children so they will know that having a pup is a serious responsibility.
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  6. 6
    Secure the pup's papers
    .
    See to it that you have the puppy's documents ready. Check with your reputable breeder about the other things that you have to take note of.
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  7. 7
    Ready your dog food, treats, and supplements
    .
    Be sure that you have high quality puppy food, puppy treats, and puppy supplements ready. Don't settle for cheap, high-grain puppy food. These have fewer nutrients and provide a lot of useless substances for your fast-growing puppy. Choose high-protein foods that will supply more energy for your active little darling.
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How to Raise Your Labrador

Now that your Lab pup has arrived, immediately prioritize the following practices:

Socializing and Training

  1. 1
    Be clear with the limitations and boundaries
    .
    Playfulness and curiosity take over this breed most of the time. You have to set the limitations and boundaries from the age of 2 months on. Be consistent.
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  2. 2
    Be patient
    .
    Your puppy will not outgrow the excessive playfulness until about three or four years of age.
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  3. 3
    Take your Lab to a local puppy school as soon as you can
    .
    This is to temper the dog's hunting instinct. Exposure to other dogs will help socialize your pup at a young age.
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  4. 4
    Provide enough exercise
    .
    Start with playing and then gradually build up to regular walks. The walks could change into longer walks or running as the puppy grows. They need exercise to burn off their excess energy. Exercising also addresses their behavioural problems.
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  5. 5
    Teach basic dog commands
    .
    At an early age, teach your Lab to heel, sit, stay, come, and down. Verbal commands are very important. Eventually, you can move on to hand signals that only you and your lab know.
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  6. 6
    Utilize positive reinforcement
    .
    Hurting your Lab won't help training go any faster. Dogs in general do not respond to anger. Give treats and praises when your Lab does something right. Just ignore your Lab when your fur-baby does something unacceptable.
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  7. 7
    Expose your Lab pup to brand new sensations and experiences
    .
    A dog park is a good place to start. You should also take your lab to malls and on car rides. Soon, your puppy will know how to behave properly in a crowd and in the company of other dogs.
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When Grooming, Maintaining Health, and Feeding

  1. 1
    See your veterinarian about two days after you bring your Lab home
    .
    This way, you can start the regular vaccinations needed to maintain your dog's optimal health.
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  2. 2
    Keep giving your Lab pup high-quality puppy food for the first six months
    .
    Then ask your vet what the best dog food to switch your Lab to. It's best to look for those rich in calcium and vitamin D.
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  3. 3
    Brush your lab's coat at least once a week
    .
    Not only does it keep your Lab's coat healthy; it feels good, and relaxes your dog.
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  4. 4
    Shedding
    .
    Expect your Labrador to shed for three weeks - two times a year. Brushing daily will help regulate the shedding.
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  5. 5
    Bathe your puppy when he or she becomes dirty
    .
    Take your time to choose dog shampoo and conditioner. You need to rinse thoroughly, otherwise the soap or shampoo left behind will cause your Lab an lot of irritation, and he/she will end up scratching a lot. They do have sensitive skin.
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Things to Know About Labrador Pups

Remember these things when you're about to get a Labrador retriever:

  1. 1
    Labs definitely drool
    .
    Take note that if you get a large Labrador, you will have more drool. It's wise to be ready with rags and glass cleaners.
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  2. 2
    Labs have a strong oral fixation
    .
    They are into "mouthing". They love to use their mouths in playing and even in greeting you. If you don't control this, say goodbye to remotes, shoes, slippers, cell phones and any other interesting things lying around the house.
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  3. 3
    Labs really shed
    .
    Labradors have an undercoat that they have to shed twice a year (Spring & Fall). Brush your Lab everyday to control the amount of fur that scatters around the house.
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  4. 4
    Labs love eating
    .
    This breed loves food. Be careful what you leave on kitchen counters and tables. Keep poisonous or toxic foods for dogs on a very high surface, or put away - anywhere that your Lab cannot reach or get into.
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  5. 5
    Labs frequently experience ear infections
    .
    They are water dogs so you have to be watchful of their ears. Watch for them scratching the area excessively and redness inside their ears.
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  6. 6
    Labs are stubborn
    .
    With this in mind, be consistent and patient with your training. Your Lab has to know who is boss in your house and it should be you.
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  7. 7
    Labs attach themselves to only one master
    .
    Your Lab will only follow one person in the family, usually the one with whom he or she will spend the most time.
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  8. 8
    Labs are good baby sitters
    .
    The breed is gentle and good with children. Be sure to orient your Lab and your kids properly for them to establish a strong bond.
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Tips

  • Take note that the Labrador is from a line of hunting dogs.
  • Be consistent with your discipline.
  • Labradors are known biters. Learn how to stop play biting as early as two months.

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Article Info

Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Jen M, Eng, Graeme

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