Puppy Care

General Introduction to Picking out Your Special Puppy/Breed
Purchasing a puppy is a fun and exciting time, but it is also a big responsibility. By purchasing a pet, you are committing to raising and caring for them throughout the life of the pet. It is most important that you choose a breed that is compatible with your family, and even your future plans. Many breeds are not suitable for being around small children; many breeds require a lot of exercise and activity - if you lead a pretty relaxed life you will want to look for a relaxed breed. Many breeds are known for a lot of potential health problems - if you do not have the funds to take care of these problems, reconsider your choice. Certainly look for lines without those problems, but consider that the possibility is always there.

Your New Puppy
Congratulations on your new puppy! Your new puppy will bring you many happy years of fun and devotion. All he (she) asks of you is love and care back, along with daily walks! Your puppy will need a series of shots as she grows, based on your veterinarian's schedule. These shots are very critical to keeping your pup free of disease! Your new dog will need a rabies vaccine when she is old enough; your vet can set up an appointment for this. Also, keep your young pup on an appropriate dewormer schedule, especially as it enters your home and its new life. This will keep your pup from having any worms attack its young, susceptible system. It is also a good idea to have identification on your dog. This can be a tag made at your local pet store, an AKC Lost/Found tag, or even having a microchip placed in your dog. If your pup is lost or stolen, you will want to have it identified so that it can be returned to you as quickly as possible.

Feeding your Sensational Lab puppy
Currently, your puppy is eating a large breed puppy formula. Please stick with a large breed formula - it helps the pup as she grows! We strongly encourage you to continue the same food for your pup at least until your puppy grows accustomed to her new surroundings and owners. After this, if you desire to switch brands, do so gradually, adding a little bit more of the new brand as you decrease the old brand each day. Your pup needs to be fed three times a day, around 9am, 3pm, and 9pm. She is eating approximately 3/4 to 1 cup of food, moistened with some water, three times a day. Please monitor him as he eats to make sure that he is eating enough, but not over indulging - as many pups tend to do! An over fed puppy has no waist when viewed from above and belly is quite rounded when viewed from the side. You should be able to see and feel the outline of the ribs, but they shouldn't be highly visible. Check his profile throughout the day and adjust his food amounts if necessary. Those first couple of meals within the new home he will really try to take down too much at a time as he is used to "eat it all quick, before my other siblings get it!"

Potty Training/Housebreaking
Almost immediately after eating, your pup will be ready to eliminate. Take him right away to the desired spot outside and instruct him to "go potty," "hurry up now," or whatever the command is that you choose. Your pup will start to associate eliminating with that term which will be helpful when you want him to go "on the spot" before a long trip! After the pup has eliminated, reward him with affectionate praise and a pat/rub on the head. We also strongly encourage crate training - you can read more information about it below.

Crate Training
Crate training is a great tool for helping with potty training. If the puppy doesn't go to the bathroom after eating, put her in the crate, only big enough for herself, for 5 minutes or so. Then try taking her out again. Usually by the second time, she will relieve herself and then she can play within the house for a little while, without you worrying about her messing up. Prevention is the key with potty training. More information can be found at: Mid West Homes 4 Pets

Preventing Bad Behaviors
The best way to avoid unwanted household behaviors is to prevent them. Make sure your pup has a variety of toys to chew and play with so that he won't consider your new leather boots. Take your pup outdoors to go almost hourly until you learn her "schedule" so that she won't mess indoors. Your pup will soon learn the path in your home to go outdoors and may show you she is ready by waiting at that door. Too much free reign of the house though will cause your pup to search out a place to eliminate indoors instead of going outside. By keeping the pup in the same room that you are in, you will be able to recognize signs that your pup has to go or catch her from chewing on something she shouldn't be. Please be very careful with potentially dangerous situations! When you have a little baby in the home, you would child-proof the house by crawling around on all fours, removing anything that would be dangerous to baby. I suggest that you do this in your home as well for your puppy. Make a special note of removing electrical cords out of reach as they will find and chew them!!! When full grown, Labradors are noted for clearing coffee tables with their tails so be sure to take all that fine china off and out of their reach!

Socializing and Consistency
These are perhaps the two most important keys to raising a puppy. It is also a good idea to socialize your pup with other dogs and people as much as you possibly can while he is growing. Introduce your pup to many different sounds, experiences, children - young, elementary age, and older, etc - continue to introduce as many things as you can so long as the puppy is receiving it well. It is critical to do this to help ensure a properly adjusted and tolerant dog at full size. Remember, as your pup grows, consistency and socialization are most important and can't be stressed enough! Be consistent with your form of discipline, consistent with his schedule, consistent with what is expected of him, etc. If you follow through in these two very important areas, you will be rewarded with a well-adjusted, well-rounded, and trusting dog!