Post # 1
SO and I have discussed getting a dog together for pretty much our entire relationship. He had a black lab growing up who was his best friend, but I’ve never had a dog for a pet so this is brand new territory for me. We’ve decided to adopt a chocolate lab (as a puppy or a youngster) when the time comes (probably sometime later this summer/early fall after we’ve adjusted to living together – I’m moving in with him at the beginning of June).
So I was wondering if y’all experienced doggy owners can offer me some tips? I’ve only ever owned cats, and I know dogs require a LOT more work and care. The way his job works, he can be home as needed so she/he won’t be left alone long hours – and we’re hoping I can find a job that allows telecommuting so I can have a few days home (my ideal) a week.
Post # 3
That’s so exciting! Dogs are soo much fun but can be so much work. Be prepared for accidents in the house, chewed up shoes, furniture and others stuff. Puppies are crazy energetic and will bite anything they can get to. I would kennel train right away. You two need to decide whether or not your pup will sleep in bed with you and make sure you are prepared to stick with it. I kennel trained my girl right when I got her and she loves her kennel. She sleeps in bed with my husband and I now but will go in her kennel whenever we tell her to.
My best tip, have patience. The worst thing I experienced was my puppy crying at random times in the night because she wanted out. So annoying but it had to be done. Be very aware of your puppy walking around the house and going potty. Any time they are walking around sniffing they need to go out.
Good luck, can’t wait to see pictures!
Post # 4
We have a Boxer, chloe, who is 3.5 years old. I had dogs growing up and so did DH but its very different when no parents are around to remind you to do your chores lol. Chloe is very active as are labs, so we take her to the dog park at least 2-3 times a week. She loves to run and play with many different toys so have toys around all the time. We are very good at keepimg her shots current which is a big deal if you take your dog to a park. We also did a 8 week obedience school at petco that was very beneficial. Other than that i would say just lots of love and attention. We crate trained chloe for about 3 years and now she stays out of her crate in the living room and has a doggy door to go in and of of as she pleases throughout the day. We do have to take stuff off all counters cause every once in a while she will sneak up amd take something. She is such a loving amd friendly dog and is very good w babies and children as are labs. Very good choice of breed amd I am very excited for you. Good luck!!
Post # 5
YAY! Dogs are awesome 🙂
My biggest tip would be RESEARCH THE BREED and my second biggest tip would be TRAINING TRAINING TRAINING!!!!!!!
I agree with PP’s suggestion- kennel training is wonderful. The kennel is NOT a place of punishment, but a place of safety. They eat in there, they sleep in there, and they hang out in there while you’re gone.
Obedience training is also really valuable in that it trains the OWNER how to communicate with the dog, but it also helps the dog build confidence and aids in bonding between owner and dog. I trained my own dogs (but I’ve grown up around them) but since this is all new to you maybe find a local trainer or even check out Petsmart to see what they offer. Different techniques work for different dogs, so be patient and consistent.
Puppies are difficult, they need to be housebroken, they chew on things, they are super rambunctious. Invest in some Bitter Apple (or other natural bitter spray to deter chewing), and something called Nature’s Miracle for potty spots on the carpet.
Best of luck 🙂
Post # 6
You have to crate train! It’s a lifesaver. I have a black lab puppy, and she is a major chewer! Everything is a toy in her brain. Having a puppy is like having a baby.
Post # 7
Buy a crate/kennel and use it consistently! A dog running around the house all day while you’re gone is a recipe for destruction. Consistency and routine is everything with dog training. Remember that they don’t speak English, so if you react differently to the same event (like begging for scraps), they don’t know what you want and what is acceptable behavior.
Also, play with the puppy’s food while he/she’s eating. Stick your hands in the dish, push the dog out of the way, take the food up and put it back down. And then praise him/her for not reacting to it. You never want a dog that’s posessive around food, especially if their food dish is in a high traffic area like the kitchen. This way, if a guest/child/you bump into them accidently while they’re eating, there’s no snap response.
Post # 8
I’m in a similar position – would totally love to have a dog and plan to in the future (definitely not for the next year though due to living arrangements).
I have one question to the previous posters – are kennel training and crate training the same? Or is a kennel outside? Or have I completely confused two different things?!
Post # 9
I agree to most of the tips given. The first several weeks/months will be the hardest. They will test you and behave in ways that are unexpected (you think you know what they will do, then they surprise you), but after everyone gets settled into a routine, it is one of the greatest things. The more you bond, and the more he trusts and love you (hand feeding is a great way to bond and build trust) the more he will listen to you and want to please you. Dont let the difficulties of the initial period scare you away, it just continuously gets better and better!
Post # 10
@RainStorm: I think people just interchange the words crate and kennel. Dogs like to have their safe space, so giving them a crate and teaching them it is safe inside that crate is essentially what crate/kennel training is all about.
Post # 11
Another vote to really get the crate training going ASAP and stick with it until the pup understands. Meaning, Flynn will now go in the crate all by himself before I leave for work and will also sleep the night just fine either in the crate or sometimes in bed with us. We were warned to not let him sleep with us until he was fully crate trained or it would be really difficult to get him to sleep in there. So worked with him the first few nights as he had never been in a crate and didn’t like it at first. I would put him in there for a few minutes with the door open and my body blocking the way, so he had to stay in there. Then I’d let him leave. Then I’d put a treat or toy back in there so he had to go get it, but let him out right away. Eventually as he would fall asleep, I’d put him in there, shut the door, and sit by the crate (it was in our living room at first). Just steps to familiarize him with it for short bursts of time. Also, if you buy a larger crate, make sure you block off a smaller area for him (big enough for him to stand up and turn around) otherwise while potty training you will risk him going in the crate b/c there’s so much room.
Labs have so much energy so another thing I’d recommend would be to make sure he gets lots of exercise in the morning and at night. He’ll be a chewer, so chew toys, kongs (for mental challenge), rawhides are great.
Post # 12
@RainStorm: They are definitely interchangable, but when people refer to “crates” they normally mean something like this:
The crate can go inside or outside. And then I have a plastic “kennel” (that some others may say is a plastic crate) like the below for travel:
Otherwise, it’s common for a kennel to be a gated area outside (connected to your house) or the outdoor areas that Dog kennels/camps have when you have your dog watched while you’re away:
And then there’s these little house things that Google says is a dog kennel:
So yes, a bit of a variety for definitions and interchangable. 🙂
Post # 13
Congrats! And yay for choosing adoption – so many wonderful pets are out there waiting for great families 🙂
I second (more like sixth) the advice to crate-train – it really is the fastest and easiest way to housebreak most dogs. Puppy pads are a bad idea b/c, really, does your dog know the difference between a pad on the ground and, say, a towel you dropped? Or a stack of newspaper to be recycled? Even tiny dogs need walks to ‘do their business’.
My second biggest recommendation is routine – dogs really thrive on consistency. So, potty breaks and meals at regular intervals; crate time (even if you or your husband is home); plenty of exercise/walk/play time; and a designated bed time spot (dogs are pack animals and will prefer to sleep near you – my dog has a bed right next to mine). Make sure your dog gets some alone time (either in the crate or in a babygated area at first, then eventually in wherever you want him or her to have free reign) – I know lots of dogs who are unable to make the transition when an owner who previously worked from home eventually has to leave for long stretches during the day.
Third – definitely do some training together! Look for positive trainers who make you and your dog feel comfortable. Old-school, aversive trainers may ‘guarantee results’, but it can come at a price if your dog is at all sensitive or fearfull. For puppies, classes and play groups are awesome, but if you adopt an adolescent/adult dog, you might want to start off with some one-on-one sessions with a trainer just to get a feel for your dog’s body language, excitability triggers, etc. Oftentimes shelters and rescues partner with specific trainers or dog training schools and have discounts – definitely ask about this as you look for your dog!
Lastly – find a vet you like, trust, and can afford to see regularly. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a worrywart about my pup, but we have a regular vet who’s familiar with my dog and his quirks and can monitor progress on specific issues (allergies, tummy trouble). The PetSmart/Banfield plan offers some great deals, but I feel like the vet staffs themselves are kind of a mixed bag. I prefer the personal attention of my regular vet clinic.
This is getting long, so feel free to PM me with any questions about adopting (I’m a long time shelter volunteer) 🙂
Post # 14
@MadTownGirl: The wooden one was the one I was picturing! 🙂
Thanks for the clarification!
Post # 15
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Crate/kennel training is a great house training method. The kennel is not to be used for punishment. It is a safe place for your puppy to be when you are out of the house or unable to keep an eye on him for potty training. Your puppy should be within a few feet of you at all times until s/he is fully housebroken. Some Bees recommend keeping them leashed to you. The reason you want them close is so you can see them sniffing for a spot to do their business and hopefully grab them in time to get them outside.
Also, if you can take a few days or even a week off when your puppy comes home, it will go a long way in making house training easier.
Finally, just like a child, if your puppy is out of sight and being quiet, they are probably being naughty.
Post # 16
I would start training dog with words right away. My dog has an amazing vocabulary! I would also start training on patience, like making pup sit and wait for food- little things like that really create a relationship of respect and develop pup’s focus. One of the things that helped me most was this book “Game Dog” (I have a bird dog) and his philosophies were:
“Make them love to do it” and “It is a command not a consideration.”
That second one- never give a command unless you are going to enforce it. I had a very wild puppy and I once had to swim a cross a river (!) to get her and make her “come” because I gave the command. It is a lot of work, but take training seriously and you will have an amazing dog to enjoy! (After a few years of work 🙂
Also, a high energy dog needs to run free for a couple hours everyday. I trained my dog to focus on fetching and that really helped (get her energy out) when we moved and lived in a city vs. taking her hiking everyday in the mountains.