Labrador Puppies Info
There is no question about it! When it comes to popular dogs, the Labrador is the poster child for a family pet. When it comes to bringing home a new Labrador puppy, there are some things to keep in mind. Some breeds are not meant for everyone, and before you go delving into the world of one breed, you'll want to make sure that the Labrador puppy is the right pet for you. Some people, however, know they love this breed! There are just a few things to keep in mind:
Anatomy of a Puppy
There a few things to consider when it comes to labrador retriever puppies. First of all, know that they are the most popular breed in America. Popularity leads to mass production, and as you can imagine, mass producing a living creature is never a good thing. Bad breeders are popping up everyday, claiming to have pedigree labrador puppies for sale. Read here to find out how to find a good labrador retriever breeder, or better yet, about adoption!
There are three types of coat colors that the labrador comes in – yellow, black, and chocolate. Yellow is the most common to see around, with black as second. It’s a little harder to find chocolate labrador puppies. Within these three color variations can come an array of color intensity, from “cream” to “fox red” in yellow labs, and “silver” to “charcoal” in chocolate labs, with the exception of black labrador puppies. They’re just black.
The labrador is meant to be a working dog, and that work is hunting. We’ve all seen the picture of a labrador with a duck in its mouth. Years of selective breeding brought about the labrador, which had a double coat to better repel water off its coat when diving into water, and webbed feet for better paddling. They also have that thick otter tail to use as a rudder. So the dog was bred for water. As a house pet, however, that double coat leads to being a big shedder. You’ll need to brush your new puppy frequently, and be prepared to vacuum a lot to get up all that fur.
As big dogs, labrador dogs can also succumb to many big dog health problems, including hip dysplasia (where the thigh bone disconnects from the hip bone) and bloat (where the stomach can become twisted, which can lead to death if not dealt with immediately). Pure breeds are most likely to succumb to these problems, so make sure to read up and keep an eye on certain diseases. With knowledge, you can avoid catastrophe.
A Note on Bloat
Bloat is a very serious medical condition that often occurs in adult dogs with a deep chest cavity, labrador retrievers included. It is when gas or fluids get trapped in the stomach, and the stomach twists around. Immediate surgery is required to save the dogs life. However, if you are concerned about your labrador puppy with a "bloated" stomach, it is far more likely that one of the following is the cause:
You puppy has eaten too fast, and has trapped air in his stomach. Labrador puppies tend to inhale their food. The best ways to prevent any stomach upset is to first of all feed him small amounts a few times a day. Most people feed them their daily food allotment divided into four times a day. Also, dry dog kibble expands when wet, so soaking your dog food before giving it to your dog may help alleviate this. If you don't want to soak the dog kibble, or are in a hurry, try a dog food puzzle to both stimulate the puppies mind and to slow down how fast the puppy eats.
Secondly, your puppy may have worms. A bloated stomach can often mean worms in a puppy, and you should see a vet about getting rid of them. Worms will eat all the valuable nutrients your growing puppy needs, so it should be dealt with quickly.
If you are not sure of why your dogs stomach is bloated, see a vet immediately. To prevent bloat as your labrador puppy grows older, buy an elevated food bowl and don't allow him to exercise after meals. If you think your dog may have bloat, it is an emergency, and should be treated immediately. However, it is a rare case in puppies, if it were to happen at all, and unless your puppy is in pain, it is most likely one of the two above suggestions.
That having been said, the labrador is the most popular family breed, and knowledgeable breeders have bred them for just such a setting. While the labrador retains most of its hunting qualities – strong focus (which can lead to stubbornness) and love of water (which means trips to the beach or the lake) – it is also considered a sociable breed that is easy to train.
Housebreaking a new puppy, therefore, shouldn’t be a problem. Just watch for signs that the puppy wants to pee, such as sniffing around intently. Keep him in a space where it’s not disastrous if he pees, making use of dog gates when inside. When he does his business outside, be sure to give him a lot of attention or treats - whichever one you can be sure that he will respond to. Slowly decrease the attention and treats over time as you get the results you want.
As many puppies will do, your new puppy will probably be mouthy. Don’t encourage this. Instead, encourage him to play with a chew toy and don’t give him any attention the moment he tries to chew on you. This is a natural part of puppy life, and the longer a puppy stays with his litter, the better he’ll understand that it’s a bad thing. Remember that while many people say 8 weeks is the ideal time for a labrador puppy to leave its mother and siblings, the truth is 12 weeks is best, as they will be more socially aware of the consequences to their actions.
No matter what the temperament a breed is purported to have, be sure that you do some behavioral training. Remember that dogs are individuals, and a dominant dog can very well cause chaos in your household, breed standard be damned.
Preparing your home for a Labrador Puppy
As a big dog, there are several things you would want to consider when buying a labrador puppy. To begin with, you need to make sure that the collar you buy for him is one that can be adjusted to size while he grows. If you buy a puppy collar, check it frequently as your puppy grows that it’s not too tight.
A puppy needs food specially designed for growing dogs, particularly for a puppy that grows big, like a labrador. You’ll want to start with the food the breeder or shelter was providing for the puppy, and slowly change to your choice puppy food over the weeks. If not, the puppy may develop digestive problems. While on the subject of food, one way to help prevent bloat from occurring is to buy elevated dog food bowls and water dishes. They can be found online or at any pet store. As the dog doesn’t have to hang his head too low to eat the food or drink the water, he ingests less air, thereby helping to prevent a dangerous health problem like bloat.
One last thing on the subject of food. Labradors are notorious over-eaters. Don’t listen to the suggested food servings on a bag of puppy food – often they tell you to feed your dog too much. Ask your vet for the appropriate amount and do NOT let your dog become overweight. This will help to decrease the chances of you dog developing hip dysplasia.
Of course, you’ll want to buy a large dog bed, plenty of durable chew toys, and most importantly, have a tall fence so the dog can’t jump. Also, since you will be getting a puppy, you will want to make sure there are no small holes your puppy might squeeze through in the fencing. As escape is highly possible, you’ll want to make sure you have a good ID on your dog, and maybe even a microchip. Labrador puppies are popular, after all. Not to scare you, but there have been cases of people stealing purebred dogs for either themselves or to sell and make a profit, so don’t underestimate the power of microchipping.
So I'll leave you with this video on how to pick the best labrador puppy - I hope you find it very informative. There are many sources to obtain a labrador puppy with, including asking to be added to the wait list for service dog puppies who don't pass the service dog behavior tests. These dogs are bred with the best of care and most desirable qualities a companion dog can be bred with, but the wait list is years long. Also, petfinder.com is an excellent source for shelters in your area. Some may even specialize in labradors. And don't discount mixed breeds. My dog is a black lab mixed with pointer, and everyone agrees she is a sweet and lovable dog. I adopted her from my local shelter when she was six months old, and I enjoy every minute with her. She is nine now, and I can't imagine not having her in my life! So good luck in your search, and I hope you enjoy many years with your new dog.
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