What is the difference between the English Lab and the American Lab?
The American Lab has more field lines ( hunting lines) in it : for a taller, thinner body and a more angular face and nose look. The American Lab can be very high energy and to an extreme can be hyper and nervous. The English Lab is a stocky, blocky, body with shortlegged look. The face is very boxy. To an extreme, the English Lab can be lazy and fat. Here at Silver and Gold Labradors, we combine the lines for the best of both worlds: Stocky and blocky, taller legs , mellow but highly intelligent and ambitious dog.
Do you recommend any websites or books?
Yes, I recommend the website : www.peteducation.com
The books I recommend are The Dog Whisperer Books by Cesar Millan
** Please always consult the advice of your Veterinarian. This information is meant as a guideline only.
What will the first night home be like ?
The first night home can have some crying from the pup as this is the first night they are away from the litter. It is almost impossible to tell how the first night will go. Some people say there was no problem at all, some say there was some whining. The pups are used to snuggling in the litter, and it may be helpful to have a hot water bottle ready.
Fill the hot water bottle half full with warm water,and place it with the pup. The pup doesn't need to spend the first night with you in your bed. But you can do that if you want. Just place the pup where it will sleep from then on, and keep some resolve. They cannot be locked in a crate overnight at this age.
What Should I Feed my Dog?
I feed Life's Abundance All Stage Dog Food. It is the best I have found with High Quality Fresh Ingredients ( hasn't sat in a warehouse for a year), it has never had a recall, contains NO Corn (gluten or corn meal) which can cause ear infections, diarrhea, hot spots, skin allergies, rough coat and unnatural shedding. I have found any type of corn can make my dogs itch . The Life's Abundance dogfood I have found to be excellent and economical. I give you a starter pack when you take your puppy home and you can continue that food if you like. It is ordered and shipped to your home. You do not want your Pup to grow too fast or get too fat. Labs should have the "hour glass" look to their waistline. Weigh your dog and feed according to directions on the back of the bag. Please consult with your veterinarian about this, and follow his or her advice. Have fresh water available, as Labs drink alot of water. Be careful with a puppy formula as it is much higher in protein and fat than the adult formula. If you choose to feed a puppy formula, you do not need to stay on it for a year, only a few months during major growth spurts.
How often do I Vaccinate and Worm?
Your Pup will have received his first shot at approximately 6 weeks. That is when the Mother's immunity starts to wear off. It is very important that you keep up on the vaccinations approximately once a month till the dog is age 4 months. Your Pup will have an incomplete immune system until the series of shots are done. It is especially important not to take your dog to strange places where other dogs have been and to play with other dogs who are not immunized. The worst case scenario is Parvo, it is a deadly disease and is picked up where other dogs have done their droppings. It stays in the ground. So I would recommend staying away from Dog parks and camping for a while. There is a low cost vet clinic that comes to neighborhoods for easy access: see link to website
Your vet may recommend lepto, lyme, bordetella and a few other immunizations based on your specific lifestyle.
Worming: Your pup will have had one or two worming doses. The worm cycle is every three weeks: new ones can hatch, and Pups can pick up worms in a variety of situations. When they are pups, worm every three weeks for a few months. After that, once or twice a year. You worm by their weight so keep that in mind. Overdosing can cause sickness, so it is important to know you dogs weight. If you suspect tape worms, consult your Veterinarian. Tape worms look like tiny grains of rice. ALSO, fleas and worms are closely associated with each other. Keep your dog "flea free". Frontline or Advantage are very effective. Also, your Pup will need a Rabies shot starting at about 6 mos. of age. Only a licensed Vet can administer this immunization.
What is the Best Exercise for My Pup?
The best exercise for the first year is low-impact exercise. Running on cement is hard on your dogs joints, also jumping high and landing hard on their back legs is hard on the hips i.e. catching a frisbee. Your new Pup does not have a history of any genetic defects with shoulders or hips, but you can inadvertently cause problems with high impact exercise the first year. Also if your dog is overweight, that can be very negative for their joints and bone development. I would recommend low impact excercise, like swimming and running on grass. Build up their physical activity also, don't do too much at one time. Labs will play fetch endlessly or work their heart out for you, even if they are tired, and injuries can occur if they are fatigued. If you swim your dog, do not tire them out too much, especially be very careful of river and ocean currents. If you plan on swimming your dog alot, or boating, you may want to invest in a puppy life jacket. Also do not let your dog eat raw salmon. Do not push down your dogs haunches to teach them to sit. It takes patience and they will learn to sit with your command, repetition and reward/praise.
How Do I Register My Dog?
If your Pup came with AKC papers, it is easy to register online or mail them in. Registering your dog is optional. Lost papers have a $25 replacement fee.
Should I Take My Dog to Obedience Class?
You can easily train your dog at home if you have a few minutes and the desire. Remember, they won't always be this small size. There is nothing worse than a wet, muddy, big dog jumping on you! Always say "Down" and gently knock them down with your knee. Have a supply of small, dry biscuits to train with. Your dog will do anything for a biscuit. Only treat when they do the Right Thing. Don't treat for "trying" or doing the wrong thing. It is amazing how many biscuits the dog will coax out of you! You can also get a good training book to help you move through the steps of training. Labs really want to please and generally catch on very well. Obedience classes are alot of fun too , and your dog will do very well in that setting as well. I do not recommend games of "tug o' war" , Labs should drop the ball or put it in your hand. They should always have a "soft" mouth and tugging games will develop a "hard or tough" mouth.
Also do not let them chew on your fingers. Always substitute an appropriate toy for inappropriate behaviour. Then praise. Additionally, Clicker Training your dog is alot of fun and very effective. Do not let your dog Jump on you or anyone else. That is a gateway behaviour problem which will quickly escalate.
How do I Keep my Dog Safe?
Labs are extremely friendly dogs and will go with just about anybody for any reason. Labs get stolen all the time. Rarely are they ever found or returned. That is why it is important to train your dog to bond with you and to "come". You may want to micro-chip your dog and sign up for the AKC Lost Dog program. There are clinics available for microchipping at low cost. Do not encourage strangers to give treats, i.e. the mail man, UPS man etc, especially the first year : when your dog is still learning to bond to you and your family. Be aware also that Labs are generally not guard dogs. Do not assume your Dog will keep you safe. Labs are so friendly they would probably hold the flashlight for a burglar. It is also very important not to let your dog wander, so please keep your yard fully enclosed with a fence. Keep your dog inside the house/garage or in crate if you are going to be gone more than a few minutes. Spay or neuter at approximately 8 - 10 months of age. Be careful of extreme temperatures, too hot is the main concern with Labs , they can handle cold & wet weather very well.
How often do I feed my Pup and what about Potty/Crate training?
The pup won't have bladder control until about 4 months old, so do not lock it in a crate for more than a few hours until then. Crate training is started 2 minutes at a time and gradually increased. Note: Potty training and Crate training are 2 different things. Their worst fear is you won't come back when they are locked in their crate. They hate to potty in their crate and if forced to, will get extreme crate anxiety. Try not to feed after about 5 p.m. or so. When you do feed, they usually need to poop within 15 minutes, so put them outside or have a potty station in the house. I raise my pups on wood shavings i.e. saw dust type material, and that is where they are used to doing their business. Put a small pile of shavings in your yard where you want them to go, and show your pup the pile of shavings. They will return to that spot of shavings. And Remember to Praise! Try to fully potty your pup before you retire for the night. Don't leave food and water out all day or night: feed two to three times a day about 1/2 cup initially, and pick up the dish. Labs love and need alot of water, so water your dog frequently. I water first, then feed. That helps prevent gulping and bloat. At about 6 months, you can switch to two feedings a day, about age 1 year once a day if you choose. Remember to increase and decrease food according to dogs weight and activity level.