It is a no-brainer that retrievers are America’s number one dogs. They’re cute, faithful and joyful, why wouldn’t anyone love such creatures? Labrador Retrievers are probably the best dogs for those seeking a family-size friendly companion.
Labradors can be raised to become family companions, guides, police, or sports dogs. With proper training, a retriever puppy can virtually become anything thanks to its intelligence, activeness, and sharp personalities.
If you want to get a retriever puppy but you’re still skeptical about it, keep on reading, as we’re going to cover the main facts that any Labrador owner must be aware of.
When you’re adopting a puppy, you need to give it special care and follow some tips as raising it is harder than taking care of an adult dog. You need to understand the basics of their feeding, training, behavior, vaccinations and other aspects of their life
What to Consider When Getting a Labrador Puppy
Adopting a Labrador puppy is a big responsibility that you mustn’t take lightly. For that, you need to go over several factors:
Labradors are large dogs, so make sure that you have the right space for them. A good yard would be perfect since they are known to be a very active breed.
Taking care of a dog, be it a Retriever or any breed, requires time dedication. If you don’t have time in your schedule for your pet, what’s the point of getting one in the first place? It isn’t a toy or a décor piece, after all.
You need to dedicate a part of your salary for your dog if you decide to get one as you need to spend money on their food, maintenance, shelter, accessories, and vaccinations.
Your First Night with a Labrador Puppy
No matter how cute and adorable it may be, a Labrador puppy can drive you crazy during its first nights at your home. You will need some time to get used to its behavior, especially if it’s your first time dealing with a pet.
Before bringing a puppy to your home, make sure that you already have a safe sleeping area, a puppy crate, or maybe a sturdy box that you can put right next to your bed.
You can’t expect a puppy to sleep on your bed from night one as it needs some time to adapt to its new environment and surroundings.
Do not try to force it to do so as that may backfire and you may end up with an injured puppy, so let it sleep wherever it deems convenient until the two of you become friends.
Why Do Puppies Whine and Cry?
It’s normal for puppies to cry during their first night at your home as they’re pack animals, and getting away from their parents and littermates can be depressing, just like for humans. You may find your Labrador puppy crying at night or during the day, in their crates, or anywhere in the house, as they experience anxiety and discomfort in their new home, and they try to call out for their packs to save them from the new tyrant, aka you.
There are two types of puppy cries: Natural and learned.
This is when puppies cry because you warded them for that very action in the past. For that, you mustn’t show your dog that you’ll reward it whenever it’s whining.
This is when puppies cry because they need something from you, which can be a natural response to fear, pain, hunger, or potty needs.
A puppy’s crying is heartbreaking, and I can’t imagine anyone sleeping soundly at night while their newly-adopted little friend is crying beside them. There are several tips you can follow to comfort your dog, which include:
- Play with your dog before bedtime to make them tired enough to fall asleep immediately
- Let it sleep in your bedroom as it needs a friendly face before sleep to forget about its loneliness
- When your puppy starts crying, dig around to find out whether it’s looking for attention or needing to go to the bathroom. As a general rule of thumb, if the puppy starts crying in the middle of the night, it probably needs to go out, so make sure to help it out. You don’t want the newcomer peeing all over the floor now, do you?
- If your puppy is crying to get your attention, don’t overreact to it as it needs to learn that whining at night isn’t the solution it seeks.
- For goodness sake, make sure your puppy isn’t alone. I can’t stress this enough, it is a living being, not a toy, and you need to make sure it’s easily adapting to its new home away from its family.
How to Feed Your Labrador Puppy
Gone are the days when people used to feed their dogs the leftovers. Nowadays, everyone is aware that puppies need a special diet to grow strong.
For a Retriever puppy, home-cooked food or raw meat once per day is fine, while if you decide to go with kibble, splitting it into several portions throughout the day is recommended to avoid too much dry food in one meal.
Many dog owners are worried about the long-term effect of kibble feeding, which is why BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food is becoming more popular these days, as it’s believed to have more advantages. If you decide to go with this feeding method, proceed with extra caution because you can’t pass from regular meals to BARF overnight. Your best option here is to get expert advice from your veterinarian.
The amount of food you need to give to your puppy depends on its age. A 2-month old puppy should be fed 50-55 grams 4 times per day while a 3-month-old puppy can only have three meals of 80-100 grams each. When the puppy reaches six months, it should only be fed twice a day of 175-225 grams per meal.
How to Potty-Train Your Puppy
Potty training a new puppy should be done as soon as you bring it into your home. New puppies usually have little to no control over their small bladders, for that you need to quickly teach them where to potty and how they can develop independent toileting. Make sure to correct their behavior fast to prevent them from peeing everywhere in the house.
Follow the simple yet effective potty training steps below, but keep in mind that this can typically take 4 to 6 months until the puppies are responsible enough to it on their own.
- Make sure that you feed the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take the food away in between meals.
- Get your puppy outside for a potty time in the morning, then once every 30 minutes or so, after every meal and once before bedtime.
- Always take the puppy to the same spot to potty because its scent will naturally prompt it to do its business.
- You need to stay outside with your puppy until its well-trained and ready to it independently.
- After it eliminates outside, give your puppy a treat to encourage it to repeat the process on its own.
Vaccinations are crucial for any puppy to make sure that it’s healthy and protected from diseases. Ignoring necessary treatments can cause significant harm to your dog, so don’t miss the following:
- Parvovirus Vaccine. Given at five weeks old to high-risk puppies.
- Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Parainfluenza, and Coronavirus. This is the first combined vaccine at six weeks old.
- Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Parainfluenza, and Coronavirus. The second combined vaccine at nine weeks old.
- Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Parainfluenza, and Coronavirus, Rabies, Leptospirosis/Lyme. The third combined vaccine and Leptospirosis/Lyme for high-risk areas at 12 weeks old.
- Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Parainfluenza, and Coronavirus. The fourth combined vaccine at 16 weeks old if applicable.
How Important is Socializing for Labrador Puppies?
Always remember that “fearful dogs are unhappy dogs,” That’s why you must give your puppy the chance to develop an outgoing personality. The process of familiarizing a dog to a new environment and experiences, to other human beings, and also to scenarios that are new to it can help it grow into a confident and friendly pet.
Start socializing your puppy as soon as it’s home, as an adult dog is far harder to train than a young one.
The ideal age for puppy socialization is when they are 8 to 16 weeks old. At that age, they have little to no fear and are still curious and open to accept new strangers. Once they’re over four months old, instinct takes off, and dogs start showing some hostility towards strangers.
Puppy Biting – How to Stop This Behavior?
Puppies bite anything they can get in their mouth, from furniture to clothes and rocks, as that facilitates the teething process. That usually ends by the time they reach seven months old. If it doesn’t, they may be doing it to seek your attention or to play, as they have full-grown teeth by that age.
Although this behavior may be cute when they’re little, it becomes a problem when they grow up, for that you need to stop it as soon as possible. You can follow these tips when you’re doing it
- Keep your puppies away from children, especially when they’re too excited
- Do not give them much attention when they’re doing it, as that will encourage them to do it more often.
- Take them to a dog trainer if this behavior gets out of hand
When Should You Start Training Your Labra-Puppy?
Just like children, puppies need to have fun while training. You need to learn some effective training methods as that will ensure proper behavior once they’re grown up. If you have limited knowledge about puppy training, it’s better to hire a professional puppy trainer.
Growing a Labrador puppy can be a bit challenging, especially for new pet owners. If you’re stuck with a new puppy, go through this guide as much as needed, as it contains everything you need to know about the process.
If you have any questions regarding the matter, make sure to ask them in the comments!