Hello! My name is Kelley, and I'm new to the forums!
I had larger dogs when I was growing up. As an adult, when I moved into the city, I had a couple of small dogs.
I'm now moving back to the country, and I am in love with the Lab breed. I've done my research online, and I'd like to get some advice and info from actual Lab owners. I want to make sure that the breed is right for me and my family before purchasing (it wouldn't be fair to the puppy if I didn't).
So, I feel like I know what I'm getting into-I've read about the breed, I know that Labs require exercise, etc. but I really want to hear from you guys! Give my stories and examples...what am I in for? What do I need to know?
you may get biast opinions here
Labs are shedders. lots of shedding year round, then they lose their coat twice a year.
Well trained adult labs are gems and what most poeple picture - but it takes years to get there and lab puppies can be demons
labs need at least an hour of age appropriate exercise. lots of off leash free play daily. walks are a great part of a routine but not exercise (they wont tire out a dog).
labs are social animals. they dont do well spending their time as an outside dog.
labs are bit puppies for many years.
labs need mental exercise ad well as physical - they are a smart working breed.
puppies have no bladder control and cannot hold it in a full work day so if you work away from the home plans to have someone go at lunch to let them out should be made ahead of time.
Labs are the most over bred breed out there, as they are the most popular. this means there are many health issues you should be aware of and and ensure if you get s puppy - it is from a responsible breeder that does all the available clearances (test to confirm if a dog is likely to pass on these health issues). they should also prove their dog on a venu like conformation/hunt/field. please do your reserch of you get a lab from a breeder, buyer beware.
a lab is not a "lab" (temperment, health - all the things you imagine when you think labrador retriever" not matter what - the breeding and line behind the puppy is what makes it a true "lab" (temperment and health).
also, being "akc registered" is not a sign of a good litter (akc is only a registry).
Hi there! I can give you my experience, as I think it will help you think about timelines/expectations:
My guy is now 1 year old. It took until about 10 months old to get the biting completely under control, although the worst of it was over by the time he was done teething. When he was a little guy, I had bloody hands and arms, ripped clothes, etc. so be prepared for that, but it's over quickly.
At 1, he can be left out of the crate for about an hour while we run out for groceries, but still needs to be crated for longer times away. Needs an hour of off-leash exercise EVERY DAY - rain or shine. He's sweet, really friendly, really smart, not a mean bone in his body and is the love of our lives.
He's been in obedience class every single week since he was 12 weeks old, and I can't even begin to tell you how important that was.
So, he's fairly trustworthy around the house, sweet, chills out with enough exercise, and we're over the biting. Still doesn't greet very politely on leash, is still really obsessed with playing with other dogs.
There are ups and downs. Labs aren't perfect, but you get out what you put in tenfold. How old are your kids? You'll have to teach them to be calm around the dog so he doesn't get over-stimulated, and even though you'll be in the country plan to take the pup out around lots of people/places for proper socialization. The first year is tough, and it gets better from there on!
THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! This is exactly what I'm looking for!
1. My kids are older (15 and 16), so there isn't a problem there.
2. I'm wondering if adopting an older (2 maybe) would be a great idea. That is the way that I was leaning, BUT I'm worried about what you get with adopting (aka a trouble dog).
I adopted my lab when he was 18 months. Adopted my newest girl at around 10 months. And i have fostered over 25 dogs over the years. Lots of labs and lab mixes. Rescues dogs are generally NOT problem dogs. Work with a reputable rescue, you can meet the dog and talk to the foster family who live with the dog in question.
Dogs are surrendered because people don't have time or move. seriously that's the common refrain. Especially around 6-18 months when they generally needs lots of exe rice. Some dogs have less socialization and many need a bit of training but few are PROBLEM dogs. That's an old wives tail.
Adopting is a wonderful option if people don't want to deal with puppies (I was one of those) and/or want to reduce the initial cost (a rescue pup comes all vetted and often chipped and heart worm tested so that's a big savings compared to the adoption fee - a reputable breeder that puts all that work on their pups and does all the testing has to charge more for the pups, cost varies by region).
Dryfo-Thank you so much! That helps. I had no idea. I figured people got rid of dogs because there was a problem with them. I'm glad to know that's not the case. Although I love the idea of a puppy, adoption might be a good idea. I don't know, but I plan to put a lot of thought into anything before I move forward (I already have, and I will continue to).
You all are great.
Don't get me wrong, often you end up with lots of training to do as these people don't often spend much time training properly, and you may have to work a little more on socialization if they didn't do that either. So I am not trying to say these dogs come ready to go, trained and super obedient. But they generally are not "broken goods" either.
Puppies in shelters and pounds are not often pure bred, and if they could be it's really hard for them to say that with any certainty unless mom was dumped. You do get closer to pure bred by the 6 month age (lots of mixes too).
Be aware of the difference between shelter, pounds, humane societies and rescues. Each has an important role to play but can't work the same way. Pounds are the ones that pick up the strays, where many dump dogs. $$ if very very low there (though some do better than others). Staff is paid minimally. Dogs are sometimes assessed a little at the pound (which actually will impact the assessment, a dog in a pound is not "itself") but usually not. It is still very good to adopt from a pound but you will have knowledge on the dog and often less (if any) vetting. Shelters vary from more like a pound, or more like a human society. Humane societies, generally speaking, have somewhat better kennels for the pups, some have play areas. They may have someone experienced staff assessing the dogs. They often as adopters some questions and do their best. $$ can be lacking here too. Some will do some vetting.
Rescues vary as well. Normally a rescue has dogs in foster homes where they are assessed by the family. they may give them some basic obedience and work on some issues. they SHOULD fully vet the dog.