Hi everyone, I'm been lurking and doing lots of research here and wanted to know how you all feel about a lab from a rescue shelter? We're strongly considering getting a lab within the next 6 months or so and we're torn between whether it is better for us to go with a puppy or a rescue dog that is older. Here is some info about our family:
My husband and I have 3 children; 2 boys ages 9 and 5 and a daughter age 3. We're not overly concerned with the kids being too rough with a dog because we also have a cat that they have learned to care for and be very gentle with. Our cat is very calm and about 8 years old; we rescued him from a shelter.
Both boys will be in school full time this year and I'll be in school for 3.5 hours twice a week; other than that I'll be home most of the time with my daughter.
We own our own home with a lot of land but no fence. We live on a very quiet street. We live in Florida.
We were leaning more towards a rescue lab that is 5yrs old or under. But after researching here I learned more about the bone issues that labs can have and that worries me. I won't know the dog's history or how he/she was treated by the previous owner or what the dog was fed and if that could contribute to future medical issues. I also won't know where a rescue dog was purchased from. My mother bought a pet store terrier many years ago that had serious medical issues and he likely came from a puppy mill. He developed cataracts by age 2 and was completely blind by age 4 and his organs began failing around age 8. I'd like to avoid that. I'm also concerned about a dog with agression issues because we have children.
We like the idea of a puppy because we would know where he came from and we could train him ourselves. We've read all about ways to avoid food agression and to get a puppy used to being touched by children. But we're very concerned with the chewing. It is pretty close to impossible to keep all of our kid's toys off the floor all of the time. I wouldn't want our puppy to eat a toy and hurt himself. I'm considering closing off an area that can stay toy free (like our kitchen) but I'm not sure how realistic that is. Chances are, sooner or later the dog would get a toy. I also think that it will be tricky to train a puppy with 3 kids around. I know we'd have to teach the kids how to help in the training but I know it will be harder to train with kids and it is possible the kids would inadverdently teach him bad habits.
Sooo, given all of our info what would you suggest? A rescue dog? A puppy? Or should we just wait a few more years until the kids are older?
Welcome to the board!
Honestly, there are zero health guarantees whether you know where the dog came from or not. Health concerns, other than current/obvious ones should not deter you from a rescue.
Getting a puppy will require A LOT of work and patience. I don't know how old your cat was when you rescued him, but an 8wk old puppy will be tons of work! You will have to housetrain, crate train, deal with puppy biting, pulling on lead, jumping, recall, all the basic commands, etc. If you are up to it, it will be a wonderful experience and yes, you can sort of gear the dog into the kind you want him to be without concern of where he was before or what experiences may have already shaped him.
Getting a rescue will still require work. It will take a number of weeks for the dog to get used to you and your family and understand what you want from him -- regardless of his age and maturity. You may still encounter some behavioural problems you will have to work to correct. Rescue dogs know they have been rescued, they make wonderful companions for the right family. Any shelter would ensure the match is correct as they don't want you to bring him back, they want the dog to have a forever home and be happy.
In either case, your entire family needs to be on the same page with respect to training any dog. If you feel your kids would teach him bad habits, you need to make sure a dog is the right choice -- you know your kids best. There are members here with kids around the same age as yours or even younger, so it can be done.
There is tons of advice on this board, stick around if you decide a dog is right for you -- a Lab is a WONDERFUL companion!
You can find a puppy to rescue especially if you have time to work with. Not having a fence may present a challenge with some rescues, I found that it was one of the main reasons for rejection in my area when talking to a few rescues. We have an invisible fence and it did not seem to be a popular option either. I am not sure how much it matters in different areas and with different rescue organizations. As Roxy said above there are no guarantees regardless of where a dog comes from, you can go with the best breeder that does all of the testing and it does not mean things can't happen. There are many things YOU have to do, feed the proper food, avoid strenuous exercise, repetitive jumping, etc to give a puppy the best chance of not developing an injury that would result in damage to the joints. A breeder will be the best person to help you find a puppy that fits in to your family and lifestyle. A foster family for a rescue group can often give you guidance on a dog as long as the dog has been with them long enough. A puppy will work with children as long as everyone works together and is consistent. It will be your job to make sure that happens and to stay on top of everyone. The biting/chewing stage does not last forever, once the permanant teeth come in thankfully that slows down considerably. As for chewing things left on the floor, that can happen at any age so it will be imporrtant if you have a dog that chews things up that you make sure your dog is safe. An obstruction can be life threatening and very expensive to treat. A crate is the best way to keep a dog safe when you can not pay close attention to what is going on and a wonderful way to train a puppy. It becomes their safe space and many will sleep in the crate long after it is necessary. I guess you have a lot to think about, no one here can tell you what will work best for your family. Good luck with your decision!
Last edited by tammyhuffman; 08-12-2012 at 04:11 PM.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
If you're thinking of a rescue check out Lab Rescue of Florida: Lab Rescue of Florida | Adopt > Adoptable Labs
They have lots of great dogs and can usually give you an idea of temperment ecetera before you adopt. When I'm able to get a 2nd one, I'll probably go through them.
My own lab came to me as a puppy from a local rescue. Luckiest day of my life.
I have always owned rescues. The first was 10 weeks old, the two next were about a year and Bailey was at least 11 when I rescued him. With over a million cats and dogs being PTS each year I would go for a rescue.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. -- Gandhi
There is no shame in opting for a pup from a reputable, responsible breeder if you feel that is the right path for you and your family.
You just have to do a thorough search when looking for the right one, making sure that the breeder shows/works their dog, performs the proper health clearances, raises the litter in home and properly socializes the pups before they are allowed to go to their new homes at 8 weeks, etc.
Cost wise, you are looking at $1000+ for a pet puppy from a responsible breeder. So, if you don't feel that you can afford that cost up front, definitely opt for a dog from a rescue or shelter.
Cara Deo Labs
~ Hollyridge Ports O Call At Plsrthyme "Portis"
Thank you so much for the responses! The lab rescue of FL link is great. They seem to have a lot of young dogs available that are pure lab. I was getting worried because most of the dogs on petfinder seemed to be mixed with pit bull. We've decided to try the rescue option first and see what we can find there.
Another option many don't realize is getting an older puppy or young adult from a breeder. Here you have the breeder benefits of knowing parentage, temperament, size and energy level as well as not having to do the middle of the night potty breaks and evil needle teeth. Many breeders hold on to more than one puppy from a litter knowing they'll make decisions later on so families can get healthy, well socialized dogs that simply aren't going to make it in the competitive labrador ring. For example, I have someone coming to take home a 6mo old boy next week who's perfect in every way, but too mellow for the show ring.... needless to say, they're excited
That being said, i opted for one a rescue and one from a reputable breeder. I figure i have all the bases covered.
I have had both. Kassa was a puppy and took a lot more work than my rescue Tessa, but not as much as Ernie the one I adopted. Kassa and Ernie are from a very reputable breeder and Tessas owners paid $1500.00 from a breeder for her. All 3 have health problems. Erns and Tess I knew, before I took them.
Getting a dog from a registered breeder costs more as they put a lot of work into the betterment of the breed. They do the clearances, and do their best to produce healthy dogs, but this doesn't guarantee a healthy dog.
There are so many gorgeous Labs waiting for good homes. If it were me with 3 children I would go for a rescue as you can go as a family and pick one. You can get an idea of its temperament, how trained it already is and how it copes with your family.Or as Nicole says one from a breeder.
You can always get a puppy in a year or two.