First Time Owner Seeks Advice!
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Thread: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

  1. #1
    GrizzMarley is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultFirst Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Hello everyone, my name is Kevin and I am a 21 year old college student in my third year at a university. On a recent trip to an animal shelter I managed to fall in love with the sweetest female black lab. She is 6-8 months old, and is not a full blooded lab but no one in the shelter could determine the other breed involved.
    When I opened her gate, she cowered immediately and laid flat on the ground with her tail between her legs. We leashed up and I took her out to one of the fenced in play tester areas. She wandered around a bit, smelling and investigating, and came to me right away when I patted my leg. I tried to throw the ball for her to fetch but she was highly uninterested, which confused me. Despite numerous attempts at showing her a toy, and throwing it for her she didnít show any want to fetch. So I walked away from her, just seeing how she would act on her own. She ran around a bit, sniffing while I walked over to a bench in the corner of the yard and sat down. She came back to me relatively quickly and stood up on her hind legs, placing her front two legs on my lap, and resting her head against my cheek. I told her to get down, and she did, but when she sat down she made sure to tuck her self between my legs. While she was running around I noticed that her tail wasnít up and wagging, it was still between her legs. After a bit of running around with her I took her back inside. When she was walking on her leash, she hugged my right leg so tight I almost stepped on her paws. I let her back in her cage and went and talked to the staff about labs, and how much she would cost, and the types of things I needed to know about the adoption process.
    I hadnít filled out any papers but I decided to take her back out to the yard. When I opened the cage she was in, she laid down flat on her stomach again as I slipped the collar on and shut the door. As I was leading her out, she hugged my leg very tightly. The other caged dogs must've been jealous because this time when we walked past them, three of four of them started barking and whining like mad. However Marley( at this point I had her already named ) didnít even respond to them, she just kept walking close to my side, and didnít make a peep. Once again after I had unleashed her in the play area, she showed no interest in the fetching process, so I called her over to me and much to my surprise when I told her sit, and ever so gently pushed on her hind end she sat right away, then I leaned down, and stuck out my hand and said Shake a couple of times, with my hand near her paw, and on about the third command she put her paw in my hand. Then I told her to lay down, motioning my hand towards the grass as though I had a treat. She laid down and rolled over so I talked nicely to her and gave her a belly rub as a reward. After this I ran off to a corner of the pen and she followed, except this time I noticed her tail was starting to wag. I'd run her around a bit, stopping every now and then to sit, shake, lay down and very shortly I wouldnít even have to touch her before she would sit or shake or lay. Once again she made sure to return to me after smelling around, putting her legs on my lap and resting her face on my cheek as I was sitting on the bench. She even licked me a few times this time. I leashed her back up and led her back to her cage, and then paced about the shelter for nearly a half hour deciding whether I should get her or not. Eventually I ended up signing her papers, and now she's headed to the vet for her shots, and I get her Monday!

    Okay Sorry for the long introduction but Iím so excited. I've never owned a dog before, and I was just hoping a few of you experienced friendly owners might be able to give me a few tips? For starters, she is somewhere between 5-8 months old according to the shelter. And as I stated i'm a college student. However I live in a small studio, so I know Iíll have to put a lot of time into long walks with her a day. So far my plan is to spend at least a few hours outdoors with her each day. So yeah, iím a first time owner with what seems to be a very loving dog and was just hoping a few of the friendly, knowledgeable members here would be able to help. Also im in school work from 8-12 Monday Wednesday Friday and from 8-4 tuesday and thursday. Do you think she will be fine at home by herself with out a dog watcher during these periods? And should i invest in a crate for when im gone?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Mybabymambo Guest

    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Welcome to the board first. I will leave the advice to the others. I am new at this as well. Sounds like you found a great friend. My Mambo is 7 months and has alot of energy. But he is my best friend and I love him so much, couldnt imagine life without him. Good luck with you and your new girl. Please post pictures when you can. We love pictures..

  4. #3
    RangerMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Welcome GrizzMarley and Marley to the board. Somewhere on the board is a post called our best advice or something like that which has a lot of useful info. It sounds like she is a little unsure of herself but she should start coming out of her shell as she comes home and gets used to you.

    Blackie and Ranger ...............................Reggie: 1996-2010 "Fly Reggie Fly"

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  6. #4
    myfavoritedog's Avatar
    myfavoritedog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Welcome to the board. There are alot of very knowledgeable folks here and very helpful.

    Not that experienced here but I did alot of research before getting my puppy. I have a 3 month old black male Lab. You'll miss the puppy teething stage and it sounds like she has had some training.

    Definitely invest in a crate. It would be unwise to allow her free roam until she is more sure and you have spent time training her. I think with your schedule you'll be fine. Be sure, as Rangermom suggested, to check out our best advice. I have found that invaluable. Many on here have and do deal with rescues and dogs who have been abused or mistreated and you will find their advice invaluable.

    Be patient with her. Ditto that she sounds unsure of herself. And remember it will take her and you time to get used to eachother. But if you give her alot of love and attention, she will be your most loyal friend.

    Try to get on a schedule. Dogs do better with a daily schedule so that they know what to expect.

    It sounds like you two hit it off so you already have alot to build on! Just be sure to give her a week or so to get used to her new place.

    Good luck and be sure to keep asking!

  7. #5
    RangerMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    I wanted to second MyFavoriteDog's suggestion about investing in a crate. It will be invaluable. It will give her a place of her own, keep her safe, and out of trouble when you're not there.

    Blackie and Ranger ...............................Reggie: 1996-2010 "Fly Reggie Fly"

  8. #6
    WeHeartLabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Make sure to check the puppy section because there is a lot of great advice there on the first thread. It is a compilation of all of the member's here advice for new lab owners.
    WELCOME to the JL forums! Your girl Marley is a lucky one. I can tell how excited you are to go get her on Monday, so that leaves one day to get ready!
    I would definitely recommend a crate. Just so she has a safe place to be while youre in class. At her age, she should be able to hold it for the amount of time youre gone. It would be great if someone could maybe let her out halfway through the day, but if that is not possible, then it's not. there are plenty of dogs here on the forums who are crated for that amount of time.
    Most of us have crate trained our dogs. She may or may not be used to one, so you will need to let her see that the crate is a great place for her to be. Make it a positive experience and make sure she gets treats and praise for going in.
    also, buy a KONG. It's a rubber toy with a hole in it. Lots of us here fill that hole with treats, yogurt, and other goodies, freeze it, then give to the dog to keep them occupied in their crates. Helps pass the time for them.
    They will tell you what food she is on, and then you can decide to keep her on that or switch later on. So basically just a leash, collar, crate, food and water bowl, some toys, maybe a blanket and an appointment for her first check up. Do you have a vet picked out? If not, ask around. Ask the people around you with dogs who they use and if they would recommend them to you.
    Marley sounds smart! So get ready for lots of training time with her. And your guess about the long walks outside was right on. A good lab is a tired lab. Especially before her long days, make sure she gets a good work out in the mornings before you leave.
    Thanks from all of us for rescuing a lab. I think you will grow to love her more and more. We sure all do, as you can tell.
    Also, we LOVE pctures! So try and get a picture of her for us to see! Good luck and congratulations. Feel free to post any and everything you want to. There is so much lab wisdom on this board it's amazing. Someone will always know what to tell you.
    <br /><br />

  9. #7
    TimC. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Welcome and thank you for saving her life. Even though she is older treat her as if she were an eight week old puppy. What I mean by that is because she came from a shelter you can't expect her to know anything so you have to teach her everything. Probably the reason she wouldn't fetch the toy is because no one has ever played with her. By her body language she was telling you she is very timid and underconfident. If you can try and find a group training class or read as much about dog training as you can I know money is tight for a student but think of training as an investment in your friendship for the next ten years or more. Go slow with her and give her lots of praise when she has done something well. If you are playing with her off leash make sure you are in an inclosed area until you are absolutely sure she isn't going to run off on you. When you leave don't make a big deal out of it. A dog like this could get seperation anxiety easily. If you make a big deal out of leaving she could pick up on your anxiety and think, "If he is worried maybe I've got something to worry about." When you leave act as if your coming back in five minutes.
    Olie

  10. #8
    GrizzMarley is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Thanks for the reply's everyone im super excited to start parenting, she's all i can think about. Hope the pointers keep coming!


    -Proud Parent

  11. #9
    mitziandjudysmom's Avatar
    mitziandjudysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    From your description, I can understand why you fell in love with her. Keep reading this forum, and use "search" for info and you will know how to keep her safe, healthy, and happy. Looking forward to hearing all about Marley's transition to her new forever home.

  12. #10
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Time Owner Seeks Advice!

    Look for your local kennel club and get into training classes immediately. It will help with expanding your knowlege and boost her self esteem.

    Be prepared for accidents.

    And in no meaning for offense, but please understand that she is now your responsibility for the next 10-15 years. So, I hope you have the blessing of your parents and family for when you go home on breaks and stuff. I am just stating that because not only do I work in rescue, but I work on a college campus here in Michigan and there are far too many instances of college kids coming to adopt cats and dogs from our shelter and then at the end of the year dumping them back there before they leave for the summer.

    Nick on this board was able to be successful at being a college student and owning a pup. Hopefully he will pipe in here.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
    SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
    SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC

    Member Since 6/2003

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