Ok.. I have all sorts of questions. If I ask too many please tell me to just hush.
#1 I switched our present dogs over to Exclusive lamb and rice because I was looking for a corn free food. I have seen many of you suggest grain free. Where do I find grain free foods? I live in a small town so am really limited that way. What do I need to look for?
#2 What is the difference between and English lab and any other lab. I have read and read and I have seen that its in the build but one states something and another article will state the opposite.
#3 Katie loves to swim. I was told by her owner today that she is relentless when she is trying to get something in the water (stick, ball, dummy, etc) and will literally wear herself out trying to get it to the point it has scared him. Should I get a life vest for her? If so what type do you recommend? I do know that until she gets to know us well and I know that I have absolute recall for her I will have her on at least a 30 foot lead so I still have some control.
#4 I understand Katie is a bit of a counter surfer. I have never had to deal with this issue before. Any advice before she gets here?
I think that is all for now but I am sure as my little brain works I will be asking more.
Thanks so much!
Okay, I'll tackle a couple of them. But first let me say, there is no such thing as too many questions when it comes to taking care of your dog. I'm sure everyone on this board is just happy to see another person so interested in quality pet care.I'd look at a pet supply store or feed store. We feed our dogs Natural Balance (grain free) and get it at a Feed and Tackle store. Corn free is a must....and not only corn, but corn gluten, corn anything. Nothing with the word corn in it. we do like the entirely grain free food. Instead of grains, Natural Balance has potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice....all of which are good for dogs.#1 I switched our present dogs over to Exclusive lamb and rice because I was looking for a corn free food. I have seen many of you suggest grain free. Where do I find grain free foods? I live in a small town so am really limited that way. What do I need to look for?
I'm sure others will mention other dog foods....there are many top quality dog foods out there.Did you say how old she was? If she's 9 months - a year (maybe younger), I wouldn't worry about her in the water. I know my dog has swum up and down and across and back and forth and around and around before for many different reasons. If she has no physical problems, she can swim and retrieve forever.#3 Katie loves to swim. I was told by her owner today that she is relentless when she is trying to get something in the water (stick, ball, dummy, etc) and will literally wear herself out trying to get it to the point it has scared him. Should I get a life vest for her? If so what type do you recommend? I do know that until she gets to know us well and I know that I have absolute recall for her I will have her on at least a 30 foot lead so I still have some control.
The 30 foot lead, however, is a great idea until she has good recall. What concerns me with Sally swimming in lakes and places like that is not her tiring out, but her getting into something she shouldn't, like some big tall weeds where there might be snakes or swimming close to boats.....same reasons you need a good recall on land.
If you are still concerned and want her to wear a life vest, there are many made for dogs. I don't have one, but I know others here do and can recommend something.
I don't want to touch the questions about conformation. Don't have enough knowledge there. And none of mine counter surf, so I've never dealt with that problem.
But good luck with Katie. I'm sure you'll enjoy her immensely!
Grain free is a great option as far as feeding goes, as it contains no grains (rice, oats, barley, etc) as they are considered species inappropriate for a dog (carnivore). However, grain free foods are very nutrient dense, so they sometimes take some getting used to as far as the dog's system goes and you will be feeding much less of those foods.
Here is a list of grain free foods:
A lot of the times the actual website for the food has a store locator on it, For example, here's one for Evo (which I would highly recommend, by the way):
This site also gives reviews of dog foods, you can read more about grain free products there:
In terms of swimming, it can't hurt to get her a lifevest, but I'd just keep an eye on her and watch for signs of fatigue. These dogs were bred to swim, and it's sometimes amazing how efficient they are at it.
As far as the counter surfing goes, easiest way to address that is to keep the counters free of food and clutter for her to grab. With labs, an ounce of prevention certainly IS worth a pound of cure.
Hope that helps! And welcome!
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
English v. American Labs is a collection of misnomers.
Field v. Bench is the more accurate description.
Field is generally leaner, especially in the muzz and head.
Bench has got the square blocky head. Wesley is a Bench Lab.
I'll stay out of the food conversation. I'm still feeding Purina Dog Chow, after numerous unsuccessful, diarhheal attempts to swap him onto something else. At 9.5 yrs old, I think he's fine w/his current food.
Swimming -- Agree that the longline is recommendable until a recall is locked-in. Not sure why you believe a life vest is necessary. Is she foundering in the water from tiredness?? Maybe call an end to the water retrieves before she starts looking truly exhausted. Nothing better than a tuckered-out lab taking a long snooze after a good swim.....
Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]
"Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)
The only thing I can add, is mine aren't counter surfers and it's because the first time they were caught with their nose close to the counter, we'd slap our hand on the counter right in front of their nose (never touching the dog) and yell. Scared the crap out of them! They never counter surf. But they are labs, doesn't mean they might not get the urge to one day!
1. Dog food is like religion...people often feel very strongly about their choice and will argue to the death about it Corn, or any grain/carb source, is only a problem if YOUR DOG has a problem with it. How is she doing on the food she's currently being fed? Solid poops, clear eyes, clean ears, nice coat? If so, there's no reason to change.
2. The correct term for what people mistakingly call an "english" lab is show or bench bred. These lines are bred with the breed standard in mind and tend to have more bone, coat, "blockier" head, than the other end of the spectrum which would be field bred. The largest percentage of labs out there, however, are "pet bred" meaning they were simply bred to make pets not for the breeder to keep their next show or field prospect.
3. She shouldn't need a life vest for regular swimming, but yes, keep her on leash until you have a strong recall unless your in a securely fenced area.
4. The only way to "fix" counter surfing is to catch them doing it, so keep a good eye on her while in the house and keep your counters clean. You might also want to think about leashing her to you for a while. This allows you to constantly know what she's up to as well as speeds up the bonding process...you go, she goes.
I haven't seen Katie yet but my girlfriend said she has a big block head. LOL I have been looking at a bunch of pictures and have noticed the different heads/builds. Thank you for clearing that up for me. I am excited to see her.
As far as the food goes the reason we went to corn free was many years ago we had to go corn free for my first golden Bessie as she had a horrible allergy to corn and we just continued to feed corn freeto our others after Bessie passed. We had fed Lamb & Rice Eukanuba but when P&G bought it corn slowly made its way into the feed I was worried about our second golden Madison so we switched to another corn free food. They have Katie on Purina puppy chow and the puppy part, since she is 3 years old, is what bothers me the most.
I will probably wait in her life vest until we take her swimming once or twice to see how she does. I don't know how much it was her not wanting to quit swimming or him not knowing when it was time to stop throwing stuff into the water for her to fetch.
I always try to keep things off the counters. My son's basset mix is a smart cookie and although she can't reach up and take things off the counter she would push the kitchen stool that is on wheels over to the counters and go up that way. We now put the stool upside down or where she can't move it..LOL We will have to be extra diligent for awhile to let her know that is a not ok thing.
I know I have a huge long list of questions when I go to pick her up. He already things I am nuts because I told him that I would be picking her up in my van and my husband would be picking up her things in his truck. He is sending her dog house with her which I will probably be donating to our humane society for a needy dog because she will not need it here and I won't let her go to anything but an inside home either if she isn't happy here. He told me that she could just ride in the back of the truck and I said absolutely NOT. LOL He told my friend (his cousin) with all my questions you would think I was taking in a child. I said yep.. only difference is she is wearing a fur coat.
Thank you for all your help. I am feeling more and more confident about this by reading your posts and your answering my questions.
Last edited by mommacomet; 08-27-2009 at 03:15 PM.