I was disgussing this on a pit bull forum Im a member on and suddenly it dawned on me... why not find a lab forum and see if I can get the more specific lab related questions I have answered! So I have joined here in hopes of learning more about labs specifically and particularly about help with getting my lab to loose weight.
Some history (sorry this is long but its hard to explain properly without background info)-
My family and I live with my in-laws. 2 years ago we decided we wanted to get a dog for our son. Inlaws thought it was a good idea also and a few months before I had my son co workers of my husband had a dog that needed a home. Sounded ment to be so we brought her home. She was about 8 months at the time, we named her Indy. I didnt know my inlaws well still so when MIL offered to pay for her spay I thought she was just being helpful and agreed to let her pay. I soon realized she was selectivly dog aggressive and she redirects. I got bit pretty bad breaking up a fight between her and a friends dog. A while later on a walk she tried to fence fight with a dog in a yard as we passed and when I pulled her away to keep walking she turned and lunged at my son who was in his stroller (who I thankfully pushed ahead of me a bit). Since I lost all trust in her aorund my son and stoped walking her (unfortunatly I dont have the option to leave him and take her on a walk alone) I tried rehoming her for her sake but my inlaws said no because they paid to spay her they wouldnt allow it (and cant do much when documents list them as her owner not me) as well as no rescuse would take a dog with a bite history. Along the way we got our OWN dog (the pit bull) who I have sucessfully gotten to loose 10 lbs and and working at getting him in shape as hes had bad hips since he was 8 months old. It recently inspired me to try and work Indy and get her in shape.
Indy is approx 77lbs (my husband held her on a bathroom scale for that so just an approx) For the last couple weeks I have been letting my pit bull, Harley out back to run and play with her about every other day. At first their play would end after about 5 minutes because she is so out of shape and fat, now they will run and play tug for about 20 minutes before she needs to start laying down and resting (which is when I bring Harley in and end play time). I have also recruited a friend to come when she can to start helping me walk Indy. I still do not trust her on walks to be close to my son so Ill walk Harley and push my son and my friend is going to walk Indy (and help train her to walk on a leash).
She was previously eating 2 cups of Pedigree dog food a day (according to MIL, who I knew was adding more than what I told her at one point but I think she may have stoped when I kept bringing up how over weight Indy is) I recently switched her to Costcos Kirkland brand food which its a touch better quality (Harley, who is allergic to almost everything with a super sensitvie stomach does well on it, and my wallet likes the price lol) Now to some questions I have.
I believe Indy should be approx a 60lb dog. Going off what the bag says that would mean feeding her 3 cups a day! My 61lb pit bull (whos in proper condition for his breed) eats 1 3/4-2 cups a day but hes also a lazy couch potato. Prior to Indy getting fat she was high energy but now, not so much. What would be some opinions on how much I should be feeding her?
Also what does a lab in good working condition look like? I know with pit bulls seeing some rib is ok/good. My boy is in such condition with nice muscle tone (because hes got bad hips Im going slow with him, I spent 5 months getting him to loose 10lbs and slowly building muscle) but how about labs? I know 'conditioned' dogs of different breeds have different standards and I dont want to make her to thin but at the same time I want her to be as trim as possible so as to help avoid any further stress on her poor joints.
Im going to try and start getting her out on at least 1 walk a week, maybe 2 if I can convince my husband to help and continue letting Harley out to run and play tug with her about every other day (so long as weather permits).
I just ran out and took some updated pictures of her Ill post them in a second so you have a better idea of what Im dealing with.
If you made it to this point, THANK YOU! Sorry its so long, I just dont want to end up hurting her instead of helping her. Ive never worked with such an over weight and out of shape dog before. .
Side shot (I didnt have anyone to help so forgive the sloppy-ness)
Shot from above
Last edited by Harleys Momma; 08-29-2010 at 05:11 PM.
Unfortunately, I can't help you with the behavioral problems you're experiencing with Indy, they sound serious. You should get in touch with a *good* behaviorist (ask vet for refs).
My Lab once weighed a chubby 109lbs (OMG!!!) and today he is a slim, in-shape, muscular 95lbs. I think for Labs to look in-shape you should be able to see maybe the first rib or two and definitely be able to see a waist (none of that lumpy "sausage body" stuff).
As for what dog food says on the bag...I usually feed my Lab 3c/day of Orijen plus something raw (chicken back, turkey neck, RMB, etc). The bag does recommends more though. I go by what he looks like and how much activitey he's getting. He's pretty active right now, hiking and swimming daily, so I've been feeding him about 3.5c/day.
"Apollo", CGC- black Labrador Retriever
"Molson"- buff American Cocker Spaniel
"Patty"- black American Cocker Spaniel
"Pepper" Najaco's Northeast Storm- black Labrador Retriever 5/11/92-9/18/05
OK - if she were mine. I would feed her no more than you are feeding the other dog. If you feel she needs more volume, you can add canned green beans to each meal. Adds bulk with few calories. Don't buy diet dog food - it is filled with crappy filler and it's a waste of your money.
Would it be possible for you to have your MIL watch the baby while you exercise this dog daily? She is not allowing you to rehome her so IMO she needs to step up and help. I would get her a Gentle Leader head halter. It will allow you to control her head when you are walking her - this will get her behavior on a leash under better control and she may be less reactive while wearing it. She's not really going to get thinner without daily exercise.
And - I think all dogs should have a visible nip in at the waist when viewed from above - they should not look like kegs on legs. All of the dogs I've had, I've kept on the thin side - ribs can be felt without much pressure - last couple visible on more athletic individuals.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Unfortunatly I do not trust MIL with my son at all. She doesnt listen to any of my rules for my son when Im around, Im sure she doesnt when Im gone. Just like she doesnt listen to my rules for the dogs (which is why she isnt allowed to do anything with Harley, and hardly gets to interact with him. Id do the same with Indy if I could) Thats why I had to stop walking Indy in the first place though. Im hoping to get my husband to walk her with me more often but working in the heat and lot of over time leaves him wanting to relax in air conditioning not go out walking a dog who thinks shes in a weight pull contest on a walk. But as I mentioned shes currently getting about 20 minutes of running/tug every other day or so (as the weather permits, I do not let her run when its to hot out and I let them play untill she starts needing to lay down and rest to often)
As for her temperment issues. She isnt human aggressive by any means. I would have a human aggressive dog put to sleep. But she is very dog reactive, selectivly dog aggressive and when she fights she redirects. For me thats not a big deal but I will not risk my son. Im not sure if her weight is making her to lazy but I had them out front tied up last weekend and several dogs passed and to my suprise she had the option of redirecting towards Harley and she didnt, she just ran to the end of her cable barking and growling while Harley was whining next to her. Perhaps it was a phase but again its not something Im going to chance with my son. I myself have no issue working with her. I think simply teaching her some self control and how to focus will help that area. But it doesnt change that I wont walk her near my son untill I know shes 100% not going to redirect.
Thank you for responding! My guess is that she should be right around 60lbs as my boy Harley is (and as you both mentioned hes in the condition where you can faintly she the back couple ribs). Im hoping I can get Indy fit again, the poor girl has to be so miserable.
I added pics of her, hopfully they show up soon
Just thought I would update this thread with some recent pictures of Indy. Her weight loss has been going well. She is getting more energy, which making her obediance traning more effective (I can keep her attention for more than 10 minutes) which is helping her DA while on walks.
She started out at approx 78lbs in mid Aug. and now we are down to 65lbs! She still has a way to go, you still have to dig a bit to find ribs but shes got a very noticable waist and theres also a tuck (she has flab hanging down which makes the tuck harder to see but its there)
While out on our walk, stoping for potty pick up I snaped a shot of her:
After the walk she cools off inside for a bit then we do some ob.. She loves Harleys bed
She looks good ...keep up the good work.
she looks great
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
She looks great!
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I'm so glad she's losing weight so well! This is a common problem in labs - I'm tackling exactly the same issue right now with Millie-Moo, who's about 8 kilos overweight and currently obese.
It sounds like she's really getting on - someone suggested filling out the dog's meal with green beans/potato to bulk out the meal without adding too many calories. It seems a good idea
Everyone's got the right idea for her weight - you should be able to feel her ribs with a little pressure, and she should have an easily discernable hourglass waist. It looks like she's well on her way. By the way, she's a beautiful girl.
For the dog-aggressiveness, I can only recommend finding a good, positive-reinforcement trainer who can eradicate some of the anxiety she seems to experience from other dogs. One way to do this would be to choose a healthy snack, one she really loves, like lean pieces of chicken or some small crunchy pieces of carrot (although not grapes, because for some reason dogs react badly to them - they're toxic). When other dogs go by, and she begins to show signs of fear, anxiety or aggression (i.e her body tenses, her ears go back, she starts to lunge or her teeth begin to show), make a distracting, loud noise such as "ah ah ah!" or call her name and pull the lead firmly but gently in the opposite direction so that she follows you. Do so as soon as she begins to have the reaction, so you redirect her. When you get a good distance away, and she is calm, ignoring other dogs, feed her her treat and reward her enthusiastically. This way she learns that ignoring other dogs means something nice! I'm not a dog trainer but I've read a few books and watched a lot of programmes, and the positive reinforcement worked wonders with both my dogs. I'm sure they might work for you too.
The gentle leader is a good suggestion, too. It's not harmful at all - the basic premise is that it controls her head, and where the head goes, the body will follow.