I recently adopted a lab border collie mix and have some questions that I'm hoping someone can help with. As you might imagine not all the information I received was accurate when I got him. I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing for my puppy. I took him to a vet days after I got him. He is about 5 months old (still has baby teeth), about 20-21 inches tall and was a little underweight (38lbs). He was neutered in early August. Vet feels like he is more lab than anything else. He has been treated for round worms and is on an antibiotic because of bacteria in his stool. I've only had him about ten days. He was born in a shelter and has been fostered out and taken to local pet stores almost weekly for adoption days. He has a great disposition and responds really well to affection.
He seems very 'depressed' and sleepy. He has periods (short) of active play but crashes and sleeps for 1-2 hours at a time. He runs - sort-of - but does not jump at all. He won't get into or out of my car, won't jump onto a bed (maybe that's a good thing ) or jump up for treats or toys. He was really stiff when I got him and I talked to the vet about hip problems. He's become more fluid over the week but still struggles getting up from a laying position - especially on linoleum. He lays in a frog legged position (front and hind legs) without a problem which I have been told indicates he probably doesn't have hip problems.
The lab puppies I have been around are active and playful. I have friends who have trouble keeping theirs off of every piece of furniture. I don't know if he is still terribly anxious (he doesn't get far from me) and going through an adjustment period or if there is a problem I should be addressing. I don't know if his lack of jumping and playing is a result of problems with his structure or if he's spent so much time in a shelter he doesn't know how or if he just hasn't found his legs, yet.
He's already a permanent member of my family and I'm not unhappy with his temperament but it seems odd to me. If there is something I should be doing to help him, I want to do it. Suggestions or thoughts?
First of all; thanks for adopting a shelter baby! Now, it takes them a while to settle in to their new environment. No idea what he might have been through before and with some, it takes a while for them to just be themselves. I fostered 13 dogs last year and you'd be amazed how much they can change week to week. I wouldn't promote the jumping for treats or on to the furniture at this point. 5 months is still very young and yes, being in a shelter, it's going to take him some time to get adjusted and see what wonderful things he can do now. The sleeping is also normal; probably in a few weeks you are going to wish he would go back to sleep. Sounds very typical of shelter/rescue type dogs at first. Just give him lots of love and set boundaries of what you expect and you'll have a best friend for life!
I agree with Sandy, typical rescue adapting to a new environment. We rescued Jaida and she is a MUCH different dog now than when we first brought her home. It really took some time for her to trust us, feel at home and altogether blossom into the loving and happy dog she is today. Just be patient...your baby will blossome too, but he has had a much different life than most lab puppies that you may be familiar with.
Thank you both! I had hoped it was just adjustment. Only had Phoenix a little over a week and I just cherish the little (okay, big) guy. He's awesome, can't believe no one took him out of shelter in five months ... I had been looking for over a year for 'the right dog' and knew that he had been waiting for me! Love the forum ... really helpful!
Welcome! Your puppy is beautiful! ZoeZoe's advice to you was great. I adopted Brigetta at 3 1/2 months (she's 7 months now) and she also went through some of the same things. She hated getting into the car, she was fine riding in it, but getting her in was a battle at first. Now she jumps right in. Her confidence has grown so much over the past few months. She is still very skittish when walking on a leash, but we're working on that. Like chocolatecoverdlab said...he has had a different life than most pups and in time he'll adjust. Please keep us posted.
Teresa, mom to Brigetta and Prudence
Welcome to JL. Your Phoenix is adorable. My first lab/golden mix was named Phoenix.
perhaps he was kept totally crated and has poor muscle tone? start slowly building them up with play--swimming is best, but he's pretty young for that. you can do things like having him chase a mop on carpeting if you must stay indoors. let him stop when he's pooped..if it's very exciting you may need to time things, however.
aim for adding Either longer activity times or higher/wilder activity levels each week, not one of each.
I agree he's probably just adjusting I know I've heard people say it takes a month or so at least before they start to really settle in. As far as the play thing I would bet he's just not in shape and wears out easily this will change quickly just don't force exercise him ( no running or long walks) as they will with go as long as they can but it may hurt their joints.
When we brought Jake home he acted really depressed and slept alot also. He really isn't hyper like most labs are and people are always commenting on how calm he is. Just give it some time and he will adjust. Thanks for adopting!!!!!