What to get before brining a young lab home...and a million more questions
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Thread: What to get before brining a young lab home...and a million more questions

  1. #1
    Jilian is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultWhat to get before brining a young lab home...and a million more questions

    I'm working on compiling a list of what we'll need for our pup. We're still weighing out the pros and cons of adopting a rescue versus a puppy but either way we'll lilkely end up with a young dog. The rescues we're looking at are all around a year old. Do you mind going over my list and letting me know if it looks ok? Also, if you have any specifics to add like types of leashes, brands or anything I have missed I'd really appreciate it! Or if there is a post that I'm missing with this info already in it could you please link me? Here is my list:

    - Crate - not sure if we should go with a kennel type or a crate that looks more like a cage with bars on all 4 sides. Also, what size should we use? I've heard of getting a full sized one and blocking off one side when the dog is small, should we do that or just start with a small crate? Do dogs even use crates when fully grown? I've heard differing opinions on putting a dog bed on the bottom of the crate too, yea or nay?

    - Leash & Collar - I haven't done much research on these. Suggestions? I haven't walked a dog in a loooong time but when I did I used one of those retractable leashes and it was a terrier so he was a lot smaller. Helloooooo rope burn.

    - Food - I read the food thread on feeding large breed puppy food to lab puppies under a year. I think I recall seeing Eukanuba and Science diet on the list and I know those are available at our local pet supermarket. After they are a year old do you switch over to the adult formula of the same brand? I know a lot of this depends on what the puppy is being fed when you adopt him and you aren't supposed to just switch foods suddenly. But if our pup is on a less than ideal diet I'd like to get him/her eventually switched over to something recommended.

    - What kind of treats do you offer? - I know a lot of store bought treats are junk and I'd like to avoid the bad ones. I've read about using high value treats like bits of chicken or steak for training. Are these good options for a young dog? What would a low value treat be? Exactly how many treats a day do you feed a pup? It sounds like there will be a ton of training going on and I don't want to overfeed our dog.

    - Food bowls - I've been hearing lots of good things about stainless steel bowls holding up well. Do they need to be on a raised platform? I've read about big dogs needing a raised platform to prevent rotation of the intestines.

    - Toys - I seem to hear of nylabones and Kongs recommended the most. Tennis balls seem to be a big hit too. We already have a hard-side kiddie pool for swimming too. How many toys should we get to start? Are the tug of war ropes bad? I've heard that they are bad for teeth.

    - Is a rain coat necessary? - We're in FL so we don't get snow but we do have a whole rainy season where it rains every day for weeks on end. Are rain coats necessary?

    - Training - How/where do you find an obedience class for your pet? I've heard it mentioned a few times not to use the Petco or Petsmart obedience classes. I'd like one that I attend with our dog so I can learn how to properly train our pup.

    Anything else I'm forgetting? This is like preparing to have a baby! Thanks for being patient with me and answering all of my questions.
    Last edited by Jilian; 08-16-2012 at 12:59 PM.

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  3. #2
    Beerfish's Avatar
    Beerfish is offline Senior Member
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    I'm working on compiling a list of what we'll need for our pup. We're still weighing out the pros and cons of adopting a rescue versus a puppy but either way we'll lilkely end up with a young dog. The rescues we're looking at are all around a year old. Do you mind going over my list and letting me know if it looks ok? Also, if you have any specifics to add like types of leashes, brands or anything I have missed I'd really appreciate it! Or if there is a post that I'm missing with this info already in it could you please link me? Here is my list:

    - Crate - not sure if we should go with a kennel type or a crate that looks more like a cage with bars on all 4 sides. Also, what size should we use? I've heard of getting a full sized one and blocking off one side when the dog is small, should we do that or just start with a small crate? Do dogs even use crates when fully grown? I've heard differing opinions on putting a dog bed on the bottom of the crate too, yea or nay?

    I have always had a larger crate, blocked part of it off and then used full crate when ready. That works just fine.

    - Leash & Collar - I haven't done much research on these. Suggestions? I haven't walked a dog in a loooong time but when I did I used one of those retractable leashes and it was a terrier so he was a lot smaller. Helloooooo rope burn.

    Probably best to start with a non retractable one if you ask me. Regular leash is probably better for training.

    - Food - I read the food thread on feeding large breed puppy food to lab puppies under a year. I think I recall seeing Eukanuba and Science diet on the list and I know those are available at our local pet supermarket. After they are a year old do you switch over to the adult formula of the same brand? I know a lot of this depends on what the puppy is being fed when you adopt him and you aren't supposed to just switch foods suddenly. But if our pup is on a less than ideal diet I'd like to get him/her eventually switched over to something recommended.

    This is a very contentious topic among the breeder experts vs veterinarians. With my last pup the breeder (in favor of large breed) vs the Vet (in favor of puppy food) gave me totally different advice and acted like the other person was a dunder head. The next puppy I get i am going to force my breeder to call my vet and have them come to a consensus.

    - What kind of treats do you offer? - I know a lot of store bought treats are junk and I'd like to avoid the bad ones. I've read about using high value treats like bits of chicken or steak for training. Are these good options for a young dog? What would a low value treat be? Exactly how many treats a day do you feed a pup? It sounds like there will be a ton of training going on and I don't want to overfeed our dog.

    I am not the one to answer this as I am terrible at buying treats for my dog that are not good for him. I would suggest small treat bits or even the pups own food.

    - Food bowls - I've been hearing lots of good things about stainless steel bowls holding up well. Do they need to be on a raised platform? I've read about big dogs needing a raised platform to prevent rotation of the intestines.

    I use stainless steel and put it on a platform fairly early on. (Not too tall mind you)

    - Toys - I seem to hear of nylabones and Kongs recommended the most. Tennis balls seem to be a big hit too. We already have a hard-side kiddie pool for swimming too. How many toys should we get to start? Are the tug of war ropes bad? I've heard that they are bad for teeth.

    I don't think ropes are bad as long as one doesn't play rough with pup with them for their mouths sake. Kongs are great, for some reason my dogs have never cared for nylabones. Re toys, just give up and accept the fact that you will buy far too many toys for your pup, it's a human weakness.


    - Is a rain coat necessary? - We're in FL so we don't get snow but we do have a whole rainy season where it rains every day for weeks on end. Are rain coats necessary?

    Nope, not in my opinion. You might want a special towel place near the back door but labs Are used to being wet. Just do not bath them very often. Their natural oils and such in their coat help protect vs rain I believe.

    Anything else I'm forgetting? This is like preparing to have a baby! Thanks for being patient with me and answering all of my questions.

    The main thing to tell yourself is that the toughest part of owning a pup is the 1st couple of weeks. The more effort you put into being consistent, patient and into training the quicker pup will become a good little citizen. After the 1st tough part of owning a pup it is all gravy because you will have a tremendous loyal friend for years.

  4. #3
    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    Crate - not sure if we should go with a kennel type or a crate that looks more like a cage with bars on all 4 sides. Also, what size should we use? I've heard of getting a full sized one and blocking off one side when the dog is small, should we do that or just start with a small crate? Do dogs even use crates when fully grown? I've heard differing opinions on putting a dog bed on the bottom of the crate too, yea or nay?

    Correct. yes they sometimes use them when fully grown - depends on circumstances ( my house is too small )


    - Leash & Collar - I haven't done much research on these. Suggestions? I haven't walked a dog in a loooong time but when I did I used one of those retractable leashes and it was a terrier so he was a lot smaller. Helloooooo rope burn.

    No retractable leads


    - Food - I read the food thread on feeding large breed puppy food to lab puppies under a year. I think I recall seeing Eukanuba and Science diet on the list and I know those are available at our local pet supermarket. After they are a year old do you switch over to the adult formula of the same brand? I know a lot of this depends on what the puppy is being fed when you adopt him and you aren't supposed to just switch foods suddenly. But if our pup is on a less than ideal diet I'd like to get him/her eventually switched over to something recommended.

    See how it goes but continue with his usual food for the moment


    - What kind of treats do you offer? - I know a lot of store bought treats are junk and I'd like to avoid the bad ones. I've read about using high value treats like bits of chicken or steak for training. Are these good options for a young dog? What would a low value treat be? Exactly how many treats a day do you feed a pup? It sounds like there will be a ton of training going on and I don't want to overfeed our dog.


    - Food bowls - I've been hearing lots of good things about stainless steel bowls holding up well. Do they need to be on a raised platform? I've read about big dogs needing a raised platform to prevent rotation of the intestines.

    Not strictly necessary


    - Toys - I seem to hear of nylabones and Kongs recommended the most. Tennis balls seem to be a big hit too. We already have a hard-side kiddie pool for swimming too. How many toys should we get to start? Are the tug of war ropes bad? I've heard that they are bad for teeth.

    Everything mentioned is OK except for tennis balls.


    - Is a rain coat necessary? - We're in FL so we don't get snow but we do have a whole rainy season where it rains every day for weeks on end. Are rain coats necessary?

    Not necessary


    - Training - How/where do you find an obedience class for your pet? I've heard it mentioned a few times not to use the Petco or Petsmart obedience classes. I'd like one that I attend with our dog so I can learn how to properly train our pup.

    Depends on your local area ! Don't book too many sessions as there are horror stories about some training classes but a lot of it is common sense.

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    Dio's mama is offline Senior Member
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    I'll try to answer some!

    Crate: I prefer the plastic kind, simply because it creates a more "den" environment. As for size, I've used large and x-large, but Dio is pretty big. I'd say you'd be good with a large. Some people use crates for the dog's whole life, depends if they like it or not. Dio was not a fan of the crate, would only go in when made to. He never used it otherwise so when he was housebroken, it went into storage. It would depend on your dog, I guess.

    Leash/collar: I like martingale collars, since it is a training collar but has a loop that can be used when not in training mode. They are slip proof too, so it gives some peace of mind. As for leash, I use a 6 foot regular leash.

    Treats: For training, we use the zukes minis. A few different flavours and the dogs LOVE them!

    Toys: Nylabones and KONGS are great, get those. When Dio was a puppy, we had a teething ring for him that could be frozen to soothe gums and he loved that thing. I'm not a fan of tennis balls, since the material they're covered in is bad for the enamel on their teeth. Get the Chuck it balls. A bit pricey, but they last a long time. And we have always had tug of war ropes. I like the fleecy ones that are braided together and best part, you can make it yourself!

    That's it for now...I'll keep thinking!
    Gabrielle
    Dio (Best Bud since July 18th, 2009)
    Kaity (Sweetheart since April 29th, 2012)

  7. #5
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    zonapups is offline Senior Member
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    I just went through this process so I know what your going through:

    -Crate - Get the largest you think you will need for you pup. Usually 42 or 48 is good for a adult lab. I know others have gone with smaller crates for their's. Make sure it comes with a removable divider. If it doesn't, you can make one yourself using the closet maid bar thingy's they sell at handware stores. I'd just buy one with the divider. Lots already have it included already. Starting out I'd avoid the dog bed until you have a better idea if your pup is housebroken or like's to de-stuff things. We went from a ex-pen to crating and ours started out on some old towels for beds. They now have a bed in the crate and we know they won't de-stuff it. Avoid putting ANYTHING in the crate that can become a choking hazard until the pups older.

    -Leash&Collar - Avoid a collar just yet or keep your receipt. Your pup can be anywhere from a small to a large depending on the age. Once you have an idea of age you should be able to determine the collar size needed. BTW...stay away from the retractable leashes! Start with a nice nylon leash. Some make them with special hand grips to make them more comfortable to handle. Sky is the limit on these! Start with a regular nylon leash based on the pups size. Once he/she is leashed trained and your are comfortable walking him you can consider a retractable.....starting as a puppy....avoid like the plague!

    -Food - Someone here can provide the link to the rating list for foods. I'd find out what the pup is on and start their. You want to give the pup a chance to adjust to your home first before switching to another food. When you do switch do it over 8-10 days (add days if your pup is not as tolerant of a change). Some on the forum recommend adult dog food at 1 year. My vet yelled at us and wants us to keep our two on puppy till 8 months at least. Talk to your vet about which type to give them. They may be able to offer the best advice.

    -Treats - You can use kibble as treats. We also use Zuke's which is all natural. They have a training treat which is low calorie. You can also use boiled chicken, steak or cheese too. We use those as really high value treats! Just make sure whatever treats you use you take from their food so they don't get overfeed. Look at the label and use that as a guideline.

    -Food bowls - we use standard stainless steel and don't raise them. Some do, some don't. I don't think it's needed unless you have a pup with stomach issues. Some else may be able to provide a better answer as to when it should be used.

    -Toys - I'd start with the basics on toys first. Nylabones and Kongs are great! They have a complete toy line other than just bones and the stuffing ball. I'd avoid tennis balls especially when the pup is young. The material is very abrasive to their teeth. Kong does make tennis balls that are not abrasive. I'd start with just a handful and work from there. Once you have an idea of what the pup likes you can grow your collection. I'd also avoid stuffed toys. We use tug ropes and our vet had no problem with it. Just don't be too hard when they are young and teething.

    -Raincoat - Sorry I just can't help myself. No it is not necessary. Your pup may not like to walk in the rain and I HATE walking in the rain so I don't do walks when it rains. It rains everyday here during monsoon season.....our pups have to wait till it stops raining. I'd wait on this purchase and see if it is necessary.

    -Training - Talk to your vet. They may be able to recommend a training place for you. Try googling it in your area and see what comes up. Sometimes local dog clubs have special group training events. Others here can chime in on other ways to find training classes in your area.

    Good luck and congrats!

    Leo and Zoey - born 4/21/12. The loves of my life (other than the hubby)

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    Jilian is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you all so much!!!

  9. #7
    Shelley is offline Senior Member
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    I'm working on compiling a list of what we'll need for our pup. We're still weighing out the pros and cons of adopting a rescue versus a puppy but either way we'll lilkely end up with a young dog. The rescues we're looking at are all around a year old. Do you mind going over my list and letting me know if it looks ok? Also, if you have any specifics to add like types of leashes, brands or anything I have missed I'd really appreciate it! Or if there is a post that I'm missing with this info already in it could you please link me? Here is my list:

    - Crate - not sure if we should go with a kennel type or a crate that looks more like a cage with bars on all 4 sides. Also, what size should we use? I've heard of getting a full sized one and blocking off one side when the dog is small, should we do that or just start with a small crate? Do dogs even use crates when fully grown? I've heard differing opinions on putting a dog bed on the bottom of the crate too, yea or nay?

    You can get either type of crate, I have both kinds and make sure they are comfortable in both, if ever plan on your puppy/dog flying (in an airplane) the varikennel hard plastic side is the type you would use, I like the wire crates because they have good ventilation. I use 36 inch crates for females (puppy to adult), a large male may need a 42 inch at adulthood. Many of the newer wire crates come with a divider. No dog bed in the bottom, until you can trust them not to chew it and cause an obstruction. In hot weather mine don't like anything on the bottom.

    - Leash & Collar - I haven't done much research on these. Suggestions? I haven't walked a dog in a loooong time but when I did I used one of those retractable leashes and it was a terrier so he was a lot smaller. Helloooooo rope burn.

    I start with an adjustable nylon collar, (Google Alpine dog collars for examples) so the collar grows with the puppy for a while. If you get a non adjustable collar for a puppy, they outgrow them pretty fast, and you end up buying news one too often. They even make little clips that hold dog tags, so you can move the tags from one collar to another, if you like to switch them out for fun. A 6 foot good quality leather lead will soften with use and feel nice in your hands, it is also excellent for training classes. A martingale of chain collar are good for training too, but if you teach them not to pull from the start, you won't need them.

    - Food - I read the food thread on feeding large breed puppy food to lab puppies under a year. I think I recall seeing Eukanuba and Science diet on the list and I know those are available at our local pet supermarket. After they are a year old do you switch over to the adult formula of the same brand? I know a lot of this depends on what the puppy is being fed when you adopt him and you aren't supposed to just switch foods suddenly. But if our pup is on a less than ideal diet I'd like to get him/her eventually switched over to something recommended.

    Food is one of the most controversial topics there is. A baby puppy needs to stay on the food he/she was on at the breeders for at least a few months, if not then through teething if at all possible. Some of the "better" dog foods are so rich that their stool is loose. A good middle of the road kibble is probably best, and usually not found at the supermarket. Different foods work better on different dogs, so it is tough to recommend just one.

    - What kind of treats do you offer? - I know a lot of store bought treats are junk and I'd like to avoid the bad ones. I've read about using high value treats like bits of chicken or steak for training. Are these good options for a young dog? What would a low value treat be? Exactly how many treats a day do you feed a pup? It sounds like there will be a ton of training going on and I don't want to overfeed our dog.

    I use Charlee Bear treats, or the small Bil-jac liver treats for training. High value is cheese (low fat like string cheese), left over bits of chicken or meat, anything that was once on your plate (LOL). Low value could be kibble or baby carrots when they are expecting something High value, but again Labs LOVE food, so anything could be seen as a high value treat. I try to account for how many treats the puppy gets during the day, and back off of the regular kibble meal amount. I like the Charlee Bear treats because the dogs love them, and they are low calorie. I keep a small bowl of them by the back door so I can grab some on the way out for potty breaks, they get one for going potty, house training goes faster. I also treat for going into the crate, when they come when called, when I catch them being good, or for random training like "sit" or "stay".

    - Food bowls - I've been hearing lots of good things about stainless steel bowls holding up well. Do they need to be on a raised platform? I've read about big dogs needing a raised platform to prevent rotation of the intestines.

    Definitely stainless steel, plastic degrades and food particles get stuck in the grooves and you can't get the bacteria out no matter what you do. The stainless steel are easy to clean, just pop them into the dishwasher. No need to raise the dog dishes, for every article that say to raise them the prevent torsion, there are more that say not to.

    - Toys - I seem to hear of nylabones and Kongs recommended the most. Tennis balls seem to be a big hit too. We already have a hard-side kiddie pool for swimming too. How many toys should we get to start? Are the tug of war ropes bad? I've heard that they are bad for teeth.

    Tug of war ropes can be bad, I don't use them anymore after having to pull pieces of rope from my dogs' behind when he pooped. I don't let them play with tennis balls other than throwing them, if they dismantle them it erodes the enamel on their teeth, plus the pieces can cause obstruction. I love the Zogo Flex toys, they are flexible, but very durable, as are Kongs and hard rubber toys. Stay away from the really hard nylon toys like galileo bones are the really hard nylabones, they break teeth. Holy roller balls are fun, as are the many styles of Jolly balls.

    - Is a rain coat necessary? - We're in FL so we don't get snow but we do have a whole rainy season where it rains every day for weeks on end. Are rain coats necessary?

    No, no rain coats. LOL

    - Training - How/where do you find an obedience class for your pet? I've heard it mentioned a few times not to use the Petco or Petsmart obedience classes. I'd like one that I attend with our dog so I can learn how to properly train our pup.

    Look for a local trainer, or dog training club, or ask a local kennel club to recommend a place for obedience classes. Start early, and do puppy kindergarten if you get a baby puppy.

    Anything else I'm forgetting? This is like preparing to have a baby! Thanks for being patient with me and answering all of my questions.

    I am really excited for you!

  10. #8
    Jayghf1978 is offline Junior Member
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    Recently went through the same final exams so will offer what I have done.

    Crate-pet food direct offer great pricing on crates. I went to a 42" crate with the option of blocking a section off until he was potty trained.

    Food-After much research on nutritional food, minus the recent recalls, plus calcium content, I went with blue buffalo for large breed puppies. Vet told me it might be too rich, but do not change unless clear stomach problems. Other brands like royal canin, Innova, and avo derm, orijen were also my finalists.

    Treat-I recommend Newman's. Actually anything from China I would avoid completely. As well as canned goods. Anything of the brand I had mentioned carry treats, I would go with their products.

  11. #9
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    one thing I would add - if you do go wtih a rescue from a good rescue group that fosters, they can probably give you very specific advice about the dog and what to go. I go over what type of crate the dog is used to, what they are eating (and if it's working), what toys they like, what toys NOT to get (as they destroy) and lots of other stuff. If they don't volunteer the info, you can ask about it.

    Same with a good breeder, they likely feed a food that works for theri litter (though you can change after a few month should you chose to) and may even have had crates around for the pups now and then and probably have toys for them (or have kept a puppy from this litter or another so can give you info on what their pups normally like.

    Not all dogs like Nylabones so I would start with just 1 (and get more if they are a hit). I always get one a little bigger than recommended for safety. At least one kong is probably a sure fire thing. You can use kibble as treats, especially at first when you are doing lots of training. Otherwise stick tot hings that are easy to break into little piecse (when training you need to give lots fo small pieces). Dehydrated liver, benny bully, zukes are all good. make sure they are NOT from China (us or canada only, though some of the ones I get are from australia).

    ETA: I always recommend getting the biggest crate you can. I like the 42" as it is very roomy and I feel less guilty about leaving the dog in there. During potty training you need to make it smaller but one big crate is good for life. Though, I also like having two crates, a smaller one for the bedroom and a larger one in the main living area. You can look for used crates though.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    dogfur is offline Member
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    I have a metal crate and my dogs love it.
    When she was a pup I used a fabric collar as I thought it would be more gentle on her neck.
    The dogs bowls are stainless and not raised. I bought fleece tug toys I knotted which are gentle on their mouths. You have to be careful they don't chew them.

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