I am glad I found this site as I was researching all the info I could on being new to puppy ownership. So much great info here! I did have a couple questions for you lab experts here, but I will give some background info first. My GF and I are getting a chocolate pup in January. Both of us have had dogs growing up, myself mainly labs. Both my sisters have labs currently so I'm very familiar with the breed in general. My GF has had a beagle puppy on her own before, but this will be my first forray into puppy fatherhood and I'm very excited! We live in an bigger apt, and there is plenty of grassy areas for potty breaks and when he gets older, play time. I have gotten a copy of Dr. Ian Dunbar's book "Before You Get Your Puppy" and am absorbing as much as I can. My biggest concerns are that I have 2 cats (which is why we are going the puppy route in the first place as opposed to adopting an older dog), and that we both work 930-6 M-f.
As far as the cats are concerned, there are places they can escape from the puppy too, I just was hoping to get some first had experience stories! One of the cats is 3 yrs, and the other is about 7-8 mo. I am hoping that they can be friends and that one day I'll come home from work to find them all snuggled up together! A man can dream, can't he?
As far as the other concern, he will be home alone during that time. There is about a 2 hour period before we leave that will be used for play time and potty breaks, and while we are gone there will be an x-pen for him to stay in. It will be in our kitchen with water, chew toys and a place to lay. I am fully aware that I will come home to messes because he can't hold it that long. We don't have the option to have someone stop by during the day so it will be the full time alone with cats of course! I wish I could come home during lunch but unfortunately that isn't an option either.
I guess I just was looking for some guidance and reassurance. We already have the training and crating plan in place and what we want to mold our furry friend into. Any thoughts on my concerns? Thanks for all your input!
Your plan sounds well thought out to me. An x-pen and puppy pads for him to potty on are better then pottying in the crate. Could you possibly hire someone to come in and let him outside to potty for a few months during mid-day?
Dio (Best Bud since July 18th, 2009)
Kaity (Sweetheart since April 29th, 2012)
hopefully the breeder ensured both parents passed all their clearances prior to the breeding as labs are prone to many healht issues (hips, elbows, eyes, heart, eic, cmn).
I would highly recommend having someone come over during the day to let the puppy out. Hopefully he doesn't chew the potty pads (many puppies do). While the x-pen is a solid plan the set up will delay house training.
are you also crate training?
read up on how to safely have your puppy outside during the period it has not been fully vaccinated. you want to avoid places where many dogs go, dog parks, pet stores. so if the green area around the apt is used by many dog owners be careful.
ETA: personally I would keep the cats away from the puppy when you are gone. I wouldn't want to allow all the animals to mingle while I am not there until they have developed a relationship over time.
also - find and sign up for puppy classes
8 1/2 hours is a long time for a puppy to be alone. As soon as all the vaccines are done, you could check into doggy daycare. In the mean time, since you live in an apartment, don't you have a neighbor you could pay to come take the puppy out about midday? Puppy pads will just be destroyed and possibly eaten by the the pup. The plastic in the pads isn't good for digestion! Try newspaper.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
Thanks to all that have replied so far. As far the cats and puppy mingling that won't be an issue as the cats won't have access to the puppy during the day. I wish I could hire someone to come over during the day but unfortunately that won't be an option financially. I do have a friend that works retail with changing hours and who is regularly off during the week who said he would be willing to come heck on the pup as he lives a few blocks away. He also has a smaller chihuahua mix that will accompany him once my pup has his shots. As far as the health screenings go I'm not sure. My GF kinda surprised me with the puppy which is what prompted me to start doing all the research. So I'm not quite sure about that. I will be crate training while we are there to get him used to it and to reap all the other benefits that come with it! Again thanks to you all for the input and I'll keep ya updated!
Last edited by Rheklas1; 12-14-2012 at 06:37 PM.
you probably don't want to hear my two cents but here it is:
it might be good to take a step back on teh situation. evaluate if you are actually ready for a puppy or if a slightly older dog would be a better fit. if you are confident a puppy is the best option, then find out what to look for in a lab breeder and pick the right breeder, not just someone that has cute labs for sale. I adopted an 18 month old dog (who's awesome with cats) because I realized I didn't have the tools to get a puppy (like you, couldn't get home, couldn't find someone to get home for me). Lots of fosters have cats, so you know the dogs are good with cats.
Last edited by Tanya; 12-14-2012 at 06:49 PM.
I agree with the above advice from Tanya. Do yourself a BIG favor and do some research before you make such an important decision. If giving a puppy the best possible chance at a healthy life is important to you it is so worth your time. The amount of health issues in Labs is truly sad, the health clearences are worth their weight in gold.
As far as puppies and cats, I have always had cats and all my dogs have always learned to be respectful. I have been very fortunate that they have always learned to co-exist quite peacefully. Maxx is 17 months old and plays with our 3 year old cat all the time, they are a funny pair!
I wish you the best of luck.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
It has been quite some time, but here is an update! Took the advice from everyone that took the time to reply. We started looking for breeders that would be able to provide the health screenings and registrations. We finally found one in our area and was able to find a puppy! Our schedules are still the same but I did find someone that can help during the day. So far everything is going great! He's almost 12 weeks old now and we've had him for a little over a month. He's smart but stubborn that's for sure. When he's paying attention he can do sit, wait, lay down, shake and give kiss on command! I am having a couple issues and one of them is my fault and the other I'm assuming is just a time and consistency thing. The problem I generated is is separation issues. The week we got him, I got the week off from work. So for 9 days I was able to spend most of the day with him. I did start the crate training, but I fear that I spent too much time with him as now he barks when we are not with him. Perfect example. When I am cooking dinner he is in his xpen connected to his crate. He can see me and I can see him. He will bark and bark. If I wait until he is quiet and the praise him and join him in the pen he's fine. He doesn't even want to play with me, he just wants me next to him. Little back story on this. When we first got him, his favorite place to lay and play with toys was in my lap. He would grab a toy on the other side of the room and then bring it and climb in my lap. So again possibly my fault for this issue. The other issue is the biting. He seems to be gettin better but when he gets riled up it can be bad. I know he's playing and I've started the yelping and leaving him I just want to make sure that is the right process.
I also want to ask some advice for crate training. Jackson is fine sleeping in there but he never voluntarily gets in. How can I show him its a safe place to be? We probably made more mistakes here as my GF would feel bad puttin him in there as he would bark because he wanted us and would take him out after only a few minutes. Any advice?
Good for you! Few people step back and decide to find a better breeder! congrats on the puppy
Did you work on making the crate a good place before putting him in? Feed him in the crate, throw high value treats in there for him to find on his own. then grab a high value treat and show him, make him excited. Throw the treat in the crate and close the door (puppy outside). make him want to go in there. Then open the door and let him in. Do this a few times, and start closing teh door behind him for a very short time. then open and let him out.
when you put him in the crate, give him something like a handful of kibble or a stuffed kong to keep him busy. start with short sessions (a few minutes) and always let him out when he is quiet. There is a video on this if you google Ian Dunbar crate training.
It is very normal for him to bark. just don't let him out when he barks. you don't have to wait for a loooong pause in the barking but do wait for a pause.
Last edited by Tanya; 02-08-2013 at 01:09 PM.