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Discussion Starter #1
Hello there! I am new to the forum and will also be new to labs when I bring home my chocolate baby in September. My husband and I currently have 2 American Cocker Spaniels who are the loves of our lives and can't wait to share the love with another 4-legged furbaby. I have a few questions about labs though...
1. We currently feed Orijen Grain-Free kibble to both of our dogs. Is this a suitable food for a lab (we would buy large breed puppy food for the first year and then switch to adult large breed)? How many cups per day for an adult dog?

2. Our dogs have a ton of exercise to wear them out throughout the day, but the same exercise for a larger dog might not be enough. We currently do 2 walks per day (1 hour each, or 6-8 miles total). We also play a ton of retrieving games. Probably at least an hour and a half of hard running to retrieve tennis balls divided into 2 sessions. Also some tug type games and some short training sessions throughout the day. Will this be suitable for a lab? We sometimes take them for a bike ride or a run in the evening too. We live on a farm so there is lots of room for free time outside.

Anything else I should know about labs that might be different than cockers? We are experienced dog owners and have owned several different breeds, but never a lab.

Thanks for you input and I will definitely be posting pics and updates when my new baby arrives!
 

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I'll leave your questions to the more knowledgeable members here. The only suggestion I have is to mix some regular swimming time in for your lab along with the rest of your exercise and play. As long as your lab is among the other 99% of labs that love the water, it's a great low impact exercise for them - they love it and it's a good way to tire them out. Be sure to clean his or her ears after swimming sessions to help avoid ear infections.

Congratulations on your decision to add a lab to your pack!
 

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Sounds like lab heaven to me! We feed grain-free (as per our vets recommendation). Labs are bigger but generally on the mellow side so I bet the exercise evens out. I bet you can't wait!
 

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Definitely find some place where they can swim and do some water retrieving. Wait until you see your lab's face light up when he sees the water!!

Remember, all that hard running is harder on a large dog's joints. So don't over-do it. With all that exercise, you might want to give them a glucosamine supplement. Do a search here on this board on also google it to find out more about that. (of course, I'm talking after they get to be an adult. I don't think you should give puppies glucosamine??)

Good luck....I'm sure as active as you seem to be that you will enjoy your lab tremendously! :D
 

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You lab should thrive in your active household, but I agree with the others to include some swimming. I have a 16 month old chocolate boy who gets a lot of exercise, and he is an angel compared to labs I know that don't get enough exercise. Congratulations on your puppy, and please post some pictures when he/she arrives.
 

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I forgot the formula, but I know that there is some sort of formula for how many minutes per day the dog is supposed to get based on age.

Just be careful to not over do the exercise, especially with a pup. But it does sound like you will have a great home ready for your little chocolate baby!
 

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It all sounds perfect for a Lab. Just don't do any long walks or forced exercise (retrieves) until the pup is older and the bones and joints are maturing.

Orijen is a great food, but you will want to check with the breeder to see what they have been feeding and if they insist you use what they do. It is best for a pup to continue the original food for a while, then you can do a gradual switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thankyou so much for your responses! I will definitely add in some swimming time, in fact one of my cockers loves water retrieving so that should work wonderfully!

I have heard that exercise formula as well, and if I remember correctly it is 5 minutes for every month and after reaching 6 months old, exercise should be given as per the need of that patricular dog.

I am definitely excited about my new puppy! I can hardly stand the wait! She won't arrive until September this year and we have been on the waiting list since last September! So right now I am busy planning and preparing and coming up with a list of names. Yes, I am dog-crazy! :)
 

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I´ve had cockers also and labs are considerably less hyper (and nervous) than cockers, so the exercise you do with your cockers will be more than enough for a lab (of course there are variations in energy levels in each individual)

Good luck and congratulations on the future pup
 

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One thing to note is supervision of your pup. I would recommend crate training for indoors and do not leave your young Lab unsupervised inside if you treasure you house and it's contents. Here's my rule of thumb.

A Lab will eat anything it can get into its mouth.
If it can't get it in its mouth, it will chew it up into pieces small enough to eat.
If it can't chew it up into small pieces, it will bring it to you and drop it on your foot.:D
Seriously you need to puppy proof your house as best you can and crate when you cannot personally supervise the pup inside. The good news is this phase only last three or four years.:D

Also, immediately begin basic obedience training. If you don't train your Lab it WILL train you. An out of control puppy may be cute but an 80 pound out of control Lab can cause serious damage.
Two really important commands to teach are "Leave It" for things you don't want your dog to touch and "Drop It" for those times when he comes smiling up to you and you see he has some unidentified object in his mouth. Labs are natural retrievers and they will constantly bring you their new found "prizes", like dead rotten fish heads.

You will find all the information you need on this great forum and tons of experience to answer any question you may have. Can't wait to see photos of your new arrival next fall.
 

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The rule of thumb for puppy exercise that I've heard is 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age up to about a year.

But my Puff was a little hyper as a pup and did best when she got that amount twice a day from the time she was about 3-4 months on.

What you're giving your spaniels will probably fit your Lab well after your Lab gets older.

Also, please teach your Lab to retrieve -- they enjoy it so much and it's a good exercise without wearing you out.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, we crate our current dogs when we are away or else take hem to doggie daycare, so this would also be implemented with our new lab. Our house is VERY puppy proof already as our youngest cocker just turned 1. She was definitely a chewer but I am prepared for even more extreme chewing, and larger item chewing. Thanks for the tip!
 

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Sounds like your well prepared. Good luck with your new puppy! The only thing with that amount of exercise is their joints. Try not to do too much forced exercise (onleash walks or runs) and stairs until about 18 months. Off leash stuff is fine because they can stop and rest if they want to.
 
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