Knowing how to care for a chocolate Labrador puppy can prevent frustration, extra expenses and injuries. It's best for you and your new puppy if you take the steps to get what she needs and learn how to train her properly. Her mother showed her how to act in the litter and you have to teach her what's appropriate in your home. Being prepared will help make her transition to her new home smooth.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Pet insurance
- Dog food
- Dog crate(s)
- Dog leash
- Dog toys
- Dog treats
- Dog brush
Bring your puppy home at 12 weeks old and not before. She needs to stay with her mother to receive the nutritious milk she provides which helps her immune system. The mother and her brothers and sisters also teach her social skills.
Call your veterinarian to set up appointments for your puppy's booster shots. If you got your lab from a breeder, the breeder should take him for some shots before you get him. You should only have to take him for one or two shots after that. Without them, he's susceptible to many diseases.
Buy pet insurance as it's important to be prepared for unexpected costs that may arise. You don't want to have to choose between paying your mortgage or paying for expensive surgery or treatments your dog may need. Find out how much various insurance companies charge and what their policies cover. Get the best insurance you can afford.
Purchase the dog food your breeder uses to prevent stomach upset. If you want to change to a different brand, choose a good quality dry food. Mix in a little with her regular food. Gradually put more of the new food and less of the old until you've switched to the new food.
Prevent accidents in the house by buying your dog a crate. Make sure he has enough room in the crate, but don't buy one so big he can relieve himself at one end and still sleep at the other. He won't relieve himself in his "home," so when you can't watch him, he should go in his crate. A crate with a wire door and solid sides is best as your lab likes to have his own cosy place.
Teach your puppy commands such as "come," sit," "stay," "down" and "drop it." These simple commands are important, as they could save her life in a dangerous situation. Knowing how to "stay" when there is broken glass near her or how to "drop it" when she has a harmful object in her mouth can prevent her injury. Take her to an obedience class for socialisation and to learn skills such as how to walk properly on a leash.
Provide toys for him so he doesn't get bored and chew your furniture, shoes or whatever else is handy. Chocolate labs tend to chew a lot, so have chew toys for him as well as other toys to keep him entertained. A toy with a hollow centre in which you can put a treat will keep him occupied for a while.
Tips and warnings
- Get your puppy from a reputable breeder rather than from a puppy mill.
- Bring your puppy home on a weekend or take some time off work so she won't be alone a lot when she first comes home.
- Prepare to spend a lot of time playing with and walking your lab because she has a lot of energy.
- Spay or neuter your puppy to decrease the chance of getting different cancers.
- Plan to buy a larger crate as your puppy grows.
- Brush your puppy regularly to keep her coat untangled.
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