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“The only question a Labrador ever has…How long till my next meal?”
What do I need before I bring my puppy home? First I’d say you need a plan. Think things through, the cost, the time, the commitment, the training. Then you can move onto the material items…crate, dog bed, food & water bowls, puppy food, NuVet, treats and puppy toys for teething especially.
How often do I feed my puppy? When you take possession of your puppy from Marsh Land Labs, your puppy will be on a schedule of 2 feedings a day, breakfast & dinner. We understand our puppies are going to different homes, with different schedules, so we make it a point to not get the puppies accustom to a specific schedule. Breakfast is served somewhere between 7 am to 10 am, and dinner is between 4pm and 6pm. We change it up in hopes that once you get your puppy home, you can begin a consistent schedule with your puppy that works for you. Dogs, especially puppies, prefer a schedule and sticking to it can assist in making them feel comfortable and secure.
What dog food should I feed my puppy? We use Royal Canin Labrador Retriever puppy food. Royal Canin has developed their breed specific foods formulated exclusively for your puppy, with nutrients to help them thrive. The donut shaped pieces is specially designed to help your dog slow down and chew their food. Puppies need to be on puppy food until they are approximately 1 year old, as they are loaded with nutrients and calories that growing puppies need.
How much puppy food do I feed my new puppy? This will literally change quite a bit when you first bring your puppy home, as they are growing very rapidly at this point. The day of pick up, you will receive a paper stating approximately how much food your puppy is eating. It is important to be in contact with your vet over the first few months you have your puppy. Your vet can check your dogs body conformation to make sure they are getting the right amount.
Should I add anything like vitamins or supplements to my puppies’ food? We do strongly recommend keeping your dog on NuVet for their entire life. We also give all of our dogs wild caught salmon oil, just 1 pump with their dinner daily. Salmon oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which support a healthy immune system, heart health, and anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon oil also promotes healthy skin and coat as well as cognitive function. Once weekly we add some sardines (always in water no salt added) Sardines are loaded with nutrients like omega-3, vitamins D and B12, & amino acids. Just giving your dog a portion of the can added to their food weekly can help develop muscles and other connective tissue, boost their immune system, increase dental health, as well as protect against kidney disease.
Should I leave food and water down at all times for my puppy? NO! Definitley not! Food should be given at specific times, water, on the other hand should be available to your puppy whenever they are not in their crate. I do recommend taking the water away around 7pm. If they need a quick drink before bed, ice is a great substitute, as it quenches their thirst, but doesn’t fill their bladders. Labs are known for overeating and can become overweight very quickly, so don’t let them fool you into thinking they are starving to death!
Do I need to crate my puppy? I am a firm believer in crating. First and foremost, for their safety, especially when no one will be home to keep an eye on them. Puppies are explorers and like to chew, both of which can get them into trouble. Crates are also a great way to give them downtime, and teach potty training at the same time. As long as the crate is not too big, the puppy will usually let you know when they want out for a potty break, if they have too much room, it’s likely they will have an accident over in a corner of the crate. Once your puppy adjusts to their crate, it makes them feel secure.
How often should I bathe my puppy? Unless your puppy is actually dirty, they do not need to be bathed frequently at all. Bathing your lab too often can actually strip away the natural oils that protect them, this in turn can leave their skin dry, flaky and itchy. Rinsing them with water is fine, and if you need to use soap we recommend using a tear free baby soap.
Is there any special care instructions regarding my puppies ears? YES! First of all, check them often. Because labs ears are floppy they are more suseptible to infection compared to an open eared dog. The best thing you can do to avoid any ear problems is to keep them clean. You can purchase an ear cleaner like Vetoquinol (listed on my shopping page) or K9 Ear Solutions is another good one. We use one of these monthly as a preventative.
Does my lab need to be groomed? Yes and No! Labs shed, its no secret, and it can be uncomfortable or even make them itchy if the excess hair is not removed. The good news is, your lab doesn’t necessarily need a groomer! You can very easily shed your dog out as often as you like with the purchase of a simple $10 shedding blade typically used on horses. This is the best deshedding tool, and honestly the only one we own for our own dogs.
Do the puppies come microchipped? No, we do not have microchips implanted before the puppies leave.
Will my puppy have had a vet appointment or shots before I pick them up? Yes! The whole litter visits the vet and gets their 1st round of shots before going to their new homes. You will receive a record of this from our vet.
Will my puppy have been wormed before I pick them up? Yes! We worm our puppies throughout the 8 weeks we have them with 2 types of wormers, you will also receive record of this to take to your puppies 1st vet visit.
When does my puppy need to be seen by the vet? We ask that you have the puppy seen by your veterinarian within 72 hours of picking up your puppy. After that, vet appointments would be as needed and well visits.
What pet insurance do you recommend? We have just recently partnered with Trupanion pet insurance. Upon purchase of a puppy from us, you will recieve paperwork to sign up for a 30 day policy at no cost or obligation to you. If you choose to continue with them you will have all the information to do so included in your Trupanion puppy pack.
At what age should I have my dog spayed/neutered? The answer to this question varies according to who you ask. Some vets will say, it needs to be done at 6 months, others say wait till their 2 years old. So I can only answer this question with my advice. I tend to lean more towards the vets that have conducted “lifetime studies” these studies still don’t give a definite answer, however research conducted specifically on spaying/neutering early has shown it can affect their growth, and how their joints align. So I would say talk to a vet that you trust and come up with the best solution for your situation.
How big will my dog be when he/she is full grown? Honestly I cannot answer that. No one can, the best estimate I can give you is to look at the weights of the sire & dam of your puppy and that is more than likely how big your puppy will be, when they are full grown.
What do you recommend for flea & tick medication? Speak to your vet about what products are safe for your puppy or dogs age. We use K9 Advantix 2, we are happy with the results and as of yet we have not had any flea or tick issues with our dogs.
Does my puppy need training? Yes! Your puppy needs structure, discipline, correction, praise, guidance etc. Your puppy has no idea what acceptable behavior looks like. They are babies, and need to be molded, but they also need to learn trust, confidence, and respect. We have 3 different training options that we personally recommend listed on our “Training Your Puppy” page. Labs are very trainable, and eager to please. We run our puppies through some rigorous puppy curriculum, so that they are ready to go to their new homes and get to work. We give the exposure so you can give the structure.
Do labs make good watch dogs? Sure, they will watch the mailman, the delivery person, the neighbors cat, they may even bark, but they do not make good guard dogs. Labradors are known for being everyone’s friend.
Will my puppy be potty trained when I pick them up? No. We do start working on potty area and we teach them that there is a specific spot for them to go. We set them up with a potty area when they are 2 weeks old, they instinctively use this area to go on, because it is placed strategically right next to their sleep area, and even at such a young age, they move away from their sleep pile to go to the bathroom, we utilize their natural instincts as a training opportunity. We use a woodchip blend in their potty area, and will send each puppy home with a small bag of the same mixture for you to sprinkle outside wherever you will be training them to relieve themselves. This will assist in their transition.
How long can my puppy “hold it” in between potty breaks? Rule of thumb is, however many months old your puppy is, add 1 to that, and that’s how many hours they can hold it. So for instance, if your puppy is 3 months old, add 1, your puppy can hold it for 4 hours. I find that this is the minimum they can hold it, it’s usually a little longer.
Do I need to set an alarm at night to take the puppy out? Not unless you find that they are soiling their crate or sleep area without letting you know they need to go out. Letting the puppy alert you in the middle of the night (either because they are sleeping next to you in a crate, or you have a baby monitor) teaches the puppy that that’s the correct behavior and it accomplishes what they intended…which is to go out.
How much exercise does my puppy need? Let them show you what they need. If you put your puppy on a leash and expect them to walk with you for an hour, they may, and they will be overly exhausted when they get home. If you exercise your puppy off of a leash, say in your yard, they will let you know when they have had enough, because they will go lay down. It’s important that they rest when they need it. Remember they are babies, and they will sleep a lot when you bring them home.
Harness or collar? I personally prefer collars, flat & cushioned on the inside. Harness’ do not look comfortable to me. I also feel that a collar around the neck gives more control as opposed to a harness around the chest. Sled dogs wear harness’ because their strength is in their body and their chest can handle the “pull”. Maybe once the dog has had some training, then a harness could be used, because at that point, you don’t necessarily need to control the dog so much as the dog just needs direction. As for me…just not a fan.
Will my puppy cry the first night we take them home, do they miss their mom? They may cry, they may not, but more than likely it’s not because they miss momma. She weaned them around 4-5 weeks, if they cry it’s because they miss their littermates, this won’t last. They will bond with you pretty quickly.
***BEST TRAINING TIPS I CAN OFFER***
*Bond with your puppy in the beginning, that doesn’t mean you tolerate disobedience, but when you’re trying to get your new puppy to trust you, you’ll need to be gentle but firm and consistent with correction.
*Corrections should be done quickly & only when you catch the puppy “in the act” not after. Once the dog stops the undesired behavior, praise them!! They obeyed and did what you asked of them, they stopped!
*Don’t want your dog to take food off the table/counter? Set up a training session where you teach them exactly what you expect from them. This goes for any lesson you want your dog to learn, they can’t read your minds, you need to set it up and teach them.
*When you bring your puppy home, until they are potty trained, (when it’s not crate time) keep them in a smaller fenced area, or on a leash connected to your ankle, the smaller area of freedom will push them in the direction to get antsy when they need to go out, you’ll notice what’s going on, take them out praise them if they go outside! I’ve potty trained puppies in 1 week using the leash on my ankle method.
*I do NOT like puppy pee pads for training your dog! Why teach them to go on a pad, then again to go outside? Just teach them the first time, to go outside.
*It’s NOT ok for your puppy to jump on anyone unless they invited them “up” Teach your puppy manners, if it isn’t going to be acceptable for a 70, or 80 or 100 lb dog to do something, don’t allow your 15lb puppy to do it. It won’t be so cute later, and it won’t be the dogs fault.
*It’s NOT ok for your puppy to be the “boss”!! You need to establish dominance from day 1. Obviously you need to find a balance of gentle nurturing and constructive correction. This is especially important the first couple weeks you have your puppy. Build trust, encourage confidence and teach manners.
More questions are being added…please bear with us