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Please can you tell me about an average day with a Labrador?

(20 Posts)
petitdonkey Wed 08-Jun-11 13:20:46

We have been offered a 15month old Lab. He is lovely and well trained, used to small children. I need to take the commitment very seriously (obviously!!) and know that I can fit his needs into my life.

What would be your Lab's schedule - ie: walking (when/ how long each day) How long can they be left during the day (if I decide to do a days shopping), when do you feed them, let them out. Can you train them to poo in specific places? (We have a wood right outside our gate which would be perfect!! I don't know how I would search for poo in the garden as it is over an acre).

I know that I need to ask the owner most of these questions but at the same time, she is keen to find him a home so might be very positive IYSWIM. (Her circumstances have changed - left husband and gone back to work so can't continue to have him).

I am a SAHM and in September will only have one child at home (2) but she will be at nursery on three mornings so I could do long walks then. Am wondering how I will give him a good walk in the holidays with three children in tow which is why I am interested in how far they need to walk and how often.

Many thanks in advance smile

sharbie Wed 08-Jun-11 13:32:06

my lab is 8 - he is at home with me all the time although he can be left for a few hours if needed.
he gets an hours walk a day plus as much time as he wants in enclosed garden.
i think he would be happy with more walks and sometimes he gets 2 hours but not as often as i would like.when i put him in garden he sometimes goes for a wee and is then waiting by door to come in.
quite happy to have a fuss or sleep a lot indoors.
i would think he could probably be trained to toilet in certain areas but we have never been concerned about this.
feed twice a day morning and eve.let out last thing at night, first thing in morning and around midday.
i think they fit into your routine tbh.your lab will need more activity than mine as he is younger.they are bred to walk all day long as gun dogs so will probably enjoy as much excercise as you can give them.
good luck.

petitdonkey Wed 08-Jun-11 13:43:27

Sharbie - Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I like the fact that your dog sounds so flexible. I do have a housekeeper who would be happy to come in at lunchtime and let him out if I was out all day but the longest he would potentially be left is from 8-3 (very rarely). I think my biggest concern is the fact that DH really doesn't want a dog (not that he would ever be unking of course, just thinks its 'another thing to look after') so if I say yes and then find it difficult.... I have told him that the dog would be my responsibility but, of course, there will be times that I will be away and DH will have to feed or walk him.

Feeling very conflicted but he is coming for a visit this weekend so that should help. Thanks again, any advice is helpful.

petitdonkey Wed 08-Jun-11 13:43:58

unkind not unking!!

munstersmum Wed 08-Jun-11 13:55:30

We got our lab at 6 months. We never trained him where to toilet but he only ever goes in the garden if poorly. The funniest thing though is he has never done a poo on a pavement/road & will only go when we get outside the village and then with his head in a hedge so you can't see him gringrin(yes we clean up).

He has always preferred to play than to go for walks but gets at least two walks a day. Never brought a lead to us in his life.

He has dried food morning & evening and it disappears in two seconds flat. So no smelly stuff around attracting flies.

He is perfectly happy to be left for up to 5/6 hrs when absolutely necessary. We leave the radio on & he just snoozes. Usually though it's only a few hours on some days.

NunTheWiser Wed 08-Jun-11 13:58:17

My DH wasn't keen on a dog. He's the one that slept downstairs on the sofa beside her crate when she got home after her op last week because he couldn't bear to leave her alone when she was sore and sad. hmm He's also the one that, despite having a complete hissy fit about dogs on furniture and eating human food, was spotted lifting her up onto the sofa to cuddle up next to him for her nap whilst feeding her some leftover sausage two days after we got her. hmm I wouldn't worry too much about your DH, labs have a way of worming their way into the stoniest of hearts!
UnWiseDog typically gets up, goes out the dog flap for a wee, comes back in, demolishes breakfast, goes out for a poo, comes in, demands affection and a walk (30 min approx), comes home, demands affection, has a kip on the sofa, wakes up, demands affection, waits for the kids to come home from school, basks in undiluted affection, plays in the garden with the kids, demolishes food, bounces out for a walk (30 mins), basks in undiluted affection from the kids before they go to bed, hops on the sofa, demands affection and goes to sleep. She has it tough.
I can leave her during the day because we have the dog flap that gives her access to the garden for toileting as she needs it. She does need lots of things to occupy her and keep her stimulated when we're not around or she gets destructive. Chewy bones, puzzle toys etc are all great.

anchovies Wed 08-Jun-11 15:00:53

We have an 18 month black lab that we rescued earlier in the year (if you've done any searching on labs on here you've probably heard all about him already grin - sorry!!)

Dh takes him out at 6am on weekdays for an hour or so, usually running in our local country park but occasionally to a running track /field. Sometimes I work in the office, leaving him for 3 or 4 hours but usually I work from home. He comes if I go on any dog friendly errands in the afternoon, I mess about with him in the garden practising agility or we do some training. He sleeps the rest of the day. He goes out again in the early evening for an hour, either running with me or for a walk and swim in the river. He is a very active dog though and goes a bit nuts if we don't take him out, for example at the weekend he chews and races round the garden until someone takes him out at about 10am. At the weekend we all take him out (also have 3 dcs) and we have a fab time, Buddy bombs it round while our toddler meanders along!

We have never left him for longer than 4 hours, if we needed to I would drop him at my mums or get my MIL to come over. He very rarely poos in the garden, he goes twice a day on his walks which is very handy!

I wont lie, he has made a big change to our household but the positives far outweigh the negatives. We spend so much more time together as a family, even going so far as dh and I taking him to agility together on a Friday night <sad I know!>

Elibean Wed 08-Jun-11 16:36:38

munstersmum grin my lab cross rescue dog used to turn his back to poo, then glance back at us with a plainly embarrassed look on his face - he hated being watched!

Am reading this thread with interest, as likely to end up with some sort of lab cross again....just the breed I'm most familiar with. And my old boy was so much slower in old age that I find it hard to remember what an 18 month old lab is like.

He ate twice a day, pooed in the garden or out on the common (London doggy) but never on pavements or roads. Lots of cleaning up. I walked him 1-1.5 hours late morning, then again for 30mins-1 hr in the early evening. He was great at playing with toys, though preferred playing with a human or doggy pal than on his own.

He was fine for 3-5 hours from time to time, alone, when older - but never left for more than that, and probably never more than 3 hours at most when young (and he had a pal then).

petitdonkey Wed 08-Jun-11 18:00:05

"labs have a way of worming their way into the stoniest of hearts" best quote ever smile Nun - I can't imagine him ever being that attached but then I said that when I fell pregnant with number three.... grin

So many positives here - I am feeling much more confident - thank you all. You all seem to have similar routines with the amount of walking and length of time you would leave them too.

munstersmum - it's practical things like the dried food comment that are helpful, I hadn't asked about that but I'd hate it hanging around.
anchovies - you sound very committed!! I love the fact that you feel it has impacted positively on family life. DS is 7 and I know that he will love it and see the dog as a pal. Both DDs are nervous of dogs which is why I was thinking of getting one.
Elibean - loving the embarassed dog image!

An older dog seems to be better for me as I don't know if I have the commitment to rear a puppy - we were offered a labradoodle pup but I hear they can be quite loopy!!

2T2T Wed 08-Jun-11 18:12:24

petitdonkey - am reading with interest as it is in my agenda to rehome a dog from a rescue centre later this year. I was originally considering a lab or lab x but have broadened my veiw since coming on here and reading about various breeds. I now have a completely open mind! I shall follow this thread wiht interest

Happymm Wed 08-Jun-11 18:45:06

Petitdonkey, am sure whatever you fed the lab it wouldn't be around for long! We also use the dried stuff so not too smelly, plus makes her poos hard-big bonus. My crocodile lab pup is very motivated by food grin

mdoodledoo Wed 08-Jun-11 18:49:37

My two dogs (Lab & Goldie) get about an hours walk in the woods in the morning before work, than a sleepy morning after breakfast, a visit from my Mum about lunchtime for about 30-60mins of cuddles, chasing balls in the garden & treats, then more sleepy time and then about 1-2 hours of exercise at the stables or out for another walk in the evenings. That walk is usually early evening if they go to the stables with me, or can be very late evening if we've been out for a meal or something and are walking them before bed - and sometimes they get exercised both times. It is a bit flexible here and there, but that's essentially it 90% of the time. They have a dog flap into an outside area so that they can get some fresh air and go to toilet outside at any time of day or night.

We have just started leaving them have the run of the house instead of just the (large) kitchen & conservatory area when we're out. It's started slowly with leaving them have the whole house during a quick trip to the shop and we've progressed to all day now - they're both 15/17 months old and have been entirely trustworthy so far.

Just for interest they both sleep in the Master bedroom so that they're not isolated at night by being limited to (for example) the kitchen. For us that's reasonable as we're only regularly at home all day at weekends although both do work from home on a fairly regular basis.

We've got two fit, well socialised and happy dogs. For me, the key really is exercise - if you're able to give your dog enough exercise for their breed, health and age then it's OK to leave them for a couple of hours because they'll rest during their alone time. My Lab is young, but has an orthopedic problem which means that she is on painkiller every day and will have early onset arthritis - we'll probably need to adjust our routine as her condition develops. That might mean less exercise and more company during the day - but we'll wait and see what she needs as the years pass.

Hope that's of use.

Avantia Wed 08-Jun-11 19:22:36

Have a one year old lab .

45 - 1 hours walk in morning before kids get up if i am at work that morning - left then from 8.30am to lunch time - is fine. Another 1 hour walk when I get home early afternoon before school pick up.

Rest of week I either work from home or am off .

When work from home she will do school walk with me , walk lunch time and walk tea time - in total about 2 hrs .

At weekends I will be up early and take her for hours wlalk in local woods along with the other early dog walkers or I have the place to myslef - she has a good run and she will then crash out for a while in the morning and is ready again in afternoon for fun fun fun !

When at home she has free access to garden where she will chew on bone and is fairly content.

I dont like leaving her unless I have to but she does seem quite content now to be left - a good walk before hand is always a good idea .

petitdonkey Wed 08-Jun-11 19:28:50

I think my concern with long walks is that DH is away all week so I will always have at least one child with me, in the holidays I will have three. I don't think that they would all manage a 40min walk...

I can do school run then come home (9am) and walk with DD in pram, but will she want to repeat that later in the day? We have 15 acres - to what extent can they just run around on their own?? (apparently, he has no interest in chasing a ball as I had thought that at 7pm when they are all in bed I could stand outside and throw balls for him)

petitdonkey Wed 08-Jun-11 19:31:29

mdoodledo - even with my limited dog knowledge I think I have to agree with you that exercise is key, I guess my concern is whether or not I can provide that. I would happily walk for an hour but doubt my 2 or 4 year olds would want to in the depths of January. It's such a difficult decision.

petitdonkey Thu 09-Jun-11 16:09:25

Is two good walks a day essential then or would one long and one short suffice?
(Sorry to keep asking such simple questions!!)

anchovies Thu 09-Jun-11 16:12:05

One long, one short would be fine. You will find out really quickly what works best, sometimes at the weekend we just do one really long walk and some training later on. Our lab is impossible to tire physically but half an hour of thinking finishes him off for the day!

daisydotandgertie Thu 09-Jun-11 22:26:50

We've got 3 labs at the moment and their days are all different. Our 10 year old only gets out of bed for walks, trips in the car and reluctantly for food and wees. The 1 year old is chaos on legs; full of beans and knows what she's supposed to do at any given moment but gets over-excited and forgets herself; if I'm honest, she's only ever quiet between 9-10am and 8 - 10pm. The 5 year old is my shadow; does what I do and is always nearby.

All of them really like to have 2 walks a day though, occasionally they've had one whopper of a walk and sometimes they've had 3 or 4 shorter ones. I'm not sure a one walk a day young lab would be very easy to live with - they need to get out. I agree with anchovies though; making them concentrate to learn something is really good for them. They're very bright dogs, so exercising their brain suits them well.

We also have acres they can belt about in and sometimes they do - and sometimes they don't and I've not yet fathomed what motivates them to choose. We can't rely on them exercising themselves - all day mooching about doesn't equal a walk.

We leave them for no more than 4 hours at a time; feed them at 7am and 5pm ish and they all have a favourite place to poo, although we've had no input in that.

petitdonkey Thu 09-Jun-11 23:45:39

Thank you again - the info about stimulating them to think is very interesting, I hadn't considered training in that manner. Apparently he pulls on the lead a lot so that will need work. He is coming tomorrow for a visit and I am pleased to report that my main emotion is excitement with a little bit of trepidation thrown in - will let you know how we get on. (If I'm not boring you all senseless!!)

The advice really is invaluable.

munstersmum Fri 10-Jun-11 10:13:50

Elibean I hope you turned your back then grin

petitd If he's not interested in balls for chasing, try a Kong (tough rubber toy - great for chewing) that you can put small bics or 'meaty paste' in. He's a lab, he'll retrieve it! Eventually you can stop the foodie part.

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