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(24 Posts)
elin123 Thu 14-Jan-16 23:01:08

We are looking to get a puppy possibly Labrador , first time owners, 2 kids , husband works from home. Any advice from Labrador owners out there? How much exercise per day do you give your lab? How did you deal with nipping and chewing when young ? Any advice welcome

LilCamper Fri 15-Jan-16 06:49:22

How old are your kids? Labs are big bouncy clumsy dogs that can knock kids flying accidentally.

elin123 Fri 15-Jan-16 07:48:44

Kids are 10 and 5.

LilCamper Fri 15-Jan-16 08:21:37

They are working dogs that need plenty of metal stimulation as well as exercise. Bored Labs tend to go self employed and dig, chew and/or bark.

They love water, the muddier the better.

They moult year round and literally dump fur twice a year.

elin123 Fri 15-Jan-16 08:35:22

We don't live near water but spend the school holidays in Dorset next to a dog friendly beach. I do realise they need mental stimulation each day as well. Do you think 1/2 hour running + 1 hour walking/playing fetch etc each day but more on weekends would be enough ? Plus some additional playtime in garden.

LilCamper Fri 15-Jan-16 08:40:55

I am talking mental stimulation like training, puzzle feeders and scent work. 10 min mental stimulation is as tiring as 30 min physical exercise.

elin123 Fri 15-Jan-16 08:58:10

Another thing I am a bit worried about and want to be prepared for is that they can be very chewy and mouthy when puppies. Items I suppose we can get used to putting away but thinking about the kids and furniture etc. Is this something I can and should be able to train the puppy out of asap? I've heard that if puppy mouths/ nips too hard you should Yelp loudly and then ignore them for a few minutes

lavendersun Fri 15-Jan-16 08:59:15

Elin, a lab was our first family dog - just lovely with children. Our labs have always been fine with a good walk a day (60-90 mins).

Easy to train, practice recall in the garden, and LavenderDog has barked ten times in the last six years (yes, we count and congratulate her every time).

Good family dog, as long as they are not left alone in a cage all day you will be fine.

Ours have never nipped/chewed excessively either. Current dog never chewed anything at all.

It is a bit like having a child, firm and fair with enough activity and affection and you won't go far wrong imo.

My dog would have loved your suggested life above. Beware of running when they are young, you can damage them. Google it, I can't remember the facts these days as my dog is 11 this year and my mind is fuzzy.

LilCamper Fri 15-Jan-16 09:02:28

Mine was never really chewy as a pup although DD had a few limless Barbies, she soon learned that if stuff was left on the floor it was fair game. Will c+p an article on puppy biting when I get a chance.

LilCamper Fri 15-Jan-16 09:22:13

Biting is a normal puppy behaviour. Puppies investigate the world through their mouths. If it is within reach, it will probably be picked up and chewed! If it is exciting and moves fast it will definitely get bitten. Dogs play by using their mouths because they don’t have hands.
Puppies need to bite and they need to play. What he/she is doing is simply trying to elicit play. Play is by far the best way to bond with your pup and is a great way to reward him during training.
Use tug toys that he can bite. Old knotted towels or a favourite toy with string attached. Unwanted dressing gown cords are ideal. You need to encourage him to bite one end of the toy whilst you hold the other end. Then you can have a great game together without getting bitten.
Ensure your tug toys are long enough and soft enough for your puppy to happily bite. Your toy should touch the floor whilst you are holding the other end. This allows you to animate the toy and keep the game low to the ground and not encourage jumping up. It also puts distance between teeth and hands.
Keep these interactive toys out of your pups reach whilst they are not being played with. It will keep them more novel which means the pup is more likely to want to bite and play with them when given the opportunity. Plant toys around the house and garden (out of puppies reach) so you have them easily accessible and as much as possible, take the game outside.
Rotate chew items that you leave on the floor to also keep them interesting.
Do not play with your puppy unless you have a toy for him to grab. Don't let anyone in the house roughhouse with him or roll about on the floor with him.
Start by animating the toy on the floor and saying 'getit' every time your pup grabs the toy. You hold on to the toy and let him grab it and shake it. Let go of the toy sometimes so that puppy is encouraged to come back to you to get you to start the game again.
Also teach a word for letting go. To do this you simply stop the game by putting a finger in pup's collar and keeping hold of the toy, release the pressure on the toy so that it becomes boring. As soon as pup lets go say 'thank you' and immediately invite him to grab it again with a 'getit'. He will quickly learn to let go when you stop playing in order for the game to start again and eventually the word 'thankyou' (or your word of choice) will become his cue to let go.
Once your pup is getting the idea of the game then you can start to add in a 'sit' 'are you ready' before the 'getit' and before you know it you have a dog sitting and waiting patiently for the game to start.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Jan-16 10:07:49

Our current lab is ten months old and an absolute star. He's hardly chewed a thing, he's never bitten the children, he doesn't mouth or jump up. The shedding is minimal and easily hoovered up. He's very gentle and laid back. He's quite a tall lad and people can't believe he's still a puppy, he's so well behaved. He's very strong though, if he pulls on the lead he can nearly pull me over so heel work is essential.

It's all about finding a good breeder with lovely dogs, and also how you treat them. Nervous owners make nervous dogs. I bought The Happy Puppy Handbook by Pippa Mattinson. She's got loads of labs and has been training them for years. Her book is lovely, easy to follow and very comprehensive. I can't recommend it enough.

This is our boy Monty. He's so lovely. grin Good luck with your new puppy!

Canshopwillshop Fri 15-Jan-16 11:37:31

We've got a 15 month old Labrador and she is the perfect family dog. She chewed a bit as a puppy but nothing too disastrous, though she did dig up the garden quite a bit. We made sure she had her own toys to play with and chew and we never gave her our old shoes or slippers to play with!

A lab puppy shouldn't be over walked for the first year to protect their hips - 5 minutes a day per month of age we were told by the puppy trainer. I did lots of mental stimulation during this time - hiding dog treats in various things and teaching sit, stay, roll over etc. They also shouldn't be allowed to jump too much or go up and down stairs.

She is almost fully grown now and at least 3 times a week she is walked for over an hour in the forest, other days it may only be a 20 minute walk or a short play in a field with her ball - she is fit and happy. On the days she doesn't get a long walk she is quite happy being a couch potato and doesn't show any signs of being bored or destroying stuff.

She was quite boisterous as a puppy and we had to teach the children how to play with her and not let her jump up at them. I think your kids are old enough to cope.

I would highly recommend doing the puppy training classes - they were invaluable.

babyblackbird Fri 15-Jan-16 11:45:09

MsAdorable your dog looks just like mine, he's gorgeous. So lovely to see another lean, fit looking lab.

Readysteadyknit Fri 15-Jan-16 11:54:46

Our 1st family dog was a Labrador and she was an amazing addition to the family - my exH worked from home so he would walk her for about 2 hrs everyday. As mentioned up thread she was very bouncy as a young dog and she did chew everything until she was about 2 so DC (and everyone else) quickly learnt not to leave anything of value on the floor, however, she did not nip DC. She was very food orientated greedy and considered any accessible food fair game. She lived til she was 15 and is still missed. I now have rescue dogs but in your situation With young DC, I wouldn't hesitate to get another Lab. Any disadvantages are outweighed by their amazing personalities

chubbymummy Fri 15-Jan-16 12:59:24

My lab puppy is 7 1/2 months old. He doesn't bark often and is doing well with his training (sit, lie down, roll over, paw, wait). He is great at coming back when called but is atrocious at walking on a lead, despite focusing on this at dog training classes and daily practice when out for walks. He pulls until I'm almost off my feet and will try to eat every single bit of litter he finds on the streets (he won't give them up in exchange for treats either).
He is also a chewer. I've spent hundreds on toys but he's chewed my skirting boards, made a huge hole in a door and eaten the wallpaper and plaster off a wall. It isn't even just when he's left alone either. He did the wall when I was at home. I'm hoping it will die down once he's finished teething. He also terrorises my cats, they hate him! He sometimes has mad half hours where he jumps up, runs around, tries to bite/nip and is totally hyperactive. There is no controlling him when he's like this and there is no pattern to it, it can be after a sleep, training or walking so it's not when he's in need of entertaining.
I love him but he is far, far more work than I ever expected. There are times when I do regret getting him (although I would never rehome him, he's part of our family now).

needastrongone Fri 15-Jan-16 14:37:30

OP. Labs do shed, and moult. Really really shed, and moult. My friend has a black one. I am astonished how much hair is left when she's been round. Way way more than my two spaniels. If that bothers you, don't get a Lab!

Think that's a fair comment, hopefully supported by Lab owners? Not at all Lab-bashing.

TeamSteady Fri 15-Jan-16 14:40:01

We have labradors and I wouldn't be without them.

They are lovely lovely dogs... but they are hard work as puppies. They are (usually- like most things there are a few exceptions!) like little crocodiles, very mouthy, playbitey, pouncy creatures! Some of them are big chewers.. out of the three we have had only one was a wall/skirting board chewer as a puppy, and it only started when dodog1 died and she was still grieving. At 4.5 she is now a delight and would be mortified at the thought of chewing anything! grin

Make sure you go to a breeder that health tests! You are looking for at least both parents being hip scored and annual clear eye tests, but ideally elbows, and optigen clear too, plus there are also tests now now EIC and CNM that some breeders are taking up. You will pay more or less the same price for a BYB bred puppy as a fully health tested one from proven parents, either working or showing, whichever is your preference, so there is absolutely no need to support that type of breeder.

The best place to enquire would be the breed clubs, of which there are several. They will be able to point you in the right direction. The KC ABS is a good place to also look, altho I appreciate it is not foolproof. Champdogs online is also worth a look. Be prepared to wait tho. When we had a litter planned (which sadly our bitch lost at 5 weeks pregnant) we had a full waiting list before she was even 2 weeks pregnant, most of it having been filled before the mating took place.

I am a KCABS, and as part of that have to provide puppy buyers with an info pack. If you PM me I'm happy to send it all to you. (Just in case I get jumped on, I don't have any puppies available now and will not for at least 2+years IF the bestlaid plans come to pass, which they often don't... So i am absolutely not advertising, just trying to be helpful!)

TeamSteady Fri 15-Jan-16 14:43:26

Needastrongone- Yes absolutely!! When the girls are fully blowing their coats post season I can pick up carrier bags worth of hair every day.

On a day to day basis they moult. I have found boys tend to be a bit more steady all year round with the (intact) girls losing it by the bagful post season, but a bit less at other times.

If you are sensitive about dog hair- or don't fancy a lot of hoovering then labs are not for you.

lavendersun Fri 15-Jan-16 16:25:41

I use one of these on LavenderLab - makes a huge difference to the state of my house - must add that I am not massively house proud but it does help and I no longer have the 'tumbleweed' effect.

lavendersun Fri 15-Jan-16 16:26:08

Must add that she absolutely loves being vacuumed!

mrsjskelton Fri 15-Jan-16 16:44:27

Labradors are fabulous family dogs but as others have said - highly intelligent and need constant challenge and activity. Their weight also needs managing well as they can often get overweight with owners not walking/and over feeding!
That said, I find their temperament for a family environment to be excellent and great at bonding with children. Your eldest could even be encouraged to teach your pup some commands to help their relationship! I wouldn't really say any breed of pup is easy but I think as reliability of temperament goes, labs are great!

WeAllHaveWings Fri 15-Jan-16 17:59:28

Top 3 downsides to a lab are:

1) The hair, ours moults constantly and gets everywhere.

2) The chewing. First 18 months while teething he chewed basically everything apart from his toys, so think sofa's, skirting boards and inches off carpets. Then one day he just stopped.

3) The hair, seriously even if you vacuum your whole house everyday, and give the dog a good brush, you will still find hair everywhere within hours.

4) It's a big dog, your dc will not be able to safely walk it on the lead until they are almost adults.

Love our 3 year old lab to bits, he's a fantastically steady, reliable dog. Never barks and perfect for our first dog but wouldn't get another one! - did I mention the hair?

WeAllHaveWings Fri 15-Jan-16 17:59:41

sorry that's 4 blush

ChairRider4 Fri 15-Jan-16 19:59:14

My boy coming up 14 months and love him to bits and he is fantastic around my children including my youngest who has sn and never even as younger puppy once knocked him of his feet .Though on walks had to teach him word brakes so he learnt to stop or go round people not through when playing chase with other dogs
Me all wise he has at least 1 hour twice a day sometimes more plus we do training session daily

He is not a puller at all
but was taught over and over from tiny puppy .as I'm in Wheelchair could not risk him pulling me out on a walk as he got bigger and stronger

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