The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. And why shouldn’t it be! This breed is famous for being a fun loving, family favorite.
But many dog lovers may go out to choose their Labrador Retriever puppy thinking it will be so easy to look after. It ain’t always that simple!
We are going to run down the best advice for successfully caring for a Labrador puppy so you have the best and happiest dog in the world.
Two Key Tips for a first time Labrador Retriever owner
First of all You have to judge your lifestyle, and whether it works well to match the requirements of a Labrador Retriever puppy, especially if you work away from home all day. Any puppy requires a lot of your time and effort, so make sure you are able to handle this before you choose to get one.
A Forgotten Fact – choosing the RIGHT puppy. Not just the right breed, but the right puppy from that breed. If you choose from a good source, ie a responsible Labrador Retriever breeder – they will tell you the personality of each puppy in the litter. This is possible for a breeder to see from around 8 weeks of age.
For example, if you choose the liveliest then you are likely to have the hardest work to control mischief. But if you choose the quietest it may not be the best for a family dog. So make sure you fit the personality of the puppy to your lifestyle.
But all in all, the Labrador Retriever is a good breed for a novice dog owner, you just need to plan ahead…
Just Before your Labrador Puppy’s Arrival
What you need to prepare for mentally
The arrival of your Labrador puppy means your life will be disrupted, immediately, and dramatically. That may sound brutal, but it is true. You might be lucky and have a very smooth start with your puppy, but whatever the process, you need to be ready to tackle challenges, disruption and drama! So be prepared to get out of your comfort zone.
What you need to do beforehand
You need a supply of food, toys and equipment prepared. A bed, collar, lead, dog brush and crate would be a minimum to have before your puppy arrives.
Puppy proof your home. Cover up cables, and hide away small or harmful objects so they are out of your curious puppy’s reach.
Your Labrador Puppy’s First Day at Home
The first day should be all about easing into your home.
If you have chosen a puppy from a breeder, then it is likely the puppy is used to just one place so far, and a new area can be scary at first.
Everything on that first day should be done in a surround of calmness, unless your Labrador puppy is already super excited, then you can go with the flow.
Otherwise, you should give the puppy time and space to gently explore your home and garden. If the puppy is shy, then just leave them be at first, and let them come to you. Some are happy right away, some may take some days to ease in. There is no normal way for it to happen, so don’t worry.
Your Labrador Puppy’s First Month at Home
The two key words are SOCIALIZING and TRAINING. This is true for any breed, and luckily it is usually very easy for a Labrador puppy, especially the socializing.
After the first few days in your home, you should begin to focus on socialization.
What is socialization?
It is introducing your puppy to new people, places and dogs, so that they can grow to be neither timid or aggressive.
It is key in this early, impressionable age to get a puppy used to the world around them as soon as possible. Introducing them gently to new people, both in your home, and outside, will help them to accept people, and not be afraid. The same with other dogs and places, carefully going to new areas, both busier and quiet, and meeting calm, friendly dogs, will help your Labrador puppy adapt very quick.
What about the training?
A Labrador puppy is an overexcited, bundle of fun, but training has to be tackled so they can learn their place in the world, that you are in charge, and knowing right from wrong.
Positive training is always the best route, when learning commands, teaching them potty training or walking on the leash. Praise positive behavior, and ignore your Labrador puppy when they do wrong. And be persistent, as it can take time.
Keeping your Labrador Puppy Happy, Healthy and Handsome
Top Tips for Caring for a Labrador Retriever Puppy up until 18 months old
Feeding – 2-3 times a day. Portions that are smaller and more frequent are better than fewer and bigger. Check out our post about tips to feed your pets.
Exercising – Moderate length walks, a little swimming, and playtime in small doses is best while pups bones are growing.
Grooming – They only have moderate grooming needs, and if they need a wash, take your pup for a swim, they will love it!
Health care – If you choose from a good breeder, your pup will always be vaccinated up to date. But regular checks and boosters are needed, especially in the first year.
Love – Most of all your Labrador will require lots of love from you. As much time as possible by your side, playing, cuddling and stroking is the best thing a Labrador puppy can get from you!
All this info may make caring for a Labrador Retriever puppy seem like a challenge, and yes, sometimes it can be. But with some preparedness in advance, it can be a lot of fun too, and a good start to life with you can help your Labrador settle in and become the best of furry friends.