What can be more adorable than a Labrador Retriever puppy? The answer is not much. These little bundles of joy can warm the cockles of your heart but they can at times seem like a full time job to care for. Anyone that has adopted a Labrador Retriever puppy has found this out so if you are considering adopting one there are some things that you should know before you do which can make everything go much smoother for you and for the puppy.
Most puppies that are up for adoption are about 8 weeks old. Despite your puppy’s small package they can be an absolute bundle of energy and a load to deal with. To fuel all of that energy the puppy will need to eat but a puppy should not be fed the same portion of food that older dogs are fed. It is important to know exactly how much they should eat in a day and in most cases that information can be found on the packaging or from your veterinarian.
Rationing is the key for a puppy. An eight week old puppy should be fed four times a day, so take what they should be fed and divide it by four and that is how much to give them each time. They should be fed kibble and chances are they will gobble their meal down. It may be tempting to give them more food but don’t. For one thing, Labrador Retriever puppies are always hungry and will continue to eat. Feeding them more will upset their stomach and could lead to a mess that you will need to clean up. As your puppy gets older the number of feedings should be gradually reduced to 2 per day. They should also be give water to drink. Do not give them milk, it can give them diarrhea.
It is also not a good idea to let the puppy have the entire house to explore at first. They are bundles of energy and will probably break something. The last thing that you want to do is to clean up that priceless family heirloom because the puppy knocked it over while exploring. It is also a good idea to give a puppy their own room will a crate or box to sleep in. It is also a good idea to cover the floor with something that can be thrown out. Your Lab puppy will have to go to the bathroom a lot, as often as every 15-20 minutes, so they will need somewhere to go so you can sleep. Newspaper or a puppy pad can work for this and just don’t forget to clean it up. Having a puppy is not all fun and wet nosed kisses.
As we said puppies need to do their business a lot. Some may be able to make it through the night while sleeping without going but most cannot. During the day they will need to do their business a lot but this is not as much of a problem since you can let them outside though this will get tiresome. The good news is that this does not last and usually by ten weeks they can control their bladder much better.
Your puppy will also make vocalizations, especially right after they come home. This is a new situation for them, they have never been away from their mother and siblings after all. It is normal for them to cry as they are homesick and they can do it for a long time and very loudly. Some owners have found that having the puppy sleep in their crate or box next to the bed for the first few nights so that they can be comforted can help to ease the transition. Your puppy will find that when they do this they get attention and that may not be a good thing as they crave attention.
When a Labrador Retriever puppy is awake they are a handful. The good news is that puppies sleep a lot, 18-20 hours per day a lot. This is nothing to worry about, especially if they are hungry and energetic when they are awake.
To pay for your puppy you will need to go to work so there is the possibility that your puppy will be home alone for hours at a time. At 8 weeks of age this is not a good idea for your puppy. By being alone they can develop some bad habits or become distressed. It is best to have someone available to sit with the puppy. This will require a large time commitment from someone else and will usually involve taking the puppy for a walk and a professional dog sitting service might work best. Your puppy will be able to handle being left alone for a few minutes at a time so you can duck out to go to the grocery store or do some shopping but Labrador Retrievers like being around people.
Puppies should get exercise and be able to play. Taking the puppy for a walk is a good idea but it should be brief. The rule of thumb is that it should last five minutes for every month of age so a two month old puppy should be walked for 10 minutes. They should also be played with to keep them stimulated and while doing so they will occasionally bite. When they do your puppy can sound quite fierce and the bite can hurt a lot. For puppies this is normal and by knowing that it can happen you can avoid it happening with children who may not understand that. Puppies also like to chew whatever they can get in their mouth. If they can get it in their mouth they will chew it and will probably destroy it. This behavior will extend past their first birthday so get used to it. It would be a good idea to put anything that is valuable in a room that the puppy cannot go into.
Labrador Retriever puppies also love to follow people around. This means that they might just follow the wrong person and disappear. Their natural instinct is to follow scent trails and explore. As a puppy though they should be kept on their leash until they are at least 5-6 months old and taught to follow you.
Caring for a puppy can almost be as much of a handful as caring for a child. Either way once the Labrador Retriever puppy begins to mature they develop into a nearly perfect dog. For all of the hassles that come with an 8 week old puppy the payoff is well worth it. If you think that you can handle this then check out Rock Spring Labs and you might be able to take home your very own little bundle of joy.
It’s hard to boo a puppy. You can’t boo a handful of puppies.
–Jeffrey Dean Morgan