What will my puppy eat?
Your puppy will come home eating Diamond Puppy food. It is a great dog food for a growing lab puppy. It is available at Tractor Supply & farm feed stores. Your puppy will come home with you with a small bag that will last a couple of days. If you choose to change their food, we recommend that you mix the Diamond that we send with your puppy until it is gone. Some people choose to change the food, which is fine to do, but it needs to be done gradually so tummy upset will not occur. Our puppies are fed two times a day at approx. 6 am and again at 4 pm. They can also change schedules and can quickly adjust to new feeding times to match your schedule. We do not recommend leaving food out for your puppy at all times. This makes their bath room using schedule very unpredictable and messy!
How do I potty train my puppy?
Labs usually train pretty quickly, but it takes time and patience. The best age for potty training is 7-8 weeks old. If you get your puppy at 6 weeks, then you are the one trained to take him out. They simply can't control their bladders or bowels enough to let you know when they need to go out. So the best thing to do is.... take them out every 30 minutes to an hour to the spot that you have decided will be the potty! It needs to always be the same spot. Decide on a word that you will use with your puppy for potty time. "Potty" "Use it" whatever works for you. Take your puppy to that spot and say the potty word. Wait until they use it, then give them lots of praise! I clap, kiss, hug, rub, just about everything to show them you are happy that they went! You can even give them a treat, if you like that idea! You want them to know that you are so proud of them, and above anything, labs want to please you!! If they have an accident in the house and you do not catch it, it does no good to punish your puppy. They have no clue what they did. If you can catch your puppy in the act, then say, "No!", gently pick them up and take them to the potty spot. Puppies always have to go after they eat, and after they wake up from a nap. Besides those times, I take mine out about every 30 minutes, them 45, then an hour, until they get the hang of it. I do not recommend the pee pads. This just teaches them that it is okay to use the bathroom in the house, and if you switch them later they can get really confused and it makes them harder to train. Even before you take your new puupy into your house for the very first time, I recommend taking them to their potty spot. If your dog will be an outside dog then you don't have to worry with this at all. But even if they are inside/outside dogs they need to be trained so they will know that it is not acceptable to go in the house.
Don't give up. They will have it down pat in no time!
What toys should I get for my puppy?
I have found that labs love their toys! Having a lot of colorful toys are great for visual stimulation for puppies. However, you have to be careful. Labs, even puppies, can easily rip into the stuffed toys. They rip out the stuffing and before you know it, try to eat it. That can cause digestive problems. I don't recommend any stuffed toys, even the heavy duty ones. If you get stuffed toys, let them be toys that you play with with your dog. Never let them have the stuffed toys alone. When you buy a toy, make sure that it has no parts that can be chewed off and cause choking. Also the very thin plastic toys are fine when the puppies are small, but a larger lab can chew the plastic into small parts and swallow them. Kong toys are great and are heavy duty. You can Google them to order. Tennis balls are the best balls to teach your puppy to retrieve. They are easy for them to pick up. At first you can slit a hole in the tennis ball to make them a little flexible for your puppy to bite into. I have found that the inexpensive Croc shoes (Dollar Store brands) are super chew toys! Our dogs have loved them. They are soft and tough for puppy teeth!!
What about crate training?
If your puppy will be an inside dog, I do recommend crate training. They actually love their crates after a while. It is a safe place for them to be when they need some quiet time. Make sure you get a crate big enough for your puppy. If you plan on just buying one, then it will need to be large. The best is to get them one for puppyhood and a larger one for when they outgrow the puppy crate. The crate should be big enough for them to turn around in. If you don't use a crate, your puppy will need a spot where they can go when they need some alone time. Do not get an expensive bed, because it will probably become a chew toy! Exercise or playpens are great for keeping your puppy contained. We sell crates for $75 that have dividers that you can move as your puppy grows. With the divider, it is the only crate that your puppy will ever need!