The American Kennel Club lists the Labrador Retriever as the most popular canine breed all over the world. They are easygoing and highly trainable dogs. Labrador Retrievers are safe to have around children of all ages and have proven time again to be loyal companions.
A Labrador puppy is full of energy and easily excitable. Handling this young pup can be a bit of a challenge at first. But with the right care and training, he will soon become a well behaved member of the family.
- Decide on where to situate your puppy's crate. It should be placed in a warm, cozy spot. An outdoor kennel is a good place to keep your puppy but if you don't have the space, find a secure place indoors.
- Place a soft, washable dog bed at the bottom of the crate. In the absence of a dog bed, you can place an old towel.
- Put a few chew toys in the crate. This should keep your puppy busy while he is inside. Do not buy him stuffed toys or give him real bones. Labradors have strong jaws that can tear into many items that can become lodged in their throats. Kong toys are suited for a Labrador puppy because it is made of indestructible material. Ask your puppy's vet for other suggestions.
- Don't let his cries bother you when he is safely tucked in his crate. A puppy will often suffer from separation anxiety when placed in his crate. He will howl, cry and bark to get your attention. Stand firm and leave him in his crate until the next morning. Soon enough, he will get with the program and stop the nightly crying sessions.
- Train your Labrador puppy as soon as possible. Start the training by teaching him his name. Potty train your puppy by bringing him out where he can do his business as soon as he wakes up in the morning, after his meals and before going to bed at night. Teach him how to walk on a leash before starting his obedience training. In training your puppy, positive reinforcement is the way to go. Never shout or physical hurt your Labrador puppy when he doesn't perform the way you want him to. Read up on clicker training and other positive methods of puppy training online.
- Feed your puppy twice a day. When he reaches a year old, feeding should be down to once every day. Make sure only to give him dog food suited for his breed and age. He should have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
- Bring your puppy out for walks. Play with him in the park or your backyard. Labradors need lots of physical activity because they are highly active dogs.
- Groom your puppy. A Labrador puppy should be bathed once a month with a shampoo suited for his coat. Brush his coat and his teeth every day. Check his eyes, ears and paws for anything unusual. When he is big enough, clip his nails using a dedicated dog clipper. Ask your vet to show you the proper way to do so.
- Bring your puppy to the vet regularly. Apart from a well-puppy checkup, he will need certain vaccinations.
Getting a Labrador puppy is a great decision. As the puppy's primary care giver, make sure to follow the suggestions above in taking care of your new family member. With the proper care and training, your Labrador puppy will grow up to be a healthy, obedient dog in no time.