Bringing home a new puppy is not much different than bringing home a baby from the hospital. They are developing at a rapid pace but they have an incredible amount to learn and will be soaking up lessons from you and their environment constantly. The messages that they get early will be carried for the the rest of their lives.
Puppies are like newborns and will need a lot of special attention until they adjust to this big, crazy world. But, most of all, they need love and affection, praise and reassurance with a dash of discipline.
Discipline does not mean that you are being cruel or mean. It means that you love your dog enough to understand that their ability to be happy and healthy in society will require that they have basic training.
Make sure you purchase puppy food because there is, indeed, a difference. Make sure they have plenty of water but be aware of the fact that they will knock over water bowls and pee a lot when they drink a lot. Lab puppies are especially active and should be well-fed and watered.
The dog should have a designated spot to sleep in your home. They do not need a big, elaborate bed or cushion. A few thick comforters and a little space will do the trick. But, train them early as to where you would liek for them to sleep. If you do not want a huge grown Lab in your bed, then be careful about letting them to sleep with you when they are cute and little.
House training methods for dogs vary but the most important factors in successful house training is constant positive reinforcement combined with gentle redirection. It is also in your best interest to accept that they may have accidents at first. If you are unwilling to deal with a urine accident at all, then owning a puppy is not for you. But, they will learn whether you use a kenneling method, or something else. They are bright and obedient dogs so Labs are easy to teach about most issues.
A few chew toys and soft toys will be more than enough. Do not buy amytning expensive as it will likely be destroyed by your puppy. But, those are the appropriate places for them to chew so the more you allow them opportunities to chew the toys and then praise the heck out of them, the quicker they learn.
Rescuing a Lab
Puppies are a lot of work and may not be for you. If so, please consider adoption. You will be amazed and delighted by the relationship that can be developed with a rescue animal.
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