New owner to 6-weeks old Lab

vuwugardenSeptember 28, 2009

Hi all!

I've drifted over from the rose forum, due to my new endeavor. I'm a dog owner! Woohoo!

We've always been cat people, so I have no idea what to do and where to go for advice. Hope you all can help.

Our new lady was born on August 10th, and she just received her first set of shots on Friday. We haven't picked out a name yet, so would need suggestions on names and also advice on first steps for new dog owners.

Items we have obtained so far:

1. Crate for training while we're at work/school. My 13-year old daughter will be home by 4, so lady would be in her crate for 8 hours. Sorry, if this is cruel, but we have no choice until we know more on what to do.

2. Food: Max brand from Petco

3. Toys (squeaky toys to ropes, to chewy toys)

4. kiddy pool

Please help with the name first then any advice to help us get accustomed to our new life as dog owners. Thanks in advance for all advice and suggestions!

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rather than repeat everything, you might want to check out the "New Puppy Advice Appreciated" thread here. much of what you ask is addressed there. :)

i don't mean to be blunt here and i completely understand that you cannot be home for hours at a time but, 8 hours is FAR too long to leave a 6 week old puppy crated. there is no way she will be able to hold it for hours at a time, not at her age. if this is your only recourse, i would suggest gating her off in an area without carpeting and putting down puppy pee pads so she will have somewhere to relieve herself. when you are home with her, you can do the crate training but i would urge you to re-think leaving her alone for that long. she WILL pee and poop and then you will have not only the crate to clean, but a puppy to bathe because it's inevitable she will get it all over herself.

one really nice toy for a pup is a little kong filled with peanut butter or cream cheese or moistened kibble. this can be frozen and offered when you leave for work. it'll keep her busy for a while. please, no rawhide chews. they can be dangerous for any dog, including puppies, in that they can cause intestinal blockages.

good luck with your pup, labs are GREAT dogs!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:17PM
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A lab pup crated for 8 hours??? You chose the wrong breed -- labs are very active and ours at 8 weeks was fine in a crate (at night) for 6 hours, then started eating her bedding. We are stay-at-home dog people, so she was allowed the run of the house at night once she was trained at 8 weeks. No more munching on stuff.

Read the Marley book if you want info on a lab left on its own without adequate training. Even with constant training, a lab doesn't reach adulthood for a full two years. I am afraid that crating at its young age during the day is going to create a monster. BTW, we love our baby and she is "close to perfect" but still has a few months to go before that magical two years old. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:06PM
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Crating a 6 week old puppy for 8 hours is paramount to neglect. That puppy is going to suffer as will its owner in the long run - this is a great way to get some serious behavioral problems in the future. Take the puppy back to its previous owner until it either gets older or you can change the schedule you have by either getting someone to stop by now and again in order to leet the puppy out and play with it or you can get time off in the middle of the day to do the same.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:14PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I've asked my boss to see if I can take a longer lunch break each day for a while to go home to let it out a while before heading back to work. Hope this will work.

I'm scared that we may have made a very huge mistake. I really, really hope we didn't.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:52PM
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I turned in my own sister for crating her 8 week old Boxer puppy for 8 hours. She would come home from work and find the crate and the pup covered in its own waste, then get mad because she had to clean out the crate + bathe a puppy everday. I told my sister that how she was treating her pup was cruel and neglectful, and if she didn't start doing something different - hire a dog walker, a neighbor, anything but crate for 8 hours straight, that I would report her to Animal Control. She didn't do anything different so I turned her in. The Animal Control officer said an 8 week puppy should never be crated for a solid 8 hours. My sister gave her pup away to a family where someone was always at home.

Besides, how were you able to adopt a SIX week old puppy? Puppies aren't usually ready to be adopted until they're eight weeks. and 12 is even better.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:05PM
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if your boss won't cooperate, see if you can find somebody you trust to come in a few times during the day to let her out to potty and run off the excess energy she will have.

if this is your schedule for the foreseeable future, you will also have to figure out a way to socialize the puppy...take her places where she will be exposed to new people, new sounds, new sights. a dog that hasn't been properly socialized will be a nightmare, especially for someone without a lot of doggy experience.

i recently adopted a 2.5 year old great dane from rescue. when she was 6 months old and no longer a cute puppy, her former owners tossed her out in the back yard where she was pretty much ignored except to be fed and watered. she has been with me for 5 weeks now and is still timid about new people and new places. she may never get over it although she is doing SO much better.

sephia, as for HOW the op got a 6 week old puppy...i think the majority of back yard breeders let their pups go at 6 weeks. they aren't considering the mental or physical health of the puppy, they only see dollar signs.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:16PM
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In April I began raising an 8 week old lab pup. Now he is 7 months old. I was fortunate to be able to tske him to work every day and besides play with him, take him outside every 2 hours, and socialize him with people, children and dogs. He was housebroken at 4 months, has gone through consistent training (in classes and with me), is leash trained and is happy, healthy mentally and physically.

It is more work to do right than you can imagine. I would never even have gotten a dog if I could not take him to work, nor could I have trained nor enriched him as he deserves, much less a baby puppy. I got up today at 5:30 to take Wilbur for an hour's walk.

There is absolutely no way you can humanely keep an 8 week old puppy in a crate unattended and unattended for even four hours during the day, unless you have exhausted him from a very long play session. To do so is a big mistake for the dog, who will be lonely and ultimately very energetic, to say the least, and it is a mistake for you. You will not want a dog that grows up that way.

I am surprised the breeder would allow this. Most reputable breeders would not.

I do not understand why people choose to get dogs if they are not home 8 hours a day, because that means the dog is crated 8 hours in the day and 8-9 hours at night. 16 hours of 24. You come home at, say, 4PM. When do you take the dog for its 2 long leash walks during the day? Play with it? Socialize it by meeting people and other dogs?

I am sorry you have gotten such a response, but you have heard from very experienced people here. Anyone can have a dog. But that doesn't mean the dog is well cared for.

I hope you reconsider this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Just the beginning

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:27PM
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vuwu a six week old puppy is very young. puppies generally need to go out every couple of hours. If the pup is crated and can't go out it will learn to go in its crate....therefore your dog will not be getting crate trained. I too hope that you reconsider what you are doing.

My baby... I got when she was 10months old...I had just lost my old girl....even at 10 months she required alot more work and vigilance than my old girl. I had forgotten what a young dog was like.

Imagine a human often it gets up and needs attention....puppies are very similar....only when your pup wakes up it will be all alone...after being recently ripped away from its mom and siblings (way too young, which says alot about the breeder..none of it good). It will be left to wallow in its own waste for hours at a time. It will be lonely. Being a cat person you may not realize that dogs very much need to be around its people. For instance my dog has to be touching one of us. Does not matter if she is sleeping or wants to play...she always wants to touch us. She sits on our feet or pushes her butt or face up on us. A puppy will be very unhappy in your least while you are all away...which is most of the day. If you Have to get a pup the best time would be in the summer when someone is home all day. If you just have to have a dog, you may want to consider adopting an older dog who is already house least then the dog won't be locked in a cage all day.

Also with a puppy you have to watch them when they play with certain toys...many toys are made cheaply and don't take much for parts to start separating...a puppy could easily hurt itself if it is not being watched.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 7:28PM
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after thinking about this for a while, my question to you is this...did you get this pup because you wanted a puppy or because you wanted a dog and were led to believe that she would be perfect for you?

if it's because you wanted a puppy, i fear that your lifestyle just isn't suitable for raising a young pup to become a GOOD member of your family.

if it's because you wanted a dog, i agree with trinigemini about adopting an older dog. you might want to reconsider your options. if you have very young children, you must be very careful about adopting, make sure the prospective family member is used to children and will be gentle with them. i have been involved in great dane rescue for the past year and i can honestly tell you, a rescue dog is something very special. they seem to know they have been "saved" and they will come to worship the ground you walk on.

that is not to say your puppy may not do the same thing and she could very well become a treasured family member. it's just that, at this point, the odds are stacked against you.

i'd like nothing better than to see this puppy work out for you but, as has already been said, puppies this young are a LOT of work. a LOT of work!! unless you are totally dedicated to each and every aspect of raising a puppy, it simply isn't a good choice for you. this will be a 10 to 15 year commitment for you, are you sure you're up to this challenge? unfortunately, puppies don't read the same books we do. ;)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 7:49PM
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vuwu - good for you for keeping an open mind and not getting all defensive about what is being offered as far as advise goes, it is a baby step in the right direction. Trini is 100% correct on this one. You would not leave a 6 week old baby for more than a few minutes by itself. I dont know your working situation but you might ask your boss if you can set the crate up at your desk. That little baby really needs human contact every couple of hours. If that is not something you can do, see if there is a retired person you can ask to watch that little self for you while you are at work. Good luck

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 7:50PM
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Or a dog sitter. Before you leave for work you will need to wake up early, get her up, go out for pee and poo, feed breakfast, take her for a walk to get her tired out. She should get at least 2 visits during the day before you get home. During both visits there should be meals and walkies for pee/poo and keeping her tired out. When you get home it's training and bonding time.

I agree with the others that she is too young to be separated from the pack but if she is, she'll need 2 visits per day while you are at work. Or drop her off at a professional sitter's for the day.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 7:59PM
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Ditto to what everyone else said. Unless you can arrange for someone to visit your puppy 2x per day, not only to let her out, but to play with her, you are in over your head. There is nothing better than a great dog, but great dogs require an amazing amount of time and work to get that way. The situation you describe, (with a Lab no less!), is not the way :(

Don't be ashamed to admit you might have made a huge mistake. In the long run, returning the pup is MUCH better than not being able to meet her needs. You will end up with a dog that is so frustrated that she will make your life as miserable has hers is. Not on purpose...but that is what will happen. She needs so much stimulation, which is at this point not available. She will act out, and it will be very hard and frustrating for your family.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 9:51PM
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Ditto to all of the above. My daughter would like to give her son a dog as she had when she was little (they have two cats), but won't because of this very issue. Their lives are hectic, parents work till after 6 , kid is on two soccer teams ,baseball in season and track and music lessons, so to have a dog would be horrific. The rescue dog I got last year was 8 months old and crate trained and till this day has never had an accident in the house(or crate). But there is usually someone here at the house all the time and the longest we left him was 9 hours and that was one time. He is crated a few hours at night. I'm a night owl, husband is a morning person so the dog is in his crate about 5 hours out of 24. It's cruel to even think of a puppy alone w/o any human or canine companionship for all that time.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 3:03AM
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I agree with everyone who has posted and told you this is not a good situation for a puppy, and hope, vuwugarden, that you don't think we are "ganging up" on you. Most of us have many years of dog and puppy experience. Our two labs are now 4 years old and just wonderful-----now that they are mature and older and out of that puppy stage. (There is so much truth to the comment someone made about Labs not being mature until two years old!) Labs have super, super energy, especially as pups, and if you don't help them channel it correctly, you are looking at lots of damage, work cleaning up the damage, and a potentially problem or neurotic dog after being stuck in a crate for even 4 hours. Believe me, when we got them at 8 weeks, it was so much work especially that first year!! It was almost worse than having two human babies. The only thing that helped was my husband is retired and he was able to take care of them all day when I worked. There would have been no fair way to them, that we could have done it without him being there all the time and giving them LOTS of attention such as long, frequent walks and play sessions. Times he had to go out for many hours, we had an area which was penned off and had "puppy pee pads for them". We actually used an area in our barn for that but the garage would have also worked or even a bathroom as friends of ours used for their pup on days they had to go out. At least they can move around and use the pee pads.

Please rethink this situation. If you can't be fair to this little puppy, find a good home for her with someone who can give her all the time and work that she will need as a pup and get yourself an adult Lab that is mature and less rambunctious and needing less full time care. There are wonderful Lab rescue groups out there and wonderful adult Labs that need a loving and good home. An adult can hold their bladder for longer periods of time and although they still need exercise time, they can be left alone (they should not need to be crated) for a longer period than a pup.

And by the way, we have also owned cats for years and there is a world of difference between the constant care a cat requires and one a dog requires, especially a Lab!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 9:44AM
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I don't expect you to quit your job to raise a pup. But I definitely would look into hiring someone, either a neighbor or a professional dog walker, to take your pup out for a potty break and a walk mid day.

When thinking about crate time, make sure you add up night time... If your dog is crated at night, and crated during the day... that is way too much crate time.

Whenever I get a new pup, its a planned event and its planned around a time when I can take a two week vacation. So I am home the first two weeks when the pup comes home. Usually labs will potty train very quickly. Most of them I can get trained in the first two weeks. There are usually a couple "accidents" up to about the age of 6 months, but after that, labs are good about training.

I do crate young dogs until they are thoroughly potty trained. But I have the luxury of living only a couple miles from work, so I can zip home over the lunch hour and let the dogs play outside, while I eat lunch with them in the backyard. I realize not everyone has that luxury.

I think you will come up with an appropriate name for your new pup as he reveals his personality to you... its okay to call him buddy for a few days until you come up with something that fits him.

My vet recommends that we keep new pups fairly isolated from the world until they get the third booster on the vaccines. Keep him in your yard to minimize his exposure to viruses until those vaccines are in full force. The first thing new pup owners like to do is show off the cutie by taking him to the park. But all that does is expose his not yet fully developed immune system to lots of stuff he may not be ready for.

After your pup is fully vaccinated, sign him up for a group obedience class. These classes teach you how to handle your dog and they expose your dogs to strangers (both people and dogs) in a controlled situation. Its a great way to socialize your dog and a great way for you to learn and share your experience with other dog owners. I know lots of experienced dog trainers who still sign up for these classes just for the socialization aspect for the dogs.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 10:34AM
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Oh, and I meant to add, enjoy your new dog and have fun. He wont be a pup forever... so enjoy his puppiness.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Thanks everyone for all the great advice.

Today was my first trial at running home for lunch to check in on our baby. I've timed it to roughly 4 hours from when we leave in the morning to 3 hours later when my 13-year old comes home from school. Hopefully this schedule would be sufficient until summer break.

Below was our schedule from yesterday evening to lunch time today. I'm open to constructive criticism, so please speak out if you see anything we may be doing incorrectly.

9:00 PM last potty break outside (no poo, just pee)
9:15 PM indoor play with grandma (that's me because my daughter is mommy)
10:00 PM bedtime
3:00 AM puppy starts crying/whimpering; out for potty break
3:15 AM indoor after pee, no poo; midnight snack (is it wrong to feed at night?)
3:20 AM midnight play while waiting for next potty break
4:00 AM potty break, just pee, again
4:10 AM more play as puppy doesn't want to settle down
4:30 AM retry potty break, YEAH! Houston we have #2!
4:35 AM Grandma's beat, begs puppy to settle down to sleep
5:00 AM lights out finally!
6:00 AM puppy nap over; daughter gets ready for puppy's morning feeding/walk
6:30 AM daughter eats breakfast with puppy playing in kitchen
7:30 AM last potty break before everyone leaves :-(
7:45 AM Grandma leaves for work
8:00 AM daughter gets on bus
12:00 PM Grandma checks in on baby during lunch break
12:45 PM Back to crate as Grandma leaves for work
4:00 PM daughter's home from school; outside for PLAYTIME!
5:00 PM Grandma's home

I'm beat and need suggestion/correction for nighttime play/feeding. I don't mind the nighttime potty breaks, but the play is what is tiring me out. Please help...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 3:42PM
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sure is nice to see you are so willing to make this work!!

my only suggestion is no between meal snacks unless it's a teeny tiny puppy cookie. remember, anything you put in her tummy will very quickly lead to her digestive tract going to work and what goes in must come out and if it's the middle of the night, you have no other choice than to take her out.

as for the whining at night, this is where you'll have to get tough. once you know she is comfy after she's been out to potty, she should go back in her crate without ANY FUSS from baby talk, to coddling...just back in her crate, lights out. she'll learn it's sleep time and she'll quiet down but you must remember, she has been jerked away from the comfort of her momma and her littermates and she's going through a very big adjustment period.

get one of those old fashioned alarm clocks that makes a loud ticking noise and put it just outside the crate where she can't get to it but can hear it. it can be soothing to her. you can also put a nice hot water bottle wrapped up in a towel for her to snuggle with. the warmth might calm her...just NO electric heating pads, for obvious reasons. :)

it's been a long time since i raised a puppy and i'm sure others will have many more up-to-date suggestions. now, when are we gonna see a picture of this lil girl who remains nameless?? :D

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 4:15PM
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I have never raised a little puppy, but kudos to you for really trying to make it work. I got exhausted reading it tho. It's worse than a newborn. At least you feed them in your comfy bed. I agree, no snacks or play at night ..after midnight, just potty time if she needs it. I agree be firm, no coddling. They are very smart. and it's hard to unlearn.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 5:33PM
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Someone tell her a feeding schedule for a puppy.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 7:03PM
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There are lots of websites with dog name suggestions. Be sure to browse through those looking for inspiration. No more than two syllables is best. (From the woman who named her dog Co-chi-cho-cho, which got shorted to 3 syllables.) It's a huge mouthful when you are training. I've never made the same mistake.

Kudos to you for finding a way to make this work. (And if it becomes impossible in the next week or two, call your local breed rescue or find another home for puppy.) I ALWAYS advise people to get a little older rescue because puppyhood is such a huge amount of work, but you've done your own rescue of a sort. I lived near an inexperienced breeder and I know you are the best thing that has happened to this puppy. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with your puppy, she's perfect, she's just too young to be away from mama. One of the important lessons puppies learn in the 5-8 week range is bite inhibition. They gnaw on each other and realize it hurts-yipe-and learn to bite more softly. It's critical that you don't allow 'lady' to nip. Labs are very mouthy dogs--always wanting to carry something--so you don't want her to carry someone's hand away with a hard bite. I'd also do some hand feeding to help her learn to bite softly. DO NOT allow your daughter to do this until the puppy learns to take things nicely. And don't forget to start teeth brushing at this early stage. You'll both be rewarded with clean teeth and no foul dog breath.

I've whelped some rescue retrievers and at 6 weeks, I've got them on 5 meals a day--nearly impossible for a working family. But by the time they go to their forever home I recommend 4 meals a day until they are 3 months, 3 meals a day until they are 6 months, and there after 2 meals a day. What goes in will come out, usually within an hour. Walking helps this move through more quickly, but I don't do strenous exercise on a full belly. Make sure you are teaching "lady" a void command (you can call it whatever you want) when she does go. In the future you can have her void before trips, bed-time, grooming. It's incredibly useful. This is a personal thing, but I try to alter meal times a bit. I don't want the dogs to go wild if they don't get dinner at 6:00 pm promptly--and dogs can tell time. (I have no idea how, but if you have a rigid schedule, you can be sure Rover will tell you if you are 5 minutes late.) Labs have a tendency to get fat, so make sure you do not over feed and watch her weight--even now.

And beware your night time routine. That puppy is training you very well. A pup that young needs to get up during the night for potty break, or two, but no feeding or coddling. The serious business of sleep needs to be learned.

Look around the neighborhood for a dog lover who is at home. You'll make friends with your neighbors and puppy will get a break. Good luck and I think you've picked a wonderful breed. Labs are very trainable and great family dogs. With LOTS of work, you'll have a wonderful new family member.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 8:40AM
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We're fortunate that my significant other works so close to home, he could let our Aussie puppy out several times a day. But we also found that people were eager to help out those days he couldn't make it - who doesn't love a chance to play with a puppy?

I second the comment regarding playing in the night. I received some good advice to make the midnight potty trips businesslike, and found we both went back to sleep quickly. Also the void command - I was skeptical, but holy cow that works great!

They grow up quickly, so take lots of pictures! Regardless of how challenging it is now, and how exhausted you are, I think you'll be surprised how quickly it will pass. Your girl will make huge strides in the next few weeks, and it will get easier and more routine as you get to know each other better. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 7:51PM
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concerning potty training...when i was raising 2 siberian husky pups, a trainer once told me that if i didn't look like a complete fool when i was praising my pups for doing their business outside, i wasn't doing it right. i swear, i thought the neighbors would throw a big net over me when i took the two kids outside, they peed or pooped, and i jumped up and down and talked baby talk to them and made the biggest fuss EVER. but guess what...they NEVER had an accident in the house! :D

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 8:30PM
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When we adopted our Aussie puppy last December, I kept the crate right next to my bed and, just like with a baby, when I'd hear her stir (about every 2 - 2 1/2 hours), I'd take her outside. Luckily, we have a french door in our bedroom, so I just opened the door and put her on the deck. (There was snow out there for the first few months we had her and my husband was afraid she'd continue to go on the deck forever, but once the snow was gone, we had no problem) I'd say, "Hurry up. Go pee-pee." As soon as she'd go, I picked her up, put her in front of the crate, said, "Go nite-nite", and she'd go into her crate. Minimal conversation, minimal interaction. It didn't take long before she was going 4 hours, then all night. She never had a mistake. But, I'll admit, I timed her adoption to my retirement. I don't know how others raise puppies while working; puppies need so much. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:53PM
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