its a lab thing-puppy camo-labrador

Hello LABfans! I’m bringing my Lab home next Thursday. We have read various books, and both had dogs growing up, but I also want to hear from current Lab owners…soooooooo…Does anybody have any good advice on first days with your new Lab friend? Any info/advice appreciated 🙂

Danielle R. Pellicci, an It’s a Lab Thing contributing author, gave one of the shortest but to the point answers to build a proper foundation to bringing home a puppy but could easily be applied to any age Labrador. Check out her response:


  •  Spend time bonding and ENJOYING the “Lab Puppiness!”
  • Your crate is your friend and your PUPS friend … NOT a punishment…pups cry in their crates at first. Use it wisely and frequently.. It is for his/her safety!
  • Vet visit ASAP to make sure your baby has a clean bill of health and you set up a schedule for inoculations.
  • visit with some local obedience trainers and “interview” them to choose who you and your puppy will be attending Puppy school with! I like starting pups at 8 weeks training at home and 12 weeks in a socialized/structured class
  • Post Pictures!!


What do you think? Can we add to this already awesome checklist?


[boxparagraph]Contributing Author: Danielle Pellicci, has over 18 years of experience with dogs, and has been a full time professional dog trainer/competitor since 2001. She and her dogs have participated in events including retriever hunt tests, field trials, agility, earthdog, rally obedience, & obedience trials. Blackfoot Kennels[/boxparagraph]

30 Responses

  1. Raylene Curran

    Just remember that they are high energy until about 3 or so years old, and will drive you nuts! I have had Labs since 1973, and wouldn’t own any other dog though. Give lots of chew toys, you will need it. I’m not a fan of rawhides, like Nylabones instead. My two are mega chewers, and go througha durachew in a months time. Kongs are also good–you can fill them with treats or peanut butter when you have to leave them alone for a while. It keeps them busy for hours, and lessens separation anxiety.

    • Ruth Shields

      just a couple of comments on puppyhood….make sure they can’t get to electrical chords, and keep socks, and small items out of their reach…Labs will swallow anything they can down their throats..two nephews paid over $5000 for vet bills….I have insurance on our Lab and Border Collie….the lab blew out her knees…we don’t do hard or jumping, ie frisbee, with her, but she managed to blow both, cost $7500 for both, and our adopted border collie has Cushings…can’t even tell you how much she has cost us, or rather Insurance company..we pay 20%. .they are both six years old…premium is between 25 and 35 per month…well worth giving you the option of curing them or having them suffer and eventually put down. Lab runs and plays just like her knees were never injured.

  2. Cheryl

    get an old fashion rubber hot water bottle (those rubber things) & a ticking alarm clock. take an old towel with you & rub it all over mama & any littermates. at night time, put really warm water in the hot water bottle, place the ticking clock on top of it, then wrap in the towel. it’ll soothe puppy, to mimick mama’s/littermate’s warm body & heart beat. good luck! you have a lot of fun & trying days ahead of you. just remember, it’s still a baby & is learning your language (verbal & body).

  3. Amy

    Patience is huge….patience, patience, patience. I tell that to myself everyday. We have 4 labs. The youngest it 5 months old. He is a lot different than the others were at that age. His housetraining time was longer and he is a bit more crazy that the others were, but we love him. Also, do not scold or yell during the potty training process. It doesn’t help matters any. Be patient and firm, but most of all have fun. They grow up so fast. LOL.

  4. Tanis Magnusson on Facebook

    we have two black labs, 8 and 9 years old, they are our life ! I remember the puppy years, lots of chewing, love , kisses and happy times, each are different, but the main thing about labby puppies, they only want to love you, live for you, be with you and share everything, <3

  5. Laura

    Nice to see you have your new best friend 🙂 I really had no problems with my lab chewing, but I have seen how destructive some can be. Chew toys are great, I also walk my lab in the mornings & evenings and her favorite toy is her chuck-it! This also helps to use up some of that on going energy. Labs are fabulous swimmers, so whenever the opportunity arrives, take your puppy for a dip, once again include a toy for fetching. As for house training, that shall take time, I just tell our pup no and take him outside, the best time is about 1/2 hr after eating and as soon as they wake up from a nap. Enjoy your new bundle of joy, these dogs are one of a kind and truly are mans best friend!

  6. Tania Rishniw on Facebook

    Make sure your puppy doesn’t get bored as they grow. Get lots of dog-safe toys and put them in a basket. Pick out 3-4 new toys every day and rotate them with the ones out day before. That way your puppy won’t get bored and won’t be as destructive. Lots of cuddles and love. Reward good behaviour (no scolding). And as soon as the inoculations allow, socialist your puppy with other social dogs. Particularly other well behaved labs. They really do have amazing breed recognition and the value of a good example can’t be underestimated. Enjoy! They will light up your life.

  7. Morressa Leigh Wagner on Facebook

    Crate train! Most important thing you can do, besides enrolling the new pup in obedience school @ 4 months old, but stay away from Petsmart or Petco (don’t know if they train). My dogs’ trainer has 4-6 dogs come each year that went through Petsmart’s training program and they were nervous wrecks and/or dog aggressive. They are now confident and are dog friendly!

  8. Ed

    If you have planned ahead with your crate, it will be much to large for you puppy currently. Block of the crate with a divider a large box will work well. Also, I like to fill a laundry detergent bottle with hot water put it in there with your puppy so they have something warm to lay against as it is familiar to him/her. Additionally, I use an old ticking style alarm clock to simulate a heart beat again this is to make your new puppy feel comfortable. As cute as puppy barking is if you don’t correct your dog from the start it will continue to bark throughout its life. Obviously, it is all about personal preference! Have fun and enjoy your new puppy!

  9. Lara

    I agree, your crate will become essential! One trick I was told early on was to “hide” a treat, at random, in the crate so your puppy will walk in and out without always associating it being locked in there. (I suggest you hide it when the puppy isn’t looking….trust me, they sniff it out quickly!!) I have grown up with dogs also, Great Danes though, and this is my first Lab. I did a ton of research, but nothing can prepare you for their high energy. Be sure you go on LOTS of walks and have plenty of chew toys. As one person mentioned, patience is key…especially when potty training. Just be sure you don’t scold them (if you catch in the act or not) because they will then think it’s bad to go to the bathroom at any time. Just pick them up, (mid-pee if needed) and put them outside. Praise, praise and praise every time they go outside! Best of luck!

  10. frankieandrews facebook

    Golden rule every time the puppy wakes up bring it outside to pee and always to the same place(backyard) and reward it with a treat,good luck and enjoy……oh and get it PLENTY of chewy things, have fun they are the best dogs you can get

  11. Monica Smith on Facebook

    You are in for a lot of love andd fun. watch out for electric wires. If youl leave it alone it will chew.Give it lot of toys they are a retriever and constantly want something in thier mouth. Good Luck wish mine

  12. Linda

    We lost our elderly yellow lab on 12/12/12 and our 5yr old Chocolate was awfully depressed – missing his best mate.
    So on New Years Day we brought home a 9 week old Black lab puppy.I would agree that just take time out to enjoy this flying bundle of fun.Don`t underestimate what tiny gaps they can get through or under & then get stuck !! A safe place to keep the pup when you are using any electrical cable such as vacumn cleaner.
    Don`t forget how ravenous a tiny little bundle of fluff can be !!!!!!
    Plenty of chewing toys… we`ve bypassed all the puppy ones. He prefers the black Kong, Stag Bars & a “Grubber” which is almost bigger than he his.
    Chester our Choccie has turned into nursemaid/ nanny/ and play leader & gets him tired out for us.
    Get as much sleep as you can before the pup arrives – you will need it !

  13. Linda

    Lock away all of your shoes and make up. My 8 year old only stopped shoe chewing a couple of years ago, my 16 month old still loves them and has a big thing for lip gloss, mascara and anything sparkly in a plastic container!

    But, I would not swop them for anything else in the world!

  14. Elliott Peach on Facebook

    keep them entertained as much as is humanly possible, bordom = chewed furniture, skirting boards, walls, wires, and basically anything at floor level. try to buy robust toys as cheap ones wont last 5 minutes!! and most importantly actively encourage them to chew the toys but playing with the pup and the toy!

  15. Julie

    Ask whoever has the puppy now what make of food they are using and buy the same so no upset tummy in your first few weeks
    Have fun, first 3 weeks is hard work but all worth it!

  16. Barbara Henry Hevia on Facebook

    Get the books “Puppies for Dummies” and “Labrador Retrievers for Dummies”! We found them to be some of the best references for dealing with puppy/Lab behaviors of all kinds. Don’t have to read them cover to cover (although they are humerous), just look up what you need when you need it. We give the puppy book to all our friends when they bring home a new member of the family!

  17. Beth Kahr on Facebook

    My favorite book is Be the Dog- and another is Leader of the Pack. Great way to figure out what makes them tick. A crate is essential. Common sense and laughing a lot when you forget the common sense part. Have fun!

  18. Becky

    I was raised with labs and have two. Decide now where you would like them to use the yard as a washroom and bring them there each time you take them out to do their business and also every time they mess in the house. Our dogs will only do their business in long grass or in the woods by our house. It can be a pain for a few weeks but it is worth it in the long run!

  19. Laura Mortimer on Facebook

    Hello It’s a Lab thing and ILT fans!

    Thank you so so much for the mention and all of the advice. It’s so lovely of you all to share your Lab experiences 🙂

    We have bought some Kong toys for our new arrival, and moved all ‘chewables’ out of reach. We also registered her with a vet, and enrolled her in puppy classes for when she is old enough.

    We’re soooooooo looking forward to bringing our friend home…Walking shoes, bags of patience,encouragement and cuddles at the ready 🙂

  20. Barbara Shifman on Facebook

    When you get your puppy home, give him a bit of water and a bit of food–so that he knows he belongs in your home. I have had dogs all my life and the best thing that I did with my current dog is crate train him and give him a blanket and toy. He learns quickly that the crate is his ‘room’ and his safe place and the toy is an acceptable thing to play with. I never used the crate as punishment so he would feel comfortable to go there whenever he wanted and would not look for mischief. Last thing, whenever he wakes up, after he eats and about every hour take him out and encourage him to do his business. It is very important to get him into the habit that he wants to go to the door and go outside. If you are consistent and persistent with him, he will learn very quickly to automatically head to the door to go out and he will be house trained before you know it. Enjoy and good luck.

  21. Sharon Barbara Erskine on Facebook

    When we got our new puppy the breeder gave us a little fleece blanket which she had kept in with mother and pups,so it had their litter smell.When she came home we put in her bed and she settled really well.Good luck years of fun ahead.

  22. Alison

    Let me just tell you, you will never be the same! You will fall in love with your lab! My Lab Brody is the best thing that has ever happened to our family besides having our boys! Some helpful hints: yes, use a crate, if he/she is chewing something they shouldn’t give them something they can right away, get training/start early, feed he/she good quality food, buy lots of tennis balls!:) The most important thing is just love and hold your sweet puppy. You will be forever changed-wait and see!:)

  23. Nichole

    When my Bella and Buddy had their 14 pups, I used soothing music to calm them and a sitcom television show while they were awake to occupy the sound. The television show made them sleepy as well….lol

    My Lab Buddy was hyper until about 3 then he instantly calmed down. My Bella however is 6 and she still acts like an over hyper puppy, even after walks, playing fetch and even going to training sessions with me. I love her excitement 🙂 but yes it is exhausting…lol

  24. Julie Sergerie

    The first night, we had her condo installed and opened, her cushion against its door and I slept on the cushion with her. The next night, the cushion and her in the condo and me in the condo door. Third night, she slept in her condo, on her own and would cry a bit to let us know she “had to go”. Worked so well 9 years ago with my eldest and repeated with my baby this September 🙂

  25. Maureen Schooley

    The book “Labrador for Dummies”, by Joel Walton is an excellent resource. He stresses the importance of socialization, food bowl exercises, puppy mouthing – what to do with it, and a gazillion other things you never thought to ask…all with positive solutions. Positive, not permissive. Yay! Puppy!!