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Caring for Labrador Retriever puppies

It’s a wonderful experience to have a Labrador Retriever puppy. Puppies are naturally curious, playful, and very affectionate. Owning a puppy can be a very rewarding task, but it does require a large measure of responsibility. Just like small children, puppies need constant attention as well as attentive care. Once you adopt a puppy, you become that puppy’s replacement mother, and are responsible for teaching your puppy all of the necessary skills for surviving in the outside world.

GENERAL HEALTH

When you first adopt a Labrador Retriever puppy, the first thing that you will want to take care of is an initial visit to the veterinarian. A thorough examination can be a very useful skill, especially in determining your puppy’s specific dietary needs. A veterinarian will also be able to identify any possible problems with your puppy, such as genetic eyesight and joint disorders. Identifiying these conditions at an early age is a very good way to prevent or lessen further damage. It’s also strongly recommended to get your puppy thoroughly vaccinated, since this will help protect them from many conditions that commonly affect Labrador Retriever puppies. You may also consider getting your puppy tagged with a microchip, especially if you live in a heavily populated area.

After veterinary care, there are several things that you can do around your house to help your Labrador Retriever puppy enjoy better health. Be sure that your puppy has fresh, clean water available, and try to change the water on a daily basis. Always wash your hands before and after handling of your puppy, to help prevent the transfer of germs. Try to keep your house in a clean, sanitary state (which can be very difficult while owning a puppy!). All of these things will help lower your puppy’s chances of illness, and increase the comfort level for both you and your dog.

EXERCISE

Puppies are full of energy! They have a constant need to be active, and can thoroughly exhaust their owners with their inexhaustible desire to play. If not provided with constructive outlets for their energy, some puppies can result to destructive behavior. This is why it’s very important to make sure that your puppy receives plenty of exercise. This can also be a great opportunity to begin training your puppy to walk on a leash, as well as other basic commands. Be sure to spend at least one hour per day involved in physical activities with your puppy, either constructive exercise, or simply playtime. Be sure that your puppy has plenty of toys, so that they are able to play even when you are not directly interacting with them. Puppies have a constant need for activity, and will always be eager for any chance to interact with you.

FEEDING

Choosing the correct food formula, as well as following the recommended feeding ratio is one of the most important things that you can do when caring for your Labrador Retriever puppy. Try to stick with a “Puppy formula” dog food until your puppy is at least one year of age, if not longer. Puppies reach their adult size within 12-14 months, and can continue growing from 14-24 months of age. They will require a lot of vitamins and supplemental nutrients during this growing period, which is why it’s important to keep them on a puppy formula dog food. Each dog food company usually includes a recommended food ratio chart, which is different depending on your puppy’s age and weight. Be sure to weigh your puppy on a weekly basis, to make sure that you are giving your puppy an adequate supply of food. Puppies should have their food split up into three or four daily meals, ideally all served around the same time each day.

TRAINING

When you first adopt a puppy, you only have a limited time to take advantage of the training bonuses from beginning training at an early age. Puppies are much more receptive to all types of training programs, since they are still in the process of learning about the world around them. Potty training should be started as soon as you receive your puppy, since it may take a significant amount of time to accomplish this part of training. Basic training commands can be taught to your puppy as well, and are a huge step in accomplishing a respectful bond between you and your dog. This is also the perfect time to begin socializing your puppy, since they are still curious about the world around them. Try to expose your puppy to as much external stimuli as possible, such as other people, other dogs, small animals(i.e. Cats and squirrels), umbrellas, balloons, loud noises, and any other stimuli that you can. This will prevent your dog being overly excited or afraid of these events in the future, and will make controlling your dog much easier.

PLAYTIME

This is a very important part of your puppy’s new life with you, and should be encouraged at all costs! Puppies love to play, and will thrive off any opportunity to engage in playtime with you. This will also help you to bond with your puppy, and to have some fun as well! You can give your puppy treats during playtime as well, especially as rewards for good behavior. Playtime is a good part of positive reinforcement, and will have subsequent beneficial effects on your puppy.

GROOMING

When your dog is still a puppy, it’s important to begin a bi-weekly grooming routine. Your puppy will shed significantly as it grows, and brushing twice weekly will greatly reduce this shedding. It’s also a wonderful way to begin bonding with your puppy, as grooming is a very relaxing experience for them. Labrador Retriever puppies are very affectionate, and will respond positively to any reciprocal affection from their owners. This will also help to build trust with your dog, which will make subsequent training much easier. Your puppy has to understand that you are their caretaker, and will return this care with obedience, love, and unsurpassed loyalty.

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