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Tips for Raising a Labrador Puppy

Tips for Raising a Labrador Puppy

Raising a Labrador puppy is a fun and rewarding task.  Labradors are special
dogs who enjoy closeness of family, times of playfulness and pleasing their
owners.  They thrive well in a loving environment where there's a good balance
of fun and discipline.  Your Labrador puppy will become one of the
best companions you have if you train it right.

Feeding Labradors

While still a puppy, you should maintain the same feeding habits (or as close
as possible) to the breeder or previous owner.  The puppy will adapt to
its new environment much easier, and you'll be able to avoid potential
digestive hazards.

Feed your puppy three times a day with water-moistened puppy food.
Begin with approximately one cup per meal, and then gradually increase
your puppy's food as he/she grows.  The food will increase eventually
to around five to six cups per day.
 
After a few months, the puppy will be ready for adult dog food.  Choose
the food carefully and check nutrition labels.  Cheap dog food bought at
discount stores and even grocery stores sometimes contains very high
portions of protein.  A Labrador needs protein, but not more than 28%.
Labradors are large breeds and grow very quickly, thus foods high in
protein are not recommended.

Always provide plenty of fresh water for your Labrador, and clean feeding bowls
frequently to prevent bacteria growth.

Play and Exercise

Labradors need plenty of exercise to stay in shape because they can get too plump
easily.  Incorporate play and exercise into your daily routine - especially if
your Labrador stays indoors or in a small, confined area.  Exercise and play
during cool times of the day to avoid overheating.

Training Your Labrador

You can begin training your puppy in the basics at around two to four months
of age.  You'll want to train consistently on matters of response to his/her name,
learning the word "no" and household issues (if staying indoors).  Teach the
puppy to respect visitors.  Because a Labrador can weigh 65 to 85 pounds
when fully grown, teaching not to jump on people is important.

You can use methods such as saying "no" and shaking your head firmly, or using
a firm voice with a stern look to correct your puppy.  The dog will learn
quickly whether you mean what you say or not, so be consistent with whatever
methods you choose.  Repeat actions over and over again to illustrate what
you would like the dog to learn.

Health Checkups

For good health, take your Labrador for a check-up at the Vet at least once
a year after the initial vaccination visits.  Ask the Vet for tips about keeping
your pet healthy.  Making just a few minor changes in your dog's lifestyle might
add years to his/her life.

Most Importantly - Love Your Labrador

Use the tips above for common sense training, but don't forget to love your
Labrador, and teach your entire family to do so.  A loved pet is a wonderful,
fun pet.  Show affection toward your Labrador each day, and he'll be loyal
for a lifetime.  Teach your children to be kind and not to "pick" in a harsh way.

A Labrador makes a great pet if you follow these simple guidelines.  You'll
enjoy the companionship for many years to come.

Written by Candice Pardue

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