Adding a Labrador retriever puppy to the household can be an exciting change, but his arrival requires some preparation. Having the right equipment on hand will not only make his transition less stressful, but can give your new pet a sense of security and safety right from the beginning.
Look at your puppy's bloodlines if you are obtaining him from a breeder. Some Labrador lines exhibit hyperactivity, which is a difficult trait to handle in families with young children or if the dog will be in a smaller home with no fenced-in yard. Knowing your puppy's personality ahead of time can help avoid possible disappointment and problems during training.
Obtain a dog crate or cage that will be your new Labrador puppy's "room." This provides a place of security and safety for him, and can be used as a training tool during housebreaking and puppy chewing issues. Add soft bedding to provide comfort over the flooring of the crate.
Set up a food and water station with his own dishes and a tray or mat to catch spills. Have fresh water and a small amount of puppy kibble waiting when he arrives home to let him know this is his feeding spot.
Purchase the proper-sized puppy collar and leash; you will need to have these with you when you pick him up to bring home.
Crawl around the house on your hands and knees to put you at your puppy's eye-level. This can help you see hidden dangers -- such as small game pieces on the floor, or a heavy lamp that can be pulled over -- and remove them before your puppy comes home. Block off any areas of your home that you do not want the puppy in for a while. If the area is too open for a door, baby gates can be used to contain the puppy during training.
Determine ahead of time how you will exercise your puppy. Labs need daily outdoor time, to run and work off energy to avoid becoming destructive inside. If you do not have a fenced-in yard, your puppy will require daily walks and time to run around after a toy, such as at a park.
Place several chew toys around the house and in the puppy's crate, and hide or remove items that should not be accessible to him -- such as throw rugs, electrical wires, house plants, toilet paper or household cleaners.
Have grooming supplies -- shampoo and nail clippers, for example -- on hand to get your Labrador puppy used to frequent grooming. A dog brush is a necessity -- labs can shed excessively and need to be brushed regularly to avoid hair all over the house.
Have a veterinarian lined up for your labrador puppy's first check-up. Labs often have heart and joint problems -- such as hip dysplasia -- as they get older; a veterinarian should be able to look for signs of your lab puppy's predisposition toward any serious concerns.
Items you will need
- Dog crate or cage
- Tray or mat
- Puppy kibble
- Chew toys
- Baby gate (optional)
- Have cleaning supplies and newspapers on hand for puppy training and accidents.
- Do not leave your Labrador puppy unsupervised while allowed to roam, especially with other pets or children in the house.
- Cricket Hollow Farm: Bringing Home Your New Puppy
- American Dog Trainers Network: Prevent Your Puppy's Destructive Chewing
- Kingdom Acres Lab Puppies: Bringing Labrador Puppies Home
- Pet Place: Labs - The Irreverent Vet's Opinion on the Labrador Retriever
- SPCA International: Labrador Retriever Companion Guide
- Labrador retriever litter image by crazy.nataly from Fotolia.com