What's new

First Dog - advice needed

The FOTM Contest Poll is open!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to vote! 🏆

Some of my ancestors were from Labrador, but they weren't dogs. If you're at all like me, you will love that puppy madly. It's remarkable how quickly that sets in. My wife had never had a dog and had a list of rigid, impractical rules for one. They broke down in seconds once she met our old rescue.

That love is more than a greeting card, because the housetraining process, and the chewing are going to test your character. Now that we have our first puppy, we've needed to cultivate tolerance without weakness. Stick to your reasonable expectations and stay the course. They learn. Retrievers are often bright dogs. The process of growing up is rough, but a great companion comes out of that process. They aren't unlike people. They have their wild years. But it's going to be worth it.

Keep telling yourself that.

They learn, they revert. They are good at retrieving bad habits, but it's a process.

The used to be little white dog sleeping by my feet now can be a handful. But she got me up at 2:30 in the morning yesterday - the first time she has had to pee during the night in 3 weeks (progress!) and for the first time I got to hear the snorting sound a deer makes when you come too close in the pitch darkness. Would I have learned that without a puppy?

Mabel the dog gave us 3 weeks of hell, as she chewed baseboards, peed on soft surfaces, and counter surfed. Now, 2 weeks after the behavioural storm began to calm, she is fully housetrained, no longer tries to get food off counters and still chews baseboards if I don't get a chew toy to her quick enough. She used to play bite a lot, and now she brings a soft toy in her mouth when she wants to cuddle, I think as a message that she know understands what she's allowed to chew and it isn't us. It'll still be months before she's totally settled in, but there is progress and it's delightful.

As guard dogs, labradors look at intruders with those big eyes and make them feel so guilty they leave all their pocket money on the table before they immediately leave in shame, so you can buy the dog treats with it.
As guard dogs, labradors look at intruders with those big eyes and make them feel so guilty they leave all their pocket money on the table before they immediately leave in shame, so you can buy the dog treats with it.
LOL :)

Everyone picking on me saying labs can't guard anything :)
My Papillon was a guard dog, albeit a 2.5kg one. If she can bark at intruders stealing my car, then a Labrador can.

Labradors are regularly used as seeing eye dogs for the blind and companion dogs for people with disabilities so they are smart and well behaved if trained, and 40kg of nightmare if they aren't trained.


Talking of dogs chewing things, my Papillon (Snuffy) used to chew the internet phone cable. I didn't know she did it at the time. One day I was online then I wasn't. The little dog came into my room and sat down by my feet. I got up and went to find out why the internet wasn't working. She bit through the wires, got a shock and came to get some comforting from me. :)

She was such a sweet dog. Used to say hi to every dog and person out there. Unfortunately some dogs are fuplie blankholes that attack any dog just for the hell of it and she got attacked a few times. She got kidnapped a few times too. Once by an old lady walking along the path, 2 more times by people in the neighbourhood. Fortunately she was quite distinctive and easy to identify and we got her back. She even lifted her leg when she was peeing on things. She learnt that from our other dog Woofie. She was a left footer whereas most dogs are right footed. I miss my dogs :( That's the worst part of dog ownership, when they die.
Really mixed emotions reading this thread. I am getting daily photos and videos from the breeder of my new pup who is a white swiss shepherd (berger blanc suisse for you Gary) so looking forward to the excitement of a new puppy and the upheaval that comes with it. But at the same time the old girl (lab) is moving closer to the end of the road. She had a bad turn last night but seems over it for now. They do creep into your heart as a member of the family.
A few more I have remembered
Slicker brush and comb. Use this regularly and get her used to it and enjoying it. For the first year or two you will think you escaped this chore, and then one day you realise there is no escaping.
Ditto for baths. Its not good to wash them often but sometimes they roll in smelly stuff.
Follow up on what Colin said about the alpha. I have a very strict people first rule. When going through a door / gate / style I go first and you may follow when I tell you its OK. You don't want them knocking kids over in the excitement of getting home or going for a walk.
Get them used to the idea that its ok for people to remove the food bowl (even if there is food in it). Always give it back and follow up the good behaviour with a treat that's tastier than their dog food. Again you don't want them to get all defensive of their food bowl when there are kids around.
Once I established a good recall and stop command I started off lead walking quite young. I used to take her to a safe area (local woods with lots of trees to hide behind). When I let her off the lead I would walk aimlessly, constantly changing direction and pace or hiding behind a tree without ever looking at her. The objective was to teach her that it was her responsibility to know where I was and to follow, its not my job to keep track of her. The younger the better as they start out quite clingy and become more adventurous as they grow up.
Thank you so much everyone! I was out of my depth so this has been invaluable. :)
I feel better now we have ordered a large crate, the slow feed bowl and tip-resistant water bowl, Kong puppy chew toys and the trampoline bed so we could pick him up at the weekend after the stuff arrives.
The breeder provides a starter pack with puppy pads, the food he's used to (raw duck) and a blanket that's been in with his mum.
Then we can book the training class and vets, and get more food, the comb, brush, bathing stuff, collar and lead and a load of toys after that!
You don't need a slicker brush for a Lab. They are designed for long hair dogs. You don't need a comb either, just get a normal dog brush. Brush them each day or week and get them use to it. Take them outside when you brush them so any dust and hair stays outside.

Give the dogs a monthly bath and use warm water when it's cold. Get a neutral pH shampoo and lather it up. Wash the dog's feet, belly, back, tail, bum, yes it's gross but you need to wash them all over. Avoid the eyes and mouth and don't get water in their ears. Lather them up and wash them off 3 times before drying. Use your fingers to really rub the dead skin off and soap them up. Then dry them thoroughly with one or more towels. I used one towel on the floor and dried with another, then used a third towel to finish drying. Sometimes I left the third towel on the floor and the dogs rolled on that after their bath.

You can buy special dog ear cleaner from Pet shops or vets but it's usually just alcohol. I used Methylated Spirits (95% alcohol) and added some water to get a 60% alcohol solution. Then use an eye dropper to suck some up and squirt it into the dog's ears. Give them a gentle massage and then step back. The dog will shake it all out. You can then wipe it out with a tissue. Ask the vet or local dog groomer to show you how to clean their ears and do it each week or every couple of weeks. Clean them after the dog goes swimming too.

Touch the dog all over each day (during a daily massage if you can) or once a week. Touch their feet and toes, their tail, ears, around the mouth, etc. This gets the dog use to being touched in those areas and when you go to a vet, the dog won't freak out if the vet touches its feet, ears, nose, etc.

Don't pull the dog's tail and make sure kids don't grab its tail.


Cook the duck and any meat you give it otherwise you, your family, and the dog risk catching a drug resistant bacteria that can kill you.

You don't need a crate for a dog, they aren't necessary.
Last edited:
I use one of these...
You can find them on amazon, they're pricey but absolutely brilliant. You can find videos on that website that show you how effective they are....
Consider an search for most popular dog names. Check if what you like is there, because if you are in a dog park and you yell "Ebenezer Aloysius "and 15 dogs come running, it's a problem. Dog names are like kid names, and as an old teacher, when you have 5 kids or 5 dogs in the same room with the same name...

I love Labs, but the short oily hair makes me react. I hope you have access to clean water, because labs love a good swim. It's also a challenge to keep the weight off them as they love their food.

If you get a dog bed to start, it's common for pad trained puppies to pee on beds.
If the dog is being difficult to control, get a Halti or gentle leader. They are a type of muzzle and you lead the dog from the front of the muzzle instead of strangling it with a collar. They are safe and don't harm the dog but do give you more control over a stubborn dog.
They are absolutely not a type of muzzle, they’re head halters
They are head halters, but you do lead the dog from the front. My female does best in one, 10 years of training leave immediately if she sees a squirrel, with the halti, she doesn't leave me standing. German training collar she will pull leash from my hand anyway
As a lab owner myself :
1 get a decent vacuumcleaner. Hairs everywhere will be your future.
2 take it everywhere, let it meet people, dogs, other animals, cars, trains, planes etc etc.
3 Don't overfeed (labs will eat anything) and get it a decent brand of food. Overweight is a concern in this breed.
Congratulations on your decision to bring a Labrador puppy into your life! Labs are wonderful companions—friendly, energetic, and loyal. You're in for a treat (pun intended)!
- First things first, the essentials:
- Food and water bowls
- High-quality puppy food
- Collar, leash, and ID tags
- A comfy dog bed
Now, for some additional advice. Labs can be energetic and sometimes anxious, especially when young or in new situations. Considering this, it might be beneficial to have something like the best CBD oil for dogs with anxiety on hand. It can help ease anxiety during thunderstorms, social events, or car rides.
Last edited:
Thank you!
We have had him for a few weeks now. I'll upload a photo...


  • 71611794558__2E864535-EA54-4FC7-AADA-14EA12A2DB62.jpeg
    603 KB · Views: 8

Most reactions


Staff online