Now that Your Puppy is Home...
Thank you for purchasing one of our quality family Labrador puppies.
It is important that you raise your new puppy to be a well-mannered, well-socialized, loving dog. To make it easier for the adopting family, training has begun in the following four areas before your puppy is sent home at 7/8 weeks:
We start teaching them early not to jump on people and also not to chew/bite on hands. We say "start them" because it takes a few weeks/months of consistent training to steer them from the natural drive of these behaviors. Puppy play dates are extremely important and will help your puppy expend their puppy energy. To curb the puppy's desire to chew on you, provide him with a variety of puppy safe chew toys at all times and make sure your puppy does not have access to electrical cords, they love to chew on them.
Do not put your puppy down in a public place until he/she has had all their shots (16 weeks old). That means he/she can only go in your house or backyard or a trusted friend’s backyard. Play dates are necessary with another healthy puppy or dog. Read more about Parvo here.
Hopefully by now you to took the time to puppy proof your home. Remember, don’t leave shoes or anything you don’t want your puppy to chew on laying around the floor. Make sure your puppy does not have access to electrical cords, they love to chew on them. Having lots of chew toys around greatly helps as well.
Watch your puppy while he is wandering around. If you aren’t watching him/her then put your puppy on the slip collar lead next to where you are working or put them in their crate or playpen.
Start training your puppy when they are 7 or 8 weeks old. Within the first 2-4 weeks of training your puppy can learn:
Sit, Down, Stay (start with a few seconds and work up to 3 minutes), Come (start with being 1 inch away and work up to 20 feet away), Heel (on leash in house- stop every 10 feet and have puppy sit and give treat when sitting), and Leave-it.
Continue to teach your puppy not to jump up or bite people
Continue Crate Training
Continue outside Potty Training
Very important: Praise your puppy 80% of the time and only discipline 20% of the time. Praise your puppy often for all the things s/he does right. When praising or disciplining your pup, it is best to do it during/immediately after the time they are doing something wrong.
Over exercising your puppy during the first year and a half can cause joint problems and injuries (this includes playing ball and/or taking your puppy for a run/jog or any other strenuous activity). The BEST exercise is to let them play with other puppies/dogs at their own leisure. Please read this article going over the best rule of thumb for puppy exercise: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-puppy-exercise-how-much-is-too-much/
If you ever have problems with your puppy/dog eating poop, click here to stop it! This fruit works great!! (When introducing anything new into your puppy/dog's diet, we recommend giving 1/4 - 1/2 of the recommended dose for the first few days to avoid an upset tummy.)
Socialization is very important. Once your puppy is fully vaccinated you can join our Stofer Lab meet up groups in your area. Click here for a link to locations and times. If your puppy is under 16 weeks and not fully vaccinated, you can have play dates at your house with other healthy pups or dogs (that have not recently been at a dog park).
Click to read our Foundational Obedience Training for Puppies and Raising a Mellow Stofer Lab so you can start teaching your puppy as soon as he/she comes home! We recommend that you print the documents and apply the training guidelines regularly.
First, I can not emphasize enough how much easier your life will be if you install a doggy door in your home and set up a puppy area similar to what you see in the photos.This picture gives you a look at how we “start puppy potty training”. The puppies have a small indoor area with lots of toys and blankets. We teach them to go out through the doggie door to “do their business”. Once a week (or every few days depending on how well they are doing) I will expand their outdoor and indoor area.
This photo of a sliding glass door gives you an example of how you can set up your house for your new puppy so that they can go in and out on their own to go potty. Here is a link to a few different dog door inserts: Doggy Door Sliding Glass Door. They are easy to install and can be easily removed. You can also put a dog door in a wall or a door.
If you decide not to install a dog door, be patient and consistently bring them outside to go to the bathroom every hour during the day while they are awake.
Principles for Potty Training Success - If you would like to train your puppy to go to the bathroom in a certain area of your yard, chose the location. You need to consistently bring them there when it is time to go. The first week, I recommend taking your puppy out every hour during the day while they are awake. Puppies typically need to go within an hour of eating, drinking, or waking from a nap. So, each time you feed your puppy bring them out to the designated area and praise, praise, praise when they go to the bathroom. (Make a big deal about them going to the bathroom in the right spot just like you would if you were potty training a child). If your puppy starts to go to the bathroom in the house, pick them up abruptly and bring them to the designated spot. If you find the accident after the fact, take your puppy by the scruff and bring their nose up close to the accident and tell them, “No, you go potty outside,” (Say this in a very deep voice). Immediately bring them out to the designated area and say, “Go potty” (Say this in an upbeat voice). They learn faster when you are praising them for doing things right so look for signs when your puppy needs to go potty (sniffing in circles while whining, etc.) and immediately bring them out to the area where you would like them to go potty so you can praise them.
We spend time crate training the puppies every day before they go to their new homes so that they will be more comfortable in a crate. This teaches them to have an inner confidence and patience when left alone. You can purchase a large (42″) or medium (36″) crate. If you would only like to buy one crate for your puppy, you can get an adult lab sized crate that comes with a divider and insert the divider to customize for the current size of your puppy. Crate training can be very challenging, please read more about crate training crate training.
Your Puppy Needs to Chew
It is critical that you schedule play dates for your puppy to play with other dogs (of any ages) as a part of their socialization process. Also, make sure s/he has plenty of chew toys so that s/he will be less likely to chew something that they are not supposed to. Have patience and consistently redirect your puppy to their own toys. Carrots, rawhide bones/chews, balls and other puppy safe dog toys all make great teethers for your puppy. Do not give your puppy chicken or pork bones as they are extremely brittle and pose a choke hazard.
Puppies often whine for a few minutes before they fall asleep. Do not give them any attention when they whine because it will encourage the behavior. Puppies are extremely smart. If someone is petting them when they whine, they will keep whining to get you to come back over and over again because petting signifies positive reinforcement.
Water - make sure your puppy has access to water at all times or offer water frequently, especially on hot days. Your puppy does not need water while she is sleeping in her crate.
Food - Feed your puppy 3 times per day until they are 14 weeks. After 14 weeks, they can be switched to feeding 2 times per day. Their last feeding should be fed by 3:30 pm. (In feeding them their last meal at 3:30 pm, they will be less likely to have accidents at night.)
In conclusion, praise your dog for all the things they do right and they will learn a lot quicker. When your puppy is a little older, I recommend taking them to basic obedience classes. These are offered here at Stofer's Labs or often at your local pet store, for example, Petco, PetSmart, etc. In group classes they learn to obey you around other dogs as well has in your own home.
These puppies are very precious to me and I would love to help in any way I can. If your circumstances ever change and you can’t keep your dog, please call me first.
Enjoy your sweet puppy, they grow up fast!
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him."
~ Romans 15:13