The Work

Before you purchase a puppy, consider the following questions:
  • Will a Labrador fit into your lifestyle?
  • Are you prepared for the work involved with raising a puppy?
  • Do you have the time and patience for a puppy?
  • Will you be able to provide a Labrador with daily exercise?

The Perfect Puppy

A "perfect" puppy is an unrealistic expectation.  Getting a new puppy is very excited, but it's not all fun.  The first 3 to 6 months are the most demanding. It takes time and effort to establish good habits.  It takes patience to cope with the little rascal in every puppy. Even with obedience training, your puppy will occasionally forget the rules and get into all sorts of trouble. Puppies explore and play with their mouths. A puppy might chew your shoes or your furniture or your kitchen floor or your new book. They love to go after shoelaces, shoes, the leash, or whatever is close by.  Nipping and jumping are also common puppy behaviors that must be addressed. And they sometimes dig holes in your lawn and bury treasures in your flower garden.  

The Time

Puppies require lots of time and attention on a daily basis especially during the first year.  Housebreaking and crate training takes several weeks. It sometimes takes months to train puppies to stop nipping and jumping up on people.  Socialization and obedience training requires a daily commitment during the first year. Most puppies must be supervised throughout the day.  They will need several short walks throughout the day.  At first, they should not be left unattended for more than a few hours at a time.  It may be necessary to make arrangements for the care of the puppy for several months.  

Many families have very busy schedules.  In some families, the children are involved in numerous sports and other school-related activities that are time-consuming.  The adults in the household often work full time jobs outside the home.  Your family may find it difficult to provide a dog with proper care and companionship.  A dog that is alone more than 8 hours a day is not in a healthy, happy situation for a dog. Arrangements for a midday visit with a pet sitter, neighbor, or relative must be made.

Extra housekeeping chores come with every dog, especially during the first year.  Labradors shed, track mud into your home, and the yard must be cleaned regularly.  

The Role and Responsibilities of Children

The care of the dog must be the responsibility of an adult.  The children often promise to care for the puppy, but it unrealistic to expect a child to care for a puppy.  Children are still in the process of learning to take care of themselves.  The joys of having a dog may be over shaded by too much responsibility.  With guidance of an adult, many children can be very helpful with a puppy. The children and puppies make wonderful playmates. Adult supervision is essential. 

Puppies and Toddlers

Puppies and toddlers are a challenging combination.  Both require close supervision.  Puppies tend to interact with young children as if they were littermates. Puppies nip and their teeth are very sharp!  Puppies jump and can easily knock over a toddler.  House training a puppy and caring for a toddler can be very difficult.  Puppies need to go outside frequently with an adult and toddlers require almost constant supervision.