A chocolate lab – a blanket name for any labrador with a near-black or brown coat – is just as healthy and fun-loving as any other kind of labrador. If you are thinking of coming home with a new four-legged addition to the family, then you need to understand how to care for them and what sort of requirements they might have.
Making Your Home Safe
A labrador is always going to have a curious streak, and that means that they can put themselves in danger if you are not properly prepared to have them arrive. Little things can make a huge difference: keeping medications out of the way, covering up chewable wires, and getting toxic house plants raised up off the floor.
It helps to look at your home from the perspective of a puppy: they will need time to develop an understanding of what different things are and what they are supposed to interact with. Try to imagine things that an excited lab might take an interest in, especially things that they could start chewing on in the night when nobody’s around to watch them.
Adapt As They Grow
A young labrador can start out with a lot of energy, and this does not always fade away – but they still need different things at different stages of their life. For example, you might have to take the puppy out for multiple pee breaks during the first two weeks, but they will generally settle into a routine by week three.
It is important to not settle into one routine. If your chocolate lab seems unhappy with the current schedule, it might have started to grow and change in ways that need your attention. The need for exercise will get stronger by three months, but the bulk of the physical growth will happen by the six-week mark, so you have time to prepare in advance.
House Train Them Properly
Make sure you teach your puppy where they can and can’t relieve themselves, especially at an early age. There are going to be accidents during the early stages, but that is all part of the process: you will usually want to teach your lab that their poo and pee breaks are mostly during walks.
It is a good idea to keep track of how often you are taking them out, too. If you take them on three walks one day but one the next, they might be preparing for the wrong schedule and end up having an accident in the middle of the afternoon because they were expecting another walk that never came.
Feed Them Appropriately
Always increase the amounts of food you give a chocolate lab slowly instead of jumping up ‘levels’ as they grow. A slow increase in the size of their meals allows their stomachs to get used to what you are giving them, and it will stop them from getting overloaded.
It is also a good idea to cut back on their food if they start putting on more weight than they should be, since this can have bad repercussions on their health in the long run. It might be a good idea to create your own dog food, too, since you can control what is in it – a lot of pre-made dog food types are aimed at larger or older animals, causing fullness but not necessarily helping with growth.
Nurture Their Social Skills
Dogs are happiest when they are social, but if you are not careful, you can leave a puppy with no real understanding of how to interact with other dogs and/or people. Do not flood them with new faces and voices straight away, but do not keep them isolated, either. Once they get their vaccinations and checkups, try to include them in social situations.
This also gives you a chance to see how they interact with others, as well as reinforce the good behavior and try to prevent the bad behavior. This can be tricky at first, but once you start to build up a better understanding of your pup’s personality, you can often figure out what they like and don’t like.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to get hold of a chocolate lab safely, then take a look at https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-puppies-for-sale to see what kind of process you might have to go through. The more you know, the better.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.