It's almost time to bring your new puppy home... what do you

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First and Foremost

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go purchase anything you need BEFORE you come pick your puppy up.  I know we all love to show off our cute puppies, but taking your puppy to the Pet Store after you pick him/her up is very dangerous for your pup before they are fully vaccinated. 

What will I need for my new puppy??

  • Crate - We recommend a 42" crate or bigger with a divider   
  • Crate Mat or Bed - We recommend a small bolster bed that fits in the sectioned area
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • Toys - We recommend SmartPet Love and Kong brand toys (Especially stuffable Kongs)
  • Food - We recommend Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb (A few days worth is sent with you)
  • Training Treats - These are best when small pieces of an all natural treat
  • Puppy Playpen - We recommend a wire playpen
  • Enzyme Cleaner - ALL puppies have accidents, best to be prepared
  • Litter Pan (If applicable)
  • Alfalfa Pellets (If applicable)

It's pick up day! What should I expect?

When you come to pick up your puppy, be prepared to spend a minimum of 30 minutes with us going over your pups history and going over all contracts and letting us say goodbye.   Ladies - we will want a picture of your puppy and you, so come prepared knowing I'm taking your pic ;)

Feeding your Puppy

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Food & Feeding Schedule

Do not free water or free feed your pup.  Unless your pup is outdoors, you should limit their water to their feeding schedule, otherwise, especially during the puppy stage, you'll have more accidents and soiled crates.

1st Night Home – Feeding is not recommended the 1st night only.  Experts recommend this for a variety of reasons ranging from an easier first night of transition to the benefits of bonding.  By not feeding them, they will wake up very hungry.  After feeding them they will immediately realize how important you are to their own life which will immediately increase their desire to please you.

 1st 3 days:
¾ cup 2x/day ~6/7am & 4/5pm - 1 tsp apple cider vinegar at each meal

After 3 days
1 cup 2x/day ~6/7am & 4/5pm - 1 tsp apple cider vinegar at each meal - stop apple cider after 10 days 

The quality of food you feed your puppy is important.  Our pups eat Purina Pro Plan PUPPY Lamb & Rice.  If you are going to change your puppy to a different food, please follow the plan below for switching.


If you do not want to continue feeding the Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice, it takes around a 1 week to transition if you use the following ratios:  


First 3 Days at Home - do not transition them, keep them on the Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice to reduce stress.

Day 4 & 5 - 75% Pro Plan Puppy Lamb,  25% New Food

Day 6 & 7 - 50% Pro Plan Puppy Lamb,  50% New

Day 8 & 9 - Pro Plan Puppy Lamb,  75% New

Day 10+ 100% New


It's important to control your pup's portions and quality of food to prevent your pup from growing too quickly which can lead to hip dysplasia, joint, and skeletal issues. DO NOT FREE FEED YOUR PUP.  


Your pups feeding schedule will depend on your own schedule and what kind of lifestyle your pup will have.  Generally most pups should eat 2-3 X a day until they are around 5 months old. After that you can feed 1-2 X a day.  We will start feeding them 3x a day, then go down to 2x a day the week before they go home.  Generally you should feed them 6-7am and again at 4/5pm.  Be sure to consider the poop/pee time into your routine.  If you take away water 3 hours before bed, house and crate training is much easier.  

Never take away water if your pup/dog is kept outdoors, they should have 24/7 access to water and shade at all times of the day.  Remember, the sun moves and thus their shade spots move.  Be sure to check if there is shade at 9am, noon, 3pm, and 7pm.  


By feeding on a set schedule, house training is easier and faster.  Make it a habit to give your pup some quiet time after the meal. Do not let children romp and play with him or her for the first 30 minutes after eating otherwise the pup's stomach might get upset.  

Exercise

A well exercised dog is a happy, well behaved dog.​


You should NEVER take your pup for organized jogs or runs until at least 18 months of age.  It's simply too hard on their joints as this type of organized exercise is way to strenuous on their bodies and will likely result in hip, elbow, or joint problems later in life.  

Retrievers are made for retrieving right?  WRONG!  Well, sort of.  While they are great at retrieving, playing fetch or throw the stick on a regular basis for more than a few throws at a time before 24 months in age increases your pup's environmental risk for hip dysplasia dramatically.  It's ok to play fetch, but limit this to a low key 3-4 throws at a time and only 1-2 times a week until they are over 24 months in age.  Your training will also be rewarded.  Pups that play fetch/throw the stick on a regular basis become object oriented and don't do as well on training and tend to be more hyper active.

A recent study in Norway based on 500 dogs, which included Labrador Retrievers, showed that puppies given the opportunity to exercise in a large open area before the age of 3 months were LESS LIKELY to develop hip dysplasia.  Puppies that had to climb stairs on a regular basis during the same time period were at INCREASED RISK.  The stresses and strains placed on the vulnerable growing joints by "organized" exercise are believed to be a contributory environmental factor in the development of inadequate hip joints.  The evidence seems to suggest that a puppy will come to no harm from the opportunity to exercise or play on a flat surface.  Therefore, taking a puppy for a long walk or asking him to go up very steep or uneven surfaces when he is little, is probably a bad idea.


The rule of thumb is a puppy should have no more than 5 minutes of "organized" exercise per day for every month of his/her age.  So a 3 month old puppy could handle 15 minutes of exercise per day (3 x 5 = 15), while a 6 month old could handle 30 minutes and so on (6 x 5 = 30).  "Organized" exercise means exercise that you are controlling such as "walks" or "training sessions".  Puppies under 3 months old probably don't need any kind of "walks" at all, just access to a "play area" outdoors where they can run about for a few minutes several times a day.


There is no need to prevent puppies from playing about the house as long as the puppy is free to stop and rest whenever they want.  Beware of letting a pup play for too long with an older dog that does not want to stop.  Keep an eye on children who may accidentally exhaust a pup by encouraging the pup to play when he needs to sleep.

It's important to keep balance with your pup.  Build up exercise gradually and do not go for organized jogs or runs until they are 18 months old as this exercise is way to hard on their growing joints.  Playing frisbee, fetch, or catch, is ok, just no continuous high impact exercise like running or jogging. The recommended amount of exercise for an adult Labrador Retriever is 30 minutes a day, 2 X a day.  


All pups adopted through Rebel Retrievers come from AKC  parents.  Typically there will be 1 or 2 pups from a litter that will be larger or smaller than conformation size.  Generally, your lab should grow no larger than 75 lbs if you are feeding them an appropriate diet and getting them the right amount of exercise.  If your lab starts to get heavier than this, consider slowly decreasing their food intake and slowly increasing their exercise routine.  Also, it may be a good idea to talk to a vet.


Tip for walking your dog: You should walk your dog, your dog shouldn't walk you.  If you find yourself the owner of the pup that likes to pull while being walked, stay away from the harnesses that go around their chests or bodies. These type of harnesses are effective for restraining but not for leash training and you will likely find yourself exhausted after going for a walk.

If your dog is already grown and leash training escaped you, the gentle lead head collar works really well to reduce unwanted pulling.   The moment when the dog stops pulling, immediately say YES so that by the time you've said the S in YES, you are putting the treat in their mouth.  Be sure to reduce their food intake for any kibble or treat given as a reward.  Treats should be small, high quality, easy to administer (often times just using their own dog food works if they are hungry and you are not over feeding them).  After several walks on the gentle lead coupled with positive reinforcement when not pulling, your dog will be leash trained in no time.  A properly leash trained dog will walk by your side at your pace, never in front of you.

​Exercise & Games and Activities that Build Good Social Skills

****Please note, not all of these activities are appropriate for puppies being placed into assistance training, this exercise is for PETS only.****

These toys and games that will give him/her healthy exercise and teach her problem solving skills, trust and appropriate behavior.

Toy Hide and Seek
Show the puppy her toy, and then hide it under a pillow, behind your back, etc. Let her use her nose and ingenuity to figure out where it went. Increase the difficulty to match the puppy’s abilities. This game is great mental exercise and fun for all.

“Take it” and “Give”
When the puppy takes a toy from you, say “take it,” and when she gives it back to you say “give.” Practice frequently, and “trade up”—give her something of higher value when she releases the item in her mouth. She will be much more willing to give up inappropriate or high value items if she is familiar with this game. Always encourage her to come to you to give up an item, rather than you chasing her and always reward her when she gives up something, no matter how valuable or inappropriate the item is.

Fetch and Bring Back
In the puppy stage keep it low-key by rolling or sliding a toy. As soon as she gets the toy in his mouth, start heading away from her so she will come toward you. Be silly to encourage her to keep coming. When she gets to you, play with her. Have her “give” the toy to you briefly, give her a treat and then return the toy to her. She will learn that bringing things to you is great fun. This is very handy when she has your shoe instead of a toy.

Pointers:
• Never chase the puppy or she will quickly learn to run away from you. Your goal is to make coming to you a lot of fun. If you find you are playing keep away, stop the game. Ignore her, but engage yourself in something she finds interesting. When she moves toward you, be ready to praise and treat.
• Use a variety of toys and avoid using only one type, such as a ball or Frisbee, which the puppy may fixate on. Some dogs become so focused on retrieving that it can interfere with other training.
• Use opportunities that do not involve throwing a toy. For instance, the puppy may find a stick in your fenced yard and you can turn it into a “bring back” game.

Hide and Seek
Hide and seek games can be played indoors or outdoors in a fenced area and help teach the puppy to “tune in” to where you are. They work best in new surroundings. Wait for a moment when the puppy seems to forget about you and duck out of sight, but keep an eye on her. When she notices that you aren’t there, make a little noise to get her headed toward you but don’t give yourself away. Let her spend some time trying to find you, giving hints if needed. When she finds you, make it lots of fun by rewarding her with treats.

Swimming
Swimming and wading are loads of fun for the puppy, especially when the weather is hot. A child’s wading pool in your fenced yard can provide hours of fun. If you take the puppy to a lake, use a long rope so you can safely keep her with you. Always remember that the puppy should never be off leash unless in a fully enclosed area! 

​Exercise, Games & Activities that Build Good Social Skills

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****Please note, not all of these activities are appropriate for puppies being placed into assistance/competition training, this exercise is for PETS only.**** ​ These toys and games that will give him/her healthy exercise and teach her problem solving skills, trust and appropriate behavior.  


Toy Hide and Seek

Show the puppy her toy, and then hide it under a pillow, behind your back, etc. Let her use her nose and ingenuity to figure out where it went. Increase the difficulty to match the puppy’s abilities. This game is great mental exercise and fun for all.  


“Take it” and “Give”

When the puppy takes a toy from you, say “take it,” and when she gives it back to you say “give.” Practice frequently, and “trade up”—give her something of higher value when she releases the item in her mouth. She will be much more willing to give up inappropriate or high value items if she is familiar with this game. Always encourage her to come to you to give up an item, rather than you chasing her and always reward her when she gives up something, no matter how valuable or inappropriate the item is.  


Fetch and Bring Back

In the puppy stage keep it low-key by rolling or sliding a toy. As soon as she gets the toy in his mouth, start heading away from her so she will come toward you. Be silly to encourage her to keep coming. When she gets to you, play with her. Have her “give” the toy to you briefly, give her a treat and then return the toy to her. She will learn that bringing things to you is great fun. This is very handy when she has your shoe instead of a toy.  


Hide and Seek

Hide and seek games can be played indoors or outdoors in a fenced area and help teach the puppy to “tune in” to where you are. They work best in new surroundings. Wait for a moment when the puppy seems to forget about you and duck out of sight, but keep an eye on her. When she notices that you aren’t there, make a little noise to get her headed toward you but don’t give yourself away. Let her spend some time trying to find you, giving hints if needed. When she finds you, make it lots of fun by rewarding her with treats.  


Swimming

Swimming and wading are loads of fun for the puppy, especially when the weather is hot. A child’s wading pool in your fenced yard can provide hours of fun. If you take the puppy to a lake, use a long rope so you can safely keep her with you. Always remember that the puppy should never be off leash unless in a fully enclosed area! 

Pointers

Never chase the puppy or she will quickly learn to run away from you. Your goal is to make coming to you a lot of fun. If you find you are playing keep away, stop the game. Ignore her, but engage yourself in something she finds interesting. When she moves toward you, be ready to praise and treat. 


Use a variety of toys and avoid using only one type, such as a ball or Frisbee, which the puppy may fixate on. Some dogs become so focused on retrieving that it can interfere with other training. 


Use opportunities that do not involve throwing a toy. For instance, the puppy may find a stick in your fenced yard and you can turn it into a “bring back” game.