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LUNA’S INTRODUCTION AND WHAT WE’VE LEARNED AS PUPPY PARENTS
A few months ago, my husband and I decided it was time to get our Black Lab Cami a friend to play with and welcomed a White Lab puppy named Luna to the family. At first, I will admit I was a little hesitant. We have had so much going on and I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea to add more to our plates. Then Jamie showed me pictures of White Lab puppies and I instantly fell in love with the idea of bringing home another fur baby with all the snuggles and puppy breath.
After the decision was made, we started doing tons of research on different breeding kennels and found a few near us that caught our eye. Finally, we settled on a kennel in Northern Mississipi called Silver Bullet Labs. Jamie decided to reach out to the breeder with hopes that a new litter would be arriving soon. The breeder quickly replied back letting us know that she would have some puppies arriving in November from their two White Labs Sugar and Cal.
Once we heard the news, we were totally stoked! Jamie and I hashed over a few names until we finally agreed on Luna. We talked about what we would do differently this time around and what we’ve learned from raising Cami. We tried to remember how we went about the harder stuff like potty training and teething and reminisced of Cami’s puppy days.
It was decided that early on kennel training would be a must due to past experiences. Eleven years ago, Jamie and I were first starting out together and we wanted to get a dog. My Dad knew of someone that was giving away puppies and that’s how Cami came into our lives. Neither one of us were prepared or had any clue what we were in for with a 6-week old puppy. We did not kennel train her like we should’ve in the beginning and low and behold we got a big surprise when we came home after work one day.
FYI-Labradors are notorious for chewing during their childhood and some of their adulthood stages. When they are not getting the attention they need, they get bored with their toys and move on to anything else lying around. We literally lost the arm to our couch, some baseboards, a few shelves, a window sill, and a big hole in our drywall! Yes, this time kennel training was a must!
The best advice I can give to prevent this from happening to you:
- Never leave a puppy unattended, if you are not in the room put them in their kennel. I would recommend getting a large kennel with a divider panel to move as they grow. We bought a Midwest iCrate with divider panel and rotate out old towels for cushion. Towels are best as they are still many accidents that happen during this time.
- Keep shoes off the floor and remove any rugs or items that can be reached by the dog. Some rugs if ingested may not be digestible and could cause harm to a puppy’s intestines plus there will be lots of accidents while potty training.
- Always have chew sticks and toys around for them. I would recommend deer antlers and bully sticks.
- Make sure that they are getting plenty of exercise in. You don’t always have to go on walks, playing fetch with a small ball or toy in the living room can be just as good. This is especially good to do just before bed as it wears them out and allows you to get more sleep that night! Also, keep in mind that they are still getting their shots and chances of them getting Parvo are higher when they are in an environment where other dogs have been. You can read more about Parvo here.
- Furniture can be a bit tricky as you can’t exactly relocate all of it. We have found that Grannick’s Bitter Apple spray is great for deterring the consumption of furniture.
Don’t let this keep you from getting a dog, it’s just a phase and not all dogs have the same habits. Also, Labradors are extremely smart and will learn at a rapid rate during this time of growth. By using certain training techniques, you can break bad habits and create good ones. Jamie and I have learned a great deal of information from watching training videos on Youtube. We really like Stonnie Dennis, he has real experience with training dogs on his farm and it’s fun to watch. He lives on a farm and sometimes there are baby goats running around (so cute)!
We watched lots of training videos and ordered all the essentials plus some right after we put down the deposit for Luna (I’ve placed products and links for your convenience at the end of this post). A few more weeks and a few more toys later we finally got the message that the litter had been born (November 30th). The breeder posted photos of the puppies on her Facebook page and had them all named by the color of yarn tied around their necks. We were 3rd pick so we discussed which “color” puppy we wanted to get but how could we decide, they were all so cute!
Jamie began looking up articles on how to choose a puppy from a litter and came up with some interesting answers. Apparently, if you lay the puppy on it’s back and rub their belly they are more social and if they squirm around and want to turn over they are less social. We took this information with us when we went to pick our girl out and tried it on the last two that were left.
Luna, the puppy we chose was so good for Jamie and allowed him to put her to the test. She passed with flying colors. The other pup was a runt and while she was super sweet and wanted to play with me, she didn’t allow me to rub her belly so Jamie and I decided it might be easier to work with a dog that is more social as that was an issue we wanted to resolve from past experience.
Once we got Luna home nearly 7-8 hours later (phew), we knew we had to introduce her to Cami and our home for the first time. We kept Cami and Luna on leashes just in case because we weren’t sure what kind of reaction would happen. Cami is usually great with dogs but with Luna being so little we had to be sure. Cami instantly wanted to charge over and show this new pup some love. Luna was a little scared but soon became fearless and even nipped at her a little.
The first few nights Luna slept here, we kept her in a cardboard box by the bed loaded down with towels and had it within reach. This was a bit of a struggle because she would wake up all hours of the night to go out and also we feel because she missed her brothers and sisters to snuggle with. We soon moved her into her crate in the living room and kept Cami in the bedroom as we found that Cami was a bit of a distraction for Luna after she woke up.
After Luna moved to the crate it got worse. We would wake up a 2, 3, 4, 5 in the morning to take her out and she usually fought pretty hard to not go to sleep afterward. We tried staying up and playing with her in hopes that we would wear her out which seemed to work at first but then it didn’t. We were exhausted and at the end of our rope until a friend of ours told us about a device called Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy. At this point we were desperate and ordered it asap, it honestly couldn’t have arrived sooner! Within the first two nights, we noticed a big difference in her sleeping patterns. She would sleep almost through the night, maybe wake up and whine or bark and then fall right back asleep. It was a dream come true!
We now are able to sleep until at least 6 which is understandable because puppies have very small blatters and we are now working on the teething and potty training stages. So far it’s been quite the adventure and every day we learn something new about her and ourselves.
This is the list of essentials every new puppy owner should know about:
- Pet Wipes. These are great for when you have a small dog because they can’t quite squat yet when they go potty so it tends to get a little messy. I like to use these here, they come in a pack of 125 and they smell like coconut.
- A good cleaner that will take away odors to deter your puppy from going in the same spot again. I’m sure you’ve heard of dogs marking their territory, well that’s exactly what you don’t want them to get in the habit of. If you have lingering odors that they can detect, you better believe it will keep happening over and over again. We like to use this Simple Solution option here.
- The Kennel I listed earlier, you can find again here.
- Jamie picked out some jam up dog beds for the girls which you can find here. They both love them by the way and they have not tried to chew them!
- Lots of dog toys! I’ve listed a few here, here, and here. These toys here also work great for chewing.
- Chewies are a must! Bully sticks and antlers work great and keep them occupied!
- I recommend not giving Labradors anything with grain as they can develop a skin allergy which we are currently dealing with now with Cami. Also, any products with a starch like sweet potatoes can cause itchy skin and rashing. For treats, we like to use Wellness Soft Puppy Bites and for the food, we use Taste of the Wild.
- Small dog food and water bowls are less messy, like this one here. Also, you may want to purchase a rubber mat to go underneath their water bowl. This will save your floors!
- A good leash that won’t allow her to chew through it! Jamie found a great option just for this, here.
- The thing that really saved us was the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy. We might not have gotten any sleep without this amazing device!
I hope that you find the article helpful and as always thanks for reading! Please feel free to add any advice or even questions in the comments, we love to hear from you!
Cheers- Ashley Nicole