6 Month Old Labrador – Your Puppy Questions Answered

25
253520
Six month old Labrador puppy FAQ

It’s a big milestone reaching six months old!  Your Labrador Retriever’s first half year is completed.

And so much has changed in that time.

People often want to know what is ‘average’ or normal for a six month old puppy, so we’ll be looking at some of your questions.

Such as:

  • How much does a six month old Labrador puppy weigh
  • Is a 6 month puppy finished teething?
  • What should I feed my six month old pup?
  • How can I train my 6 month old Labrador?
  • How far should my 6 months puppy walk?
  • What commands should my six month puppy know?

And much more.  We’ll also be looking at some common six month old puppy problems.  But let’s start with everyone’s favourite questions on diet, growth, and exercise !

How much should my six month old puppy weigh?

It seems amazing that the little fluff ball you bought home just four months ago should be so big.  And bouncy!

Sam looking quite grown up at six and a half months: by Kate R from Cornwall UK
Sam looking quite grown up at six and a half months: by Kate R from Cornwall UK

I’m not crazy about quoting ‘average’ weights because there is so much variation between healthy Labradors of exactly the same age.  But I know you want an answer, so as a very rough guide, many 6 month old lab puppies will weigh around 50lbs.

That’s usually at least double what he weighed four months ago, and this very rapid period of growth in his lifetime is now at an end.

The remainder of his growth, another 10-20lbs or so will take place more slowly over the next 6 months.

What should my black, yellow, or chocolate labrador weigh at six months?

People often ask if there is any difference between the different colors with regard to weight and size.

The answer is kind of. It isn’t so much a color connection as a type connection.

Working type (American or field bred) Labradors are often lighter at six months than show type (English or bench bred) Labradors.

And in the UK at least, most field bred Labradors are either black (the majority) or yellow  (including fox red).

Most (not all, but most) chocolate Labs in the UK are show or pet bred Labradors and tend to be more heavily built.  So your chocolate puppy might well be heavier at six months than your friend’s black puppy.  And your fox red puppy might well be lighter than your friend’s show bred (cream coloured) yellow pup.

Of course, these are all generalisations and you’ll find a whole range of weights in each color if you look hard enough.

What does a six month old Labrador puppy look like?

Lovely six month old Chepi, enjoying a carrot: by Jane M from the UK
Lovely six month old Chepi, enjoying a carrot: by Jane M from the UK

Although he might not easily fit in your lap any more, at six months your Labrador puppy will still look a little ‘puppyish’.

There is a softness to his features that will last another couple of months or so.

Some six month olds are a little ‘gangly’ but as you can see from our photos, many are now quite adult in proportions, a slightly smaller version in fact, of their grown up selves.

How much food does a 6 month old lab need?

How much food your puppy needs will depend on how much he weighs and what condition  he is in.  Have a look at our puppy feeding chart  and also at the instructions on the packet of food that you are using.

If your puppy is a little on the skinny side give him a tiny bit more food than recommended and if he is looking a bit plump, a little bit less.

Remember that it isn’t what your puppy eats today, it’s what he eats over the course of a week that really matters.

Consistent overfeeding will make a puppy fat.  Consistent underfeeding will see him lose weight.

How often should I feed my six month old puppy?

At six months, most labradors can drop down from three meals a day to two without any problems.

This means that you will be giving the same amount of food as before, but in two larger meals instead of three smaller ones.

Be aware that this can upset some dog’s tummies.

So, if your pup gets diarrhoea when you switch to twice daily feed, skip a meal to let his tummy settle, then go back to three meals a day for a few days.

When you next try going down to two meals a day, give him two small meals to begin with and increase the meal size gradually over the next few days

How far should my six month old be walked every day?

If you’ve been keeping to the ‘five minute rule’ you may be wondering if you can slacken off on this now, and take your Labrador jogging.

Like many young Labs, adorable six month old Myles loves everyone: by Ericka from the USA
Like many young Labs, adorable six month old Myles loves everyone: by Ericka from the USA

If you are not familiar with it, the five minute rule says that a puppy needs five minutes of exercise per day for each month of his life.

Most experts would divide that into two sessions.

So that’s a total of thirty minutes a day at six months old  (fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening).  This refers to formal walks, not playing in the garden or messing about with other dogs.

The truth is, we don’t have much evidence on the effect of exercise on puppies over six months old, but my personal view is that it still pays to be cautious.   And the reason for that caution is that your puppy is still growing and the growth plates in his joints are still vulnerable to damage.

So my advice would be to avoid hard exercise until your puppy is well past his first birthday and then to build up gradually over a period of several weeks.

Is my six months puppy old enough to breed?

Puppies become sexually mature before they are physically mature and long before they are mentally adults.

Some six month old puppies are capable of breeding.  And definitely should not be allowed to do so.

Apart from the ethical and moral implications, it may be physically harmful to breed from such a young female.

Many female Labradors will have their first season sometime between six months and a year, so this is something you need to be looking out for.

Neutering

Some of you will have already had your 6 month pup neutered, others will be thinking about doing so in the next few months.

It is a good idea to read up on the pros and cons of neutering before you go ahead as recent evidence shows that it isn’t as clear cut a decision as was once thought.  See also:

If you decide against neutering, this is a good point in time to review the security on your property and make sure it is thoroughly dog proof.  Labradors are surprisingly agile and can often jump higher, and dig deeper, than you imagine.

Beautiful Poppy at just seven months old: by Karen R from Germany
Beautiful Poppy at just seven months old: by Karen R from Germany

Once sexually mature, many a Labrador, particularly (but not only) males,  will make more effort to explore beyond the boundaries of your property.  And if you have a female in season, other enterprising males will do their best to find a way in!

If you are hoping to breed from your dog at some point here is the information you should read first:

Whatever your intentions, the time for breeding is a long way off right now. Bear in mind your dog is nowhere near grown up.  In many ways he is still a baby.  Which brings to on to other ‘baby’ matters.

Has my six months old Lab finished teething?

Most puppies have shed the last of their baby teeth by six months of age.  And will have cut many of their adult teeth by this point too.

Most will have all their adult teeth within the next month or so.

You can find out all about Labrador teeth and teething in this article. There are all kinds of fun and interesting facts in there, such as how many teeth a Labrador has, and various dental problems Labs can suffer from

Let’s move on now and answer some training questions.

Growing independence

At six months, many young Labradors are on the verge of a big surge in ‘independence’.  This is the point at which most young dogs start to lose their fear of losing you.

This has some big implications for those that exercise their young dogs off leash in open country, where there are temptations such as wild birds and animals to chase.

So if you haven’t done much in the way of training yet, there is no time like the present. Which brings us to the next question.

What stage of training should my puppy have reached by six months?

As a trainer of working retrievers I can tell you that I have had six month old Labradors that were quite advanced with their training and others that had barely started.

All reached the same standard eventually.  So don’t panic if you haven’t done much yet in the way of training.  However, it is important to get started with training now.

Six or seven months is often the age that people realise they need to do something about their Labrador’s behaviour, simply because he is getting so big.

And while there is no set standard your puppy should have reached,  it is definitely time to get some safety cues installed.  I’ll explain below.

What commands should my six month old puppy know?

Most six month old pups have only quite basic obedience and are not yet reliably obedient when there are lots of distractions about.

While many six month olds will sit when asked, and come when called in the house and yard.

Outdoors at the dog park, on the beach or in the countryside, it’s a bit of a different story. And a lot (the majority) of six month old Labradors are still pulling on the lead.  Professional or serious hobby trainers aside, this is fairly normal.

Safety cues

The two commands you should really focus on now are what I call the ‘safety cues’   And that is ‘come’ and ‘heel’.

Does the dog in your life have a cat in theirs? Don't miss out on the perfect companion to life with a purrfect friend.
The Happy Cat Handbook - A unique guide to understanding and enjoying your cat!

Most importantly, you need to focus on proofing these cues against distraction.  I’ll explain that too.

Come

The come cue, or recall,  is important so that your dog can be allowed safely off leash and recalled if any hazards appear.

You can find information on teaching recall here:

Even if you have made quite good progress with recall, now is quite a good point at which to be thinking about the about turn walk  this is a technique to prevent your dog from getting too far away from you on walks.

Heel

The ‘heel’ cue is important because until your Labrador can walk nicely on a loose lead, he is a danger to both himself and to you.

This is especially important as he grows bigger.

Labradors are strong and often friendly dogs.  This makes pulling on the lead very common as your puppy does his best to engage every passing stranger in a game.

Gorgeous Charlie enjoying a run at six months of age - he also appears in our feature at the top of the page: by Julie T from Cornwall UK
Gorgeous Charlie enjoying a run at six months of age – he also appears in our feature at the top of the page: by Julie T from Cornwall UK

I have seen grown ups pulled clean off their feet by large dogs on leash.  Being pulled off your feet, or losing control of your dog at the roadside is a very real risk.

So, loose lead walking is a must and you’ll find the information you need here

Too friendly?

Many young Labradors are very friendly and while this is a great thing overall, it can cause some problems with training at this age.

I mentioned proofing earlier, and proofing is the process which teaches our dogs to come away from other dogs or people.

To walk on a loose lead past your neighbour’s cat, and to sit (rather than jumping up) when visitors arrive.

It’s all about following your cues, even when there is something else your dog would rather do.  And proofing is the way to succeed.

The main problem with proofing is that it takes time and help.

You can’t do it on your own.  You’ll need to use my ‘fake it till you make it strategy‘  –  it will make sense when you read the link.  You might also find proofing Labrador obedience helpful.  A good sense of humour and some supportive friends won’t go amiss as you work your way through this tricky stage in training!

What is the best way to train my 6 month old?

Training methods are changing.  We are in something of a new era with regard to dog training methods and there are now plenty of good trainers who can show you how to train your dog effectively without fear or pain

If you can’t get to a good positive reinforcement dog training class, you’ll need to follow a good training guide.

Books and videos

The Labrador HandbookYou’ll find training instructions in my own Labrador Handbook and there are other good training books on the market.

It is usually best to avoid trainers that talk about dominance and pack leadership as these are now disproven and outdated methods of dog training. At the least it suggests the trainer has not kept up with their own professional development.

For good training videos try Emily Larlham – Kikopup and Chirag Patel.  These will get you off to a good start.

Behaviour problems

Most six month old pups are through the housetraining phase, though there may be very occasional accidents if a your dog is left alone for a lot longer than usual.

Female dogs may have an occasional accident during their first season too, but these are usually isolated incidents.

What about chewing?

Something a lot of people expect to be over at six months but isn’t, is destructive chewing.

If you are expecting chewing to stop at the same time as teething coming to an end, you may be disappointed.

We look at destructive chewing in more detail in this article, but it can be at its worst between 6 and 9 months of age.  Which brings us to a common question

Can I de-crate  my six month old puppy?

The six month milestone is a popular time for people to review the whole ‘crate situation’  After all, the puppy is sleeping through the night now, and he is probably clean all day.

It seems mean to shut him away at bedtime.  Why not give him the freedom of the kitchen during the night?

Well, this can work.  But often it does not and results either in a bad chewing problem or occasionally, in a relapse in house training.   You can find out more in this article which includes detailed de-crating instructions.

The other big issue for many puppy parents with six month olds, is excitable behaviour, particularly jumping up, and sometimes nipping

How do I stop my six month old Labrador from jumping up?

Jumping up is a common problem in young labs.  These are friendly and affectionate dogs who enjoy close contact and like to greet their friends up close!

The reason many people don’t discuss this until the six month milestone is simply one of scale.

It isn’t a big deal if a three month old puppy jumps up at you, so you and your visitors not only tolerate it, but actually reinforce it by petting the puppy as he does it.

  

It’s often only when he can put his paws on your shoulders that it occurs to you this might not be such a good idea.

You need to nip this problem in the bud now, before your dog gets any bigger and you’ll find the information you need in this article.

Over excitement

The last issue we’re going to look at is excitement.  Or rather over- excitement.

This is the age at which excitable behaviour can become quite a challenge again

Partly because the dog is now physically bigger, stronger, and more difficult to control.

You can’t just pop your six month old under your arm and carry him home.  Now, more than ever, you need your dog to listen and respond to your voice.

Playing safely

More often than not, excitable behaviour (jumping and even nipping at clothes and hands) that has got out of control, started out as a game.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

People say to me “I can’t play with him any more – he just gets too excited”  And this is common.

It’s more important than ever as your dog grows to learn how to play safely with a big dog.  And I think you’ll find that link helpful.

I don’t want to make it sound as though six month old puppies are a nightmare – because they are not.  And many puppies won’t have any  significant behavioural problems at this age.  However, if you are struggling a bit, you are not on your own.  Drop into the forum and say hello to all the other puppy parents.  It’s often a great comfort to talk around these problems.

Summary

As you leave the six month milestone behind and watch your dog grow into an adult, there is much pleasure ahead. And I want to wish you luck with your training and to remind you that we are always happy to try and answer your questions in the forum.

I also want to thank all the forum puppy owners who contributed their lovely photos to this article.  I hope you’ll come and meet them and share your own puppy photos.

We’d also love to hear about your own six month milestone.  What was your biggest challenge and your biggest pleasure as your puppy reached the six month mark?

Share your thoughts in the comments box below

More information on puppies

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website

25 COMMENTS

  1. Our six month old chocolate lab is always nipping at us. She isn’t doing it to be mean, but is doing it playfully. What do you suggest to stop this behavior. We love playing with her but the nipping frustrates us!

  2. My local animal rescue took in an 8 week old yellow Lab today, and they say he will be up for adoption in July, after his neuter. My concern is at 6 months he won’t have crucial obedience training, I.e., walking on a leash, sit, stay, come, down. Then the people who adopt him will have an already big, strong dog who is an untrained handful. What is the solution? The rescue couple don’t have time to train him.

  3. I have a black 6 month lab named Blu, and like others have said, he is too friendly. I love the fact that we can go to the local park and I don’t have to put him on the leash because he is good with EVERYONE. Even small kids flock to him. He has such a friendly temperament that makes it difficult to deny him all this attention. He does have a problem jumping up and I call it throwing himself at people. I am 5’1 and you may can guess that his paws touches my shoulders. At times he struggles with the jumping and getting over excited that I end up having to put him in his cage a lot. One of the bigger struggles is putting him on the leash to take him out side without him walking me. Also he does not have a chill, he will sit but laying down is a challenge. I rarely see him lay down unless we were at the park for 5 hours running and playing with my son. He is a bit hyper and I always hear from other lab owners that at 2 years old he will be the best dog. Do I really have to wait that long for him to behave more? Overall he is one of the best dogs that I have ever had. Down to having him at just 8 weeks did not use the bathroom in the house nor cage.

  4. I ve made a place in my garden for my 6 months old puppy to poop and pee there. But he only poop there when i take him to that place. Otherwise he pee in my garden..

  5. My 6 months old female Lab Lucky is very unpredictable when it comes to pooping. I let her inside the house with bathroom doors open, she holds her bladder until I leave her in the balcony. I have tried taking her out for a walk also – she never did potty. I tried using training sprays, letting her sniff her poop and so on – no go. Can someone suggest me something which can make her poop inside the bathroom?

  6. I have a 4 month old Blk lab,female.
    She has the commands of sit, down, fetch and drop her ball. She comes when called on our property but not in public, yet. I’m trying to teach her to sit when cars aproach. Do you agree that this is a good training tool?
    Thanks, Chet

  7. Hi Pippa,
    I have a six month old male black lab and he is the most loyal companion but he is always too friendly, I can manage the jumping up at people but what I’m starting to worry about is that with some female dogs, not all, he tends to mount and most are a lot smaller. I know that some dog owners don’t like this behaviour and I don’t know if I should avoid the other dog or if I should tell him off in front of the dog? How do I go about sorting this problem out before he gets me into trouble with other dog owners?

  8. Hi
    My puppy is 6 months and only weighs 11.95kg she was poorly at 4 months with compila bacta which is a bacteria infection she had 2 courses of antibiotics and was making good progress she is back on antibiotics again as she has tummy upset again. Her weight is a problem I know as she looks skinny. She is very tall though. Very playful, well behaved. All though she keeps having accidents at night it tends to be poos. This is very stressful as thought she would stop by now but it’s nearly every night.
    Will these upset tummy bugs ever stop or is she prone to them

    • Hi Marissa, Have you taken Labrador back to the veterinarian? They are the best person to advise you on this one. I hope that she feels better soon. Lucy.

  9. Hai pippa, Thanks for sharing valuable information about the six month old Labrador puppy. I am having a five month old Labrador puppy named ‘Archie’. He was very active and naughty upto four months. For last two weeks he is not interested in playing or coming for walking. His rear legs looks weak. Is there anything I can do for strengthening my puppy’s legs. He weighs 23 kgs. Please guide to regain my active and naughty puppy.

  10. Nice article Pippa! I was wondering if you had any tips on how to “proof” training once a puppy gets with the rest of their pack? I train my dogs individually and individually they will respond very well to their commands but when they are all together it seems the “pack mentality” takes over and they are far more interested in the rest of the pack than what I have to say. Any tips on how to keep them as obedient when they are with the rest of their “family” as when they are alone with me?

  11. Nice article Pippa. Can you give any tips on how to proof when there are multiple dogs? I train my labs individually and they listen really well when they are on their own but if the rest of the “pack” is there, the pack mentality takes over. It’s like their training goes out the window.

  12. Our chocolate puppy is nearly six months and a real joy. Most of the time she is very sweet and adorable but every now and then she is nauty. We already started training her, and realise that we need to stay consequent. Thank you for this very complete website with lots of information.

  13. Having our beige, 7 months Labrador is a huge pleasure and challenging experience in the same time:) I am glad i found this site…it is so easy to navigate and find whatever information is needed:)
    It is time to make him the best behaving dog ever and I hope i have the “weapons” to achieve that :))))

  14. I am picking up my new choc. lab tomorrow night from breeder. After reading this im dreading 6 months. I think I will arrange for puppy school. Good Stuff.

  15. My lebra puppy is 2 months old kindly suggest me best diet for his better growth, i heard from people that lera are very soft in nature but my puppy is very naughty.

  16. My 5 month puppy has periods of crazy terrible unpredictable scary behavior. We walk him often, play fetch- no tug of war, he knows sit, down , come, stay, fetch and heel. He’s very smart and usually sweet and playful. But he gets so crazy with no trigger(that I’m aware of) he bites us repeatedly with crazy wild eyes, ripped my shirt and pushes his body into us. My teen girls are afraid of him. he became so focused on attacking me last night that I had to call my husband in the room to physically pull him off me.
    Vet says he’s healthy.
    What do I do????

  17. Helpful Article, my Pup Amber is just 6 months, she had lovely recall and now it is getting more difficult to call her from things like smells, digging, bantams and my 3 year old lab. So obviously I need to proof this and have some yummier treats. Also most of all her recall close is not good she runs round me which is annoying. Her teeth are all growing through, she sits and lets me walk away and call her in, but not heeling on lead yet.

  18. My chocolate lab is exactly 6 months old and in most ways is doing very well. She is polite in the house, and can sit and wait (for short periods.) But outside – she jumps and pulls, and recently knocked me over. This is a problem, as I am in my late 70’s and can’t afford to be bouncing off the sidewalk. Our trainer suggested an e-collar, and we had a private session with her to be sure that I will be using it correctly. This will be our second day. I think the addition of the treats and the “eh eh” corrections are a major part of the training, and I regret that I resisted doing that all along.

    Thanks for this website!

LEAVE A REPLY