6 Things to Consider Before Buying a Labrador

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Are you about to take a step into the world of dog ownership for the first time? Are you currently searching for your new puppy, or trying to learn as much as you can about the breed before the time comes?

You are right to take this decision seriously, because there’s a price to pay for life with a Labrador – and it isn’t just the money!

In this article we are going to be looking at the pros and cons of owning a Lab.

Highlighting six important aspects of puppy parenting that you will need to take into account before you take the plunge.

Are You Thinking Of Buying A Labrador Puppy?

If you are thinking of bringing a Lab puppy home, you probably feel rather bombarded with information.

You may be wondering how much it costs to keep a Labrador happy and healthy, and what price you’ll need to pay to buy a puppy.

Labrador Dog Price – The Costs Involved

Buying a Labrador is not just a question of the purchase price of a Lab puppy, though of course that is important.

There are other costs involved, both financial, emotional and in terms of time and effort. So we need to look at those too.

You may be wondering whether you will have the time for a dog, and if you have the space and energy for a large and lively breed?

Nearly everyone has an opinion on whether or not you should ‘take the plunge’.

But this page will take you back to the fundamental considerations, to help you to make the right choice for you and your family.

6 Things To Consider Before Bringing Home A Labrador Puppy

Here are the main points you may want to consider before making that final decision on whether or not to bring a labrador into your life:

  1. Do you have the right space for a large dog?
  2. Do you have time for a dog?
  3. Can you afford a dog?
  4. What about your lifestyle?
  5. Will a dog fit in with your family?
  6. Is a Labrador the right dog for you?

1. Do You Have The Right Space For A Labrador?

Dogs need space, both indoors and outside. Even small breeds need room to stretch their legs and run about, and Labradors as fairly large and lively dogs need quite a lot of space.

Labradors can be quite silly during adolescence, bouncing and cavorting in the home. Their tails are long and thick, easily knocking any fragile decorations you might have from shelves.

If you have lots of ornaments then you will need to move them to higher shelves to avoid them getting damaged.

You will also need to move anything that could be easily damaged by chewing.

Labradors also need to go outside regularly for ‘bathroom breaks’.

With small puppies this will be very often indeed. Perhaps every 15 to 20 minutes during their first few days with you.

If you live in a flat, or do not have a garden, this will be difficult for you.

You’ll need to set up a system where the puppy can toilet indoors, using puppy pads or newspaper, then retrain him to go outdoors when he is older.

Some people successfully use a dog crate to help with their puppy’s toilet training and to keep them contained in the house.

These are helpful but do take up a lot of space.

Even more space invading is another great house training solution, putting a crate inside a puppy playpen for the first few months.

Although this will take up a lot of space indoors, it can work very well for larger apartments with no easy outside access.

Ideally however you do need to have a garden, and a part of the garden which your dog can use as a bathroom, along with a good system for clearing up after him hygienically.

Puppies should also not be allowed to ‘toilet’ where children play,  as their faeces can pass on some horrible and dangerous parasites.

The right space for a Labrador includes large clear rooms in the house, with no breakable or fragile objects within his grasp.

And ideally access to a garden where they can easily be let out to the bathroom and have room to play.

2. Do You Have Time For A Dog?

It is always sad to hear from new puppy owners that are struggling to juggle the needs of a puppy with their need to work.

These articles will help you to deal with this common issue.

It may seem obvious to many of you,  but a lot of people don’t realise that you cannot bring a small puppy into your life and leave it alone in the house all day.  Even with a visit at lunch time.

An older dog may cope with being left for up to four hours in row on a regular basis,  but puppies need more attention than this.

The truth is, you can’t leave a young dog alone for hours on end and expect him to remain quiet and well behaved.  Lonely dogs bark and wreck things.

If you work all day,  can you afford to pay someone to come in and let him out to stretch his legs and empty himself?  Or do you have a relative or friend that would be prepared to do this on a regular basis.  Bear in mind that this is quite a lot to ask of anyone in the long term.

You can find out all about raising a puppy when you work full time here. 

The biggest long term time commitment in owning a dog is in the form of training and exercise.

All dogs need training in order that they can rub along in human society without being a complete nuisance.  This means a regular daily commitment  of ten to twenty minutes from you, in addition  to your regular interaction with the dog.

Training cannot be saved up for the weekend,  your dog will have forgotten most of what he learnt the weekend before,  and he does not have the attention span to concentrate on you for an hour and a half.

You can find out more about training your Labrador puppy here.

Exercise is required on a regular basis,  for some breeds of dog this means at least an hour a day of walking or jogging to keep your dog fit and healthy.

You can find out more about the exercise requirements of a Labrador puppy here.

Whilst your dog will not come to any harm if you miss a day occasionally,  a daily routine is often the best way to ensure that you build this important habit.

3. Can You Afford A Dog?

Dogs can be quite expensive to run.  You need to consider not only how much a Labrador will cost you to buy, but also how much it will cost you to keep.

How much do Labradors cost to buy?

The price of a Labrador puppy will vary from breeder to breeder, and from place to place.  In the USA as a rough guide, you are looking at $800 to $1200. In the UK you can pay anything from £650 to £850 for a well bred, health tested Labrador.

Health screening is important, here are the tests your puppy’s parents should have had.

Perhaps you know a friend that has a litter of puppies and they are going to let you have one for free.  However, the purchase price of a dog is almost irrelevant.  It is such a small part of the final cost.

The cost of keeping a Labrador

The reality is, you are also going to need to fork out a chunk of your wages each week on keeping your pooch happy and healthy.

Obviously you will have taken the cost of a good brand of puppy food into consideration.

It is a good idea to budget for veterinary insurance too.  Modern veterinary treatment has simply gone ‘off the radar’.   Not because it is unreasonably priced, but simply because it is now so advanced.

You can fix a lot of problems these days.  No longer is ‘put to sleep’  the option of choice for most serious ailments.  We can do open heart surgery,  mend complex fractures,  treat cancer with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Pretty much anything you can treat in a human,  you can now treat in a dog.  And the catch? It costs.

If you don’t have access to substantial savings, one way to avoid the burden of huge vet fees is to make sure your dog is insured.   Veterinary insurance will most likely set you back at least a week’s wages or so, each year.

The more comprehensive your insurance package the more it will cost. Watch out for very cheap deals, as they may not provide continuing cover for long term ailments.

You will also need to vaccinate your dog against common canine illness, and this will probably need to be done each year too. Especially if you are wanting to occasionally leave them in boarding kennels when you go away, as they require up to date vaccination certificates.

There will be a few other one-off costs such as a puppy crate and puppy play pen for your home for when your dog is young,  another for your car if you have one.

Then there are bowls, bedding, collar, leash etc. But you may be able to borrow a crate or get one second hand.

Here are some of the items you will need for your new puppy, and reviews on the best options for Labradors:

If you like to holiday abroad or anywhere that the dog can’t come,  unless you have helpful relatives, you will also need to think about the cost of putting him in boarding kennels for a week or two each year.

The purchase price of your Labrador is not the main consideration when it comes to his cost. You will need to be confident that you will be able to cover all of the above, for at least the next ten years.

4. What About Your Lifestyle?

Buying a Labrador will change your life quite drastically.  In fact, bringing any dog into your life will be a dramatic change.

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If you work away a lot, unless you can take your dog with you,  a dog is probably not a good idea for you right now.   Likewise if you if you travel a lot,  a dog may cause problems for you.  If you spend two months each year exploring the Amazon jungle,  a dog is almost certainly not for you.

Travelling with your Labrador is possible, but it will depend upon your destination.

What are you like at early mornings?   And at getting up in the night?

Long lazy Sunday lie-ins will be a thing of the past once you have a dog.   In addition,  for the first few weeks when puppies are small,  they may need to be taken out side to toilet during the night.

Maybe more than once.  You need to be comfortable coping with that.

If you like to take day trips to places that aren’t dog friendly, are you able to organise for someone to care for them in your absence?

Your lifestyle will need to adapt to fit your Labrador’s needs, and you need to be happy with that arrangement.

5. Will A Dog Fit In With Your Family

If you have three children under five and your wife is expecting twins, you probably don’t need me to tell you that you don’t need a dog right now.

But  it is surprising just how many people do take on a puppy when their kids are tiny and then struggle to cope.

Having a puppy is a bit like having a toddler,  and whilst some dogs and kids do rub along very nicely together,  it can be very tough in the early years.

Pushing a buggy whilst trying to lead train a large or even a medium sized dog is no joke.  And tiny puppies are easily broken by small children as they step on them,  climb on them,  and trip over them.

A toddler,  expensive veterinary treatment, and a puppy with its leg in plaster is not a great combination.

However, if your kids are all over five, able to walk for an hour or so without needing to be carried,  and to understand what a dog’s basic needs are,  the chances are you will all enjoy and benefit from your new companion.

Make sure that you invest in a crate and puppy pen, so that your puppy has somewhere safe to go when he needs a break from the kids. And help to get them off on the right foot by teaching the children how to play safely with a Labrador.

6. Is A Labrador The Right Breed For You?

If you are certain that the time is right for you to bring a dog into your family,  it is also worth considering whether a Labrador is really the right breed of dog for you and your family.

Check out this article.

You can also find lots more information through this link   Getting a Labrador Puppy.

Labradors are loving, intelligent and fun. They are also very often large, bouncy and as puppies very prone to biting and chewing.

Make sure that you know exactly what it is you are bringing into your home, get properly prepared, and you will hopefully be well set to have years of joy together.

Anything Else To Consider Before Bringing Home A Labrador?

How about you?  If you already have a Labrador,  what do you wish you had known before you became a dog owner?  Share your thoughts with our readers in the comments box below!

Help with choosing your puppy

When the time is right and if decide you would like to bring a puppy into your life, you’ll want to check out Choosing The Perfect Puppy.

Pippa’s book will guide you safely through the puppy finding process and help ensure you get a happy, healthy puppy, and the right pup for you

Choosing The Perfect Puppy is available online and in bookstores.

 

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.

70 COMMENTS

  1. I just purchased my first dog ever in my life and she is a beautiful little yellow lab I named Bailey, because she is a creamy color and reminded the breeder and I of ‘Bailey’s Irish Cream’. She is just four and a half weeks old so she will stay with her momma dog and siblings until she is eight weeks old. I am recently retired so I finally have the time and energy to raise an energetic puppy! I have been reading all of your articles Pippa, they are a great help thank you. I will be visiting my new little baby each Monday until I bring her home as I volunteer at a horse ranch near her current home. I have a nice fenced backyard and also live two miles from a beach (I am in California) so I am planning for a lot of exercise for both of us. I do have two young cats and am wondering if you have advice on trying to make a relatively trauma free introduction. I am planning to gate the puppy off and crate him at first. Also I was thinking of bringing old shirts or towels on my visits to the puppy and holding her in them so when I come home I can at least have the cats become acquainted with her scent before I bring her
    home. Do you think is a good idea?
    Excitedly puppy proofing (as much as that is possible) my house in anticipation!

  2. I have had the blessing of owning 3 mixed labs. My first boy was free from a neighbor. His daddy, a half Rottweiler, half Black Lab, jumped the neighbor’s fence and mated with their pure German Shepard . He chewed up so much stuff, pretty destructive. I considered giving him up, but hung in there. He grew up into a gentle giant, 120 lbs. He was the best dog ever, once he was 2 years old, my best friend and buddy. He died suddenly at age 8, during the night. We don’t know why. I was so heartbroken. The loneliness of missing him took over and a few weeks later, I was drawn to the pet ads in the newspaper. A litter of mixed black labs were advertised. We went immediately to see them and actually picked our new boy out on the phone. He had the same white spot on his chest and a little white ghotee on his chin just like our other boy. We had to wait about 3 weeks , until old enough to leave his mother, then went and paid $100.00 and took him home. He was such a naughty puppy, chewing almost anything, including our hands! But he was my little love, easily trained, and stuck by me like glue. Then 7 1/2 months later I had this feeling again to check the newspaper for puppies. I don’t know why. But there it was! Mixed white lab puppies $100.00 each. We went right over and the whitest little girl picked out my husband and we had our next baby. We got her home, she jumped up on top of the couch and watched our boy. Then they checked each other out, and it was a match made in heaven. From that day on, my boy never, ever chewed anything up he shouldnt, and our sweet little girl never did anything wrong. They did everything together. Now, the cost, well, when our girl was about 7 yrs. old, she had a torn ACL and it was close to $3,000 . The next year, the other knee had a torn ACL, another $3,000. She was more than worth the cost and she did really good after that. Our boy, on his 10th birthday was diognosed with Lymphoma. He did chemo treatments and was in remission 19 months before it came back. We repeated the treatment and he was in remission another year, before it came back in his right eye. He went into remission again and during this time our girl was diognosed with a cancer in her kidnys, but it was sudden and we only had a month left with her before we had to let her go. She was 11 yrs. 4 months old. Our boy missed her I think as much as we did. By the time he was 13 1/2 he had developed neuropathy and in his last 2 months he couldn’t walk anymore. It was so hard to tell him goodbye and now I don’t have any dogs. Will I get another dog after spending thousands of dollars for vets and treatments, yes, absolutely! These babies have been such lovable, faithful companions. I miss our walks and all the love and joy they gave me. I do want to get another lab puppy, maybe 2 puppies, but I will try to wait until I retire in a year, as I remember how puppies are. I will devote my time and energy to training and walking and playing with them. They are for keeps, until their last breath. It’s a big commitment and anyone considering getting a puppy needs to realize this. These precious babies depend on us, and they will give you so much in return. They are so worth whatever the cost is. We aren’t rich, by any means, but we managed. We had to, for the love of our babies. If you get a puppy, just try to be patient. They will learn.

  3. We are Proud owners of Gracie our 65 lb. Lab, Just turned 4 years old this past week. This is number five Black Labs in our family. We got Gracie when our last Lab was approximately 9 years old and knowing someday she would not be with us. My wife has Dementia and knowing the benefit of dogs in this situation we planned ahead. When the older dog passed at 12 years old Gracie took right over looking after my wife. She can’t move unless Gracie is following her. We allow Gracie on the bed supposedly on the dogs own blanket when wife is resting. When I go to bed Gracie reluctantly gets down and off to her pen, cushion or chesterfield. The one thing that has been extremely different between all the Labs we have had. We have trained this one to to relieve herself, not only Number 1 but also Number 2 when we are going some wheres through the day. All we do is tell her if she wants to go in the car she must go PO PO. Usually she will respond very quickly but other times it take some extra running. We have done this in as few as one hour after her morning duties were done. What a saver when traveling. No messes to clean up along the way. She is good until the next morning.
    Our Family each have Lads and have had many over the years. I read many of the suggestions and they are right on the money. Powerful, lovable, destructive as pups and take a lot of work but the rewards once they get 2 to 3 years old far out weight those early years. Be Strict and firm and they will understand who is the boss. They want to Love everyone for such small rewards.

  4. I am delighted to be owned by a rescued black Lab/Dane cross for almost the last year. As a stay at home mom of 3 boys, I knew a wee puppy was NOT an option for us – the effort and time to have a well mannered dog is time consuming enough without the puppy antics, teething and housebreaking! – so we opted to adopt a young dog. Although he had some bad manners at first and was not happy being left alone, I always knew he wanted to be a good boy and please us. With gentle training and a Halti he has blossomed into an 80 lb lovey!
    Yes, I vacuum daily, go through 4 cups of super premium food every day and I walk and/or run him for about an hour and a half everyday! It’s a big commitment to have a wonderful furry addition to your family – but you reap what you sow and the rewards are enormous 🙂
    Please consider adopting before shopping – there are SO many lovely friends just waiting for you to fall in love with!

  5. We very sadly had to have our ten year old black Lab put to sleep earlier this year due to severe arthritis. We were truly heartbroken (we had owned her since 10 weeks of age). Seven weeks ago we took the plunge and welcomed an eight week old black Lab puppy into our home. A dog is for life and from past experience we know she will one day mature into a lovely dog, a true companion. But we had forgotten what hard work a Lab puppy (or any puppy) is. She is 15 weeks old today and, only this week, has begun to sleep through the night. She has chewed through anything she can sink her razor sharp teeth into, including our hands and arms – and boy does it HURT! Our beautiful back garden now has large holes dug into the lawn and the borders have been trashed. She has never once done a poo indoors BUT has constantly done wee wee’s indoors (despite putting her outside regularly) to the point we have now ripped up our hall carpet and will have to order new once she is fully housetrained. The smell of wee was just horrendous and embarrassing. The kitchen smells permanently of disinfectant. As said earlier, a dog is for life. We bought her and we will love her and will not part company until she draws her last breath (hopefully at a very ripe old age). In time she will become our best friend and we will look back on the present time and smile. However, I urge anybody considering a Lab puppy to seriously do your research and think long and hard about what you are committing to. Lab puppies are seriously hard work and the decision to bring one into your home should not be taken lightly. I am 44, my husband is 52. We are shattered at the moment, we have argued (which is something we never did until this little puppy arrived on the scene a few weeks ago) and we have said countless times “I can’t do this much longer” – and that comes from two people who absolutely love dogs! At the time of typing this comment our little treasure is curled up beside me, sound asleep, a picture of innocence. But the reality is puppies are physically and emotionally draining. We have both agreed that we shall never purchase another puppy. When the time comes again one day and we are left feeling bereft, empty and broken, we will rescue an older dog. Owning a puppy again has come as a real shock to the system and is an experience I never wish to repeat. She really has turned our lives upside down. BUT we also understand she is just a baby and depends on us to show her right from wrong and give her a lifetime of adventures as she makes her journey through life. We will always love and cherish her.

    • Hi Charlotte, Thank you for your post. As you know, this soon will become a distant memory 🙂 In the meantime, you might like to join the Labrador Forum where you can chat to fellow Lab puppy owners about your mutual challenges. Best wishes, Lucy.

  6. hi. My name is Prem. I live in India. I have been wanting to get a dog for a long time now but my parents are worried that it is a big responsibility. Me and My sister, both 13 leave for school at 7 30 and come back at 2 and after i could play with it as much it wants. I live in a large bungalow. I don’t have a garden but I do have a veranda in which I could take him to ‘Pee and Poo’ and put up a puppypen. Are these conditions good enough for having a Lab Puppy?

    • Yes, they are however if it will be a puppy then you will need someone at home a maid perhaps to look after it because they will bark and chew if lonely. Also as a puppy, it will need bathroom breaks every 15-20 minutes until it has developed the endurance

  7. hey guys
    Im thinking about getting a dog and would really love it to be a lab but i have a few questions about if my lifestyle is compatible. Im 15 and my parents are divorced so it might have to change houses every week or so but i dont have any siblings so theres no toddlers to worry about knocking over. I live in a medium size house with a backyard that is not massive but has more than enough room to walk around in. But my main concern is leaving it home alone. I would get the dog during my summer break which is about 6 weeks long, so i would have some time where i could be home most of the day so it could get adjusted. But during the school year Im out the door at 8 and don’t return till 4 and my parents are the same. After i get home and can take it for a hour or longer walk and give it as much love and attention till i have to leave the following morning, so my main question is can the dog be home for 6 to 8 hrs most week days having only the garden and the house to roam around in and with only a cat to keep them company providing that when i get home the dog can get as much exercise and love as it needs. I also plan to consult some family friends who are vets and have been for many years. But as some lab owners i just wanted to ask your opinion before “taking the plunge”

  8. Found you article from Google.
    This is serious a good article. Now I’m very clear about buying and taking care of a lab.
    I agree that there will be cost involved, especially those ‘hidden’ costs that I can’t foresee now.
    But I’m going to go ahead and get a labrador. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. This info seems a little off in terms of pricing in the USA. I live in California and I have talked to dozens of breeders in California and in neighboring states. The lowest price I have seen for a lab puppy is $1200, but the highest I have seen is $2500. Many of the breeders I have talked to have said that if you pay over $1500 for a purebred lab than you are simply overpaying.

    • I’ve seen them for $400 in Tennessee. I’ve even seen the price lower. Sometimes you can get lucky and find one in a shelter for a cheap adoption fee on a lab that someone gave up o training or couldn’t keep

      • There are Labrador rescues where I plan to get my next lab. I would rather re-train an older dog (and I feel strongly about adoption) than deal with a puppy, although they are adorable. That being said, I lost my lab at the age of 14, having raised him from 8 weeks of age. He was a very good puppy and easy so far as those things go. The most difficult challenge was taking vacations, as he would get very depressed if left with unfamiliar people. Also his propensity for finding and eating food and other things was at the least, aggravating, and at the worst, dangerous, causing expensive trips to the vet and or emergency clinic, usually at night or on weekends when prices are higher. That being said, he was my buddy, and I miss him every day, even a year and a half after he died. I couldn’t have had a better dog.

  10. At 60, I recently decided I had it in me to raise one more Lab puppy. I had forgotten just how much work these wonderful dogs are, but this little fellow is keeping me active and healthy! If anyone has not raised a Lab before, they need to be made fully aware of just how “bitey” they are – it’s like owning a baby alligator. Unfortunately, people who are not aware of this stage of Lab puppydom think they have an aggressive, problem dog, and will take them to an animal shelter. If they only knew that in a few short months, that crazy puppy would become a loving companion!

    • Damn straight. My angel is so obedient. He learns the first couple times. They are truly gods gift to us..

  11. We have a incredible black lab/golden retriever mix who just turned 13. Yes, medical expenses must be accounted for when budgeting. He has been my best friend in the world. He is in love with the world… loves to say hi and snuggle with everyone from babies to strangers and cats. But if you are away at work all day, DO NOT get a lab. They are incredibly social and mine always craves interaction. Also, daily exercise so they can get all their “ya ya”s out. They have so much energy, especially the first five years. You have to let them get it out so they can relax indoors easier. BEST DOGS IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!

  12. Hi,

    I am a fond lover of Labrador but after viewing this article I am in a threat of demolishing my dreams….Can I not buy lab as I live in a small apartment…….?

  13. I have to somewhat disagree with the statements that labradors are widely expensive. I have a lovely 18 month old Lab mix (he is absolutely all lab personality and body though) and although the initial investment in toys (which we went way overboard) is a bit starteling it really isn’t all that bad. Since there are a big difference between English and US availability and costs I figured my own expenses might help those reading in the United States.

    Dog: very luckily he was free, but a oure bred pup can cost you between $800-2000.
    Dog food: roughly $40 a month for Taste of the Wild grain free dry dog food. Wet we could spend roughly $120-150 for store bought or around $80 if we made it ourselves. For reference we have a 65 pound lab.
    Treats: Here we spend only $10 a month on treats so we can control our own desire to give him treats and keep his weight under control
    Toys: Our pup prefers cheap tennis balls (about $1 a piece off amazon) and chew bones (roughly $20, he enjoys antlers the best). We also have ropes and such that we bought from a local store and tied our own knots in it. We prefer to not to traditional type dog toy ropes because our dog has a tendency to eat the rope fibers.
    Vet: around $100-150 a year for vaccinations depending on where we go
    Dog Bed: We spent $40 on a good bed and he greatly prefers the couch or the bed. Good luck getting him off of it too.
    Crate: $50, we got a wonderful collapsable crate that has been fantastic when we are traveling since we had a Sedan and don’t crate him while he’s in the car.
    Leash, ID tag, Chipping, and Collars: roughly another $100. Our pup has chewed thru two leashes, and outgrown a few collars as well. Chipping was $15, which is very cheap for that procedure. Once he gets to his full size we will likely buy him a better leather collar with an ID tag on the collar itself, but he’s still filling out.

    Misc costs:
    Toys: You can go absolutely nuts here. Your own bank account is the limit. But get creative here because the smarter you think you are with your toy ideas I guarantee you your lab is going to be much smarter at solving them.
    ER Visits: Your young lab will eat something he is not suppose to eat so just start saving for that vet bill. Ours has had a horrible bout of vomiting when he was a puppy and we saw the vet when he wouldn’t stop vomiting (8x in an afternoon). Second vet visit came at the expense of 2 pounds of chocolate fudge my aunt and uncle had made for me. I adore their fudge and its the only time of the year I get it. Our lab loved it too. So 3 hours later and an induced vomiting to clear our the fudge and hershey kisses he ate, puppy was good to go. My mom just paid $2000 to remove a portion of a cat’s intestine. Another friend spent about $2500 for the same procedure for his 60 pound dog because he ate something he shouldn’t have had.

    This is just the run down of our costs. Roughly per month we spent $60-90 a month with another $300 a year in one time expenses. We do buy a new dog bed each year. I’ve seen comments regarding insurance, the US doesn’t have pet insurance widely available and as a result we’ve opted out of that monthly fee. Largely in the US it isn’t cost effective to have insurance until later in a dogs life when there are vet bills or you are going to breed a bitch and have those pregnancy costs as well.

  14. I am in the process of looking for a labrador pup to join our family (we have two children aged 5 and 8) but I am getting mixed responses about the behaviours of the pups. For instances we were considering a chocolate Labrador but certain breeders have said they are more clumsy and boisterous. A breeder of a black labrador litter advised yellows are more show dogs and less family orientated. What do people think. Is there really a behavioural pattern due to the coat colour or is it just personal preference?!

    • Our yellow lab is almost 10, we got her when the boys were 7 and 11. They were old enough to feed and walk her, but since she grew much faster than they did, she easily could drag them at the end of a leash if she saw another animal on a walk. She has been a wonderful, sweet, loyal pet, has never even nipped at anyone. She loves everyone and thinks they should love her too. She is a tall, sturdy female at about 80 pounds, she is intimidating to people who don’t like dogs because of her size. I walk her daily and all the dog loving neighbors know her. She also is a bit big for an 1800 square foot home. She has always slept with the boys and was heartbroken when the oldest moved out, but has become much more attached to the younger son now. We took in a stray kitten when Lucky was about a year old and she tolerates the cat, even though the cat loves to torment her. Lucky just gets up and walks away. If you are finicky about your housekeeping, don’t get a lab. There is dog hair EVERYWHERE, and I vacuum all the time. The hair is woven into all upholstery, on ceiling fan blades, in all blankets and on all clothes. But, you couldn’t ask for a better, move loyal or loving companion dog.

  15. We have Bella, a 5 month old yellow lab, l had never owned a dog before, but knowing my retirement was looming, we bought Her in October, she is already my best friend, my most loving daughter and above all else, l wouldn’t be without her. Bella was spayed on Monday 19th Jan, she has to wear an Elizabethan collar, hates it and so do l.

  16. I own a Lab Puppy now. What I think I should have known before keeping a lab ?
    Most importantly – that small puppies are very prone to diseases – some of them very fatal ones – like distemper, parvo and they can be cured if you start treatment early. And they have fixed symptoms – continuous discharge from eyes, smelly diarrhea. I bought a white lab before this one, it already was infected when we got him – bad breeder. It took some days for the vet as well to identify the disease – distemper. We treated him for 4 days but we couldn’t save him. Last stage was seizures and it was scary. After few weeks – we got to chance to own another puppy. We thought bringing in another puppy would help us get over this incidence. We asked the breeder (another one of course) if it’s safe for the puppy – as the disease is infectious – he told that cleaning the house with disinfectant should do. Not a bad breeder but not very knowledgeable. We cleaned the house and brought in another puppy (a yellow lab) and guess what, after some days, we saw the signs of infection – coughing, discharge from eyes and smelly diarrhea. We took it to vet, vet told us to wait, breeder told us that it might be because of cold, but we were not ready to take any chance this time. We got it injected with serum, for 5 continuous days. And we finally succeeded. We saw improvements. Puppy is now playing beside me – chewing my sleepers 🙂 . Let me tell you, during the course of this treatment – we saw so many pet owners, facing the same problem. Bad breeder, no knowledge about diseases, relying totally on vet. You are spending 24 hours with the puppy – you need to see and recognize the symptoms. Vet relies just on what you tell them to understand the disease.

    So, I would suggest anyone who brings in a puppy – go to a trusted breeder – and do not take anything abnormal lightly. Read about common diseases. And give full detail to vet – even if it’s something that you consider tiny. That can save your dog’s life. And believe me – it’s worth it. 🙂

  17. We recently adopted a 2 year old Black female Lab from a rescue. She is a great dog and our first Lab. Our only issue is that she does NOT like to be home alone. We already have a 13 year old car and 9 year old Shih Tzu. Our Lab seems to go on a spree of destruction retrieving items from the counter, table, etc. to chew. She has a ton of new toys. Our daughter has Ben coming to let her out during the day. Any suggestions? Thank you so much!

  18. Thank you for writing such a spot on column. First, I have raised 5 labs,1 black and 3 yellows. I had many other wonderful dogs along the way as well. I grew up riding and later professionally training show horses and ponies, and teaching riding on a large place here in the USA, and dogs were always a part of the scenery. I often could not understand why people had such a hard time with labs, and thought in my mind that it was the people’s lack of connection to their dog that produced the labs like the one in the movie Marley and Me. I lost the best dog I ever had, Arlo a HUGE, HUGE yellow lab tragically at age 13 years 9 months in March 2015. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, including the death of all my other horses and dogs, and dare I say it? my parents. The dog was a saint, calm, smart, loving, loyal and just beyond special and beloved by everyone who ever crossed his path.It seemed as though he came trained at age 8 weeks, never jumped, bit, chewed, barked outside except appropriately, did not take food from counters, etc… I basically had never told him not to either,strange.. A friend presented me with a male yellow lab pup in April. He looked quite cute, but let me tell you, I have never seen or had a dog like thins before. He had a VERY strong personality, and required two stops outside per night until he was well past 4 month old.I was so grief stricken due to the loss of the other dog, I felt I could not even name him, I wanted to get to know him. He bit harder and longer than any pup ever, I had stitches 2x on my left hand. The jumping was and still is pretty bad, but at one pint, it was just intolerable.NO ONE could pet the pup as he just jumped like a nut, I literally could not control him. He would eat ANYTHING, and tried to, I took glass out of his mouth at least 3 x, he found at a park, on heh sidewalk and later a piece in the house from under the washer. He was so strong on the lead at 9 weeks old, he had to have a tiny gentle leader. he demanded to be walked at least 3 x a day. I know what you are thinking, its me right? that is what I would think! lol..He moves faster than any dog you have ever seen, even a Greyhound, he jumps up 16 feet in the air to take a bird house out of a neighbor’s tree! Man.. i was undone by this dog, I considered placing him, put realized that no one would keep him, and his fate would be less than favorable. He could not be examined by the vet for his runny left eye, he will just throw himself down, and roll while biting, at least now, he only bites hard enough to leave black and blue marks, doesn’t break skin anymore. He never took a daytime nap until he was over 4 months old. he does have a large yard, and gets walked 3x a day. He will be one in Feb. 2016. However, I have learned from this dog, that I named Ripple at 5 month old. He is a field type, not pet quality type, lab. He has instincts to search and destroy ( either eat or carry) like a missle, but it is not malice.He has instincts, that over ride his attention span, At age 55, no, he is not the ideal dog for me, but I’m going to make it work, I don’t want to yell and hit a dog all l day, but feel like I am always saying NO or following him around to be sure he doesn’t eat something he should not. He does listen, sits, lays down, walks into his crate on his own and enjoys it. He is in there right now. MAN!!!! Its a good thin I work at home. If i can get him to stop jumping on strangers, and the other thing he does is bark at me when I get on the phone,( you cant say no to him as he loves it, you cant hit him as he loves it an he loves to be chased as well when he runs away from you or has something in his mouth that he should not) and lastly, if you go out back to the garden, he will jump, bark and bite your clothes, as he wants to fetch and is afraid you wont stay out there, he wil be a great dog. Ripple is beautiful, smart, and extremely loving, he lays on my feet at night and right by me most of the time. He sleeps in my room at night and wakes me at 5:30 PROMPT by putting his paws on my bed and “clawing” to get up, and be fed and go out. He does mean well, but he is a rough dog, and jumps up and barks at the slightest noise. Never again will i look at people with wild dogs the same, with al i know and all the puppies I have raised to be excellent loved dogs, this dog has me baffled. Lets see how he is in 6 months! I am a fan here, and will continue to try and train Ripple, as I personally now believe that strong personalities come in the forum of 7 week old puppies, not people’s flaws! Hallelujah! and God Speed with Ripple! He is unreal!, but loves everyone.

    • Lol! Sounds like you’re doing well. It sounds like Ripple has an astounding play drive, and is the type of personality that search and rescue groups look for! Good luck to you both! I bet you will have a great companion.

  19. We researched a lot before deciding to get a lab. We’re 2 older adults – empty nesters- wanting the companionship & exercise opportunities a lab provides, for our own health. He’s now 18 months, and the sweetest, most even tempered dog imaginable. We take him with us on weekend trips & he is always adaptable & seems content just being with us, regardless of where. We regularly take him to restaurants, hotels, etc. But the demands are great: lab puppies need a lot of training. They are quick & eager learners, but it takes a big commitment to training. We’ve been enrolled in dog school pretty much since he was 3 months old. In public everyone comments on how well behaved he is. He makes us so proud! What we underestimated, however, was the amount of outside exercise he needs (2-4 hrs daily), spread out over the day in regular intervals, including walking on the line AND running through the fields and forests. He also needs a lot of play with other dogs. We also underestimated the shedding. A Furminator helps a lot. In our opinion, labs are the best dogs in the world & our lives are much enhanced by having him in our family. But their exercise needs (especially young dogs) are significant, and should be emphasized to anyone considering this breed. The time involved, plus being physically able to provide this for him is critical to consider. As well as their high need to socialize & play with other dogs. That and the heavy shedding are 2 areas that we underestimated. Wouldn’t have changed our decision, although we wish we’d been a bit more prepared in these aspects.

  20. Hi All including Tom. My grammar is nonexistent I just type whatever which way my head tells me to. I lost my 12yr old black lab Sianie at the end of May. She overcame a stroke a few years ago but cancer got her in the end. Even now putting it in black and white brings tears to my eyes and a sadness I feel will stay with me forever. She was my second black lab. The first one Chrissie was my soul mate, we got Sainie when Chrissie was eleven because we knew we wouldn’t be able to lose one then try to find another. So in effect I’ve had a lab for 25yrs … They are the maddest most lovable dogs. Neither of mine have ever chewed up though Chrissie did swallow my daughters socks on more than one occasion. I’ve had dogs, cats, children, teenagers, fish in a garden pond, fish in tanks, hamsters, all at the same time. Yes it was very hard at times and I looked forward to a day when I had no pets and my children were grown up. Well here I am, trust me, if another lab comes my way I just might not be able to resist. Yes they are hard work for the first six years after that it’s a doddle xxx

  21. A Labrador is a gorgeous dog. You will need a lot of patience and be prepared for 4am peeing at -0 in the back garden. The chewing of furniture, shoes in fact anything but their toys! Get through the first 18 months with lots of understanding and you will be rewarded with the love of a Lab. Nothing better in my opinion.

  22. This article is completely uninformative, and it looks like its been written by a two year old. I Find it hard to take dog advice from someone who cant put sentences together in a cognitive fashion and uses the word “learnt” as a past tense for having accumilated some knowledge…What the hell is the world coming to?

    • Thank you for appraising my grammar Tom 🙂 Here is what The Grammarist has to say about learnt,

      Learned is the more common past tense and past participle of the verb learn. Learnt is a variant especially common outside North America. In British writing, for instance, it appears about once for every three instances of learned.

      Whilst your post lacks the friendliness we normally encourage here, I do in fact (despite being British) agree with your opinion on the past tense of the verb ‘to learn’, (though I am not so sure about your spelling of accumulated) 🙂

      As for what the world is coming to, I doubt if the few errors on this otherwise fairly presentable website will stop the world from turning, so we will just continue to do our best to help people enjoy their dogs, and keep this website running for all those that need and appreciate it.

      Enjoy your Labrador 🙂

  23. Hi All,

    I am new to this and may get a bit wordy – so please forgive me up front. Just sharing my experience to date and to make sure that I am doing all the right things.
    I had to put my ten year old shepherd mix, Raj, to sleep at the beginning of last October and was utterly devastated. Some people say that they are only dogs but they have a habit of worming their way into your heart.
    Some people never get over the loss and do not get another dog for years or even never. Other people just go out immediately and get another. Everyone is different on how they cope or deal with loss. Personally, it was about a month for me.
    Even though I could never replace my old dog in my heart, I really missed the love & companionship of a special four legged friend (sadly my 3 cats do not count as they own me and not I own them). Living on my own, Raj had not just been my dog, but also my friend and my go to person to talk to about my day – best thing about that is, it did me good to talk and I got no negative feedback just lots of doggy kisses.
    So, as my family have labradors, I decided that I would like to get one too – idea being to get a chocolate labrador. I even bought Pippa’s book so that I was fully aware of what I was taking on (after all it has been some time since I last raised a puppy). Luckily I work from home and so can spend the time training so that made my decision to get a puppy a bit easier.
    I did lots of online research about labradors and breeders, before being put in touch with a reputable KC registered breeder.
    My breeder’s bitch had just mated and he estimated that she was due at the end of December.
    I followed Pippa’s advice and went to meet the prospective parents at the end of November and fell in love with both the parents. He was ever so laid back, almost regal in his demeanor and she was just a sweet affectionate little thing wanting to give doggy kisses. I also made sure, during my visit, that I saw all the dogs pedigrees and medical documentation and it was all fine & up to date. You could see that the owner obviously loved his dogs and I felt reassured that I doing the right thing getting my new little one from him.
    He kept sending me regular updates as to the pregnancy, including a picture of her scan. However, the vet said that her dates were out by a week and so I patiently waited a little bit longer until the big day.
    BIG DAY – January 9th my little one was born. I was kept up to date as things happened via regular texts during the births followed by photos of the babies when they were only minutes old. Have had two further lots of photos & updates since then – both mother and babies are doing well. Mother surprised everyone by having 6 puppies – vet said there were 4 on the scan.
    I am off at the beginning of February to pick out my puppy (or will he pick me??) and will finally pick my puppy up first week in March (at 8 weeks).
    I have felt part of this little one’s life since conception which makes him all the more special to me.
    I know it is not going to be easy as I am on my own but it will all be worth it.
    Pippa, thank you so much for writing “The Happy Puppy Handbook” – it has been invaluable so far and I am postive it will continue to be for the next year or so. I will definitely be getting the “Total Recall” book in the next week or so.
    And what have I finally ended up with – a Fox Red Labrador !!!
    Roll on the beginning of March 🙂

  24. Massive question here, my wife is very keen to have a lab dog puppy, it’s her life’s dream. However, we’ve just discovered she’s due to have our first baby in 6.5 months. Is it too much to get a puppy now and train it before baby arrives or do you think we should until baby is a year old or so. She thinks we can manage it but I’m not so sure and I’m worried as don’t want to be unfair to dog or baby. We are actually viewing a puppy this Saturday so I’m very interested on people’s opinion. My wife does make the point that when on maternity leave she’ll be at home a lot more but I don’t think she can look after puppy and baby at same time. Thanks for your help!! Darren

    • Darren,
      I am considering having a lab, my son is 6 months old and I am still unsure if I’ll be able to manage.. Never in this world would I take a puppy when I was expecting a baby, baby it’s a hard work! 99% of your time attached to you for the first 2months of its life..attached to the boob or just want to be held in your arms as that’s the only place it feels secure, or you changing nappies..no time to get yourself showered, going out is like preparing yourself for weeks holiday! month 3-4-5 are quite easy comparing.. Next stage is teething..teething – same story as month 1-2.. attached to you constantly for comforting.. And my baby is really good, sleeps 12h trough the nights since week 4! And I really am lucky with him, not a fussy baby at all..but God get used to missing your breakfast..and better forget about drinking hot tea/coffee .. 🙂

      So from bottom of my heart, wait with getting a puppy if you want to come back from work to wife who’s still sane and a happy baby 🙂

      (I haven’t got any family around to help me with my son, parents are miles away, hubby is working all day till 6pm, it’s surely easier with another hands to help out).

      And maternity leave..well, it’s not a holiday, sadly even tho she won’t be working, there is no spare time 🙁

      Hope that helps,
      Good luck!

      Magda x

      • You can always get a puppy when baby arrives and you get used to your new lifestyle, you’ll then see if puppy is a good idea.. (9months you’re preparing for it and you’re still not ready, it’s a massive shock to the system) it’s easier than sending puppy back or looking as one of the 3 (wife, baby, dog) are suffering or getting depressed because it’s too much to cope.. Nothing will prepare you or explain how hard parenting is, puppy and a baby together is like having twins 🙂

  25. I have 2 black beauties – Harvey is now 12.5 and is a working dog so had boundless energy as a pup and was a real handful – even though I had left work and so at home all day so we got Penny who is now 11,5 from show stock a completely different temperament and really calmed Harvey. Poor Penn is arthritic but Harv still retains his boundless energy so walks are difficult now – I can’t bear to think of the future without them but they give unending loyalty and love and are a joy – I would never have a dog without giving them my time – they are wonderful and know instinctively when I am not well etc

  26. I am without a dog for the first time in my life, but know I am not the right owner for a dog these days. However having had black labs and seen the heartache, please please please only buy a puppy where both the parents and grandparents have a good hip score. Nothing but nothing will prepare you to falling in love and then finding your new love of your life is in pain, perhaps so much pain it has to be put to sleep. Sometimes it can be operated on if it isn’t too bad but sometimes…..

  27. Excellent advice for anyone considering a puppy. We have a 9-year old black lab and the 2 pups, Gia and Lara joined Tang in August. They’re 7 months now and great wee dogs but the first 3-4 weeks were spent using industrial amounts of kitchen roll and disinfectant (add this to ‘costs’).
    You’ve definitely got to have lots of time and be at ease with repetition – all day, every day, doing the same thing over and over and over again. It can be wearing but there’s no doubt it’s worth it. The pups are very sociable, well-behaved and respond well to commands. For me, it’s all about teaching them manners. No-one likes an ill-mannered child, the same goes for ill-mannered dogs.
    The costs of boarding kennels can be huge – last year, we had 2 dogs in kennels for 16 days when we were on holiday and it cost well over £400. Initial vaccinations cost around £100 and a recent visit to the vet for Tang’s conjunctivitis cost £45. It’s not worth claiming insurance for those small costs and initial vaccinations aren’t covered anyway but these all mount up.
    Yes, it’s lots of work. Yes, it’s lots of expense. Yes, there are days one of the pups will go off the rails, driving me crazy. But I wouldn’t be without my 3 beautiful black labradors.

  28. One thing to consider that hasn’t been mentioned so far, labs come in two flavours, show breed and field breed. We had a show yellow lab when I was a kid so I was convinced I knew what to expect but our two year old Lenny is a field lab. He is far more energetic than a show lab but above all has an extremely strong hunting instinct, we live in the country and this is proving tough to manage. He is obedient and very clever but cannot help himself running off after any wild animal, he comes back every time but can disappear for a few minutes.
    Do some research and make sure you know what you are getting, Lenny is not a problem for us as we are able to exercise him a good couple of hours a day but in a town or a family without as much time I could see him being a challenge.

  29. We are getting our new lab puppy in 3 weeks. In reading articles here, I’m learning many of the things I did wrong with previous puppies (mutts not labs but loved just as much). My fiancé and I discussed this in great deal before making the decision to add another member to the family. I voted for jumping in now rather than waiting till our 2 older dogs passed like he wanted. My reasons for this have been reassured by reading this article. We don’t have kids yet and I knew I didn’t want to try to train a puppy in a few years at the same time as having a baby. And I only work part time now which allows for much more time with the new girl. We are very excited and I feel that this site will be extremely helpful in the months to come.

  30. Rusty the FoxRed Labrador is a sheer joy to live with. He is 9months old and lightyears ahead of his age already. He settled in very quickly, barked for 2 nights then that was it, he chewed one leg of our old kitchen chairs and that has been it since we got him. He toilet trained very well and knows all the basic commands of sit, stay, lie down etc. When i place his food down for him he waits patiently until i tell him “go on then”.
    He has recently started to cock his leg which was a surprise as i thought that didnt happen until they were around 2 years old. He is so loving and sleeps from anywhere between 8-9pm at night until 8pm in the morning then comes upto bed with me and sleeps for another hour or so normally. Brilliant. He has been left for 3 hours each morning (after his walk) and then i am back in in the afternoon. The only thing with him is that he loves to go and meet other dogs if we are walking in a big feild off the lead. He sometimes eats the sheep poo but doesnt go near the sheep atal. He loves swimming and always dips his feet in puddles if there is no water deep enough to swim in. He loves food. Cant get enough of it he is a little begger and will look sad with those eyes but you have to he strong. He is in great physical shape and my best friend.

  31. Hi we lost our lab jet last week, vet told us either heart or liver failure very unexpected as he was on medication. I would love another lab but when is the time right for the family.

    • Hi Tina and so sorry for your loss I know how totally heartbreaking it is 🙁 I lost my boy two years ago and have never felt pain like it. I am about to embark on a new journey with a new lab who I met for the first time yesterday just 4 weeks old and fell totally in love! It is the right time for me now and you will know when the time is right for you. Big hugs honey. Karen xxxx

  32. Our Labrador, Storm is just over 5 months old. He is our first dog and yes to an extent a lot has changed. Our daughters love him, we are out so much more with him at times when we might have just stayed at home. We are exploring different places and going on fabulous walks and yes we are running about mad at times shouting “Storm put that down!” as he tries to eat everything but it’s great fun and we still get our Sunday lie ins cos he is fabulous and sleeps at the bottom of the stairs without a sound till we get up no matter what time that is!

  33. If you are considering a lab of any color, spend time with one before the final moment. I have two chocolates that are rescues from someone who had no idea. They are two year old litter mates and are great family members, but I also knew what I was getting as these are three and four for me. Health issues can be a big problem from hip issues, Harley, and kidney failure, Daytona. Both are very expensive to give your family quality of life. Most importantly please consider a rescue organization for that new family member. The one I work with is always looking for fosters and new parents, so many wonderful puppy/dogs need good homes.

  34. New owners are often shocked when their labrador constantly chews things or picks-up things. This can range from childrens toys and shoes, to dirty washing and the contents of a toliet bowl!

    Remember these dogs are bred to retrieve and like nothing better than to use their mouths. You will need to embrace this natural skill and train the dog to work. We train our dog as a gundog and she is never more happy than being outside retrieving, or waiting patiently,or walking off lead to heel waiting for our hand or whistle command.

    In the house we ask her to pick up shoes that our children have left in the garden, or look for hidden toys.

    They are great dogs to own, but as stated above by Pippa they are lifestyle changers….

    On the subject of cost, our lab recently ran over a pile of broken glass, severed a rear toe and incurred thousands of pounds of vets bills…. pls don’t skimp on insurance…vets bills very quickly add up.

  35. Have to agree that insurance is a must. Our last pup was knocked down by a car & the vet bills came in at over £7,500. Our insurance covered £7000 & the vet wrote the rest off but we would never have been able to afford it. Another thing to keep in mind is shedding; our lab Beau is a house dog and at the moment the hoover can’t keep up with the amount of hair she is losing.

  36. The only thing I have learned is that I wish we had gotten labs much sooner. We’ve had two yellow labs in our life and I don’t know if I’ll ever have another kind of dog. The first one we had when the kids were little and she was the happiest, sweetest baby and great with the kids. The second that we got after the kids were gone and he is just as happy and sweet. In our case space is not an issue, even tho we live in a 35 foot RV with the dog and 4 rescue cats (we go thru a TON of clumping litter!) I try to get Clint out morning and evening for throwing his tennis balls and the small dwelling does not seem to cause him cabin fever. I’m thankful that I do not need to work right now, because this job is plenty. I love being able to stay home and take care of these guys. There will always be a soft spot in our hearts for yellow labs……

  37. Ruby is my first dog and now nearly 20 months old. I have learnt so much about owning a dog in the last 18 months and still learning. Of the main points that Pippa lists, ‘cost’ and ‘is a Labrador right for you’ are the areas that have held the most surprises for me. I am fortunate to be able to keep up with the costs but it has certainly been more than I budgeted for. While insurance is a must and will cover serious problems, most visits to the vet ( for coughs and colds – or the dog versions of these ) are below the £70 excess. Usually around the £40 figure. You will have to dip in your pocket/purse for these.

    I also did a lot of research about Labradors but kept telling myself that this breed is the most popular dog in the UK and that must be a good recommendation. Now that I have one I realise how much training they need. They are a big dog and quite strong. Just look at how many are pulling their owners along the street.

    Having said that, now that I have recovered from the shock, I wouldn’t be without her. Thanks to Pippa’s excellent website we are on track with our training and Ruby is developing into a well mannered Labrador.
    You can read more about us at http://www.walkingalabrador.com .

    One last word, don’t be tempted to get a dog for Christmas. Spring is a much better time for that.

  38. When we had our lovely lab we were a family with three people working/school at different times so the toilet training etc was not a problem. However now there is me and him, has meant a lot of planning on my part, ensuring I can get home for toilet and usually a walk, long early morning walks and often a half hour in the large field at the top of the village with a ball and thrower, you are right about the lay ins, Chance does not recognise the extra hour in bed because the clocks went back!!! But I have to say he is so worth it and I have never regretted not trying to find another home when that was one of the chances I had!

  39. Willow is 12 weeks old now and we’re having lots of fun with her. We had a lab before so no big surprises, but I had forgotten what hard work it is. My advice to someone getting a puppy would be – can you make an extra 2 hours in your day? Because that’s what you need to take her out every hour, mop up wees and worse, train her and play with her. What are you going to give up in order to make time for her – it’s too late to think about it after you’ve got her!!

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