When I write of a “well-rounded" black Labrador puppy, you may immediately picture a round, roly-poly black puppy. That is not what we normally mean by the term, of course.
Understanding black Labrador puppies begins by grasping the fact that a well-rounded black Labrador puppy is one that has learned to get along with other dogs and with family members (including other pets). It is a puppy that has bonded with his “pack" and fits in well. It has been socialized – but how do you socialize a black Labrador puppy?
Socializing the Black Labrador Puppy
All dogs are social creatures, but few are as social as a black Labrador puppy. A black Labrador puppy loves attention, and wants to get it from everyone and everything. A black Labrador puppy does not want to share, however, and must learn that every member of the “pack" shares. He must learn how to respond to both human and animal members of his new pack.
Understanding black Labrador puppies involves 7 simple steps that help puppies become well-rounded.
1. Puppy Pats
Your black Labrador puppy needs to be patted, touched, and caressed. Most people do this instinctively from the time they get the puppy. Children, especially, touch the puppy in every possible place they can. The more children there are, the more puppy pats your black Labrador puppy will receive. Even if yours is a gun dog, and children are not playing with it, it still needs puppy pats. Let it feel your hand on its ears, its nose, and its paw pads. Get your black Labrador puppy accustomed to being touched and patted. It will help him fit into his new life. While you're at it, teach children how to treat the puppy.
2. Puppy Playtime
It is important that you and your black Labrador puppy have several playtimes each day. If possible, give him at least one in the morning and one in the evening, as this will establish a pattern for future exercise times. Teach your black Labrador puppy that you are his friend. Play fetch. Take a toy away, teaching the importance of sharing. Do not let him take it back in an aggressive manner. Hide a toy and let him hunt it.
3. Puppy Rolling Game
Every black Labrador puppy needs to be involved in frequent bouts of the puppy rolling game. This game shows the puppy that his position in your pack is one of submission. When playing with your black Labrador puppy, roll him on his side now and then. Hold him there as you silently count to 10. When you reach 10, remove your hand and let the puppy get up. If he struggles while you're holding him, do not let go. You must not let your black Labrador puppy overpower you, or he will believe he is the pack's dominant member.
A big part of understanding black Labrador puppies is recognizing that they need a wide circle of acquaintances. When you get your pup, note his age in a notebook. Subtract it from 24 weeks. If your puppy is 8 weeks old, you would subtract 24 - 8 = 16. In those weeks (whatever number you wrote), you need to share your puppy with at least 100 new people. If you wrote 16 weeks, set a goal of having your puppy meet 6-7 new people each week. Keep track so you know it is happening. Simply have strangers hold your black Labrador puppy, and touch it. Hand it back and forth carefully so it does not fall.
A black Labrador puppy can quickly learn to be protective of his food dish. If left to natural instincts, he may become hostile when others come near his bowl. To avoid this, share a meal by sitting or standing close to the bowl when the pup is eating. Have other family members do the same. Teach your black Labrador puppy that his food is safe even when someone is very near.
6. Puppy Home School
From the time you get your black Labrador puppy, teach him every day. He is old enough to learn basic commands such as come; down; drop it; leave it; and sit. Avoid yelling at the puppy or punishing it. There are good Labrador training courses available on the Internet. Order one and use it faithfully.
7. Puppy Support Group
Please understand that a black Labrador puppy needs the constant support of everyone in his home. Life is full of exciting things, as well as frightening things. When a garbage truck comes banging down the street, he will tuck his little tail between his legs and run for cover. What do you do. You – and everyone else present – act as though nothing happened. Your black Labrador puppy will notice that he is the only one running. He will soon decide that, if no one else is afraid, the sound of garbage trucks is not important.
Understanding black Labrador puppies is an ongoing process, but these 7 steps will give you a good start.
©2007, Anna Hart. Anna Hart invites you to read more of her articles about lovable Labrador Retrievers at http://www.lovablelabradors.com Anna has also posted additional information on that site about black Labradors. If you would like more information on black Labrador puppies, pay Anna a visit now.