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hi there to everyone
my girlfriend and I really want a labrador but I just wanted to get a few opinions on whether we should get one or not. I feel we can really offer a dog a good life taking it out for long walks both during the week and at weekends.
The problem is at times maybe twice a week we are both on shift and the dog will be left at home for 8 hours max. We plan on enclosing the garden and having a bed for it in the outhouse. Maybe letting it have the kitchen and dining room.
We also plan on having children next year and we feel a labrador would be great for a family. If anyone out there could give us there opinion or advice we would be most grateful.
 

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Hi *****

Welcome to Lab Forums.

My partner and I both work but we are able to get home during the day. I think 8 hours straight may be too long, particularly to leave a very young puppy who will need frequent toilet breaks! We were lucky in that we were able to take 2 consecutive weeks off with Smudge when we first got him (he was 7 weeks old) and were able to settle him in during that time. Never underestimate the wrench you feel when leaving them for the first time - I cried all the way to work the first morning and now all I can think about is trying to work from home so we don't have to leave him at all!

Do you have any family or good neighbours nearby who may be able to help when you have to work? Dog walkers/sitters are becoming increasingly popular too and you may find one in your area. They often advertise on local websites or in local publications.

I can fully understand your desire to get a lab but please think it through carefully (I'm sure you have done already) and see if there is any way you can shorten the time he/she will be left alone. It's not just about them having ample area to play/toilet but also the fact that they need company and will positively thrive on it.

As regards starting a family, I do not have any children, but can imagine that having a puppy certainly is good practice! You get the sleepless nights and have to watch them constantly! I wouldn't personally have a puppy and a baby together as I'm sure I would be knackered but I'm sure when your lab is a little older, it would make an ideal family dog.

Take care and keep us posted on your progress.

All the best,
Nicola.
 

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Hi
Welcome to the Forum. I really think that you should think long and hard re having a young puppy. Even to leave a puppy just two days a week for 8 hours is really too long. You need to be at home most of the day every day to be able to toilet train and also feed a young puppy, mostly 4 times a day.
I realise that there are many on this Forum that work long hours, and the dogs seem to be Ok. All I can say if I was breeding, I would not sell a puppy to someone that works full time, it just is not fair to the puppy, they cannot talk and tell you what they need, and it is certainly not to be left for long hours. Sorry to say this but Labradors are people's dogs and need company, as I really think most breeds are.
 

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In addition to what's already been said, I would also be very concerned about him/her being left in the garden. There is an increasing number of cases of dogs being stolen from gardens. There are ways around it, but it does need a huge amount of committment and help from either family, friends or professional dog sitters/walkers, and that expense needs to be taken into account. In addition, the majority of your spare time will be taken up training, playing and one old enough (you won't be able to go for long walks for at least a year) plenty of exercise.
Ultimately, I have to agree with Megaloo. If I had a litter of pups, I too would not sell to anyone who works full time. Even in rescue we will not rehome to anyone who will be leaving a dog more than four hours.
 

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Hi,

I have a 7 month old lab and children, as labs stay immature for up to 2 yrs, you will have to consider that when you have a baby in the house you will also have a toddler in the form of a labrador aswell :? . My children are 8 and 10yrs old so they play and help keep Ben amused. Believe me you are constantly watching them to see what they are up to (or destroying) so please think long and hard before you get one. Also i'm lucky enough to be at home all day, but i think that 8hrs is far to long to leave a dog an by its self :( (sorry, i Know some of you do).

Cristina
 

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Have you thought about an older dog? There are plenty of those in rescue, some of whom are there through no fault of their own - home break-up, or owner got bored and wanted new puppy :( , etc. An older dog may be happier to lie around during the day (still worth getting a neighbour to come in though). I'm not sure if the Guide Dogs Association will rehome to full-time workers (you sound like your hours are not as simple as that) but it might be worth asking them about rehoming a retired guide dog. You can't get a much steadier or more reliable companion than that, especially if you are thinking of having children.

I'm sure some people have done it, but I'd never have a puppy and a baby together - a puppy is an awful lot of work and training to a good standard, including through the adolescent stage, takes time and intense effort. If you don't have the time it can turn into a nightmare. Just imagine trying to go for walks with a pushchair in one hand and a strong young lab in the other, pulling like a train and bouncing around at the end of the lead... :shock:
 

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Hi, I have a lab puppy and work full time. I know some people may not approve but when I decided to get him I also made the commitment to have a puppy sitter come in every day when I'm at work, even if it's not for the full 8 hours, so that I wasn't leaving Angus for too long. He's been with me for almost 2 months now & so far it's worked out really well. His puppy sitter is excellent & absolutely loves him - she comes round a minimum twice a day to walk him, feed him & play, etc. I would love to be at home with him every day but didn't see that being possible for another 30 years! The only drawback is I don't get to walk him during the week - he's too young for too much exercise & so only has one walk a day (with the puppy sitter) - I have to wait till the weekend. That will change soon though & am sure there'll come a time when I wish I didn't have to go out into the cold first thing every day!

Good luck whatever you decide
 

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I agree with everything thats been said but im not sure if it's the same in all areas maybe someone else will know but we have a friend who puppy walks for the guide dogs and he has just given back a dog a few weeks ago,he has been doing this for many years and had always said that he thought barney(who is exactly the same age as dylan and both played to-gether from day 1)was not good enough, too timid anyway i had said that if he did'nt make the grade i would have him,but after talking to his co-ordinator i was told that they have a huge waiting list for failed guide dogs,there is one that lives around the corner and cal failed as he could not go into a fish shop,so would not have a hope of getting him but have been considering talking to them again,and it also concerns me when you talk about a baby,there are 2 choccie labs a couple of doors down and they in my mind have never been excercised enough,they are about 3 but since the baby arrived they are are lucky if they get 10 mins am and 10 mins pm and are at home alone all day as both work full time labs and babies are both hard work and if you are new to the situation you will find it very hard, but good luck anyway.Lynne.
 

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Hi Lynne, yes you're right there is a waiting list for failed guide dogs (we now have one, and are puppywalking as well!) but fewer people want the retired ones :( so the waiting list for those is not so long.
 

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Can't argue with any info that's been posted.
When we brought Shadow home ( birthday boy today :D ), I had arranged to have two weeks off, then liz was having the next two weeks off, and coupled with bank holidays we were at home with him for nearly five weeks. However, having owned a lab previously but not brought one up from a puppy, Liz came home during the second week to find me almost in tears from the constant supervision etc. No sooner had i taken him out for a walk in the back he promptly peed on the carpet "Its too much - i cant cope" i told Liz!!! Fortunately she calmed me down and told me it would all be worth it. And she was right - today we have a handsome 7 year old who adores us (most of the time!) and we adore him (all the time), and couldn't contemplate not having another one in time.
In short - very, very hard work, but they pay you back with nothing but constant companionship and love - def wothwhile.
Good Luck,

Cheers,

Paul & Shadow
 

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One other aspect to consider is this .. if you get a pup then he will become your baby, will fill your world and you will love and give him all the attention he needs and deserves. Then your human baby arrives. Where does that leave your dog?

With the best will in the world, no matter how hard you try or how sincere you are in your desire to treat the dog the same after the baby arrives it just wont happen. Your baby will take all your time and attention. Suddenly he is no longer number one in your lives and, believe me, he will feel it

That is apart from the practical hygiene and safety problems connected with having a dog and very young children sharing the same space

I have had dogs all my life .. just after the birth of my first child my old dog passed away, I choose not to get another untill all my children were much older. Hard though it was, I would make the same decision again

Nigel
 

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We also longed for a lab puppy but it's hard work!!

Hi,

Have to agree with the comments made here, but I equally don't want to put you off, maybe you should look at getting an older dog and get a dog walker?

We have now had our 11 week old lab for 4 weeks and all I can say is that, we too, longed for a labrador pup for a companion, and adding another family member. We also thought of those lovely long walks together!!
We were all so excited that we couldn't sleep with all those wonderful dreams!!!

Although we love him dearly, the reality is.....it's harder work than I expected!!

Initially, he woke throughtout the night, crying like a baby. It took a week or so to settle (think of this when you have to be up for work!). House training is hard work too!

He now wakes at 6am every morning ( including weekends...... gone are those lazy Sat/ Sun mornings!!) You can't leave him as he needs to go out. He then wants loads and loads of attention as he's missed you!
He's into everything in the house, you can't leave anything down for a moment (he's amazing though and he regularly make us laugh!)

We were wrong regarding exercising a lab puppy as it is now recommended not too much exercise for the first year, as they can have a problem with their hip joints in later life, so initially gentle walks only - (think I'm correct in saying that?) That came as shock! :(

I have been fortunate to have been off work for 4 weeks with Paddy but will have to go back shortly. I work 6 hrs, 3 days a week, but my husband is able to pop back at lunch to feed him and let him out. I return 2 hrs later.

I have 3 children ( 10, 13, 15), I can honestly say, I am really glad we waited as I don't think a pup/ dog would have had much of my attention, as one deserves......... believe it or not, babies do become your main focus. (though to be fair, I haven't had this experience, so I may be wrong).

We have decided to crate our puppy whilst we go out for short periods. I'm pleased to say, at present, it's being very successful. Labradors and especially bored ones, are known to be very destructable. My cousin's lab ate through, a wall, kitchen cupboards, sofa's, carpet etc. She now wishes she'd crated her from being a puppy whilst she was out..

Hope this hasn't put you off too much. I adore our puppy, but I am fortunate to have older children to occupy him when we want a break,

( as I write, he's tearing up my unread newapaper, he's just pinched off the table...appears to be having a wonderful time though!!!!!)

Think you're very sensible taking this approach and good luck with your decision.

Let us all know!

Kathy
 

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I too have to agree with all the posts. Not to put you off because the experience in owning a lab is such a worthwhile one. They do become a priority and things like training, behaviour problems etc take time. Puppies left for long periods become highly uncontrollable and extremely destructive. All too often you hear of people giving up their young labs because they were now had children and can't cope with babies and pups.

When I was given my two nearly 3 yrs ago I had no idea how difficult it would be to look after them. I didn't have this kind of support or knowledge and mine were left in a room uncrated when I was out. Fortunately they were not always left for long periods alone but there were times. The destruction was shocking...we went through mattresses, chairs, carpets, remote controls, playstations, wood stairs and the carpet and underlay on them. Clothes shoes you name it! When I thought it would have been cleverer to leave them outside they chewd the entire garden up, the plants, wooden benches, window frames, the toys and the fence and then........ my neighbours entire tomatoe patch!

Eventually I educated myself a lot more and they had supervision and training. Now although I work full time my husband and flat mates do not. My dogs are rarely left for more than 4 hours but do occassionally have to manage the day without anyone. However even with two of them they still get bored and although they are well trained they still are destructive when bored. They are afterall people dogs and thrive on attention, I do think they also are far to clever for their own good!

I now have a dog sitter who takes them occassionally (as it can get pricey) when I know they will be left alone too long and she collects them in the am and takes them swimming and playing with other dogs and returns them late afternoon.

Point is it has taken me nearly 3 years to get to where they are calm and able to be left safely unattended for longer periods. I just about managed two dogs but as tough as what I am and as effecient as I think I am I wouldn't dare take on kids and puppies at the same time. My dogs are older now and I still don't think I have enough time for babies because of them...so I am waiting until I can work from home or at least afford to become a full time mum....even though I already feel like one....to two dogs.
 
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