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I have put a deposit on a puppy (not yet born). It will be a male, with an english lab sire and english/american mix dam. I'm getting ready for pup to arrive, but it's a good idea for me to be on the lookout for equipment asap so I might catch sales.

For an 8-9 week pup, what is the range of chest girth (for a harness)?

Puppy pee pads for night is pretty common here. Has anyone used a cat litter box instead of, or in addition to, pee pads? I use sawdust cat litter and it would be cheaper.

Is a 4' (120cm) leash a good size to start with or is 6' (180cm) better?

What toys are good to keep his brain occupied? I cannot have anything rubber (such as a kong) or squeaky. Is a snuffle mat (flaps hide kibble) a fun thing or a waste of money?

What are safe chew toys for little puppy teeth (my adult dog broke a molar on an antler, ouch).

Is there any must-have item that i may not have thought of?

I have a collar, crate, crate mat, dishes, breeder-recommended food, and training treats. Thanks!
 

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Hello and welcome to the forum, I'd say you've got pretty much what you need so far, I wouldn't bother with a harness a flat collar and lead or slip lead are all I'd use; harnesses can encourage pulling, and there's more evidence now that some harnesses are causing orthopaedic problems in the way the can restrict movement. For the most part pups don't want to leave your side in any case, so you just need to reward this and encourage them to walk with you, and eventually heelwork will develop. I'd go for a 4' lead, for the simple reason when a dog is on lead you want them to be walking at heel with you, having a longer lead and allowing them to range further encourages pulling on lead, so you would be giving mixed messages. The only other thing I'd recommend is a whistle, my pups are whistle trained from day one and I concentrate on just three things, recall, sit/stop whistle and manners on lead. All other training is built on these commands being learned and instilled. I use kong toys, but you've said you can't use anything rubber, in which case you may be better getting some of the filled marrowbones, which you can refill, these will keep a pup occupied and you can mix up some of his food and freeze it in the bones to make it more difficult for him to get through quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply! I do need a harness (long story) but i don't know what size to start with.

If anyone has measurements to share i would really appreciate it!

The whistle is a fantastic idea, i hadn't thought of it!
 

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I’m afraid I’d not advocate the use of a harness. I’d be very surprised if your breeder would recommend one either.

If you really must have one, wait until puppy arrives and measure. No puppies are the same, and your description of the dam/sire doesn’t really help. Most members here are in Europe and we have show and field labs not English and American.

Snuffle mats and licky mats are good but you’ll need to supervise as you would with any toy or activity. Good luck and enjoy. They don’t stay little for long!
 

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If you must use a harness, and I have to say I would NEVER recommend them, don't get one yet. Pups grow so fast at that age meaning that anything brought to fit an 8 week old will be hopelessly too small by the time the pup has had it's inoculations and is able to go out. I get the lightest, softest collar I can find, probably 6 inches long, simply to get the pup use to wearing something, and as a handle to hold a wiggling pup if needed. If you really must use a harness, wait until you are almost ready to take pup out then buy the largest which will still fasten, so there is a little growing room. But even then don't bank on it lasting more that a couple of months before it will be too small. Puppies grow so fast!.

As to puppy pads. I never use them. I see no point in encouraging a pup to go indoors, then later having to convince my pup that she really should go outside I start by training to go out from day one and usually have it sorted well inside 2 weeks. (Both my last two have been clean and dry all night within 4 days.

Best toy I've found for my pups is an old sweater, rolled up and tied in a knot. Soft, gently, can be rolled across the floor without knocking anything over. And free! Safe chew toys, a frozen carrot!

Lead, as others have said, 4 foot. Any longer and it's bulky rolled up in your hand. In my competitive obedience days I used an 8 foot lead with pups for training recalls and stays, but these had a ring so you could shorten them to half their full length. But these are too heavy for a baby. In fact for training a baby in the garden, (I start heel training as soon as pup arrives) I use just a length of string, because it's so much lighter than any lead. Most of my heel training is done in the garden before my pup is old enough to go out.

The vid is my Chloe learning heelwork in the garden as a baby, with my Amy joining in. She has progressed to a slip lead by that time, because that's what she will need when out with me working.

 

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You don't say why you need a harness, but if it's anything to do with not being that strong, or having a bad back or similar, then I can definitely recommend a walking belt with a flat collar and lead. I have a rescue foxhound who has pulled me over a couple of times, I recently invested in a walking belt which has compartments for treats etc, and it's so much easier to walk her. It came with quite a long lead, but you could easily get shorter double ended clip leads for training purposes.

If, for whatever reason, you have to have a harness, as others have said, you need to wait until she's home to measure her up, and also avoid any harnesses that cut across shoulders/chest etc, such as the Julius K9. But you will get the same problem in that a harness will encourage them to pull into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As I said the harness is not optional. This is the model i would get.
Training Dogs Dog Vest Harness | Friendly Dog Collars

He will be a service dog and the reason for the harness is twofold. One, so he is used to wearing a harness before he officially starts in the program. Two, the "training" discourages people from petting him. At least, for my other dog it helped a lot. She was much older when i was training her and the harness i used is probably a poor design.

If this design is bad for him in terms of pressure distribution on his musculoskeletal system i won't attach a lead to it, I'll just treat it as a jacket. I will look into harness design, but does anyone have a reliable link to the issue?

He will have his first shots before i get him. I assume he will need a second round before i take him out.

The walking belt is a fantastic idea! I will definitely get one. I'll look into the double ended leash as well. Part of my disability is a bad back and weak hand. This solves both problems! Thank you so much!
 

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That harness is as good as any. At least it does not restrict the shoulders. Have a look at this article and you will see where we are coming from. Look at the pictures and note the strap around the front, how it fits across the shoulders, and imagine how it pulls the shoulders in. Harnesses like those really do harm the structure particularly with young dogs where the bones are still relatively soft.

As a service dog I guess you have been told what training is allowed. Many years ago, when I ran a dog training club I used to get a number of puppy walkers for the Guide Dogs for the Blind sent to me. With the guide dogs I was allowed to teach just about everything except walking to heel, for the obvious reason that they wanted the dogs to walk slightly forward, in order to guide the blind person. :)

 

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That harness doesn't look particularly restrictive, the other option is a dog vest, so something made of soft fabric that says 'service dog' or similar that is used as the indicator that the dog is in training and the dog understands in the same way as when a harness goes on.

This link explains about how some harnesses do restrict gait, and obviously if you are constantly restricting the gait of a dog then it will cause problems over time: https://www.caninesports.com/uploads/1/5/3/1/15319800/lafuente_effects_of_harnesses.pdf
 

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What I don't understand is when these articles on harnesses keep mentioning competition and working dogs. No competitive Obedience dog, working gundog or trials dog wears them, I've never seen a flyball or show dog wearing them. The only dogs wearing them, apart from pet dogs are working trials dogs, as a tracking harness. Guide dogs of course do, but that's really only to have a firm location for the hand hold. When not working they use an ordinary soft collar and lead. So I really don't know where the "competition and working dogs" comes from?
 

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There's working trials, schutzhund which is similar and of course husky racing, but the harnesses they tend to wear don't restrict movement as they need them to be able to move freely.
 

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Working trials as I said, use tracking harnesses, As to Schutzhund, I steer well clear of that. The thought of hitting a dog to prove it can take it is to me repulsive. Harnesses for Husky's is specifically designed so they can pull, as in pulling a sledge.
 

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Working trials as I said, use tracking harnesses, As to Schutzhund, I steer well clear of that. The thought of hitting a dog to prove it can take it is to me repulsive. Harnesses for Husky's is specifically designed so they can pull, as in pulling a sledge.
I hadn't realised they did that in Schutzhund John, I knew it was a more 'elevated' form of working trials, but yes, I'd not want to put my dog through that, or see it being done.
 

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"At specified points, the helper either attacks the dog or the handler or attempts to escape."

That is certainly not for me. But then, PD in Working trials is not for me, though I know you used to do Working Trials Joanne. My obedience mentor trained one of his GSD's PD with the local police. He was working an Obedience "C" round one day, and by mistake gave his dog the "Man Work" command. He only just managed to drop his dog before it had the judge. Imagine a big GSD taking a person not wearing a sleeve! He said to me, "That's it, I'll never train PD again!" CD, UD and TD are fine, but never PD. Though I would never train any because I hate the scale, it's damaged too many dogs. At least when I send my dogs over fences it's never much more than 4 foot. Though Amy did go over a 2 meter fence into some MOD land, but that was her thinking she knew best, I was intending sending her to the end of the fence and through a gap. ;)
 

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I'd not do working trials now knowing the damage it can cause with the scale. Some breeds cope much better, such as working collies, and the guys I trained with won the double with a purpose bred collie x GSD. They were the first to do so and the only ones so far from what I know.
 

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The one person I really have the greatest respect for was the late Susan Scales, (Manymills) who awards in Working Trials, Field Trials, Obedience and the show ring. I often wonder just what she might have achieved had she specialised in just one discipline. But I bet she would not have had so much fun. I tried in my small way to emulate her, having competed in Obedience, Working Tests, Showing and picking up on shoots. OK, I never achieved the half of what she managed, but I've certainly had fun! This was some of Susan's champions.


Sorry Articstar, I've got a bit sidetracked. Call it old age!
 

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Thank you for that link! And get sidetracked as much as you like, this is fun.

I may or may not have watched crufts agility championships last night. 😁 Cedar will be with me all the time, i need to find something cool for jazzie (lab/border collie) to do.
 

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Dogs find training so much fun because it's something where they are involved. It leads to a dog looking to it's owner for pleasure rather than other people of dogs.

Yes, the dogs love agility. It's only downside is the room and equipment you need for training. But there are a number of Agility clubs around the country.

I started with competitive obedience, but I was young then. These days my legs don't always respond to my brain, so I don't have the accuracy needed. A friend persuaded me to enter RallyO, but that's not for me. She was also into working gundogs and I just happened to say that "Us Obedience people could show you gundog people a thing or two!" and was told to put my money where my mouth was! You know how these women get us poor men into trouble all the time! But the training was something I enjoyed. Gundog obedience is a lot looser, more relaxed than competition obedience, so it suits me in my dotage. My two friends and myself are known by our gamekeeper as "The last of the summer wine." I'm the one on the right with the orange two way radio clipped to my collar.

26282


This was my first Labrador, Mandy, would have been 1973, with the first cup she won for Obedience. She was around 18 months old. The years have marched on since then!

26283
 

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I used to love agility but can’t risk running and falling over (since I had my hips replaced and have no feeling in one foot). I do obedience with my current dogs...fine, they behave beautifully when they know they have to work but run riot on other occasions. Flyball is quite entertaining and I do a bit of that in a class with all breeds and all ages. Tried Trieball with limited success (more suited to herding breeds do your lab/collie cross might enjoy that). Been offered the opportunity to try live sheep herding but not felt brave enough. There’s also a sport similar to agility where the dog runs through a course of hoops.
 
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