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Hi, My 14 week puppy weighs 7.7 kg is she underweight?
With Labradors thats one of the hardest questions to answer!

When Labradors first came into the country around 1830 they arrived for use as working gundogs, wildfowling, working on the foreshore and mud flats around Poole harbour. This required a strong dog, wading through deep mud, also a dog well insulated against the freezing winter water. Some also went to Scotland working on the moorland, a totally different terrain when speed was a requirement. So you can see, even in those early days Labradors were starting to develop in two different ways. Showing did not really start until the late 1800's and this was when looks started to have an impact. There was an unofficial breed standard, printed in "Field" shooting magazine in 1879. Interestingly the Field magazine is still in publication. The Labrador Retriever Club was formed in 1916 and their first job was to construct an official Breed Standard. This first standard set the form of the Labrador in the show ring. But just as show dogs are by and large bred for appearance and conformation to the standard, with little regard to ability, working dogs were bred more with ability uppermost with less attention given to appearance. What this meant was the difference between the two forms of Labrador diverged even more.

There were always people who wanted to keep the breed dual purpose, often mating their chunkier show bred bitch with a lighter more athletic working dog. Usually they would keep the chunkier pup to show and work, selling the lighter racier pups to pet homes. So the show dogs remained heavier, the working dogs lighter and faster, and the pet dogs more variable in appearance.

So much for history, but where does that leave us, (Apart from up a gum tree without a paddle that is.) Looking at the photo of your puppy, the ears and tail shout working lines. She may not be solid working likes, but there is certainly enough in her to give her the slim racy lines. She is never going to be a chunky dog, she has not got the bone for it so if you try you wont make her into a chunky bitch, just fat.

Trouble is, this wide divergence in the breed makes a mockery of the manufacturers feeding instructions. They are writing instructions for feeding a dog with simply no idea what that dog is going to look like. Add to that most manufacturers err on the generous side. (The more you feed the more they sell so the more money is in it for them!) My standard advice on feeding is "Feed to the dog, not to the food bag!" I have never weighed the food I give my dogs just as I guess you dont weigh the food that you eat or give to your husband. You feed by eye, if you feel you are getting a little chubby you cut the food slightly, conversely if you find you are loosing weight you up it slightly. Same with your pup. Use your eyes and your fingers. Feel the rib cage, If the ribs feel sharp edged and can be seen all the time you probably need to up the food a little. If the ribs are difficult to feel then you are probably over feeding and need to cut it a little. If you can feel the ribs, but feeling soft edged and only visible if she happens to move in just the right way, then you are probably about right. Think of it this way, if the ribs feel like feeling them through a bed sheet then she's on the thin side, through a blanket about right, through a duvet too fat. Because she is very young and growing fast you are going to be continually changing the amount, but think of it as feeding a child. It's not difficult when you get use to continually looking and evaluating. Remember, she is a living creature and living creatures have different feeding requirements right through their life, gradually increasing as they grow and get more active, a few years more or less constant, then reducing in old age as they slow down.
 

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My dogs are working dogs. Amy, sadly died a year or so ago at almost 15 was a big bitch, but still her working weight was only 28kg. Chloe is a very small girl and weighs in at 24kg.

Amy was 10 when this photo was taken, Chloe just a few weeks old.

Dog Carnivore Window Dog breed Fawn


Chloe was coming up to 3 years old in this one.

Dog Snow Dog breed Carnivore Fawn
 

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Just remember, dogs dont understand English! So your actions have to show what the sounds you make mean. I know that sounds silly, but we are all guilty of thinking they understand more than they do. It's all about demonstrating what you want then praising when they do it. Really thats all there is in training.

Chris had cleared the drainage ditch so I decided it was a great opportunity to do a bit of training, Chloe was about 18 months at that time.

20180423 1 - YouTube
 

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Smashing! But dont forget, dogs, like humans, have effectively two separate memories. The short term memory and the long term memory. Imagine your short term memory as the memory you put your shopping list in. Once you have finished the shopping the memory is redundant and soon forgotten. Then think of learning to ride a bicycle when a child or driving your car, once learned it stays with you for all time because to you it is important. Now think dog. She learns to walk to heel then gets a treat as a reward. Job done, she can forget that now. What you now need is to move it into the long term memory. I equate that to the old learning by rote at primary school singing out our tables together, "One 2 is 2, 2 2's are 4, 3 2's are 6, 4 2's are 8. . . . . . . . ." (I'm an old man, I dont think they do it like that these days, but it did work!) Dont think for one second that at 14 weeks she learned anything except how to get a treat a treat at that moment. Proofing the training is the long job. Moving it from the short term memory, the shopping list memory, into the long term memory, the bike riding memory.
 

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I dont like raw hide chews. It's possible for dogs to bite lumps off and swallow them. The lump then absorbs moisture in the stomach, swells, then can cause an blockage. It's rare, yes, but it has happened, so I personally never give them to my dogs.
 
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