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I thought this would be a good thread to share each others experiences and others things. So; if you were do have your first puppy again; what would you do differently this time and what would you not change.. with hindsight and that experience gained.

Now; that I've got that first two months of my first puppyhood under my belt, I've done a lot of things that I've learned from and what's worked wel for me.

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POTTY ---- Initially I thought I was very prepared for potty training before Sonny arrived. However; when the ball started rolling I quickly realised I never considered 'not having a lead + collar' because he wasn't adapted to it... So it was very hard if not impossible to control him outside without a lead in a new exciting environment. So if I were to re-role that I would block off and create a safe area on the grass and carry them into that area. Cueing the command and waiting for potty. Instead of running around the garden chasing leaves.

EXERCISE PEN ---- I found it was a waste of money and space. So wouldn't try that again. (PS: I managed to sell it on).

... Your Turn.
 

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I've only had one puppy and that was 5 and a half years ago now BUT

1) I wouldn't change being with puppy almost 24/7 for it's first year or more. I feel I wouldn't have such an easy to live with Luna now had I been juggling work at the same time AND I got so much pleasure, reward and had so much fun with her!!! I learnt more in that one year than I have doing post-grad studies!!

2) Next time around I would NOT throw the ball repetitively in the garden and on walks during that first year. Had I not, just maybe, just possibly Luna's arthritis and joint problems wouldn't be as advanced as they are now. I've seen dents on the end of her elbow bones on arthroscopy, it was caused when her bones were still soft and forming.
 

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Four lab puppies and they have all been very different.
We were truly lucky with our first labrador girl. She was perfect and put up with our not so perfect handling and taught us all so much. My biggest regret was not starting any formal training with her until she was six months on the advice of a friend who was a police dog handler. It made it harder when we did start. Labradors were not that popular with dog obedience trainers who all seemed to work with border collies may be we should have tried gun dog training instead.
Pup number two was destructive and managed to chew through the wall between the kitchen and utility room. I really wished I'd crate trained her. Training went easier and she was a little star with our trainers and showed she was just as good as the collies. She hated fire works, wished we new about the desensitising tapes to have helped her.
Pup number three was our first male and our most challenging. He is a very gentle soul, very soft and hates all types of formal training. He needs lots of reassurance and quiet careful handling. I regret trying so hard to get him to compete in obedience competition when he so clearly didn't enjoy it. He's a lovely family dog, and very good with my little grandsons.
Pup number four. My biggest regret is letting him chase a ball so much especially when he used to drop the ball down our stairs and race after it slipping all over the wood floors. I regret being daft enough to put him on Hills puppy food and letting him put to much weight on to quickly following the vets feeding recommendation. I blame myself for his Elbow Dysplasia. I regret wasting time in deciding to try gun dog training so just starting now when he's 20 months.
It would have been nice finding LF a few years earlier, I've probably learnt more about Labradors in the past year than in the previous 25. :D
 

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Don't blame yourself Elaine... it is easy to I know. I try to identify things that I'd do differently with a 2nd pup but ultimately I do believe ED is genetics and out of our control... well, getting a pup from elbow tested parents would help the chances, I'd do that next time!... so problems would've come to light at some point whatever we did. Sorry to go OT.
 

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I wish that I hadn't told my two "go for a wee wee" when I wanted them to relieve themselves. It's not only the words it's the tone that I have to use to get them to wee on command. When they were puppies I spoke to them like I was potty training one of my kids.
 

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The only thing I regret is holding fast my objection to getting Judy for two weeks!! My missus ground me down but in the end just said we are taking her in and that's final... How glad am I over five years later?!?!?

Judy was just the most perfect pup and I do think the tips we got from reading Jan Fennells The Dog Whisperer served us in good stead. We crated her in the face of strong opposition from the family and that is something I'd swear by

She never did chase a ball much until about 3 years old. We took her for her 1st ever hydro today and both agreed Lab number 2 won't be a ball fetcher as we feel guilty about her ED as well
 

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tumack said:
I wish that I hadn't told my two "go for a wee wee" when I wanted them to relieve themselves. It's not only the words it's the tone that I have to use to get them to wee on command. When they were puppies I spoke to them like I was potty training one of my kids.
Haha - my husband vetted our cue word and we use "hurry up". Much less embarrassing in public!

As to regrets, I wouldn't have fun with her playing with the sweeping brush - bad mistake!
 
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Gosh, so many things I'd do differently. I got my first pup 24 years ago, so well before all the information on the internet and any positive training methods came along.

If I could go back, I'd NOT have ....

bought a pup when I had a one year old toddler and was pregnant again.

bought home a 5 week old pup.

got the pup from a pet shop.

got a pup of unknown origin (turned out she was a Collie x Terrier with the worst of both traits).

used a rolled up newspaper to stop her doing naughty things (it never did work, and she was the naughtiest, most destructive dog ever).

used a choke chain and a head collar to stop her pulling (they never worked either).




Instead (with hindsight and a darn sight more information to hand) I WOULD have....

waited until my boys were at school/nursery so I had more time for the pup.

researched what breed I wanted and then looked for a responsible breeder.

had a puppy crate.

found a good positive methods trainer or at least a book and used those methods to train her.

been prepared to give the dog a "job" if she needed one.

But, that said, I loved my mad Lottie dog, even though I got everything about as wrong as you could. She was desperately loyal (no one could bribe her away from us with a sausage, like you could most Labs). She was very protective of me and my children (unlike my Labs who only woof when they are scared and then they expect ME to sort out the scary person :lol:). She never ran off more than a few feet from me and I could take her anywhere off lead and know she'd be stuck to my side. And she had the BEST smelling head ever, which is something I still miss. So maybe it was ALL bad after all.

My Sam with his best buddy, Lottie. They went everywhere together and got up to no end of mischief together too, as they were both Hyperactive. She wouldn't let anyone hurt a hair on his head though, or his little brother's, or mine come to that; and I won't deny, I miss that kind of security. Lottie was a dog of two halves...so wrong, yet so right :love2:

 

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The main thing for me is not enjoying my puppy more when he was little. He was such a crocodile and I found it such hard work that I was just wishing for him to grow up and stop biting me and ripping my clothes! I have a lot of pictures, but I do remember it being a bit gloomy back then! Perhaps if I had known it WAS just a phase and I would end up with a lovely well behaved best friend I wouldn't have taken the whole puppy teething phase so personally.

I did pin him to the ground once when we were at the park and he decided to 'attack' me and I had no where to hide. And I still feel a bit sick about it even now months later.

Oh and calling and going to the vet for every runny poo and little thing, and even once when my pup had a runny nose! :lol:
 

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Thank you Loyalblue for this post it has brought back lots of happy memories.

Jues,
I also thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading that. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. This photo was taken 21 years ago of my son with our first family dog. Jake was joined by Sophie shortly after this photo was taken. I had actually picked up two dogs from the pound but Jake and Harry had parvo and Harry sadly died.

I was living in an apartment and only had enough money to pay for one dog's deposit. I used to walk them separately and hope the manager didn't notice. There was so much that I did wrong but looking back now I would do it all again in a heart beat with the exception of the rolled up newspaper. :( I'm ashamed of that.

Every logical and reasonable bone in my body knows it was stupid, I was young, hard up and inexperienced and had a young child. It shouldn't have worked out but it did. I had a steep learning curve though and I have lots of tales to tell. My son helped me bury the dogs when he was a teenager and felt like he had lost a sibling. It felt like they had always been with us. I had such a strong bond with Jake, I still sleep with his collar under my mattress between the box springs. He was an amazing dog and fabulous with my son and later as an elderly dog with my daughter (even though he was blind then) He wasn't good with other people but only if they came in the house uninvited. We moved from the States to South Africa and then home to England and now Jake along with Sophie and Snowey are resting in my garden and it's one of the reasons I don't seem to be able to move from the house I'm in now even though there are many reasons I should.





I apologise that they are upside down I can't seem to rotate them.
 
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with the exception of the rolled up newspaper. :( I'm ashamed of that.
Same here, but we didn't know any better back then and anybody you asked, just said use a rolled up newspaper to smack them with. I must admit I smacked it on my hand far more often than I smacked the dog with it, but I'm still not proud of that, as she was scared of the rolled up newspaper and would cower if I went to pick it up :( . As I said, it obviously didn't work either, as it certainly never stopped her doing all the naughty things she did, but thankfully it also never stopped her from being so deeply loyal and protective of us. She was made of stern stuff and had more gumption than all five of my present day dogs put together.

I still have her collar and tag in a box in my bedroom. I wish I could still smell the sweet smell on the top of her head though, as no other dog has ever smelled like her since.
 

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I would have picked up more on the stares,and put Tara out for a busy busy,instead of wondering what she wanted.Tara took a while to get clean.It was my fault.We had had gundogs before,but not labs,didn't realise just how much they stare at you.
 

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I've been quite lucky in that I've been able to not repeat mistakes already since we have Humphrey too, but:

1) Researched a little more before getting Saffy. She is totally perfect for us, but I could've stacked the odds in my favour a bit better by getting a pup from health tested parents.

2) Made sure my anxiety didn't pass over to Saffy. We had a nightmare over that period and although she's a million times better, she can still get nervous around people. Humphrey is very much the opposite, so we've learned that lesson and made sure Humphrey had a different start.

3) Started training sooner for Saffy. She thrives in that environment and I wish I'd have started sooner for socialisation (with people) purposes.

4) Not got 2 so close together. Don't get me wrong, I love having them both, and wouldn't be without Humphrey now, but it has been a lot of work, twice the walks. Although we didn't mind that at all, now Saffy is in season and we have to keep them seperate, we miss him so much, and that could've been avoided had we waited an extra few months. Two of the same sex would've been fine, but opposite sexes that are entire and you have zero plans to breed from...yeah, it was a bad idea! Wouldn't change either of them for anything though!

5) Not allowed Saffy to enjoy Mr. Dyson so much! As soon as it comes out she is all over the place, play bowing, nibbling the nozzle, getting very excited. Humphrey is scared of Mr. Dyson and just jumps on the sofa and sleeps, which is much easier when I'm trying to Hoover round! So we kind of rectified that mistake second time round too!

6) I would've taught them both to pee and poo on concrete! Sounds like an odd one, but I hate our back yard and feel chlostrophic in there, so we toilet trained by walking them to the grass verge across the road. My hubby sorted out the yard and prettied it up a bit ready for Saffys season and it's been an absolute pain trying to get her to pee or poo out there! It'd be much easier to just pop across the road even though she's in season, but unfortunately it's not a risk I'm willing to take, so we're persevering and are considering buying a roll of turf to roll out in a small area until her season is finished and we can get back to normal! Humphrey will pee anywhere and is fine in the yard, but Saffy is a little madam!

I'm sure there's a few other things, and I'm certain I'll make many more mistakes along the way! I'm just glad the hooligans are so forgiving and to be honest, they really have been easy and relaxed dogs for the most part, compared to my sisters lab pup anyway :)
 
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