Bringing your Labrador Retriever Puppy Home

So you are bringing Home a new puppy! Congratulations! You will need some basics, a bed, puppy food, food and water bowls and other things!

Here is some information to help you know what to expect for the first few days.

(and nights)

What you will need:


Puppy food. Your puppy has been weaned to Diamond puppy food. I will include a small amount you when your puppy goes home. You can use this until you can get some Diamond puppy (it is carried by Chewy.com, Tractor Supply, and Amazon)

Food and water bowls (non-tip). Your puppy will need bowls for his food and water. Non-Tip bowls are best. Your Labrador puppy will instinctively play in his water bowl, and many puppies like to carry their food bowl around the house. A non-tip bowl like this will help keep things a bit neater.

Bed or Blanket. Your puppy doesn’t need a fancy bed, a soft blanket will be just fine But if you do want a nice bed, keep in mind, your puppy will be chewing for a while, so get a bed that is either very durable or very easily replaced.

Method of confinement (Crate, Baby gate, puppy playpen, or puppy proof room) There will be times when your new puppy simply can’t be underfoot. When company is over, when you are cooking, at night while your family is sleeping etc. This is when you will need your puppy to be contained.

A crate (large or giant size for a Labrador) is a good all-purpose method. It can be your puppy’s bed, a safe place for quiet time, and a safe place for when your puppy must be unsupervised. A crate should be your puppy’s happy place. It can have his favorite blanket and toys. It should never be used as a punishment! Nor should your puppy be confined to a crate all day while you are at work. But for overnight, when the family is sleeping or for short periods during the day, a crate is an excellent choice.

A baby gate can be used to close off a room or a portion of the house to keep your puppy in a safe area that is easily cleanable, and puppy proofed. It should be an area that is around the family, and that the family uses. Your puppy wants to be with you. Not locked away from you.

A puppy playpen will work for a short while with a Labrador, but he will quickly be able to climb out, jump out, or simply push it over. Puppy playpens are great for small dogs, but with Labs they will outgrow them in a few short weeks.

Puppy proofing your house can be a big job, but it is well worth the effort. If you simply can’t puppy proof the whole house, puppy proof a room or two.

Good to Have

These items are not essential, but are useful, and some just things fun!

Toys! Your Labrador puppy will love his toys! He has a natural instinct to fetch, so fetching toys are ideal. Any toy can be thrown for fetch, but a good old-fashioned tennis ball is awesome. Don’t get the tiny tennis balls that are sold as dog toys. Your Lab can easily attempt to swallow them and choke. Go a head and get full sized tennis balls.

Treats! Every dog loves his treats. They are very useful for training and also just to give your baby something special. When you bring your new puppy home, choose one treat and stick with it. Too many changes in diet can cause him to have an upset tummy and diarrhea. He can try new treats when he is a bit older (about 4 months)

Brush. A Labrador has a smooth relatively short coat, so your brush needs to be a basic bristle brush and a shedding brush for shedding time.

Puppy shampoo. When puppy needs a bath, use a shampoo designed for dogs or puppies. Do Not use human shampoo! No matter how great it smells! Don’t use dish soap or shower gel… A puppy or dog shampoo has the correct PH for your puppy’s skin. Other shampoos can cause extreme skin irritation.

What to Expect

Eat Play Poop Sleep Repeat If you bring your new puppy home at 8 weeks, he is still a baby. For the first week (or two) He will Eat his food, play for a little while, pee and poo, and then sleep for an hour or two. This is normal, babies need their sleep. Then he will wake up, and the pattern starts all over again. Eat, Play, Poop, Sleep. Repeat.

Crying the first night

When your puppy first comes home, he will miss his mom and siblings for the first couple of nights. During the day, he will be occupied exploring his new home and playing with his new family. But at night, he will start to settle down and he will miss mom and his littermates. He will cry for them at first. Often, your puppy will settle down after just a few minutes of fussing. Don’t run to your puppy at his first cries, or he will learn that if he cries, he will get people! He has just trained you to come when he calls! But it is a balancing act, try not to let your puppy get panicky or frantic. If he is extremely upset, take him and comfort him by holding him close and petting him. When he is calm, he will probably need to use the restroom, then we can try sleeping again. This may happen for the first couple of nights. Be consistent. He will soon sleep through the night.

Start Potty Training.

Potty training (or housebreaking) can start as soon as puppy comes home. Do Expect some accidents. Remember he is just a baby. But you can start now. As soon as you get home, you can take him to the spot in your yard you would like him to go to the bathroom. Don’t worry it wont take too long until he will pee or poo. When he does, tell him he is the best dog in the world! Lots of love pets and praise. When you see him start to circle and sniff, go right back to the designated potty place. Lots of praise, ignore accidents. Your puppy wants to please you. He will learn quickly.

Other Early Training

You can start your puppy wearing his new collar from the time he goes home. Most Labrador puppies should start with a 10-14-inch adjustable collar. Get a lightweight collar to start. As he gets older and gets used to a collar you can go to a heavier collar and add his dog tags.

You can start leash training in your own yard, but no walks around the neighborhood, no dog park, no puppy classes until your puppy has finished his ENTIRE SERIES OF PUPPY SHOTS at about FOUR MONTHS OLD.

Keep puppy home until finished puppy shots.

NO DOG PARK, NO BEACH, NO PUPPY CLASSES, NO WALKS AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD. It is IMPERATIVE that your puppy not be exposed to other dogs or where other dogs have been until he has finished his puppy series of shots at four months. PARVOVIRUS is endemic in southern California and your puppy is not protected from Parvo until he has completed the puppy shot series. If you do not live in SoCal consult your vet to see what your vet recommends. Parvo is very expensive to treat and is often fatal. Protect your baby. Keep him home for the first 16 weeks. is very expensive to treat and is often fatal. Protect your baby. Keep him home for the first 16 weeks.