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Dustin LindenSmith

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Lab puppies in Bridgewater

We drove down to the gorgeous town of Bridgewater yesterday to meet a local Labrador Retriever breeder and to view her dogs. Her current head dog is a truly stunning yellow male named Crofter. Crofter weighs about 80 pounds and it's all muscle underneath light fur. I thought he stood a couple inches shorter than our black Lab (and Sage's littermate) Riker does. Same weight, though. And it's a fighting weight, with Crofter. He's built like a horse. Or maybe a small lion:

View Crofter's lineage

This breeder's most highly-requested puppy is the chocolate male, and she recommends males over females in any colour for families with young children. We're looking for a yellow or chocolate male as a companion to Riker. (And us!)
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wildgarden March 20th, 2006
Gorgeous dog!

Last winter we aquired an Australian Shepherd pup to replace our beloved Aussie Rio, who had passed a year before. We are so happy with him.

Sometimes, without thinking, I call him by the old dog's name.

vyus March 20th, 2006
i should ask you :) my aussie pup (working stock, high energy with some skiddishness I think) really likes to spaz out and chew/bite everyone and everything in the evenings. normal?

i try to play with him actively (he now chases balls) but i can't do much outside my yard until he's got all his shots.

wildgarden March 20th, 2006
Aussies are a challenging breed to raise just for the reasons you mention. They are high energy, have strong instincts, spaz out at the slightest provocation. Even unto old age. ;-)

They're acutely intelligent though, and really love to learn, especially when it's done in a playful, happy manner. They're way too sensitive to punish harshly.

I'd read on some dog psychology and start a simple training program. Learning to walk on a leash around the yard, to sit and to stay. A few minutes every day. They respond well to gentle, firm discipline.

Yesterday a friend told me the 'Dog Whisperer' series on the National Geographis channel is very good, if you get it.

This is my third Aussie. I love the breed. They are a joy.

vyus March 20th, 2006
i've been watching the dog whisperer -- good show. good to know to be gentle -- sometimes he seems too into whatever elsehas his attention, so much that if this were another breed, i might think i had to be more stern.

he's now collar trained and leash trained (no heel yet!) and i've been using a clicker to get him to sit, stay, fetch, etc.

it's just those spaz episodes at night where he sort of listens but just wants to maw my flesh off that makes me hope nothing's amiss and he's just a puppy. i've learned to wear the cheap clothing at those times ;)

wildgarden March 20th, 2006
How old is he?

My pup is 7 months now, and is at a constant heel.
That's what I want in a companion dog.
I feed him small crumbs through the day to keep his attention on me. I've not used clickers yet. I hear they're very effective.

I was taught never to let a dog bite my person at all, so to to avoid accidents later on. Distracting with tug of war with a rope or old sock seems to be a favorite game. It makes him happy when I let him win.

vyus March 20th, 2006
He mouths my clothes or me, which then can turn into nibbles, and this is why I worry -- he seems to chew just out of anxiety, even when he's otherwise calm. I'm trying to give positive reinforcement so he'll accept stroking & cuddles w/o having him turn it into an opportunity to mouth. When he does try to chew me, I distract him with a chew toy and get him to chew on that, but when he's in spaz mode there's no stopping him without confinement.

He'll be 10 weeks on Thursday. I got hit right after the 8 week mark.

wildgarden March 20th, 2006
He's still very young, but it sounds like he's on the excitable end of the spectrum. My pups all readily learned to inhibit their bite with me.
Just by calmly saying no when they mouthed me.

How's his hearing?

vyus March 20th, 2006
As far as I know, his hearing is fine. I can low-whisper from across the room and he hears me.

It's been some time since I raised a puppy (Sheltie) and I just don't remember having this problem :)

I think there's truth to your theory -- he gets really excited around new people, for example. That'll easily trigger him into "spaz mode." It'll take time, but I'm hoping I can train him into better behavior.

wildgarden March 20th, 2006
Maybe you can anticipate when he's about to spaz, and interrupt it with a word or a touch. To bring his attention back to you.

It'll probably get better when he can get out of the yard, and play with other dogs, too.

vyus March 20th, 2006
i'm curious... do labs spaz out as puppies, too? i keep wondering if this is specific to active breeds or what :)

my puppy is currently moving his bed around my room. he seems to enjoy it, so eh.

iamom March 20th, 2006
Labs don't tend to have those characteristics unless they're field dogs, or working dogs. For example, Sage was the kind of dog that could lay in one position for hours at a stretch, in languourous pleasure.

My understanding with shepherds and other active breeds is that they require lots of mental stimulation and exercise simultaneously in order to thrive (and/or not freak out on the guests, maybe?). If you have such an activity as Doggie Flyball or Canine Agility Classes in your area, you might also find that useful. Those kind of dog clubs (which are, incidentally, the precursors to shows like "Superdogs" and the like) might be an ideal way for your new dog to get stimulated and also to get tuckered out.

Maybe you could also teach the animal orienteering. Send him into the mountains for a day trek, come home tired at the end of the day.

Heh -- but seriously, I'm no expert. Be good to hear what wildgarden has to say about the breed in particular.

vyus March 20th, 2006
i unforunately have to wait until he gets all his shots before fully embarking on those very good suggestions. i'm teaching him how to take frisbees (actually soft flying discs or whatever they're called) and balls. i'm hoping the joy he seems to get from being a hellion will transfer over to enthusiasm for agility and athletic exercises eventually!

starskin March 20th, 2006
Chocolate Labs are the best! Not that I'm biased or anything.....

Did you know my dad traded a gun for our dog? The other guy totally got the short end of the stick. We got a pure-bred lab with an amazing personality and he got....a gun.

wildgarden March 21st, 2006

found a pic of my puppy's sire. Kipp looks a lot like him.

8pawsup March 27th, 2006
I have two chocolate female English Labrador Retrievers (stockier build) and they get along perfectly fine with children. Although I can see how how some females can get aggressive but overall, if you train the pup correctly from the beginning, any color and gender will work. :)

Look forward to seeing pictures of the new pup.


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