A VARI #500 KENNEL: Well worth the $150.00 investment. Check out the prices at the airport ... sometimes they are a little cheaper there and also the classifieds. This will become your puppy's home and get-away whenever he needs his own space. Great for house-training, sleep-overs at Grandma's and for going on holidays.
DOG LIBRARY: The Culture Clash: Jean Donaldson - I love this book. Before you buy anything, make this your first purchase and learn what the dog is all about and how it is trying to communicate to you.
PREVENTION is the key in training!
VEHICLE BARRIERS: These are a great and easy way of confining your Labrador in your SUV, Jeep, Van, Station Wagon, etc. If you have a car you may want to consider seat belts as a way to keep your Labby in one area and not jumping or bouncing all over distracting you.
COLLARS & LEASHES: My Labs only wear a collar (buckle) when we are training or walking! Absolutely NO choker chains or the such on puppies under the age of 8 months ...EVER! The choker chain does as it says and should only be used with an experienced hand and while UNDER STRICT SUPERVISION!
PLUSH TOYS: ( supervision required) Like human babies...puppies also have the desire to try different textures in their mouths. Plush toys are colorful and soft and Labbies love to pack them around ...but sometimes they like to 'pull the stuffing' out.
THE BUSTER CUBE: (moderate supervision) A Terrific Motivational Toy... and it's Labby proof!!
drop in some food, close the cylinder, food will fall out as puppy pushes, rolls, and paws the cube around the yard. Helps to keep your pet occupied, challenged and out of trouble. Not recommended for IN the house.. it's noisy once they get it rolling
DENTAL KONGS / GALIEO BONES / NYLA BONES: (some supervision) Whatever kind you purchase, please be sure it is the right size for your dog's mouth. Too small and they will choke, too big (for a puppy) and they have no desire to chew it! I believe the bigger the better for adults when it comes to chewing and relieving boredom. THINK before you buy it!
THE KONG: (some supervision) This is a pacifier! If it doesn't say KONG on the toy or packaging, then it isn't the original KONG. This toy has been around our home for many, many years. Two of my original KONGS are probably 15 years old and when they become weathered out they are replaced.
Stuff it full of chees-whiz, peanut-butter, cookies, or anyother delectible goody and give it to your puppy/adult of help pacify the time alone, or while you are busy with visitors or on the computer! Make sure you buy the right size for the growth stages of your puppy.
Ask me how it helped to prevent a "near amputation" of my Labby's front leg!
EXERCISE PENS: These 4' x 4' pens make a great yard when you go on holidays with your dog. Rather than tie them up and create 'pent up frustration', set up the ex-pen with their toys, water dish, crate and they'll be 'happy campers', too! These work well if you have to leave puppy/adolescent alone for short periods at a time (place in the basement, garage, kitchen, etc).
TRAINING DUMMIES: (interaction - supervision) Durable, tough plastic..but also soft and pliable for water and dry land retriever training. Do not mistake this as a chew toy as they will chew this into a million pieces and it's the pieces you DON'T see that you may have to worry about!
RAWHIDES: (requires supervision) This is a tough call - just remember whatever kind of rawhide bone you choose, please be sure it is twice as big as the dog's mouth! Rawhide does not digest and what goes down whole has to come out whole...if it doesn't get stuck first!!!!
CHEW ROPES: (supervision) They come in cotton or nylon and various flavors to encourage chewing. I prefer the nylon ones as they tend to act as floss while they chew and pull on them! I found that cotton tended to get stuck between their teeth more often than not!
BEDDING: BEFORE you rush out and buy those fancy beds, plush comforters, duvets or the such ... give puppy a chance to become house-trained and beyond the chewing stage.
In the beginning use blankets from the thrift stores ... much more economical and you'll need a few to start with for 'accidents'. Once puppy has outgrown the need to chew and 'kill' everything in sight...then go ahead and buy those beautiful, plush beds and fancy duvets!
LATEX / RUBBER SQUEAKY TOYS: (interaction - requires supervision) Puppies (and adults) love to mouth, chew, lick and squeeze on these toys .. it's a lot of FUN to them! BUT they also love to find the thing that squeaks and thus, they chew it up!
STAINLESS STEEL DISHES: All you have to remember when buying pretty dishware ...if he 'thinks' can chew it ... he will give it his best shot. Stainless Steel is far easier to keep clean, and at best it will withstand the "test of Labbie time". I still have the 4 original stainless steel dishes that I purchased for $2.59 each, 32 years ago. Ceramic and porcelain are color treated and caution must be taken when they become chipped or cracked. Also, when your Labbie learns to carry the dish, be careful it isn't his own toes he drops it on!
TENNIS BALLS: (inter-action - requires supervision)Tennis balls are very inexpensive toys, and a lot of FUN when interacting with YOU! Do be careful that you don't let your Lab chew it -once your Lab 'pops' the cloth simply toss it in the garbage and replace it with a new one... or you'll be picking up a million pieces of this object too!
A TOY BOX OF THEIR OWN: Your puppy is a retriever and they LOVE to retriever. Help them be neat and orderly by teaching them to 'pick - up' their toys at the end of the day and put them back in their toy box!
FEEDING/WATER STATION: Labs LOVE Water! and they don't care whether it is in the yard or in the house. If they can see it they WILL be in it! I use an elevated feeding/water station - keeps their feet on the floor instead of 'digging' in the water dish ... I merely place a towel underneath to catch the drippings.