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Feeding my lab?

asked 2017-08-03 10:58:00 -0500

Two questions actually. I have a 1 year old 80 lb black lab who is used to eating 3 times a day (3 cups a day) My wife and I leave at 7:40 and return at 5:15 or so from work. I come home between 12-2 to feed him a cup and let him out

1) How do I transition my dog to having 1 1/2 cups twice daily without freaking him out?

2) Can I leave my lab at home all day (He's crate trained) and just let him out and feed him when I get home each night?

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answered 2017-08-03 19:09:17 -0500

As far as reducing the amount of times you feed, just go ahead and do it, he might hate it at first but he will get used to it and quite fast.

For your second question, yes you may leave your fur ball at home and crated all day, provided he is very well exercised in the morning and evening. Dogs like the Labrador Retriever need a whole lot of exercise and mental stimulation or they can become very disruptive and destructive from boredom and a lack of physical activity, so if you want your pooch to be happy and healthy, not destroy your home or howl all day in his crate while you go to work, you have to exhaust him. For a lab, good exercise is brisk walk of at least an hour, an hour and a half long or an hour at the dog park if your dog plays and runs around, you can use backpacks (my favorites http://www.ruffwear.com/Products/dog_...) and such to tire him out faster, use toys like flirt poles and such, all kinds of possible ways to tire him out but they must get him exhausted. Then you can leave him to sleep it off. But when he's been a good boy and has stayed in his crate for 8+ hours, he will need the same exhaustion again and you will get a nice evening of relaxation and sleep for the both of you. You can also add brain games and short fun obedience training sessions since tiring the ind will also tire the body.

If you don't see yourself having the time or energy to give him this much activity, I recommend you hire a good dog walker or find a doggy daycare to help you with this, you and your both will only be happier for it. Rover is full of great folks who really love their work and adore dogs so look up the ones in your area with great reviews, lots of repeat business, go to more than one meet and greet if you want and see who you prefer. Plus with Rover, you get daily reports with the walks mapped out on GPS and tons of photos and videos so you know exactly how long and how far the walks were and what your dog wa sup to during the walks or dog park outings.

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answered 2017-08-04 01:28:56 -0500

Great response from Fannie L.!

As an additional suggestion coming primarily from a training perspective ---Regarding the food, you could also gradually reduce the midday amount while gradually increasing the other two amounts. It never hurts to check with your vet on this as well, though; many are willing to give a quick answer over the phone. My one concern, or perhaps not "concern" as "thing to watch," is that the reduction in meal frequencies could potentially slow his metabolism a bit, which could cause weight gain over time--This is something that could more easily happen in correlation to the reduced activity without the midday visit. Even a few pounds on a dog the size of a lab can make a huge difference in health. As pet parents/pet owners, it's something that we often don't notice until it's hit a somewhat significant point, since we see them all the time and those little differences are less likely noticed as they would be from an outsider who hasn't seen your dog in a few weeks or months. As Fannie mentioned, a midday visit from someone could be of great benefit to you, but there are a lot of toys and doggie "gadgets" out there nowadays that can help as well if long-term cost is an issue --or as part of a variety of activities...The puzzles in particular, are a favorite of mine.

Ultimately, unless you're home to play directly, you want to think of toys that will essentially PLAY BACK with your dog in some way. Whether they are figuring out a puzzle and getting a treat (or even using the puzzle for a meal), it's great brain stimulation which is another good part of wearing a dog out over the course of a day. I've seen all sorts of toys and devices and even things people have made on random YouTube videos that are similar to the concept of a tennis court ball shooter but with much less power and used in a safe space such as a hallway. The one I recall seeing somewhere in a video had the dog trained to place the ball in a certain spot. Once it did, the dog knew from his conditioning /practice/developed associations that the ball would then be tossed a certain direction, so he ran back down the hallway to wait for the ball, which, by the dog's placement on a certain spot, was triggered to be tossed (perhaps with a particular timed device built in. It sounds complex saying it here, but it actually may have been a rather simple design! The dog puzzles I use with my own little terrier mix (and a previous one --in our case, they were used to quell severe separation anxiety), I found a couple in the local pet supply stores but really went nuts when I gave in and searched on Amazon.

My typical recommendation is that a mix of activities is ... (more)

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