Frequently Asked Questions:       (in progress)

These are some of the most frequently asked questions by our buyers and potential buyers. Hope it helps ease your minds about bringing home an O'Dell Lab puppy, and lets you know that we are here for you throughout the life of your new companion. We are the ones who held your new baby first, ours were the first human voices they heard, the ones who saw their first steps, heard their first bark, and in some cases breathed the first air into their lungs. We take this seriously. We love these babies, and when you bring home an O'Dell Lab you are a part of our extended family. 

1. What shots has my puppy had?

     Your puppy has had 2 puppy shots, covering 5 different puppy illnesses: parvo-virus, distemper, parainfluenza, adenovirus 1 & 2 at ages 5 and 8 weeks. Your puppy will need another one at age 11 weeks, and most vets recommend a 4th dose at 14 weeks. After that, an annual dose for these is recommended. Depending on where you live and how much time outside your puppy has, your vet may also recommend other vaccines. If you are planning to attend a training class or have your puppy boarded, you will need to add the kennel cough vaccine. Rabies vaccine needs to be done at age 12 weeks or later. 

2. Why microchip and how does it work?

     A microchip is a small permanent identification chip, about the size of a grain of rice, inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. The unique number helps identify your puppy for life, and is read by a universal chip reader when scanned. The chip will be sent into the AKC Reunite program in your name after you take your puppy home. If your puppy ever becomes lost, the chip can help get your puppy home safely. I have been contacted before as the original owner of the chip and helped get dogs reunited with their owners after being turned in to a vet's office. If you move or get a new contact number, you'll need to let the AKC Reunite program know! The chip can migrate down from the original spot, but is usually easy to find, even in our older dogs, it hasn't moved much. 

3. Will my puppy be registered?

     Yes! All our dogs are registered with the American Kennel Club, the oldest and most reputable dog registry in the U.S. Your puppy's AKC registration will be sent in for you, with your name on the registration certificate and the name for the puppy that you choose. This will be a limited registration, meaning that you have access to all AKC events and benefits, except confirmation shows and breeding rights. If this is something you decide you want to participate in, full registration will be available for an additional $500, after you have had OFA hip and elbow x-rays performed and evaluation copies sent to us. 

4. When should I have my puppy spayed or neutered?

     This is not a simple answer. The latest medical research suggests several reasons to wait until males are at least one year old to neuter. Here is a link for the medical research: http://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/spay--neuter-effects.html

To summarize, males can have a dramatically increased chance of orthopedic issues if they are neutered between 6-12 months, but not if you wait until after they turn a year old. Of course, I defer to the veterinarians here, but my vet has repeatedly suggested waiting until after age 1 to neuter. 

5. What kinds of toys and treats should I purchase?

    The short answer is ones that are hard to tear up, and lots of different kinds! Toys that we suggest are rope toys, Kong-brand toys, toys that squeak, toys that promote thinking and learning. Realize that stuffed animal-type toys will likely get "gutted" at some point, as well as soft beds if you put one in the puppy's crate. A towel or blanket is plenty for the crate for sleeping, and can easily be washed. A soft bed is nice for the room that you will spend the most time with your puppy, and can be supervised. We do not recommend rawhide. We also do not recommend toys in the crate unsupervised. This can be a choking or obstruction hazard. For treats, a variety is also recommended, and for training purposes. Soft treats that can be broken up into small pieces are good for training. You will have to figure out which treats your puppy prefers and responds to the best. I use bits of string cheese and dehydrated liver pieces when we are involved in a training class. For the most part, though, keep treats to a minimum and never from the table or your (or your child's) plate!  This will cause obesity and behavior problems! 

AKC has published a list of safe human foods for dogs and foods that are definitely unsafe. Here's the link: http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/human-foods-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/   But again, beware of weight problems and behavior issues associated with feeding people food to puppies. If you have children, it's just easier to make the rule, People food for people; puppy food for puppies. Another thing on the list from AKC that they say is okay, but I prefer not to feed is corn. I do not like it as an additive in dog food, and this is one reason we feed the brand of food we do.

Another human food that can be added for digestive issues is plain cooked pumpkin, but only 1-2 teaspoons per feeding for puppies. 

6. What kind of food do you use and recommend, and how much do I feed my puppy?

     We feed Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula. It is very important to keep your puppy on this food when you get your puppy home. There are other great puppy foods out there, but please get at least one bag of this to start with. Then if you want to change to another high quality large breed puppy food, you can introduce the new food slowly (over a period of at least 2 weeks), gradually adding it in and decreasing the original food a little at a time. Going to a new home is stressful to your puppy's digestive and immune system. Changing food is just one way to increase stress, and the likelihood of digestive issues. Check online at www.diamondpet.com/where-to-buy for a store near you that carries it, or you may even find a better price by ordering online. Large breed formula is important to the health of your growing puppy's bones, muscles, and joints. 

     We feed twice a day, about 12 hours apart. Start out with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of puppy food per feeding. I expect them to clean it up in about 10 minutes. If he or she doesn't clean it up in this amount of time, pick up the bowl and make the puppy wait until the next meal time. That way he or she learns to eat when it's time. When he or she cleans in up in a few seconds and looks for more, it may be time to add 1/4 cup more food. But remember, underweight is better than overweight! It is so easy to overfeed a puppy, and then you are asking for joint issues. Hip dysplasia and other joint and tendon issues are just as much environmental, if not more, than genetic factors. Overweight conditions and over-exercise are common, and serious, health concerns with Labradors.

7. When should I switch to adult dog food?

     This depends on your puppy's physical conditioning and exercise level, but I usually switch to Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult formula at around age 6 months. If you have kept your puppy trim, they can stay on puppy formula for 12-18 months, but most of the time it's fine to switch at 6 months. We chose this food partly because it is corn, soy, and wheat-free. These are not grains that need to be overused, and or as additives to make a food cheaper to produce. 

8. How big will my puppy get?

     According to the breed standard: "The height at the withers for a dog is 221⁄2 to 241⁄2 inches; for a bitch is 211⁄2 to 231⁄2 inches. Any variance greater than 1⁄2 inch above or below these heights is a disqualification. Approximate weight of [males] and [females] in working condition: [males] 65 to 80 pounds; [females] 55 to 70 pounds. The minimum height ranges set forth in the paragraph above shall not apply to [males] or [females] under twelve months of age."  Source: http://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/LabradorRetriever.pdf?_ga=1.205624723.1055576728.1450351361

     We do not strive to produce dogs bigger than the standard set by the AKC (or LRC-Labrador Retriever Club, the parent club of the Labrador), even though this is a popular practice, and sometimes we have produced individuals that are above, or below, the breed standard. 

9. What does the price of my puppy include?

    The price of your puppy includes the puppy itself, AKC limited registration sent in to the AKC by us, the microchip inserted and registration of the chip sent in, a detailed shot record--including the labels from the vaccines given, several dewormings, dew claw removal, 2 year hip guarantee, lifetime guarantee against all the genetic diseases we test for (listed on the current puppy page and under each adult dog description), and sales tax for MO sales. We are not the cheapest in the area, but strive to keep our cost competitive and professional. After more than 19 years of breeding top quality Labs, we are still learning but feel confident in our knowledge of how to ensure a long and happy life for your puppy. Copies of the health-testing done on parents are also available, and pedigrees of all parents are available at www.huntinglabpedigree.com.

Another note about price: you certainly can find registered Labrador Retrievers for much, much less than an O'Dell Lab puppy, but how much will you know about the parents' background? What is their guarantee? What health testing has been done on the parents? Feel free to shop around, or even adopt from a shelter. It's your choice, just as it is our choice to raise genetically sound, as well as beautiful puppies who are athletic, loyal, and smart and provide lifetime support to our new puppy families. 

10. Could I pay less and get the puppy without papers?

The health and quality of your puppy does not change whether the puppy is registered with AKC or not. Our policy is to register every puppy with AKC, to maintain our integrity with AKC and keep accurate records. So, all our puppies are the same price regardless of whether the new owner is interested in having a registered dog or not.