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Before taking your puppy home


Basic rules for a good conviviality with your Labrador, provided by Avellanar Retriever


.-Never bother your dog/puppy when he’s sleeping.

.- Never bother him when he’s sleeping.

.- Never bother him when he has a toy.

.- Never bother him when he wants to leave.

.- No sugar / not to excite the dog or make him nervous.

.- Not to force the dog to do anything he doesn’t want to do.

.- Respect his rhythms during the walks, when they want to smell things, when they sleep and so on.

.- Make sure children understand these rules and follow them.



Never submit your dog to physical or psychological punishment whatever the circumstances. Don’t either bit her with your hand or anything else (like a newspaper, for instances). Your dog shall respect you, not fear you! If you bit your dog, you will end up with a dog who is afraid of you.

Do not reward your dog for unwanted behaviour:

Reward good behaviour, IGNORE BAD BEHAVIOUR. Dogs do not differentiate what’s “good” from what’s “bad”. However, it is very easy to train them by rewarding them for any behaviour you think is right. Forget orders and commands. Also, if you are watching TV and your dog is resting and quiet there’s no need to reward her, because her reward is being calm.

DO NOT excite your dog without reason.

Reward him if he’s in the street and has peed, when he stops chewing something valuable to you and lets it go to take his toy. If you don’t pay much attention to him, he will settle for any kind of attention from you, even negative attention (giving out to him or hitting him).

If he’s doing something you don’t like, turn your back to him (calming signal). When he stops, praise/reward him immediately. Do not punish him or isolate him. Remember there shall always be a YES option, something he can chew and play with.



Rewards must be exactly that: prizes. A bit of his ordinary food is not a reward. Some examples of rewards are: bits of bread, cooked chicken, apple, cereal bars without sugar, or any other thing the dog loves. Rewards must be small, of the size of a pea. Greetings, hugs and praise are also good rewards, even though these shall be “learnt” by the dogs (appreciation for expressions of human affection is not instinctive, since these don’t exist among dogs). It is good to reward your dog with food and praise/hug/ etc.

Dogs learn fast, and they fix they’re learnings via repetition and perseverance: always do the same thing, always do it in the same way, and get all your family members to commit to this.

A dog is a dog. Treat and train your dog in the same way you would with a big dog, regardless of his size. They have the same capacity to learn and they indeed deserve to be trained adequately.

Mens sana in corpore sano. Look after his health. Buy him good quality foods. Take him to the vet regularly, even if he doesn’t show signs of illness. Practice prevention. Respect his vaccination schedule. Make sure he exercises, but not physical exercise, the most tiring exercise is mental exercise, so take him to many new places where he can find lots of different smells, scatter dog biscuits around… always respecting his resting times. Get him toys that stimulate his imagination, so that he doesn’t turn your favourite cushions into his favourite toys. And, above all, remember your dog is a living being that has feelings and loves you unconditionally.


The ‘No’, ‘not that’ and ‘never that’ is one of the most important things your dog must learn. It’s not punishment. It’s the way we humans express ourselves. But, how shall you say ‘No’, ‘not that’ and ‘never that’ to your dog?

There are some basic rules for your dog to learn the meaning of the word ‘no, ‘not that’ and ‘never that’. You must find out the ‘No’, ‘not that’ and ‘never that’ that works for your dog. It mustn’t be stronger than the rest of orders or commands. The ‘No’ is for your dog to stop immediately. If your dog ‘doesn’t listen to you’, you need to use visual signals, such as lifting one hand or making some other gesture.

Never use your dog’s name instead of ‘NO’.

‘Wiiiiiinstooooon!!! Noooooo’ will only make your dog associate his name with something negative, or he may even think that his name is ‘No’.

Never bit your dog for him to understand you. <if your dog doesn’t obey you, it’s the time to enlist the help of a professional in dog behaviour, who will evaluate your dog and will advise you, and we (Avellanar) are here for that.

The ‘No’ is worthless if you don’t teach your dog the right thing to do. There always ought to be a YES option.

If your dog is already doing that which you don’t want him to do, it’s better to get him used to other commands different from No. For instance: ‘leave it’, or ‘down’. Dogs are able to learn lots of words and meanings.

Never say No to your dog after he has behaved badly, and more importantly, don’t punish him. It is worthless since he will think he is being told off for what he’s doing or thinking at that moment, which more than likely has nothing to do with what he did a minute ago.





The first step is to get your dog used to the water without forcing her. Generally, Labradors are great and spontaneous swimmers.

Swimming has many advantages over exercising on firm ground. Firstly, the floating effect of water cancels 90% of the body’s weight, which in turn reduces dramatically the pressure on the joints, bones and muscles which bear the body’s weight; there are no impacts. Swimming is the best physical conditioner during the summer for dogs of any age and specially for a young dog (and to control dysplasia during growth). Water temperature enables muscular ventilation by way of convention, as we have explained earlier, and the lower pressure increases blood circulation automatically.

There aren’t practically any risks of injury. The resistance that must be overcome in the water is about 12 or 13 times greater than outside of it, which means that the speed of movement is slowed down. Swimming implies a greater waste of energy than on dry land over the same distance, yet putting less strain on the heart and posing no problems for the elimination of excess temperature from the body.

Swimming is the ideal exercise when temperatures are high, and the only one that can be done with a dog when these are higher than 25 oC for as long as you want. Remember that more dogs have been killed by heat than by any other thing. When it is hot, swimming is a better form of exercise for a dog than running. Besides, if you want to go running with your dog, you need to do it during the coldest hours of the day, while swimming is better left for the hottest.




.-We may thus consider swimming as a wonderful alternative to continuous running and interval work. In the water, the dog must be made play for his exercise to be truly intense. The easiest way to do this is by playing search and rescue with a stick or anything that floats and doesn’t harm his teeth, throwing it far away and getting the dog to bring it back. This is a good form of interval work that we can improve by alternating with runs around the sore.

.- It’s important not to forget the importance of swimming as rehabilitation exercise for injuries of the locomotive system.

.- With swimming, a vasoconstriction takes place in the small arteries which reduces blood flow toward the less active organs, such as the digestive system, the kidneys, inactive muscles, etc., yet increasing blood circulation slightly in the brain. This effect is similar in all types of physical exercise, however in the water there is also a peripheral cooling effect which can result in stomach cramps if an intense digestive process is taking place at the same time. This is why it is advised to eat one hour after exercising.

.-The distribution of effort by the locomotive system changes in the water. On land, 80% of propulsion falls on the rear part of the body, and 20% plus the sock absorption of walking/running are the responsibility of the front part. In the water this distribution of effort is inverted: 80% depends on the front and 20% on the back part of the body. The back legs work as a rudder and facilitate flotation from the waist back in order to maintain horizontality. This is why swimming is such good exercise to increase width.




1.- DO NOT GIVE THEM BONES. Chicken bones mustn’t be fed to the dogs. Avoid cow bones if they can splinter. It’s very important to have into account that BONES DON’T HAVE NUTRITIONAL VALUE AND ARE VERY DANGEROUS.


It has theobromine, which increases the heartbeat rate, stimulates the central nervous system and constricts arteries. Clinical systems go from vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, and excitability, to heart failure, heart attack and death. This may happen as fast as 4 to 6 hours after eating it.


Little alcohol is needed to intoxicate your pet. Animals will get nervous and will attack things, hurting themselves. Alcohol also causes them urinary incontinence. Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system, as well as the respiratory and cardiac systems, and may cause death. The best option is to give water to your pet.


Animals don’t have the enzyme needed to dissolve the sugar of the milk, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.


These are very dangerous for pets. Not only are they high in fats, but they are also very salty, which can cause them stomach ache and pancreatitis.


It has disulfides, which hurt the red cells of their blood and may cause fatal consequences in animals. They may become anemic, weak, and develop respiratory problems.


It contains xanthine, which, like chocolate, stimulates the central nervous system and the cardiac system, and may cause vomiting, hyperactivity, tachycardia and even death in just a few hours.


They are also bad for pets. Firstly, they have high concentrations of fat and may cause stomach ache, vomiting and even pancreatitis. Secondly, the pulp is also toxic and may become stuck in the intestinal tract, which could lead to a severe block that may require surgery.


The Cat’s heart muscle needs of an amino acid called taurine to maintain its strength and normal function. The tuna for human consumption doesn’t have this amino acid, and cats who eat it end up developing heart problems.


may lead to kidney failure in pets.  


Food out of date.

Fatty foods.

Macadamia nuts.

Yeast (yeast dough).


Products that have been sweetened with Xylitol.



Labradors have a natural tendency to becoming overweight, possibly inherited from their Nordic ancestors, who needed a high level of calories to dive in the freezing waters of the Atlantic.

Labradors appetite is legendary. They have a body composition which is poorer in muscles and richer in fat than other dogs. Their natural appetite together with a sedentary tendency exposes them to a greater obesity risk.




.- Toxins from animals such as toads, insects, spiders, caterpillars (the processionary is lethal).

.- citronella candles.

.- Coconut Mulching (used as filling for garden furniture).

.- Compost.

.- Spray against flies.

.- Products for swimming pools.

.- Fly traps with Methomyl.

.- Traps for snails and slugs with Metaldehyde.

.- Antifreeze fluid.

.- Liquid for popurri.

.- Anti frost liquid.

.- Rat and mice traps.



.-Marijuana affects the central nervous system causing vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of coordination, fast heart beats, cramps and even coma.

.- Cycas revoluta (a kind of palm tree): just 2 seeds can cause from diarrhoea to cramps and kidney failure.

.- Lilium can seriously harm the kidneys.

.- Tulips and daffodils may cause from lack of appetite, severe gastrointestinal irritation and failure in the central nervous system, to seizures and cardiac anomalies.

.- Oleander is deathly.

.- Cyclamen produces gastrointestinal irritation.

.- Kalanchoe produces gastrointestinal irritation.

.- Yew affects the central nervous system.





Dysplasia consists of an impaired joint between the hip and the femur. Apart from hereditary factors, the HANDLING of the puppy is very important to prevent this condition:

It is advisable to administer a condo protective to your puppy from the moment he is 3 months old and until he is 12 months old. We recommend COSEQUIN and CONDROVET, to be administered as per the instructions that come with it.

Due to the Labrador’s fast growth, it is better that he grows at a slower speed. In order to achieve this, feeding must be controlled, since they have a tendency to become fat as already said. Regarding the quality of the food, it has been proved that dog meal with high protein, fat and calcium concentrations contribute to this pathology. There is dog meal for fast growing dogs in the market. Please remember that overweight burdens the joints and specially the hips. Calcium is not advisable unless your vet considers it necessary.

The dog may run around and play but shall not do footing nor go on long walks, he shall not be made run beside his owner when cycling, nor go up and down the stairs, nor walk on slippery floors until the hip and joints are well formed, conformed and ossified, which happens around the 15-18 months of age.

Considering that the skeleton of a puppy grows fast and weighs a lot, time must be given for the muscles and tendons to strengthen and be in the right conditions to stand such effort. The best type of exercise for a dog is swimming and also smelling around. We must always let the puppy decide the times for playing.

Thanks for choosing a puppy from Avellanar (Iñaki). If you have any doubt at any stage in the life of your dog, remember we are here to help you raise a happy dog.



The time it takes us to make the change of food is not important since the more gradual it is, the better your dog’s metabolism will adapt. The minimum time this process takes is from 1 week to approximately 1 month maximum.

First we will give the dog a ¾ of the amount of food we usually give him, and ¼ of the new food (it may take 3 days or more); then we will give him half and half (it takes 3 days or more), then ¼ of the amount of dog food we have given him up to now, and ¾ of the new one we’re introducing, and finally only the new food.

Rations must be composed of both dog foods; the quantity of food is not the same one for one type than for another which is why the packet’s instructions must be read and calculations made. For instance: For Luposan, the 370 gr. Daily ration should be spread over two meals, 150 gr in the morning, and 200 gr at night. This means that a ¾ of the morning ration shall be of 112 gr. At night, 150 gr. This is an orientation on how to calculate according to the dog food and the maker’s recommendations about daily consumption.

Written by Avellanar Retriever.