Our beloved Casey

Bombino_Rita-450x450Hello Tripp,

I wanted to thank you for allowing my family to have the sweetest most lovable pup for thirteen years.

Casey was born on May, 6 2002 and came into our lives late June. He was the absolute best dog anyone could ask for.
He was a big mush but had the greatest personality. He gave us so much joy and
love. Casey fought such a hard fight to stay with us as long as he did.

Casey had collapsed and was not able to walk the other night, when
we went to the vet in the morning, they found he had broken his femur and it was
due to him having bone cancer.

The dr. told us that the only thing we could do
for him was to let him go. We said good bye to our sweet boy Saturday morning.
I take comfort in the fact that he is not suffering any more. He was strong
until the very end.

He was the most amazing dog, anyone that met him loved him.
Even people that are not dog lovers or were afraid of dogs, loved Casey.

Thank you again for our sweet boy.

With gratitude,
Rita Bombino


Beemer 2002-2014


I wanted you to know that after 12.5 great years, Beemer ran out of heart beats last month. I have included a pictures of Beemer’s first day with us and his last day. (Trip and Tripper delivered Beemer to us in MN back in 2002.) He was absolutely the perfect dog for us. His temperament far exceeded what we had ever hoped for, especially when a baby came along in 2004. He was loyal, gentle, caring and funny. He loved to chase bunnies, turkeys and deer. (I think his record was 1 out of 1,000, but he never quit!) On his last day, he had not eaten for several days, so Amy brought home a cheeseburger for him and he ate it in three bites…………….and then spit out the pickle. 🙂 He was not short on personality and as a result became not only a pet, but also part of our family.

Many thanks to you for breeding such high quality dogs and nutrition for the dogs so they can have a high quality life. We loved him more than we thought we could and we miss him deeply.


Lance McDonald


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

sergio-150Hi Tripper,

Long time no talk … Zucca is now 3 years old, developed fully into a huge 93 lbs. ealthy and lean female She has been living with me in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the past 2 years and she does get to swim all the time I got married again and they love each other She became everything you preached She is a great buddy, sticks to me all the time and loves to be around usShe swims, runs some and then sleeps the whole day In the next couple of years I intend to visit you and get another companion for her.

Best, Sergio Vilhena

San Diego, CA

Dear Tripper,chloe-and-boys-150

This year my husband and I resolved to add a new member to the household…the family dog.  We have two active boys ages four and six and felt they were missing out on their boyhood and childhood by being dogless.  Thus began the search for the perfect family dog, which for us was a yellow Labrador.  Being an active member of the postmodern world, we began utilizing search engines in the quest to find the perfect dog.  Much to our delight was a site called Labpups.com with the winning slogan “home of the non-hyper family lab”! Myriad visits on the web site and several phone calls later we were sold on our newest little member of the family…Chloe.  We sent her to school first and anxiously awaited her arrival date to our home in San Diego.  What a delight it was to finally meet her! She is as sweet as pie and everyone we meet can’t help but comment on how well behaved and beautiful she is.  Chloe has brought much joy to our home and she has also brought us closer together as a family. The boys are outside playing more than ever and we as a family enjoy taking “adventure” walks with her.  Thank you LABPUPS for giving us such a wonderful dog!

Love, Russ, Diane, Joshua and Caleb

San Francisco, CA – Martinez family

Dear Tripp, martinez_small

We can’t tell you how thrilled we are with the new addition to our family. The kids were really surprised to see a puppy under the Christmas tree. Root Beer was born on October 30th and is already 3 1/2 months. He just keeps on growing. People are surprised to know we found our puppy on the intranet. We will definitely refer them to you. Thanks for your support and guidance.

The Martinez Family  

Lake Wyle, SC – McGarity Family

McGarity-M-chocolate-male-labWelcome to the family Jed!
16 months ago we welcomed a new member into the McGarity clan. He was the brown furry kind of member. Jed wiggled his way into our hearts long before we ever met him. In 2012 our family was the “spotlight” family during the FIGHT NIGHT FOR KIDS fundraiser. Our daughter Libby Claire was loving the spotlight that night. At the end of an amazing evening we met Tripper Wood. He was so friendly & kind. Tripper explained he was a second generation Labrador breeder & would like to offer our family a Lab puppy. He went on to tell us his labs are bred for temperament. They are non-hyper dogs. Well…being a family with 5 kids and 2 old dogs already we really didn’t jump at the chance for another mouth to feed. But we did agree to come out to the Wood farm and check out the labs. A few weeks later we all loaded up and headed to meet tripper at his farm. well, of course…we held puppies…met adult labs…and fell in love with labs. within a few months tripper called to let us know a mama had a litter and we needed to come pick out jed. the newest McGarity. We have had an excellent experience with Jed. Tripper, his wife Jody & his father Tripp have been within a phone call or drive away if we needed anything or had any questions. I was a little nervous adding a puppy to our mix but honestly with the training tips Tripper gave us the “puppy stage” was not bad at all.
Jed is a fantastic dog. He is great with our kids!
McGarity family


Labrador Retriever related questions answered

  1. My puppy is biting too hard. Is this normal? How do I stop it?
  2. What is a microchip? How does it work?
  3. Is crate training a good idea?
  4. What is the best way to housebreak my puppy?
  5. Is it acceptable to leave my Lab crated while I go to work?
  6. Will my dog come with AKC papers?
  7. Fearful dog advice

1. My puppy is biting too hard. Is this normal? How do I stop it?



Tripp and Chip demonstrate how to perform this procedure.

Often a puppy will chew too hard on fingers and toes, or any other exposed body parts. Don’t worry. This is completely normal. (It is often mistaken for aggressive behavior).

When a puppy is in the pack, he will chew on his litter mates. This is a form of play. His mouth is like our hands. Puppies do not experience the same pain we feel. They have fewer nerve endings in their skin. To chew on your hands is a sign of endearment.

Stopping this habit is extremely easy – as long as you follow these directions exactly. I have tried many tactics, but none even came close to working as well as this. It will work for the children, too, even if you are the only one giving the lesson. This will take place in about five minutes on one particular day. You will probably never need to do it again.

You are going to play the game with him. Do not scold or punish him. Just play the game. Here’s how:

While he is biting your hands, use your thumb and index finger to force his upper lips up against the sharp canines. (The area between your thumb and finger will rest on his nose). Give a squeeze just hard enough to make him yelp. Once you let go, he will probably charge you for more. Give it to him. This time, squeeze just a little harder, and hold the pressure for about three seconds of yelping. He will either give you a disgusted look and disappear behind the sofa, or charge you again. He may appear madder than heck, and growl as he’s charging. This should not be taken as aggression. Remember, this whole thing is a game to him. Each time he returns for more, let him have it again. Extend the hold time for two seconds every round. Do this for as many times as he returns and bites too hard. (If the biting becomes gentle mouthing, there is no need to continue). Do not quit in the middle of the game. Keep playing until he learns he can’t win. Otherwise, he wins by default, and you’ve created a monster. Eventually, he will go off and pout. Don’t go after him. Leave him alone. He will come back in a better mood after a good nap. (Remember how you felt the first time you lost pitifully in Monopoly?)

If you find it necessary to do this over and over, it means you are being too soft on him. (It should only take one five minute session to teach him). Remember, the whole idea is to convince him he can’t win at this game.

Do not hold his mouth closed! This will encourage him.

2. What is a microchip? How does it work?

microchipThis provides protection to your pet, so that he can return home after being lost or stolen.
A microchip is a piece of silicon, about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted hypodermically under the skin, just above the shoulder blades. (This is usually a painless procedure). The chip does not transmit a frequency, but will transpond a unique number when queried by a microchip scanner. This number can then be checked against a worldwide database, which provides the contact information that you give the recording agency. (There is a one time recording fee of $15.00 that you will pay directly to the recording agency). Nearly all vets, dog pounds, and humane societies have the microchip scanners, and can therefore get your pup home to you.
You will not know the chip is in place. It has not been known to cause infections or other complications. The chips have been credited with literally thousands of pets going home. Do not rely on dog tags alone – these are usually lost just after your pet disappears. Only the microchip can greatly increase the chance of return. You can lose your pet in nearly any country, and have the same protection. (Being lost is the number one cause of death in pets). The microchip should be installed by a trained professional, such as your breeder or vet.

3. Is crate training a good idea?

NO. I know many books and breeders swear by this method, but after years of trials I am opposed to it with little exception. Crate training takes advantage of the Lab’s natural tendency to use the bathroom in a place other than what they consider their immediate living environment. Supposedly, you come home and let him out, and he immediately dashes for the bushes. He therefore gets used to going in the correct place, and it becomes habit. Good in theory. There are a couple of drawbacks that make other methods more attractive.

The primary goal in “housebreaking” is to establish good communication between Master and Puppy. When you crate a puppy, he barks almost continuously for a week, unless he is sleeping. (Go to the cage to comfort him, and he will bark for eternity). How do you know the difference in the bark that says, “Let me out of this cell!” and the one that says, “I’ve really gotta go!” You miss the visual cues that tell you he needs to go. Another drawback is that all puppies will eventually get to the point where they can no longer hold it. (Remember, puppies also get upset bowels from time to time). When this happens, they are forced to defecate in their crate. They get it on their coats, and are forced to smell it. You have just trained your puppy – in reverse! Now he has no problem going – anywhere!

What about that claim that the Lab likes his kennel? I have heard people say, “He goes there anytime he gets stressed – he really likes it!” Of course the Lab goes there – he finally got used to it. Just like a hostage gets used to his closet. Let’s take a look at this from a different perspective. If your child spent excessive amounts of time in small dark rooms, you may choose to take him to a head doctor. However, if you had locked your child in this type of environment during infancy, he would have grown accustomed to it. Would you consider this healthy?

I know you may have friends that swear by this method. I also remember when everyone swore by Asbestos tablecloths. For alternative methods, see “What is the best way to housebreak my puppy?”

4. What is the best way to housebreak my puppy?

If you are considering crate training, please see “Is crate training a good idea?”

Let me offer an alternative method. I have been through many methods over the years, dozens of times. Here is the best one I’ve found.

Keep to the same strict diet that your pup was on when you picked him up. Food changes, even a morsel of a doggie treat, will cause diarrhea. Use the same food your pup was on. Do not switch foods during training. Do not give any other food or treat at all.

First, remember the primary goal is to establish a communication between yourself and your new pup. You need to speak the same language. The more you can see each other, the better, as you will start off with visual cues. Place your pup in an area where you can observe him. I like to baby gate off a room with a hard floor, such as the kitchen. When he begins to act strangely, (quick movements, excessive sniffing in different locations, etc) I know he is ready to explode. Grab him, and get him outside. Leave him at least five minutes. If it was a false alarm, no big deal. Bring him back inside, and keep watching him out of the corner of your eye. (Remember watching the children?) Repeat this process as necessary.

Let’s say that you missed his cues. (You may swear he didn’t even give one, but he really did). He went to the bathroom on the floor. Its O.K. Chances are he went to the far end of the room to go, and he won’t be wearing it. The idea is to let him put distance between himself and the lovely gift he left for you. Otherwise, he gets used to having it in his environment, and then you have a challenge! Since you have a hard surfaced floor, a few paper towels and some disinfectant will take care of the problem. (Don’t worry – it’s only temporary). Don’t bother fussing at him at this point. He won’t understand.

If you see him in the act of going, make a loud guttural noise that will scare the hair off him. (Pretend you just found your little brother spray-painting your first car). This will make his muscles tighten, and he will stop for a few seconds. Get him outside, and leave him until he goes, even if it’s fifteen minutes. (Unless he finished in the house). Remember, puppies get bacterial infections just like babies, and there may be a time when he has to go several times in a row, or even has diarrhea. He will have very little control, and very little warning. Just ride through these times. Your pup will be housebroken within a week, which is a lot better than a baby! Remember not to hold it against him if there was no one to let him out when you were gone, and he had an accident. If you come inside after an unsuccessful attempt and then he decides to unload, that means you did not stay out long enough.

For the occasional puppy that just doesn’t get it by his tenth week, you may need to use some negative reinforcement. (For those really frustrated few, please put the baseball bat down). Just a simple fussing will do. Let him know you are displeased, but don’t rub his nose in it. Just take him to the vicinity. He will know it’s there better than you. You know you have succeeded in getting through when he quits smiling, and his tail quits wagging. This aggressive approach should be reserved for puppies with normal bowel movements, and no diarrhea.

5. Is it acceptable to leave my Lab crated while I go to work?

No. I know you may have friends that do this, and they may even talk about how much their Lab loves his crate. There are even books that promote this. That is simple justification for those desiring a Lab, but unable to properly care for one.

Labs were bred to be active dogs. Crating leads to a sedentary lifestyle that is extremely unhealthy, both physically and mentally. You should be able to trust your Lab with the run of your house while you are gone. Train him early, put up with a few chewed items, and you will have an actual family member – not a parrot in a cage.

If you are crating your Labrador, have yourself caned and seek forgiveness. (I’m just joking about seeking forgiveness, but please get him out of the crate!).

6. Will my dog come with AKC papers?

All pups are issued with AKC limited registration papers, unless otherwise indicated. This means that your dog will be AKC registered, but any pups your dog has will not be eligible for AKC papers. (In some cases, we will change the limited status to a full registration in the future. This is done through our lease back program).

7. Fearful dog advice.

Q: My Labrador has been fine up until now, but suddenly became overly fearful. He hides behind me, pees and growls at strangers. What happened? How do I correct this behavior?

(This problem is almost always encountered by women handlers. Husbands may not have the same problem when on their own with the Lab).

A: This sudden onset of behavior is usually caused by a visit to the veterinarian where surgery is involved; most of the time neutering or spaying was the reason for the visit. However, before we get into the details of that, let’s take a look at the basics to rule out other causes.
Some Labrador puppies are naturally more cautions than others, even from the same litter. Much depends upon development within the litter, and their reaction to litter mates. (Contrary to popular belief, the one that is picked on the most, seldom becomes the scared dog). While a Labrador’s caution is fine, we must make sure as owners we do not manifest this caution into the reactions stated in your question. First look back and see if your dog is only reacting to those people wearing hats, carrying umbrellas, or wearing orange. If so, skip down to the “What Do I Do Now? section, answer #4.

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Fearful Dog Advice

Q: My Labrador has been fine up until now, but suddenly became overly fearful. He hides behind me, pees and growls at strangers. What happened? How do I correct this behavior?

(This problem is almost always encountered by women handlers. Men are less likely to experience these issues).

A: This sudden onset of behavior is usually caused by a visit to the veterinarian where surgery is involved; most of the time neutering or spaying was the reason for the visit. However, before we get into the details of that, let’s take a look at the basics to rule out other causes.
Some Labrador puppies are naturally more cautious than others, even from the same litter. Much depends upon development within the litter, and their reaction to litter mates. (Contrary to popular belief, the one that is picked on the most, seldom becomes the scared dog). While a Labrador’s caution is fine, we must make sure as owners we do not manifest this caution into the reactions stated in your question. First look back and see if your dog is only reacting to those people wearing hats, carrying umbrellas, or wearing orange. If so, skip down to the “What Do I Do Now? section, answer #4. Here are a few tips for all others:

1) When your Lab exhibits cautious behavior, do you coddle him and reassure him? Give him treats? (These are top no-nos – we will get into this in the correction area).

2) When approaching other dogs or people, do you hold the leash tightly or become apprehensive? This will transmit to your dog. They read body language extremely well!

3) Did your Labrador puppy stay in a crate much of the time? This causes him to become cautious, as he has become a “cave dog”. This is not something they typically grow out of, and is one reason I’m so adamant against crate training. Because of human’s busy schedules, crate training can get carried too far.

4) As a puppy, did he have people that liked to surprise him? (This usually comes from an innocent and natural game children play). While in most Labs a reaction as an adult may not be visible, in others the results can cause permanent fear.

5) Has your dog been through training involving a shock collar? While Field Trial Labradors can be stubborn enough to make a preacher swear, and may benefit from this type training, a more sedate Family Labrador can become mentally “burned” through this type of training, especially in the hands of a trainer not experienced with the Family Labrador Retriever. This can usually be corrected over time. Shock collars should only be used by the most experienced handlers. (This does not apply to under ground fence collars).

6) Is there a lot of arguing or fighting going on in your home? Let’s face it – we humans will have a spat with each other every once in a while, especially the married ones!

Now, on to the top reason: spaying, neutering, or other surgery. Let me start with two stories of my own.

1) Chip, our wonderful chocolate male, split an ear on another dog’s tooth as aChip-200 young adult. Our veterinarian came to the farm and sewed up his ear. When the vet first arrived, Chip went up to him, wagging his tail. The vet knocked him out using Rompin (a sedative), but forgot to bring any Lydocane or Ketoset to numb him. Chip was immobilized, but could still feel the pain of stitching. I remember one eyeball rolling up and fixing on the doctor’s face. Though I didn’t know it at the time, Chip was fully aware of what was happening but couldn’t express his desire for hasty travel. Up until the time of Chip’s death, he gave a low growl under his breath and made a wide circuit of anyone smelling like a veterinarian. Going to the vet’s office from that point on required carrying him, even though by nature Chip was not a particularly cautious Labrador.

2) Joe, the yellow male Labrador you see on the JaxMax bag, went to the vet’s Joe-140office at two years of age for hip x-rays, to obtain his OFA certification. He was sedated and I helped lift him onto the x-ray machine. His rear legs were positioned for the proper picture. This position would normally be quite painful, as the legs are stretched, thus the anesthesia. Just before the x-ray was taken, he pulled his legs back and whimpered, as enough anesthesia had not been administered. To this day, Joe goes ballistic just on seeing this particular vet. He will cower, pee and bark his fool head off non-stop. Joe is otherwise a perfectly calm, easy going Labrador that never met a stranger. Obviously he has strong memories from the procedure.

3) Consider the story of Amanda J. with Buddy, her male Labrador Retriever. From puppyhood until one year of age, he was a normal Lab puppy, losing the cautious nature of puppyhood over time. He showed no concern at the vet’s office or around strangers.
At one year of age, she took Buddy to the veterinarian to be neutered. After administering anesthesia, the veterinarian started the incision, causing the heart monitor to reflect a racing heart. He whimpered, and began squirming. They turned up the gas and kept operating. From that day forward, Buddy has had a general distrust of people – especially men. (the vet performing the surgery and his assistant were men. Even though Buddy could not see, he could hear their voices). Forget taking him near a veterinarian’s office. It takes a team of people to get him in the door, and then he pees and shakes.

One of the least likely reasons a dog is fearful in the manner described above is from abuse. (Abused dogs have their own set of problems). Strangely enough, it is the first suspicion of many when trying to find a reason for their dog’s behavior. I have met so many people on the street that say their dog is shy or fearful because it was abused as a puppy, when they have no factual knowledge of his past. It has become the pat answer for almost any problem, and stands in the way of understanding that the problem can most likely be corrected.

Q: What do I do now? How do I stop the fearfulness?

1) The first step – and I cannot overemphasize this enough – is to provide strong, confident leadership. This is applicable no matter what caused his fearfulness. First, let’s examine how a leader acts. Consider these two examples:

Imagine football coach Bill Cowher, in the heat of the game, taking a player aside and telling him the pain in his arm is going to be OK, and stroking his hair with a hand, while talking to him in a baby voice. Can you see any coach doing this? No! He’s going to speak sternly and confidently, with his shoulders held back, and the recipient of his commands will know he’s being spoken to. The player will obtain the confidence of his coach in a very short time, and the pain in his arm will diminish.

How about the leader of a wolf pack? Can you imagine him getting upside down and licking the chin of the lowest ranking wolf, while he pees on himself? Absolutely not! He will govern through body posture, growls, and physical action, usually in that order. The wolves will know he’s top dog, and respect him. Could he inspire confidence in his pack to attack a deer for food when showing such signs of weakness? Of course not – he would be despised by his followers (and then eaten) and the pack would take on a new leader.

There is actually a book on the market – and I’m not kidding – that teaches dog owners to roll on their backs with all four in the air, while making whimpering noises and licking their puppies chins! (this is supposed to cure puppy biting). Every so often I receive a call from someone that has done just this. They nearly all have the same problem – aggression from their dogs, as the dog takes over the leadership role. Most Labs do not like taking over as leader, and become grumpy or aggressive. (This is why I throw most training books across the room upon preview).


When your dog displays signs of fearfulness upon an approaching stranger, immediately give the leash a tug, and say with a stern voice, “Enough!” Demand the dog stop his growling, and be ready to back it up. Leaders are not leaders unless the ones being led perceive them as strong. Demonstrate your strength when necessary. By coddling, baby talking, and telling him “It’s OK” you are reinforcing the bad habit. Giving him treats literally feeds his bad behavior! Don’t do this, and don’t let the approaching stranger or a bystander do this either. You must overrule your human emotion to comfort, and act more like the lead wolf.

2) Expose your Labrador to as many new situations as possible, for both him and for your own experience in your new leadership role.
Take him for regular walks, making sure to keep the leash short, and not letting him pass your leg while walking. (If you are having difficulty with this, it is time to get some guidance in professional Labrador training. Training with treats is not professional training!). Make sure he does not dart in or out the door before you – The Leader Goes First! Take your Labrador Retriever to the park, around the neighborhood, to the outdoor table at the coffee house or restaurant. You will help desensitize him to his surroundings.

3) Get him out of the crate, if he is in one. Sheltered dogs have a difficult time create-shotbeing exposed to their outside world. They tend to internalize their thoughts and fears when restricted. It is a form of isolation, and is considered torture for humans held as POW’s. The crate is not an answer just because you are afraid he will chew something up. You need to make better arrangements, such as a safe room. Provide stimulation, such as a second dog, radio (tuned to classical) or television.

4) Have volunteers approach you and your Labrador while you are in various places. Instruct these volunteers to completely ignore your dog, no matter what his behavior. Don’t lose site of the fact you are a trainer at this juncture, and need to stay on point playing the lead wolf. Speak with your volunteer, but waste no time in providing correction. Give a pull on the leash while uttering your correction. This can be an emphatic, “No!” or a guttural sound. My favorite is “AAAAAT!!” At first, make sure the volunteers are not wearing a hat, carrying an umbrella, or are wearing sunglasses or reflective tape, especially orange. You can add these in later. They can be major sources of concern for a Labrador, due to the way they see color and recognize shapes.

5) Do not let anyone play the intimidation game with your Labrador Retriever Puppy. This is where someone sneaks up on him and spooks him repeatedly, causing wariness. (This does not mean you can’t use the technique under housebreaking tips. There is a difference when applying in that fashion). I have to admit Joe loves playing hide and seek, where a human will jump out and yell, “Boo!”, but Joe is older and comes seeking this type of play. We were careful not to overdo it when he was younger.

6) Be a trustworthy leader. Your dog will have more respect for you and less fearfulness if he can count on you to act in the same fashion given a similar circumstance. If you are going to provide correction for a certain behavior, provide it each and every time the behavior occurs. Let your Labrador Retriever count on you as a stable figure, and don’t let him get away with acting fearful.
7) Do not fight or argue with a co-leader in front of your Labrador Retriever. Your Labrador sees this arguing as a split or danger to leadership, causing very unsettled feelings. Most married couples send their children out of earshot before throwing plates, but forget what kind of effect this has on the family dog. To further illustrate, let’s examine the difference between arguing between spouses versus punishing the children:

Your dog sees you and/or your spouse as his rock solid base, and therefore anything that shakes this up can cause fearful behavior. However, he sees your children as part of the wolf pack, under you, the leader. Spanking a child in his presence will not cause him to act fearful, because he understands you are keeping the pack in order. This is what a leader does – provides stability and order within the unit. Even if he initially runs for cover, he will soon after be at your heels, respectful of your leadership control.

8) Make sure your own children obey you. Now we’re getting into dangerous territory, but I must go here in order to give the full picture. My job should not involve sugar coating. Here I will explain the old cliché “The dog always follows the parent that spanks the kids.”
When a child rebels against a parent (particularly a youngster) and is allowed to get away with it, your Lab sees you through new eyes – as a weakling, not to be minded. Remember the old adage, “Just wait until your Daddy gets home! You’re going to get it then!” This is not good enough if you are going to be a leader. While your Lab may not understand the exact circumstances surrounding the infraction and resulting lack of discipline, rest assured he has his eye on the pecking order and will understand you’ve just been rolled over in the mud by someone down the totem pole. This leads him to believe the child is taking the leadership role, and can cause fearfulness, behavioral changes, and possibly aggression towards you, the fallen leader. This is why women have the majority of problems with fearful dogs – they get the most backtalk from their children and sometimes feel powerless to maintain control.
You may remember in other literature a statement claiming parents that are unwilling to ever spank their children under any circumstances will have the most problems with leadership (training) of their Labs. It is not necessarily because they do not spank, but because of the mindset they have developed with regard to leadership. (Raising children in a household is NOT a democracy – that’s just living with them. True leadership of an undeveloped mind sometimes requires tough decisions and action). To all those anti-spankers out there reacting in horror, please understand I’m not advocating the beating of your children – that is different. I’m suggesting a different understanding of leadership, and that a leader sometimes has to make hard choices. I’ve strayed from the topic with this answer, but I feel it is important enough to have done so.

Remember, a fearful Labrador is usually a reflection of his owner.Gut it up. You can do it!

How to avoid Puppy Mills

Definition of a Puppy Mill: A breeder’s system for whelping puppies without regard to their health, well being, or after market support, while maximizing profits at the expense of their dogs and customers. Puppy Mills are not necessarily defined by the number of pups they birth, but in the lack of care, socialization, nutritional needs, and after market sales support they offer. For example, a breeder that sells his pups to a pet store with no mechanism for establishing a relationship with the final owner may be defined as such. Breeders need feedback from their customers in order to constantly improve their standards. Without feedback, the breeder has no way (and perhaps no interest) in monitoring numbers of pups born with genetic abnormalities, or caring for the pup should the new owner become unable to care for the pup in the future. If you usually have good instincts, follow your gut intuition!Here are a few helpful hints in avoiding such places:
Prior to the purchase of a puppy, the breeder should take an interest in what situation his pup will reside in. You should be asked your name, city of residence, profession, past experience, number and ages of children, etc. so they can get to know you. This does not have to take place on the first conversation, and you should not have to lead him to ask such questions, but you should certainly be asked about such subjects prior to picking a pup.
The breeder should have a nutritional plan for his pups and adults, and should make recommendations to you without being asked. If the dog food comes from a pet store, grocery store, or the local hardware, you can rest assured it will not be a healthy choice. A true breeder will have and control his own formula, or at the least associate himself with a custom formula owner. Keep in mind poor early nutrition for the pups will have a great impact on your vet bills. A good dog food is not necessarily defined by the expense, but you will not find a nutritionally adequate food for under $1.50 per pound.
You should be able to visit the breeder at his location should that be your wish. There may be places on the farm that are off limits to visitors, and that is OK, but the areas the pups and adults are kept in should appear clean. Under no circumstances should the breeder allow you to step into the confined area where the pups are being kept. If he does, you can rest assured others have entered as well, and there is a good chance the pups will be infected with a disease that will blossom after you take your pup home.
A breeder that takes deep interest in the future of his pups will demand you to sign a purchase agreement. This contract should contain language to the effect that you will return the dog to his location should you be unable to keep it. (Whether there is a refund or not is immaterial in deciding if the particular person is a good breeder. Most likely, there will not be a refund in such situations).
If there is a guarantee, you should not be required to take your pup to a veterinarian within just a few days. Keep in mind this is a main pick up point for pathogens! The pups should not have entered a veterinarian’s office younger than seven weeks.
The breeder should know how many of his pups develop hip dysplasia, retinal disease, genetic heart abnormalities, etc. If he states he’s never had any of these problems, he’s either not telling the truth or he hasn’t been in touch with his past customers to develop such records. While hip certifications for the adults can show intent to breed properly, they are a poor substitute for knowing the real numbers. There should be no more than 1 case of hip dysplasia requiring surgical intervention in each 100 pups born.
The breeder should have a concrete plan for his adult dogs once they reach an age where they are no longer desirable to breed. This plan should not include euthanization or leaving them at the pound. A good breeder takes responsibility for his dogs from cradle to grave.
Responsible breeders will have a knowledge base and be willing to share it with you. This information will come from years of hard work and dedication, and will differ greatly from other “facts” parroted from website to website. You should see medical books, microscopes, centrifuges, and other signs that the breeder being interviewed has truly taken a deep interest in educating himself to the ever changing world of canine health care. If he can’t identify a roundworm egg under a microscope, he’s probably not the best choice.
Puppy Mills often hide behind their associations with canine organizations, such as “groups”, “circles” and cliquish associations that protect one another. They develop their own support group in lieu of doing any continued research, and are usually resistant to hearing from anyone that has developed a true knowledge base. Just because they belong to a group does not make them a puppy mill, but one should take all the facts into consideration.
Puppy Mills are so desperate to make a sale that they often bad mouth other breeders, and will often refer to the other breeder as a Puppy Mill! A breeder that cares about his results will see that his farm is worked 12 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, and he will usually be the one working. He doesn’t have time or desire to bad mouth another breeder. If you hear someone speaking negatively about another breeder, hang up the phone and keep searching.

History of Labradors

Labradors were invented, so to speak, in the fifteenth century. They were originally used as fishing dogs for the villagers of Newfoundland. Labs attained resistance to the cold waters of the North Atlantic by developing two distinct layers of hair – an inner layer of short fuzzy hair for insulation, and a longer guard hair for shedding water. They also developed webbed paws for swimming. Loyalty, dedication, and a wonderful temperament came standard. Genetic colors were black, yellow and chocolate. (See history of the Chocolate Lab for special information). It is believed by Darwinists that Labradors derived from the Dolphin many years ago. Perhaps that would explain their playfulness.

Hunting Labs

By the 1800’s Labs migrated to England and then on to the United States. Here, fishing was not the required task, but retrieving ducks took center stage. Hunters loved to show off their Labs, and worked with them diligently to develop their skills. Selective breeding kept the desire to retrieve coupled with a good nose in the lineages. Hunters began to hold events where their Labs were graded according to their performance against a set standard. These were called Hunt Tests.

Field Trial Labs

Developing the perfect hunting Lab became such an event that a splinter group took this to the next level. They developed standards where the Labs were graded according to their performance against other Labs, instead of against a set standard. This heightened the competition. As a result, breeders placed more emphasis on energy and intelligence, and usually less on looks. These Labs became long legged, hyper, and smart enough to play a good game of chess. Heads and tails became a bit narrower. Today, these Labs may climb the fence and take a 30 mile jog as a warm up. They are fantastic, but sometimes a bit too energetic for the family situation. Today these Labs are usually advertised as “Champion”.

Show Labs

Another group of individuals became interested in the looks of the Lab, and set forth to develop the perfect dog. Tail and ear lengths, poundage, size, and other physical aspects weighed more heavily than Hunt or Field Trial requirements. Generally speaking, these Labs developed stocky bodies, shorter legs, and mammoth heads. They are paraded in Show events, and sometimes end up at the Westminster. Intelligence and temperament can sometimes take a backseat to looks, though this is not true for all Show Labs.

Family Labs

In the 1980’s, a new category was added – this was known as the Family Lab. They were bred for health, temperament, intelligence, looks, and the desire to retrieve, in that order. This led to a less hyper, very intelligent Lab that was better suited for the family situation. They did not have the monster heads of the show labs, or the smaller field trial heads, but developed proportional moderate block heads. Good temperament meant the Labs were great with children. They had enough energy to swim or play Frisbee, but were calm enough to crash at your feet and sleep by the fireplace. These Labs lost the desire to roam, and were much more comfortable at home.
Because the pressure of breeding Labs to win ribbons at events was removed, health naturally improved. Family Labs were not inbred, leading to a decrease in recessive traits causing Dwarfism and other undesirable medical conditions.

The original Family Lab was developed by the owners of Labpups.com. They have had years of experience in this field. Other breeders are just beginning to copy this formula.

Chocolate Labs

In the early days, black Labs with a white diamond on their chest were the most desired. (This has been mostly bred out by the Show Lab breeders). Yellow Labs were tolerated. Chocolates, however, were not. They were first suspected as a genetic mistake, and given disparaging names. The accepted practice of the day was to drown them, therefore removing them from the gene pool.
By the early 1970’s, genetics had proven that chocolates were just as pure as blacks or yellows. Chocolates suddenly became one of the most desired dogs in the world. The problem was their recessive genes had nearly been eradicated after 500 years of persecution, leaving very few Labs capable of producing chocolates. Breeders, in their haste to make good with this sudden market demand, began breeding anything that was brown and had four legs, calling them “Chocolate Labs”. (The Chesapeake Bay Retriever seemed to be the favored stand in.) Papers were a dime a dozen, and only as good as the breeder’s word. This led to dilution of the chocolate Lab, leading to the false impression that chocolates were dumb or temperamental. A pure chocolate was as smart and well tempered as the black or yellow.

White Labs

White is not a natural color, but a breed out of yellow, effected by breeding lighter yellows to lighter yellows. Whites lose the pigment in their skin, which can lead to skin cancer, sensitive skin, or allergy like symptoms such as open sores.

Other Colors

Genetics support black, yellow and chocolate. Other colors are attained by mixing different breeds with Labradors. A silver colored dog can be attained by breeding a chocolate Lab with a Weimeriner. However, these are not pure Labradors, no matter what the papers say.