With little fanfare, in the late afternoon of Friday, August 28, 2015, a new puppy arrives at the farm. Duke happens to be a very handsome 8-week old black Labrador puppy. He is also very affectionate.
The journey from the Breeder to our Farm was about an hour, during which time Duke sat on my lap sometimes whimpering, but mostly licking my face (I told you he was affectionate) and burrowing his nose into my chest. I’m allergic to many things, but thankfully Duke and my skin were totally compatible! (Not so with many of our horses, I’m sorry to say).
Labs (as they are known for short) did not originate in Labrador, Canada but in Newfoundland, Canada. Labs are people-oriented dogs, always ready for a walk around the farm or a game of fetch. We have owned Labs before and what we particularly like about the breed is that they are a reliable, willing and patient companion and love nothing more than activity and attention.
Duke’s arrival was met with great interest from our horses and Arnold the plus-size ginger tom cat. Arnold still cannot bring himself to even look at Duke who would like nothing more than Arnold as a friend. (Good luck with that one, Duke).
The first evening was not bad, considering. After a brief playtime on the lawn, Duke looked like he would settle down. Not so. Duke cried for the best part of an hour or two before finally settling down in his new crate. Training is going better each day and Duke now realizes that the large crate in our family room is his Den.
Luckily, you can find some good resources on the Internet for crate training a puppy.
The Humane Society has a guide for puppy training and is well worth reading.
Duke loves to run around the farm, introducing himself to all and sundry. The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes a Labrador as ‘friendly, active and outgoing’ I can attest. Duke has been zipping around like a mad thing. And don’t believe Lab Puppy’s cannot be trained. Even after a couple of weeks Duke can ‘sit’ and offer his ‘paw’ on command. Not so much with potty training, but we are working on that.
The Labrador continues to be the most popular breed in the United States, according to AKC registration statistics. Labs arrive in three colors – yellow, black and chocolate. I prefer black Labs, but we have owned chocolate Labs too – equally adorable. My wife grew up with a yellow Lab. Because of their desire to please, Labs excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement. Our last black Lab ‘Prince’, proved that Labs are great around children and are very protective.
It’s early days for Duke, my wife and I. Our last two Labs enjoyed long, happy lives with our family. We are looking forward to many more fun days with Duke.
But stay tuned for more details and what I’m sure will be funny stories to come.