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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're in the process of building better houses and exercise areas for our lab ladies.

We're Building sturdy insulated houses for each of them, with removeable roofs so I can do a thorough cleaning as needed. They'll be 4' x4' square and 30" tall inside so they'll be able to move around easily but still keep warm. We want to fence in an area connected to their houses where they can run a bit and be together (since they've always BEEN together) and still have their own space. The houses will be a duplex so if they seem to prefer it, we can pull out the dividing wall and let them room together. The houses will each have a bit of a "front porch" so they can lay out on it under a roof if they choose to and will help keep rain/snow from getting in. The houses will face south with our own house as a windbreak to their north side to protect them from the north wind, and deciduous trees to the south to give them shade in summer.

The plan right now is to give them each an 8' x 16' run with a dividing fence between the 2 so that when we want to put the pups out to play and exercise, we can keep them separated. Once the pups are gone, if the dams seem to want to be together we can remove the dividing fence or simply create an opening in it for them. Does this sound like it will be big enough?

Sadly, At 5 yrs of age, neither is housebroke or has any house manners at all, so they're destined to be outdoor dogs I'm afraid. They both enjoy coming in to visit, but are eager to get outside again once they've had their fill. I'm used to having my dogs live indoors and go out only to exercise and go potty, so this is against my grain, but given their history, it's what they know and seem to prefer. If they are to be out, we want them to be out in as much comfort as possible.

They will be in a small building that used to be a laundry when welping and nursing. It's got more room for me to be there with them and has water, elect and natural gas going to it, so can be heated and such. The work we're doing now is for the dams themselves, and an exercise area for the pups when they're old enough.
 

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sounds like you have put a lot of thought into it. I've never had an outdoor dog and have alwyas had a fenced yard for my dogs to run so 8x16 sounds small to me - our backyard is fenced about 100ftx100ft , but maybe someone here has runs and can help you out on that one
Good luck :)
 

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Sounds like you have it pretty planed out. 8 X 16 is fine for confinement that is bigger than most breeders give a dog Not that I agree with that. However, with that said I do agree for all of the time it is not big enough for them to run and play and have fun, so as long as you move them into a larger area daily to play then I think the other is fine for night time. We have several fenced in areas that mine go to and play the puppy pens are 50 X 50 we have 3 of them one is divided in the middle and can become 100 X 100 when we want it to. Then we have several other areas that are very large for the adults but we live on 5 acreas also so that helps.
 

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This may be a stupid question but what happens to the "lab ladies" when you no longer breed them if they are not house broken and have no house manners? Do you just keep them or what? How many years is a dog bred?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Annie, that's a good question. I just got the labs 7 weeks ago. The whole deal was wrought with half-truths and misrepresentations. Many here know some of the many surprises I've had with them. I did NOT plan to breed them right away, or at the same time... they came to me from a woman who had led me to believe they were her pets and she was forced to let them go due to a divorce situation. I have since learned she found breeding smaller dogs more lucrative. :(

Neither had been worked with at all. They're very friendly and almost desperate for attention, but at 5 yrs old neither knew SIT, Heal, Down, or even comes when called reliably. It's just sad. In the house, they act like crazed wild animals. They will literally run over anything/one in their path. I have got them both to sit on command now, and they've gotten much better about not jumping on me, but they're slow to learn and very difficult to work with because of their size and strength.

I've had them vet checked and am told they're both in great physical shape, which is a plus, but neither is a great candidate for being a family pet. I was told the black is trained for duck hunting, but have my doubts. She doesn't retrieve anything we toss to play with her... she's obviously not been taught any manners (She pooped in the back seat of my car!) She's not at all aggressive, but is very rough and bullish.

The chocolate will retrieve a ball happily, but will not come when we call her, will climb up on the table or countertops, and has broken a cable we tied her out with while wearing a choke chain. We'd already gone through 2 heavy hunting collars and a harness with her.

I wouldn't dare have either around children as they would knock them flat to lick them senseless. Greg and I have all we can do to handle them, and neither of us is small or inexperienced. This will be the one time I have pups with either of them. It's not their fault, but they're not a lot of fun to interact with due to the way they've been raised. The party I got them from had them since they were pups, and absolutely let them down.

Right now the plan is to build these areas for them and to do the best that we can to love them and keep them safe and comfortable since we are now responsible for them. If I found someone willing to take them who would do right by them, I'd have no hesitancy in letting them go once the pups are weaned. Given the difficulties they both present, I doubt that's going to happen. So I plan to keep them unless they get a better offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just because I know others might come later and read this thread, I want to update. We decided to increase the dogs runs to 16' x 32' for each. When we started thinking about the dams in there with 8 to 12 pups, we realized they'd need more space than what we'd originally planned, to be able to move around well. By 6- 8 weeks, those little buggers do like to romp! For right now, until the pups are due, we'll leave the center divider out so the girls can play together in a 32' x 32' space. Canada (the black) is already quite large and isn't running very far or fast right now, so this should be plenty of space for her to exercise. 16 more days till due date!

We got most of our posts in the ground and about half the netting up today in between rain showers. At times like this I feel fortunate that hubby was a farm boy so knows how to build a respectable fence. We have the runs bordering 2 buildings, and under a very large evergreen tree, so that even outside the protection of their houses, the dogs will be able to find shade easily. The old laundry that will be their welping area has a back door that will open directly into the runs for safety.
 

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Sounds like they will have it better than they ever had! When I moved in with my husband, he had a German Shepard that was an outdoor dog. I also never had outdoor dogs; all of my dogs had been house dogs. Sooo, the first thing I did was invite Damion into the house with me. He came in reluctantly, but as you said Tink, it was totally foreign to him and he was a nervous wreck--couldn't wait to get back outside. It wasn't worth the effort to try to change him, so from then on we met and played on his turf!
 
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