What to buy?
After years and years of breeding, training, and competing, we definitely developed our favorite dog products. For some of the products, we list the "why" behind why we like these products. Most everything is an Amazon link, mostly because it's usually the cheapest option, but a lot of our customers use Mudbay as well (especially for toys!)
Why these crates?
We reccomend Midwest's double door wire crate w/ divider beyond any other crate for the beginning of your dog's life.
The double door is ideal for training and the added devider is vital for housebreaking.
These crates has seen many of our puppies through their first year.
We have absolutely no complaints about this crate, which is why its our #1 choice.
Petmate's Sky Kennel is definitely a close second to Midwest's wire crate, but for a completely different reason. While both are very durable, the Sky Kennel is better suited to traveling.
It provides extra privacy for your pet and is equipped with the necessary accessories for travel.
We use Midwest's exercise pen during the puppy stage to young adulthood. Its a great way to give the puppy more freedom without teaching bad habits.
Why these books?
By far our favorite book when it comes to puppy raising, we highly recommend The Art of Raising a Puppy to new and old dog owners. The monks of New Skete show a very naturalistic view of canine behavior and training methods.
Very similar to the other the other books, How to Raise The Perfect Dog, has a very natural approach to dog training and will show you teach you how to speak the same language as your dog.
The monks of New Skete's first published work, How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend is one of the best training books out there and is one of the first books you should read when adopting a new puppy.
The Koehler Method of Dog Training is a technique we actively teach in our training classes. While it is mainly geared toward larger, aggressive breeds, it contains an approach that will leave you with a realiably trained dog with a confidence in your leadership.
Your Labrador Retriever Puppy Month By Month is essential for new Lab owners. It does an excellent job of explaining the developement stages and typical behavior of our outgoing labradors. If you've never owned a labrador before, this a great book to understand the breed-specific behaviors of your Lab.
Collars & Leashes
For a basic, everyday collar/leash, we really like Blueberry and Kong. Blueberry collars are very soft, comfortable for your dog, and they come in really cute designs. Kong is more heavy duty and will last longer than the Blueberry. Both of these collars are more for puppies and dogs older than 3 to 4 months. Your first puppy collar will need to be thin, like a cat collar.
As for training collars, we mostly use chain collars. You can get them on Amazon, but they usually only sell the ones with the thick chain links. We recommend a small link size, anywhere from 2.0mm-1.2mm. The one pictured above is a 2.0mm. We like to get ours from 3C's, which is a well-known show supply store.