Chocklabs Kennel

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Frequently Asked Questions

HISTORY OF THE LABRADOR RETRIEVER
Characteristics and Temperament


The Labrador traces its origins back to Newfoundland, where fishermen kept what was referred to as the small Newfoundland or St. John's dog. There the dogs were used for hauling in nets and a variety of other tasks. The fishermen carried on a lively trade with England, and a favorite port was Poole in Dorset. Dogs accompanied the fishermen on these voyages and they came to the attention of the English, who soon found them unparalleled for hunting wild fowl. The earliest printed reference to the "Labrador breed" is found in the classic, "Instructions to Young Sportsmen in Al1 That Relates to the Guns and Shooting", written in 1814 by Col. Peter Hawker.
In 1904, the Kennel Club of England, formally recognized the Labrador Retriever as a separate breed. The breed found its way to the United States by way of well-to-do families who obtained the dogs for use in the sport of hunting. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1914. Since that time, the Labrador's good nature and gentle disposition has increasingly led to its being kept as a family pet, and it is now one of the most popular pure-bred dogs in the USA. Today the Lab is used extensively as a hunting companion, a family pet, guide dog for the blind, and more.
 

IS THE LABRADOR THE DOG FOR YOU?
Deciding to own a Lab means making a serious long term commitment. Taking responsibility for another living creature demands time and expense. The Labrador Retriever has many fine qualities which have contributed to making it a very popular breed. What follows is an account of those fine qualities, along with some of the less commendable qualities of the breed. If you get a Lab, you should be prepared to accept the not so good along with the terrific.
The Labrador is very people oriented. The Lab's fondness for humans will make a young Lab as likely to follow a stranger as you -- this is not a one man dog. It is just this quality which makes adoption of an older Lab a very reasonable option.
The Labrador is smart. This is why Labs are so often used for therapy, detection and guide dog work. However, inexperienced owners sometimes neglect to train their new puppies. The result -- an intelligent 65 pound, strong, energetic, unruly animal accustomed to getting his own way. Most breeders strongly suggest you and your puppy enroll in an obedience class.
The Labrador requires very little upkeep. The watch words are few, they are: coat, nails, ears, diet, and exercise. Coat -bathe occasionally and brush as needed, more often during shedding season. Nails - - clip regularly. Ears -- check often, keep them clean and healthy. Diet-- feed a well-balanced, high-quality food. Exercise -- essential for good condition and easily accomplished with a dog that loves to retrieve.
The Labrador has a wonderful temperament. This is generally true. ill natured Labs are few and far between. However, like people, Labs can exhibit a wide range of dispositions. The Lab can be easy-going and quiet. The Lab can also be an energetic, bouncy dynamo. This is a very important point to discuss with the breeder. Ask questions, and be clear as to what sort of pet you want.
The Labrador is 'soft mouthed'. Labs have been bred to retrieve game without damaging it. They love to carry things in their mouths, but like most puppies, will often chew anything they can find. They have been known to lazily munch on chair rungs, rugs and even walls. You will have to provide suitable items for the puppy to chew.

IN GENERAL
Labs come in black, yellow and chocolate. Yellows range from cream to fox red, and chocolates range from light sedge to very dark brown. There is no difference in personality among the different colors and a single litter can have pups of all three colors. Among Labs, both sexes are essentially the same in terms of disposition and trainability.
 

SELECTING YOUR LABRADOR RETRIEVER
So you have decided the Lab is the dog for you. Now is the time to take those steps to ensure that the animal you choose to share your life for the next 10 to 15 years is as close as possible to the dog you have in mind.
Probably the worst possible first step would be to go look at a litter. All puppies are adorable, and your heart could overrule your head. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Go to dog shows, obedience trials, or hunting tests. Read about the breed. There are many fine books available from libraries and book stores. (Refer to the reading list at end.) Talk to as many Lab owners and breeders as you can. Ask questions, questions, questions. Study the section on hereditary problems, so you know what to ask the breeder. Those questions could save you heartache and expense.
Prepare your home and your family to welcome your new pet. If an area is set up for the newcomer and the family knows how to behave with the new pet, the transition will be greatly eased.
 

SOURCES OF LABRADOR RETRIEVERS


Serious Hobby Breeders: This is an excellent source of pure-bred Labrador puppies and adult dogs. This breeder is easy to spot. The serious hobby breeder:

Will ask you many questions about your previous experience with dogs and the environment in which you plan to keep your dog.

Will want to know what your expectations are and what your family is like.

Will have socialized and evaluated each puppy in the litter, have a very good idea about their individual personalities, and may recommend a puppy that matches your expectations.

Will participate in some dog organization such as a breed, obedience or hunting club. Ribbons, pictures or trophies may be in evidence.

Will have a clean well-organized environment for the puppies and older dogs. Some breeders may ask you not to handle the puppies since transmittable diseases are a serious problem with animals too young to have had all their shots.

Will ask you to have the puppy checked by your veterinarian to satisfy everyone that the puppy is sound and in good health.

Will provide you with health and inoculation records.

Will provide you with detailed instructions for the care and feeding of your puppy and encourage you to call if you have any questions.

Will provide proof that both parents of the puppies have been cleared for hereditary diseases. (See section on Inheritable Diseases.)

Will provide the puppy's three generation pedigree and registration papers. A limited registration" may be used for animals which are not intended to be bred.


Professional Breeders: This person makes a living from involvement with dogs. Sometimes this breeder will specialize in selling field trained animals to hunters who do not have the time and experience to train a dog themselves. Be cautious here, since not all of these breeders put the kind of thought and care into the breeding of their animals as the above mentioned hobby breeder. Remember -- ask questions, questions, questions.

Backyard Breeders: This person, for any of a variety of reasons, has decided to breed his or her female and raise a litter of puppies. The incentive may be to make money, get a second dog just like "Mom without paying for it, or provide an educational experience for the children. In any event, the breeding was unlikely to have been carefully thought out. The mother may not have been given good prenatal care. The puppies may not have been properly nourished and socialized after they were born. The father may have been selected for the simple reason that he lived in the neighborhood. With these litters, it is unlikely that the parents were screened for hereditary diseases. The puppies may come with AKC registration but may have little else to recommend them.

Pet Stores or Puppy Marketers: These are the worst possible places to find a puppy. Pet shops rely heavily on impulse buying, which is no way to choose an addition to the family. Here, puppies come from puppy mills and sometimes from local backyard breeders who fail to sell or can't be bothered to sell their puppies. Do not expect the puppies parents to have been cleared for hereditary diseases. Often they are sold with guarantees, at inflated prices to cover the cost of replacement. But what most often happens is, by the time a problem becomes apparent, buyers have become too attached to a pet to return it and are left with a sickly or crippled animal and enormous veterinary bills. Problems may also arise when a puppy spends as many as the first 3 months of its life without socialization. This is akin to raising a human infant in a ward with minimal human interaction during the formative years of its life.
 

HEREDITARY PROBLEMS
In Labrador Retrievers there are key questions all prospective puppy owners should ask the breeder from whom they are considering acquiring a puppy. Some of these questions pertain to the genetic background of the puppy and will help ensure that you are getting a healthy, happy, sturdy Labrador puppy. Of course, there are no absolute guarantees. All you can do is make certain that the breeder of your puppy has done all they can do to provide their puppies with the best chance of quality of life. Sometimes even despite the best efforts of the most well respected and reputable breeders, problems do arise occasionally. Do your research and ask questions.


OFA Certifications - HIPS & ELBOWS
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals OFA hip and elbow certifications are absolutely necessary for any breeding Labrador. The x-rays for an OFA hip certification are performed at age two or older. A Preliminary OFA, which can be done at age one, is a good advance indication; but does not guarantee the OFA certification performed at age two will report a passing grade. A Labrador is still growing between ages one and two and the joints can change. Insist on seeing, for yourself, the hip and elbow OFA certification of the dam (mother) and sire (father). All reputable breeders will freely give you a copy of each. OFA rates passing hips as Excellent, Good, and Fair and elbows as normal. These ratings are spelled out on each certificate and an OFA number is assigned.

To learn more about OFA, please link to their website http://www.offa.org The OFA website can also be utilized to search for the recorded certifications of any dog as well as each relative (mother, father, littermates, 1/2 siblings, etc.) of the dog that has been recorded with OFA. 

CERF-OPTIGEN Certification and OptiGen prcd-PRA Test - Eyes
Another certification for both the dam and the sire is the CERF Eye Certification and Optigen DNA testing for PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).  Labs are subject to cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and other eye diseases. PRA causes blindness. Once again, all breeding Labradors should have a CERF certificate and an Optigen PRA classification. OptiGen developed a DNA test for Labradors to assist breeders in making more informed decisions in their breeding programs to eliminate the occurrence of PRA in Labradors. The DNA results provide a classification for the tested Labrador of Clear (non-affected and non-carriers), Carriers (non-affected but can produce PRA if bred improperly), and Affecteds (will go blind and can produce PRA if bred improperly). Please link to OptiGen to learn more http://www.optigen.com

EPILEPSY: There is no test to detect the presence of this disease, therefore no certification is available. Epilepsy is not the only cause of seizures; other causes include trauma, poisoning and infections, to name a few. Most cases are controllable. No dog with a history of seizures should be bred, both for it's own health and the health of any offspring.

EIC: Labradors affected by EIC may exhibit leg weakness followed by a complete collapse after just 5 to 15 minutes of strenuous activity. The severity and duration of these spells can vary. A recessive genetic mutation causes EIC; therefore, a dog tested as having either clear or carrier status will not have symptoms of the disease. In a breeding pair, at least one parent should be EIC clear.



SUGGESTED READING:
LABRADOR RETRIEVER: The Dog That Does it All,Lisa Weiss & Emily Biegel
LABRADOR RETRIEVER TODAY: Carol Coode
THE VERSATILE LABRADOR RETRIEVER: Nancy Martin
WATER DOG: Richard Wolters
HOW TO RAISE A PUPPY YOU CAN LIVE WITH: C. Rutherford & D. Neil
RETRIEVER PUPPY TRAINING: Rutherford & Loveland


GUARANTEE:
Congratulations on your decision to own a CHOCKLABS Labrador!
As a caring and responsible Labrador breeder, we do everything possible to ensure our puppies go to great homes. In doing so, we would like all of our future puppy owners to understand and be prepared for being a puppy owner as well as finding out if a Labrador retriever is the right breed for you. Below you will find various links to pages on our site that could assist you in making this important decision.
*Are you ready for a dog?
*Do you know what breed is the right dog for you?
*Do you know what the breed standards are for a Labrador retriever?
*Are you ready to be a responsible dog owner?


The least expensive aspect of dog ownership is the initial purchase. What requires commitment is meeting the demands your pet will place on you for the next ten to fifteen years he or she will be with you. Your diligence in research and effort to buy your puppy are to be commended. Our commitment to you is for as long as your pet lives.  you do wish to reserve a puppy, please contact us via email and tell us about yourself and your plans for a puppy.


Every puppy is sold with it's AKC limited registration application
The first puppy shots
De-worming as prescribed by our veterinarian
A veterinary health exam
Lifetime health, training and overall advice availability
 
RETURN AGREEMENT:
The buyer agrees that if he/she is unable to keep this Labrador Retriever, he/she will not sell, give away, or otherwise dispose of this dog without first contacting the me, who will either accept the dog on a return basis or assist the buyer in finding a suitable alternative home for the dog. This does not imply a financial commitment on the part of the breeder

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Contact Us:

6248 Skegemog Pt. Road
Williamsburg, Michigan 49690
1.231.342.9671 (cell)

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