Meet Toby: the newest member of the family.


Meet Toby! He is our 10 week black lab puppy. After being married for almost 12 years and being asked to get a dog, relentlessly by the kids, for the past 8, we are first time dog owners. We were on the hunt for a shelter dog, with little results. We wanted a family friendly dog that would be a good fit for us and this little guy kind of fell into our laps yesterday!  And for not being a “dog person” he is kind of growing on me.


He was still living with his parents. The last puppy from the litter who was going to go to the owner’s sister, but that didn’t end up working out. They had already began training him and treated him like he was their own. He is very submissive  and sweet, and so great with the kids.


Since we are one of the few Americans who haven’t owned a dog, I thought I’d skip the crafting today and ask for some info and advice from you fabulous ladies!


He is crate trained. We are thinking of having his crate upstairs in the hallway (we have a big landing). Good idea? Bad? Do crates generally go in a main living area?


My sister gave me some great suggestions that they use for their mastiff. Any recommendations specifically for labs who chew on everything?


This has been my main hang up with getting a dog. I don’t want my house to smell like one. Most of my friends are probably sitting here with their jaw dropped hearing that there is a dog in my home. He is going to be an outdoor/indoor dog. So  I’m hoping that keeping him brushed will help with the hair.

What products would you recommend for my carpet? He is almost potty trained so I’m looking more for fresheners. Nothing that gives off a cheap air freshener vibe, just something that deodorizes and absorbs. Thoughts?

I’m looking at getting another steam vac. Our other one only lasted a year. I’d love suggestions on those too.

I think that’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll be back with more questions! If you have any advice for raising a lab, I’d love to hear it!



  1. Beatiful dog!! For a large dog, I have a Yorkie who sleeps with me, sounds like a crate would be good to keep him from wandering in the night and maybe getting into trouble. I had a canister Bissel steam vac for about 20 years, used it twice a year. I have an Bissell upright and a Bissel spot cleaner. That works for me. Air freshner that is sprinkled on the carpet and then vacuumed up seem to help keep the odor down.

  2. You can actually put the crate in the kids room (if that’s plausible). The kids and the dog will love being together at night. Especially where he’s a lab. For the carpet, a product called Kids N Pets ( is awesome! It’s available at Walmart. It not only deodorizes, but it has an enzyme in it that will actually break down the proteins in animal urine completely. It works really, really well!

    For the dog odor in general, baths help quite a big. Our Beagle can be one STINKY dog, but a bath every so often has really helped. Enjoy the new dog! I’m sure the boys will love him.

    • Thanks Graydon! I am going to give him a bath tomorrow (had to fight the urge to do it today, but didn’t want to overwhelm him) and we’ll try that every so often from here on out. We put him in the landing and Aaron is sleeping next to him tonight. He went to sleep right away, no whining. He’s been the most incredible puppy so far, so mellow. Hopefully it lasts :) Thanks for the suggestion on the carpet cleaner too.

  3. Tanya Giaimo says:

    In the beginning we kept our crate close to the back door to really minimize that accident possibility until he knew the layout of the house. Really worked quickly and he knew the route to the back door. We also trained him to ring bells hanging from the back door when he had to go outside. It completely saved us from him scratching on the door. And we can hear them all the way upstairs, so no accidents. The more chew toys the better. He will learn what is his very quickly.

    • Bells, that’s a great tip. I worry about the scratching on the door too….and our screen door. Wondering how long that will last when he gets big!

  4. adorable! you probably already know that labs are notorious chewers,but one story for warning-friend of mine left panties on the floor,without t.m.i.the dog swallowed it and needed expensive intestinal surgery from which she nearly died from.That landing seems like a good place since he won’t be too far from his wonderful new family.

  5. He is just beautiful!!! Advice from me is crate, crate, crate! lol I crate our Jack Russell at night if she doesn’t sleep in our youngest’s (almost 18) room and he HAS to have his door closed. Not sure why, I think it is because she get’s even with us, but if you don’t crate her, she will go to a room and poop in it. Makes me so made because I know she is doing it on purpose. Not sure what labs do though. Good luck!

  6. Labs are good dogs for kids, you’re right they love to chew, so having a few toys is a great idea. (They don’t outgrow the puppy stage, when their grown, they think they’re lap dogs!) and LOVE attention! My son & daughter-in-law have a 4 yr old lab they’ve had since she was a puppy – here’s a few things I’ve learned:
    Labs love water of course, so with that in mind, prepare yourself when it rains! We have a towel at the back door and wipe her feet when she comes in from outside.

    Watch Toby’s ears, floppy eared dogs have a tendency to get ear infections, and you can tell when they have one, they constantly flop their head,(and if you get close enough to their ears–It Stinks!) just clean them out with a solution you can get at pet smart or a local drug store, and plenty of Q-tips! My son does his dog at least once a month. If that doesn’t work, you may have to visit the vet, we had a Rotty, prior to the Lab and she had so many ear infections that she had to have surgery, basically closing up her ear canal.

    Shedding- oh what a mess, invest in a good comb, and a under coat brush- the best investment ever- it grabs all the hair under the top coat –great tool. and to keep— or at least try to keep dog hair off furniture and even carpeting, buy a cheap squeegee, they work pretty good. Good luck ! Send pix as he grows!

    • Awesome! We picked up a brush, but I will go back and get an under coat brush too. I didn’t realize that his ears were long enough for problems. I guess I assumed that floppy eared dogs were referring to breeds like the basset hound we had as a child. Good to know. I will clean his ears when I bathe him. Thank you for the first hand experience with labs. How fun!

  7. I do not like spray or plug-in freshners so when I saw Joy Mangano’s air freshners on HSN I tried them and really like them. The smells are not over powering and I have them in bathrooms as welll as other places around the house. Item numbers for 2 offers right now are 271-292 and 224-335. They last 2 years. You can put them in closets, drawers, just about anywhere for clean smelling air. The dog is sooo cute and I never met a black lab who wasn’t a great dog. Before long you will accept any of his little indescretions just like you do the kids; then you know he really is a member of the family. My mother always had dogs when I was growing up and I never cared much for dogs. I will take a cat over a dog every time. But here I am 74 yrs old with little dogs (2) on my lap with the cat. I turned into my mother!!!

    • Thanks for the suggestions Linda! I really hope he is a great fit for our family! And I think you’re right, he’ll become a part of the family and it won’t matter if he has a few faults :)

  8. For the smell, nothing beats weekly baths. I know it sounds terrible but it really helps. Also, don’t use the crate as punishment. It’s his corner of the world and he needs to feel like it’s a safe place. Good luck! My first dog currently has his head on my knee as I type!

    • I’m glad to hear this. Actually I want to bathe him frequently but didn’t know if it would dry his skin out. If it helps with shedding and odor, I’ll give it a shot! :)

  9. For labs, you don’t want to wash them too often, because it will ruin their coat. They have special oils in their skin that help them swim. Monthly is about as much as you want to do. Great option for big chewers are Nylabones. They don’t break off into large hunks like rawhide, and also won’t give them diarrhea like the rawhides, either. Bully sticks and deer antlers are other great options, but they may not last as long. Furminator is a great brush for a lab, because it pulls out all that undercoat. You’ll be amazed what will come off a short haired lab even. Crates are your best friend. Try to make it a place the dog will love to go by giving treats for going in and leaving the door open for the dog to go in and out as it pleases when you’re home. Labs are generally great dogs, but remember that a tired dog is a good dog. Lots of walks and good toys that will help work their brains will keep them occupied. Buster ball and Tug A Jug are great. You can put treats in there and give them something to play with at the same time.
    Enjoy your newest addition.

    • HI Crystal, thanks for the GREAT advice. I took notes as I read your post. Monthly baths (I was going to give him weekly ones, but didn’t realize that about lab’s fur). nylabones (maybe Santa will bring him one!), and a furminator. Perfect. It will be a challenge to keep him busy and entertained, but one we are up for. Thank you so much!

  10. Oh he’s adorable–congratulations! We keep our Sunny’s crate in our bedroom. (When my daughter is home from college, the crate goes in her room.) It’s nice and out of the way there. For occasional accidents on our area rug, we use a product called Nature’s Miracle that we get at PetSmart. It is GREAT. It totally neutralizes an order without adding any scent. Just fresh and clean. When we first got our dog, I was adamant that she not get on our sofa, but she does now, and I have become really lenient. Mostly, though, she has one chair that she lays on, and I keep a little towel on it to protect it. Enjoy Toby! My friend had black labs for years, and they are great dogs.

  11. I grew up with 2 black labs and a yellow lab/st bernard mix… wonderful family dogs! I always crate train my dogs… i think it’s important for them to have their own “safe place” where they can go if they need to feel comforted (imagine a blankie). it’s also good for emergencies, travel, and times when you don’t want them outside (fireworks, halloween, etc). make sure not to give him rawhide, or toys that can break down and be ingested. deer antlers are great for chewing and they do NOT break down! also i highly recommend socialization (after all immunizations are complete). you want your dog to be social and get along with other dogs and people. good luck and enjoy that cutie!

    • Hi Kellee! Thanks for your response! We got him an antler and he LOVES it! I’m sure we will invest in more as he continues to go through the chewing stage. I have a friend who wants to socialize our dogs when his shots are done. I’m nervous because he is so small and her dog is huge, but I think it will be good for him to get to know other dogs and to be able to take him in public with us. He’s such a sweetie! Have a wonderful weekend!

Talk to Me!