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Hello, my name is Aubrey. I am a first-time pet owner. I decided to keep my 3 mo old Labradane puppy (& rename her Zelda Fitzgerald) when she was abandoned at my house in New Orleans by her transient owner a week ago. (I am also new to the New Orleans area.) She has a black coat with slight brindle stripes. I just took her to the vet & besides a Staph infection, which I am now treating her for with medication, she is in perfect health & I have set up an appointment to get her spayed.

I have a lot of time & patience so even though I am not really sure how to go about it, I really want to get her trained well. Right now she lives in the yard and I want to get her to behave well enough to stay and sleep in the house. I also need to get her potty trained to do this. I want to teach her how to fetch, not lean on people (she is going to get to be a really big dog) and I am also interested in learning more about a vegetarian dog diet for her (I have read a little bit about it online).
 

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Well first off if you want her to be an indoor dog you need to bring her in the house now and just start working on this stuff. She isn't going to learn to hold her bladder and bowels while in the house if she's kept outside all of the time. Everything takes time (like a year plus) so everything will be a work in progress. I recommend when she's 4-5 months old you enroll in a formal training class with a trainer and start that way since you've never trained before.

On potty training, IMO you should crate train and go from there. Buy a crate for her and start using it. When you cannot physically watch her she goes in the crate. If she's in the house you can tether her to you so that when she has an accident you're sure to see it, can put her outside and then praise when she finishes outside. You need to watch her so you can see and correct accidents, but yes she will have accidents. My Boxer had accidents until he was around 7 months old, he hasn't had one since and he'll be 1 year next week but some dogs take longer than others. Make sure to clean up any accidents REALLY well so that she doesn't want to go back to that area.

Many things will just be a work in progress over many months, but she definitely isn't going to learn anything by living outside, so bringing her in the house and starting to work with her not jumping, etc would be step one.
 

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Another thing to help establish that you're the boss is teach her to sit, then have her sit before every meal. This will keep you from getting mauled by an excited puppy every time you put food down and teach her that she has to be calm and that you control the food. Also it's a positive reinforcement for her to listen to you because she gets a whole meal when she does! I would also recommend getting a good dog training book until you can get her enrolled in a formal training class. Then you can get her off on the right paw and start identifying certain behaviors and how to correct them in a positive way, etc. etc.

I don't know much about vegetarian diets for dogs, I know some brands do sell vegetarian formulas: Nature's Recipe and Avoderm are the first that come to mind. I would do A LOT of research on that first before feeding it to a dog as large as a Great Dane though. They seem to have a different sort of digestive system than other dogs and need a really good diet to keep them healthy.

I'm sure Rawfeddogs will recommend you start and stick with a raw food diet for your labradane. This user has two Great Danes on this diet and they are thriving and doing really well. That and raw is the most natural and healthiest way to feed a dog.
 

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You got me curious so I started looking it up: http://www.v-dogfood.com/

Seemed like an interesting website, though all the research I've done says that grains and veggies are unnecessary for dogs who are carnivores (though there's even debate over whether or not they're carnivores or omnivores which seems ridiculous to argue with the descendants of wolves) if not harmful. But I'm no certified nutritionist so *shrug*

There are also several websites out there that say raw food diets are best for dogs: http://www.rawlearning.com/ and http://www.barfworld.com/ and http://leerburg.com/diet.htm

But do your own research and consult a vet and then do more research and come back here for advice and then make your decision after that :D We all have to go through that process to find out what is best for our dogs and our lifestyles and theirs. In the mean time I'd recommend going with a high quality kibble until you figure it all out.

List of those:
Natural Balance
Wellness
Innova
Nature's variety
Solid Gold
Blue Buffalo
Ultra

All good foods to get you started. Avoid any commercial dog foods you can get in a grocery store or that have corn or by-products as the first few ingredients (this includes Iams, Ol'Roy, Science Diet, Pedigree, Alpo, Kibbles N Bits, etc.).

Good luck again!
 
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Carnivores vs Omnivores

I remember years and years ago I wanted my cats to be vegetarians. (I am a Vegan). My vet patiently explained that cats were carnivores but he wasn't too worried as at that time I let them go outside in the woods next door so they could eat all the mice and whatever else they wanted despite what I wanted.
I did feed them vegetarian food for a while which they rarely ate, instead eating mostly the meat they caught.
When I decided it was safer for them to stay inside I started them on a raw diet.
Dogs (and wolves) are omnivores. they need to have meat as the first ingredient they eat but they also eat grains, veggies and fruit.
Think of a wolf when it eats a bunny. It eats the stomach contents first which are grains, fruits and veggies.
Martin Goldstein's book "The Nature of Animal Healing" talks about a vegetarian diet and the dangers.
By the same token a company came out with an all meat diet years ago that was just as dangerous.
Balance in everything.
 
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