We are Lab Rescue L.R.C.P, an all-volunteer rescue organization that saves and adopts out more than 1,000 Labrador Retrievers each year. We serve a 6 state area & DC in the US (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, northeast North Carolina, and DC)

Today we are answering questions after our monthly adoption event where hopefully we will find new homes for more than 20 dogs. Our volunteers have years of experience in rescue, fostering, and lab behavior and we'd love to answer your questions! Some topics we can answer questions about:

  • Rescue - what is it, how does it work

  • Fostering - we have a network of almost 100 foster homes who take care of our labs until we find them homes

  • Lab Behavior - we've seen it all!

  • Lost dogs

  • Labs and children interaction

  • How to house train/crate train your dog

We will take questions starting at 9am ET and will begin answering at 1pm after our adoption event!

If you'd like to learn more or donate to our work, we encourage you to visit our website: lab-rescue.org, and if you're in our service area, consider adopting from us!


  1. Visit our website at lab-rescue.org to see what we're all about and to verify our existence.

  2. We are one of the top rescues who utilize social media to its fullest with almost half a million followers - check us out on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You'll see our advertisement for this AMA!

  3. Here we are at our adoption event today

Note: Though we have a lot of experience with dogs (labs in particular), we are not medical experts. If you have a medical concern about your dog, you should see your veterinarian.

Comments: 84 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

flammablepenguins12 karma

A few questions.

  1. Do you get your labs from shelters? In San Diego groups like yours made it very difficult to find a shelter lab. We searched daily for a lab, instead a "rescue" would snatch them up as soon as they were available then charge 300-500 dollars as a "rehoming fee". If you take them from no kill shelters, why?

  2. Why "rescue" a breed that is in high demand, why not a breed shelters are full of like pitbulls or chihuahuas?

labrescuelrcp9 karma

1) Our labs come to us one of two ways: from local shelters and from owner give ups. If a shelter has the resources and space, often they don't reach out to us. But many of the shelters we work with are full, don't have the funding, or are rural and don't have adopters. If that's the case, the shelter reaches out to us and we take the dog into the rescue to free up space for other dogs in full shelters.

Once a dog is in the rescue, we have the time to find the family. We also have more resources to vet dogs that have complicated medical issues. And we actually lose money on every adoption. Our average cost is $700 and our adoption fee is $300, this isn't a money-making operation. But we do send dogs home that are fully vetted, fixed, and have a clean bill of health (or the health problems are known to the adopters).

2) There are rescues that cater to pitbull and chihuahua lovers, we happen to be a lab rescue. And though labs are in high demand, we still rescue and adopt more than 1000 of them a year so there is a need. We also rescue mixed breeds, pregnant moms where we don't know who the dad is (let's just say our Dane/lab pups were adorable!) and we've even taken in a bonded lab/cat pair!

flammablepenguins-11 karma

Sincerely thank you for your reply. I will respectfully disagree about it not being a money making organization though as I'm certain there are quite a few paid positions around. The rehoming fee isn't the only income most of these places get, there is also the donations to consider. Either someone can afford to lose a ton of money a year or it is extremely unlikely you are losing $400 a dog on approx 1000 dogs a year. In my experience some of the most profitable ventures are "non-profit".

labrescuelrcp10 karma

You're welcome to check out our 990, we are a registered non-profit and our information is available for view to anyone.

You're right, we do get other income, mainly through donations which cover our loss for each adoption. We aren't a money-making organization, the group answering these questions are all volunteers and sitting here at lunch that we pay for ourselves after spending 4 hours at an adoption event driving more than an hour to get here. It's a labor of love.

sydbobyd6 karma

What are some things, large and small, that people can do to help rescue efforts?

labrescuelrcp10 karma

  • Money: every dog we adopt out, we take a loss. It costs us about $700 a dog on average to care for them and our adoption fee is $300, so we rely on fundraising and donations, especially when we take in a dog with heartworms, broken leg, or other medical issues.

  • Adopt seniors: Everybody wants to save seniors, but no one wants to adopt them. It's about quality not quantity when it comes to time. Senior dogs take less training and time and it's so rewarding. They tend to be lower energy levels (not always!) and they are often set in their ways and can easily move into your lifestyle.

  • VOLUNTEER! We have adoption coordinators, fosters, transporters, housecheck, webmasters, social media, and so much more that make this rescue work happen. We always need help at fundraising events, adoption events, even putting stamps on fundraising letters!

  • Spay/Neuter Your Dog: Yes, labs are a great breed and yet, there are still too many of them. Your dog may be great but we adopt out 1000 labs a year already and don't need more :)

  • Spread the word: Share adoptable dogs on social media (it takes hundreds of shares to get an adoption), support them in their fundraisers, tell people thinking about getting a dog about rescues.

Marginbuilder5 karma

What are the things you look for from your forever families? Pay, housing, children etc... what are the green flags, what are the red?

labrescuelrcp4 karma

We look for adopters who can commit to exercise and train the lab, able to make a commitment to the cost of vetting and care. But overall it depends on the dog, each dog needs different things but they all need a lifelong commitment.

Green flags are good references and vet history. Red flags is poor vetting of previous dogs, unrealistic expectations, unwilling to train. And it's all about the individual dog. If someone wants a puppy but they are gone for 12 hours a day and have never had a dog before, it's a red flag for us. Likewise, if we have a dog who loves to chase tennis balls and run around in the yard, it's a red flag if someone just lives in an apartment and works a lot.

VentureBrosef3 karma

First I would like to thank you for doing this. My family and I are big fans of Lab Rescue LRCP and everything you guys do. We follow all your posts, and we just attended our first lab walk in Annapolis.

I have two questions:

  1. I know people surrender their dogs for a multitude of reasons. In the past, has Lab Rescue ever experienced someone surrendering their lab due to hardship (medical, financial, etc), and later on readopting them?

  2. I know your group has relationships with many shelters throughout your service area. I see occasional Facebook posts for area shelters featuring newly given up labs. What is the process for when your group takes in a lab from an area shelter? At what point do these shelters reach out to your group? How do you determine if you will take in that lab or not?

labrescuelrcp5 karma

  1. We recently returned a dog who was given up by an elderly couple and their granddaughter recently adopted the dog. We do adopt back if their situation changes and the dog is still available. However, often times, hardships can mask other issues happening and families just need to focus on other things than caring for a dog.

  2. Each shelter is different. Some move the dogs quickly to rescue because they are high volume. Others only reach out if the dog has special needs. We evaluate the dog for temperament and if the dog looks 'lab-ish.' If the dog passes evaluation, we work to vet the dog and find a foster until adoption.

avi2 karma

Are there any behavior differences between different Lab sub breeds? (for example; danish Labs and english Labs) Thanks!

labrescuelrcp2 karma

Really no. There are external differences (English labs have larger block heads and shorter legs) but behavior differences vary by dog. When you're looking at labs by sub breed, you're looking for physical specifications more than behavioral.

Happyhorses422 karma

Since you work with a very popular breed and most likely see many dogs come from backyard breeders and puppy farms; would you like to see more regulation in the breeding and sales of dogs? Also, do you think it's fair that rescues are generally required to adopt out altered dogs while breeders and pet stores can sell intact dogs?

labrescuelrcp3 karma

Our rescue does not have a policy on breeders, but as individuals who take care of the dogs who come into our rescue, yes, we would love more regulation in breeding. We get a lot of dogs from Lancaster County, PA, where breeding is excessive in that community. They also turn over their breeder girls when they are finished with them and the dogs are usually poorly socialized and often have health problems. Once you care for a bunch of overbred mamas and puppies with health problems, you start to believe in the power of regulation.

TheCarpenter6711 karma

Lancaster? That's where I got my dog, from an Amish family, do they over breed?

labrescuelrcp3 karma

We don't want to make generalizations but we receive a very large number of female breeding labs from the area, mostly from Amish breeders. You can take that as you wish but the labs come to us very unsocialized, evidence of years of breeding and get turned into shelter/rescue around the same age. We had a girl today from Lancaster breeders who has no experience with toys, treats, or inside life. Sadly, it's pretty common from Lancaster.

jondus12 karma

Only labs? and if so why only labs?

labrescuelrcp4 karma

Yes, we are a breed-specific rescue. It's actually more valuable to be a breed-specific rescue in a lot of ways because it's more efficient because adopters coming to us are looking for something specific that we offer! Honestly, it's a group of people who love the breed and want to reach out and save that type of dog. And we connect with adopters who love the breed and come to us specifically because we have labs.

Djxhwksjwlsb2 karma

Have you rejected an adoption to a family? If yes, what was the reason? Thanks for doing this AmA..

labrescuelrcp3 karma

Thank you for your question.

We do on occasion reject a family if there's a history of poor vetting, bad reference checks, not all family members are on board with the adoption, or if they just aren't a good fit for the dog they are interested in.

We try to ensure that the dog's needs and the adopters needs coincide and if they don't, we can try to point them to a dog that better meets their needs.

DogProudSayItLoud2 karma

Last night my labs ATE a whole bag of (non treated) native wildflower seeds. I found the tattered remains of the bag on our couch just now. How on earth do we curb this behavior? They have other things to chew, and yes, we feed them enough. Do wildflower seeds smell that tasty? We do keep anything and everything we think they might lust after put up out of their reach. But now, garden seeds?

labrescuelrcp12 karma

Welcome to lab parenthood!

For labs, they never eat enough. It's just a trait of the breed, they are bred that way.

As for curbing the behavior, it's going to be a human training thing, not a lab thing, sorry. Several of us sitting here have just learned to put everything away as the food-motivation is often too strong for them.

Enjoy your yard full of wildflowers this summer!

frstinline2 karma

What are your thoughts on e-collars for training purposes?

labrescuelrcp5 karma

They are ineffective, can be dangerous, can have the opposite effect of what you intend because they can create fear and aggression.

Put it on yourself, hit the button, and then decide if it's a good idea to put it on a dog :)

Positive reinforcement is proven by research over and over to be the most effective.

Deflin2 karma

What's the best way to train my lab to fetch?

labrescuelrcp3 karma

1) Have them play with another dog who likes to fetch and see if they pick up on the skill

2) Throw treats. If your dog is food motivated, they'll pick it up quickly.

But there are some dogs who just don't care about fetch.

Spokemaster_Flex2 karma

Do you think that the high popularity of Labs as "easy starter dogs" and the resultant high numbers of breeders good and bad has caused an increase in Labs with inherent behavioral issues (i.e. anxiety, aggression, etc)?

labrescuelrcp3 karma

Those behaviors are very uncommon and are occasionally seen in dogs that come from unfortunate situations. However, over-breeding does lead to health concerns and under-socializing your dog/lack of exercise often contributes to those issues in all dogs, including labs.

Wolfir2 karma

Labs are the most popular companion breed in the United States, and for good reason. Do you think it's easier to run a rescue group for labs than it is for, say, Huskies?

labrescuelrcp3 karma

Yes. Labs are a less-demanding breed and the law of supply and demand works in our favor.

Otterlyridiculous_2 karma

My 1 year old yellow lab LOVES people. My husband and I have both have 10 labs between us growing up but our little guy loves people way more than we have ever seen before. Is there a way to work on him not getting so distracted in public? He listens fabulously in small crowds but once he gets in larger settings all training with him seems to go out the window even if we have treats on hand (he's highly food motivated).

labrescuelrcp3 karma

Agree with other poster, you have to work with them in increments. Once they pass their "threshold," you can't bring them back. So practice in smaller environments and work your way up.

BrutallyHonestDude1 karma


labrescuelrcp4 karma

Nope! (Although if you ask black lab owners, they think they're better, same with yellow lab owners)

Marginbuilder1 karma

How do you help a dog that gets car sick?

labrescuelrcp3 karma

From one of our volunteers: If I know they are going to be carsick, I give them a few ginger snaps and that often settles their stomach. I always travel with a roll of paper towels just in case of unexpected disasters.

swimmerstoe1 karma

On May 11th 2012 we brought home 10 year old Jesse. He had laryngeal paralysis and his previous owners had an illness in the family that kept them from being able to care for him properly. He is now nearing the end of his days. We have a harness on him because he can not get up on his own so he has to be lifted to his feet. He has had surgery for his condition and now he can't bark, not that it keeps him from trying! Even so Jesse is the most awesome dog ever. We love having him and we plan to keep him around as long as he is happy to be here. My only complaint is about the people in the groups/forums who curse and swear at owners who give up their pups. The people who gave up Jesse did both him and us a great favor by giving him up. They would not have been able to give him the level of care that he needed -and still needs. Why does this group allow all the negativity around rehoming a dog? If someone is giving up a dog it's usually because they are not willing/able to care for them properly, but they way people in the groups talk makes it really difficult to do the right thing and get these dogs to a place where they can live happy. Do you really want dogs to stay in a situation that is bad for them? Why is this allowed or even encouraged? -Also do you guys want to know (on the forums) about Jesse when his time comes? I don't know if it's just a bummer to find out or if you really want to know when he's gone. I don't imagine it'll be long.

labrescuelrcp3 karma

The opinions expressed in a group is not necessarily the attitude of the rescue. We try to control the forums but we're all volunteers so emotional outbursts aren't always able to be policed.

Most people would say they would NEVER give up their dog. But never is a long time and sometimes life happens. We understand that and there are several instances where yes, owner give up is the best option and we never fault them for that.

deadlychambers1 karma

You have anyone you know in Denver?

labrescuelrcp2 karma

Sure, my Uncle Bob. Kidding. But honestly, search lab rescue Colorado and you should have some options come up. Petfinder.com is always a good resources as well.

mlsommer311 karma

When they are rescued, do you get all their shots over again, just to be safe? Or how do you decide which shots to give?

labrescuelrcp1 karma

All Lab Rescue dogs come with shot records whether they are from the shelter or one of Lab Rescue's vet. Always follow the advice of your personal vet on the shots to give as it depends on the age and medical history of each individual dog. For us, things like heartworm treatment vary on the age of the dog. Heartworm treatment can be really difficult especially for older dogs so we sometimes take a different route with them depending on what our vets recommend.

Also a PSA here: PLEASE get your dog on heartworm prevention. I think if people had to see what a dog has to go through for treatment, they'd never let their dog miss a dose.

nambypambycandy1 karma

Do you love all the dogs that pass through & are you more happy or sad when they get adopted?

labrescuelrcp2 karma

It depends. We love all the dogs (maybe not all the same) and we're always happy to see them go to a good home. Of course for their foster, especially if a dog has been with us for a while, it's sad but it's always the ultimate goal, to get a dog into the right home for them.

Sometimes_seriouss1 karma

My wife and her friends are into the pitbull world i suppose you could say. Theres always a lot of pitbulls that are in need of foster homes and forever homes, my question, id the labrador retriever rescue world as big and known?

labrescuelrcp1 karma

There's a huge number of lab rescues across the country, but we are actually the largest lab rescue with more than 1000 adoptions a year. As labs continue to be popular breed, it's possible the need for rescues will grow.

Marginbuilder1 karma

What are the best ways to train a lab new to our home? Puppy?

labrescuelrcp2 karma

Take your new dog/puppy to a class. Positive reinforcement training is key and socialization is vital. And give the new dog time to adjust to the house rules. Be consistent (all family members). And please don't ever ever ever hit or yell at your dog, it does the exact opposite of what you want.