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  • Writer's pictureElla Gaffke

A Dozen Dogs or More

The face people make when you tell them that you have 13 labs is usually a mix of shock and disbelief. I usually quickly follow up with the fact that they are all house dogs because it’s common for people to assume that with that many dogs they must be outside dogs. But the truth is all the dogs that we have are a part of our family and are held close to our hearts.

However, with this many house dogs there must be some rules and routines behind the scenes. Here are tips for those with a few house dogs or 13.

  • Furniture

From a young age Gaffke’s Gun Dogs are taught that they are not allowed on the furniture. Now there is one small breach in this rule, and it is that the dogs are allowed on our beds. This wasn’t always the case but after I (the youngest in our family of five) told my parent they needed to adopt another sibling for me to snuggle or let me have my dogs on my bed to snuggle with, it was much easier to just let me have the dogs in my bed.

So, now the dogs can sleep on our beds but are still not allowed on any of the couches or chairs in the living room. With the dogs sleeping on our beds, we have blankets over our comforters to keep our bedding nicer and wash all the bedding less.

Not all our dogs choose to sleep on the beds, but the ones that are extra snuggly typically do. Some dogs just prefer to sleep in their own spots on their dog beds.

  • Toys

Our dogs have a plethora of toys, they love their toys, and they all know exactly where the toy bin is. However, labs are high energy dogs, it’s simply in their blood. They also love to retrieve. With these two things in mind, we don’t allow balls in the house, and we don’t throw any toys in the house, this would result in our whole pack running and barking in the house (which is pure chaos, trust me).

Our dogs know they can play with their toys if they aren’t being too rambunctious. We also make sure our dogs get plenty of exercise outside every day, so they don’t feel the need to play hard in the house. (More on how we exercise our dogs in another blog).

-The dogs toy bin.

-The dogs out for a walk getting their exercise.


  • Sleeping Arrangements

We get asked a lot where our dogs sleep at night and the answer is everywhere! They each have their very own spots in our two-story log ranch house. I sleep with four dogs in my room, my sister has two, and my parents have two and then the other five sleep in the dog room, which has three crates, dog beds and blankets. Our younger pups still sleep in crates to make sure they don’t chew anything overnight.

During the day we have lots of dog beds in the house and you will find the dogs each lounging in their own spots. For example, you can be sure to find Harper in my room or the bathroom, you can find Foster Jane on my bed and Coleman sleeping on the bed by the back door. We teach our dogs that the house is for relaxing and if they want to play, they can play outside.

We love having our 13 labs, they are like family and even though it sounds a little crazy to say, “My family has 13 labs, that all live in the house,” we wouldn’t change a thing. We took the sang, “it’s cheaper by the dozen” (or maybe 13 in our case) very seriously.

-Coleman and some friends snuggled up on the dogs bed.

-Our dogs crashed out after a long day of excercise and fun.

-Foster Jane poses for a picture in her favorite place, my bed.

-Wade (far left), Layne (middle) and Ivan (far right) all snuggled up on their elevated dogs beds.

Thanks for reading.

To go to our Gaffke’s Gun Dogs Facebook page click here.

About the author:

I am a sophomore at Olivet College and am studying Media Production and Communications. I am currently discovering what direction I want to pursue in media and communications and play basketball at Olivet as well.

I often miss my dogs when I am at college but make sure to visit home often and see my four-legged friends.

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Feb 20, 2023

Very insightful. An enjoyable read! I told your mom when I was getting Roxy that she could adopt me! I would love to have a baker's dozen pack of loveable Gaffke Labs 🐾❤️

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