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Hi All

We are due to pick up our 8 week old lab pup on the 25th November.

We would like to start socialising her ASAP, and based on potential extended or altering covid lockdowns in the UK, meeting/seeing people outside is going to be our best bet. We know that we can't take her for a walk outside until her vaccinations which will fall pretty much dead on Xmas, so we are toying with the idea of a carrier for her so we can walk and she can come along for the ride.

Is this a good idea, or a silly one?

If it's a good one, can you recommend a carrier for a puppy? We have looked at ruck sacks like the K9 Sports sacks - these seem to be for smaller adult dogs, so I'm guessing a pup would be ok?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
 

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I must admit it's not something I've ever used.

In days gone by I was chairman of a dog training club and used to take my pups along literally from day one, just to sit on my lap and see the sights and sounds. But being my own club allowed me to do things not really open to other people. And of course, training clubs and puppy parties are closed at the moment.

One problem with Labradors is that they get heavy very quickly. When Chloe arrived the ladies at the local flower shop wanted to see her so I carried her there at 8 weeks old. There was a seat outside the shop so I carried her there, sat on the seat for a few minutes letting the world pass by. There were always people passing by who wanted to make a fuss of her. But although it was only ten houses from home, by 9 weeks old she was getting too heavy for even that short distance!

Again I'm lucky in that I have private farmland where I can take my puppies, where they can get use to seeing sheep and cattle, and because it's private there is no problem with my pup walking on the ground. But I'm known so the farmer and the gamekeeper know I wont allow my pup to cause problems. I certainly would not go on farmland where I was not know, or where I did not know the cattle!

But to me, the biggest thing to do with babies is to start training heelwork, and this only needs a small garden, or even indoors! I would want the basics to be installed before the pup ever goes out on the lead. And that's not long! The first vaccination can be given at 8 weeks old and the second, depending on the vet's protocol at between 10 to 12 weeks old. Vets tend to vary in how long after the second jab to keep the puppy in. Some say one week, some say two, but for my part I always take mine out after a few days to a week. (I date back to the days before vaccinations were readily available so tend not to be overly concerned) So looked at like that, your pup could be going out for short walks by 11 weeks or so old.

This is a little article I wrote about socialising some time back :-

SOCIALISING:- That much misunderstood word!

What do people think of in human terms, when talking about socialising? Going out to the pub or clubbing, a wine or beer or two, dancing and chatting up the opposite sex!! So is it surprising that people, when talking of socialising a puppy think along the same lines? But really, that is not what canine socialising should be all about. Socialising is simply the wrong word for what we should be doing. Familiarising is a far better word, learning to meet and deal with all things the pup is going to come across in later life. Uncontrolled playing is not what should be happening, this is simply training your pup to be a hooligan! We want to be the centre of our dog’s life, not running off to play with every dog he sees, where the play becomes the focus and we become an afterthought.

Almost all people love to see a puppy, but few people like to see muddy paw prints on their nice clean clothes just as they are going out shopping. But they are their worst enemies, making a fuss of the puppy one day then complaining about muddy paws the next, and you go from, “That woman with the lovely Labrador puppy!” one day, to “That woman with the uncontrollable dog!” the next. Better for you to take control from the start, it’s your puppy and your responsibility. When people say to me, “Oh it’s all right, I don’t mind.” my answer is, but the next person might. Teach your pup to meet and greet with all four feet on the ground, then to sit quietly beside you while you chat about the weather or old Mrs so and so at number 46. Aim to be “The lady with that lovely calm Labrador!” That does not just happen, that comes with training. Exactly the same applies when meeting another dog. Dont stop all playing, but limit it and BE IN CHARGE! It finishes when you say. A minutes hoolie which finishes with you calling your dog too you, praising it for coming and then walking away together gives a wonderful feeling to both humans and dog. Remember what I’ve said so many times on these posts of mine, “Everything is a training opportunity!” Aim to be the place where your pup’s fun comes form, not other people and dogs.

Following on a little, I often talk about thinking about dogs in the wild. The nearest equivalent, behaviour wise, in the UK are fox cubs. I’ve often sat in my truck in the middle of the wood watching them play. But really. In this case there is no comparison between wild and domestic dogs. A wild pup will play, but really, only with it’s own littermates. Strangers would be chased off by the sire or dam. But the play period would not last long before leaving “home” and finding food becomes the priority. The pup would be forced to grow up and become an adult very quickly. Domestic dogs do not have the same priorities. Food is supplied without any work needed on the part of the dog. literally the dog does not need to even think! We do it for them. Domestic dogs have become the Peter Pan of the canine world, so don’t wait for them to become adult because in comparison with the wild canine, it aint gonna happen. Thats one reason why training is so important!

We all have different lives, do different things and want different things from our dogs. So even before we get our pup really we should be sitting down and thinking about what we want from our pup, and how best to get it. I work my dogs so they need to be familiar with livestock, sheep and cattle, birds, hare and deer. So I need to make a conscious effort to take my pup to places where she is going to meet them, so I’m able to teach her to leave them alone. Possibly if you love hiking then the same situation applies. Maybe if you live in a big city your pup might need to travel on buses and trains. As I said, think about your lifestyle and decide what your pup needs to know about. Maybe now you can see why I said that “Socialising” is the wrong word, and “Familiarising” is a so much better word. I saw a picture on here a while back, two dog walkers meeting, one says to the other, “You’re so lucky having such a well behaved dog!” and the other saying, “It’s strange, but the more I train the luckier I get.” You get out what you put in, and I don’t mean walking long distances, it’s all about quality, not quantity.

The photo below was of my Amy at about 12 weeks old, taking in the sights and sounds at a gundog working test. And the second was when she was 14 weeks old starting her retrieve training. Sadly she is no longer with me, having died in February this year at 2 weeks short of 15 years old.


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I purchased this for my puppy to use before he was allowed out. Quite expensive but it gave him the opportunity to get out and used to noise, cars, lorries etc. He’s now 11 months old and very confident.
i also have an older Labrador who’s not moving as well so could use for him if he can’t go so far so ”kills 2 birds with 1 stone”
 

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I bought a baby sling and used it for all of mine when they were puppies. It helps to support the weight because as many of you will have realised, the longer you carry a puppy, the heavier it gets :)
 

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Thanks for all the info.

A baby sling may well be the best option to get started.

We have lots of plans for socialisation/familiarisation lined up.
 
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