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Hi everyone,

Just looking for a bit of reassurance/ advice. So we’ve had our 13 week old lab pup for 5 weeks now, and we’re a bit concerned that she’s just an unhappy puppy. We’re very sure there are no health issues present, she’s always been quite a quiet and reserved puppy since the day we brought her home, but there’s just something about her where she seems to be unhappy all the time.

I’ve read a lot online about how to tell if your dog is unhappy, such as what you can read from a dogs face. Her mouth is almost always locked shut, which can apperently be a sign she is uncomfortable? She’s walked as much as allowed for her age, played with regularly both indoors and outdoors. Her training is going well, with the only issues being she can be quite difficult when out walking in terms of refusing to walk if it’s not on her terms/ in the way she wants to go.

I guess it can be hard to tell if a Labrador is unhappy given the nature of the breed, but I guess what I’m asking is are my concerns about her happiness, seeming quite distant, mouth always firmly shut etc signs I should be worried about? Or should I just put it down to a pup being a pup? What do you all look out for as the best pointers towards a happy/ unhappy pup?
 

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To be fair, I don't really walk pups up until six months of age, they are taken out and about, but just allowed to play and get used to the daily sights, sounds and smells, rather than be walked. Other than that I do basic training with them, so recall, manners on lead and sit/stop.
 

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Hi everyone,

Just looking for a bit of reassurance/ advice. So we’ve had our 13 week old lab pup for 5 weeks now, and we’re a bit concerned that she’s just an unhappy puppy. We’re very sure there are no health issues present, she’s always been quite a quiet and reserved puppy since the day we brought her home, but there’s just something about her where she seems to be unhappy all the time.

I’ve read a lot online about how to tell if your dog is unhappy, such as what you can read from a dogs face. Her mouth is almost always locked shut, which can apperently be a sign she is uncomfortable? She’s walked as much as allowed for her age, played with regularly both indoors and outdoors. Her training is going well, with the only issues being she can be quite difficult when out walking in terms of refusing to walk if it’s not on her terms/ in the way she wants to go.

I guess it can be hard to tell if a Labrador is unhappy given the nature of the breed, but I guess what I’m asking is are my concerns about her happiness, seeming quite distant, mouth always firmly shut etc signs I should be worried about? Or should I just put it down to a pup being a pup? What do you all look out for as the best pointers towards a happy/ unhappy pup?
I'm not a very experienced lab owner - our girl is only 17 weeks old, although we do have 2 older yorkies as well. The walking thing, the behaviour you describe is not unusual, quite early on I had to stop all attempts at formal lead walking and get back to basics at home and in the garden. I've just recently restarted short loose lead walks using little bits of cheese and hot dog sausage as the incentive and slowly we are making some progress, but it's tiring and tedious at times.....all the repetition.....
As to your pups reserve, sounds like it might be her character - Jas is full on and at times
exhausting but I knew when I chose her that she was one of the more dominant pups so what did I expect 😀 ? I've met other lab owners with quieter dogs, just like their human owners they all have their quirks I'm sure.
Sometimes it's human nature to worry and read too much into our pups behaviour isn't it?
Sounds to me like you are doing your best, after all you are still very much getting to know your puppy and she you.
This is a bit of a ramble, probably other members will be able to offer different views on your post. As you probably have already found, this site is hugely helpful and reassuring.
Good luck
 

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I'll start with the walking to start with. This is so normal. Most of mine have been reluctant to walk outside the gate to start with. Just think for a minute, until you took her out she never even knew there was anything outside her house and garden. Now suddenly the world is a big rather frightening place with noisy cars and huge lorries passing by! She's way outside her comfort zone! My usual tactic is to pick my pup up, carry her 10 or 20 meters along the path then put her down and walk back home. Babies are always happier heading home. After a couple of times of this I'll carry her a little way then put her down and walk a few paces away from home before turning round and heading back home again. The important thing is not to worry her. Let her set the pace, allow her confidence to build. There is no rush.

I’ve read a lot online about how to tell if your dog is unhappy
That can be fatal! Sometimes I read something on the net and I wonder to myself if the author had ever owned a dog in their life! All dogs are different just as all humans are different. Some dogs, even Labradors can be quite reserved, not into cuddles and kisses. That does not mean they are unhappy, it's just their preference. During these early days it's all about establishing the right relationship, building trust. Doing things together, training for example, interacting with our puppy.
 
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