Posted by: MLS | 2008/11/29

walking a puppy

We have recently acquired a male Labrador puppy who is nearly eight weeks old and weighs about 6 -7 kg. We have a large garden and he gets a fair amount of excercise running around after our other two pets. At what age should we start taking him for walks and what would be an appropriate distance or time to start with? When he first arrived just over a week ago he seemed to be very fat but he has since grown and slimmed down a bit. At the moment
we are feeding him 225g of Hills Science Large Breed Puppy per day. Are we feeding him enough because he eats as if there is no tomorrow? Thanks for your time.

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Our expert says:
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Dear MLS

Feed according to the Hills instructions on the back. Labs are always hungery. It best for a puppy to go for walks as soon as possible to socialize and meet other dogs. Slow gentle walks for 10 minutes or so, or just take him to a park where he can see other dogs and play a bit if he wants to.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Boerboel | 2008/12/03

Rather a little too much food than a little too little. Just watch his weight gain.
For socialization, allow him to spend as much time with with the family as possible and take him with you when you go out wherever possible so he can familiarize himself with new environments, smells, people, other dogs etc.
As for walking, I disagree with the idea of letting him walk untethered. He would have to get used to a lead and collar. Put a collar on him and leave it on for a few days till he is used to it. Then attach a lead and let him run about in the yard for short periods, but only while you are in attendance in case it gets snagged. He will also make the association of lead = attention / being with you. When you see that he is not too bothered with the lead, sit with him when he is calm and hold on to it. If he fights against it, don' t let go, but speak reassuringly and calm him down. He will stop fighting it after a while. Then move a very short distance (about a metre or two) and sit again. If he does' nt on his own, get him to come to you by encouragement, not pulling on the lead. Keep repeating this and slowly increasing the distances until you can move short distances without sitting down each time. Progress until you can walk continuously (slowly at first), and keep it up for about 10 mins. Repeat this execise daily if possible until you can control him on the lead without anxiety on his part. Then he will be ready to go for walks in the street, but don' t wander far from the house at first, rather walk up and down the street in front of your home. As you monitor his confidence level, increase the distance but remember, a pup will tire quickly.
All this will take a lot of time and patience, but it' s worth it to have a dog that' s not afraid of a lead, but looks forward to going for walks.
Good results usually require good effort.

Reply to Boerboel
Posted by: Carol | 2008/11/30

And dont forget to make it fun ... let him slop through puddles, sniff the grass , say hullo to passers by etc.

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Chill | 2008/11/29

Wise advice from Felicity, to which I' d just like to add that you need to review the amount your pup eats quite regularly, because as you' ll find out if you don' t know already, big-dog pups grow at an astronomical rate, and need an increasing amount of nutrition as they get bigger.

Also: the walking bit at this stage, when you get to it, is more to get him used to walking on a lead and interacting with the world than for exercise as such. I don' t think you should worry about time/distance covered for quite a while, and certainly not as ' work'  until he' s much, much bigger. Regard it as a teaching process rather than exercise as such.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: felicity | 2008/11/29

Labbies are gluttons and would eat 3 X the recommended quantities of any given diet!!! Just follow the guidelines on the back of your bag i.e month 2-3 and the kg = X grams.
I think the norm is to wait once the pup has had its 2nd innoculation plus a waiting period thereafter before taking him out. Most reputable puppy socialising classes specify after 2nd innoculation. Check with your vet regarding sociliasing and innoculation guidelines. Enjoy him, they are a wonderful breed. Rememeber they need lots of stimulation and family interaction otherwise they tend to become incredibly destructive. You should read the book Marley &  Me which describes Labbies to a tee!!!!!

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