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Advice on Lab Puppy Training & Socialising Please

Q: Advice on Lab Puppy Training & Socialising Please PetPlanet Talk Adminstrator PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Hi there, I don't know whether this question is classed as behavioural but if you could give me some advice that would be much appreciated. I have an 11 week old labrador retriever puppy, i brought him from the breeder when he was nearly 10 weeks. He won't be able to go outside for another 2 more weeks( as this is when he has had his last jab and it is safe for him to go outside) I have successfully house trained him using newspaper.My problem is that i live in a ground floor flat with communal gardens, i didn't think it was safe to take him out there before his jabs, as there are many other animals who might not be vaccinated that would use the garden. I have heard that it is recommended not to house train puppies but to toilet train outside as soon as you can. As this is not possible for me can you advise how to make the change from tolieting inside to outside as easily as it can be! Also,(sorry to go on!) my puppy spends the weekdays at my husbands shop where lots of people and children come in and greet and play with him, therefore he gets lots of socialising.My other problem is that i have no other animals to socialise him with and i have heard that this needs to be done in the first 12 weeks to avoid any future problems any suggestions? Many thanks i know this is a rather long winded mail!! Ami Larkins

A:Advice on Lab Puppy Training & Socialising Please PetPlanet Talk Adminstrator PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Dear Ami You are off to a good start by training him to newspaper. Certainly, early training to outdoors is important, but you are being equally responsible in not exposing him to the risk of infection. Don't worry, though, he will still learn the new routine easily enough. I think the desire to get outside will help greatly in the change over. Initially take him out after meals and if you see him heading for his paper, and reward him when he 'performs'. I think he'll catch on quickly that outside is better, then you can remove the paper. At this stage he will 'ask' to go out. It really is just the same as training at any age and seeing as you trained him indoors quickly, he sounds pretty smart. As for socialising, yes the first 12 weeks are better, but it is a gradual decrease in receptivity, not a sudden switch off. See if your vets, or any neighbouring ones, run 'puppy parties', where he can mix freely with other, vaccinated, youngsters. Some training schools also run puppy only classes. Labradors are a good natured breed anyway and do normally socialise well. When taking him out, remember that he will pick up quickly on your attitude to other dogs. Try not to seem defensive or afraid and do not comfort him if he seems fearful. This will actually reward the behaviour. You are his leader and if you are confident, then he knows there is nothing to fear. A good training book, perhaps using clicker training, will help a lot to understand the way a dog thinks. Get to know people with friendly dogs he can run and play with. He will get growled at by some dogs, but then he is a youngster, and needs to learn his place. He is unlikely to meet real aggression until he is older and could seem a threat to other males. To be honest though, I don't think you need have any worries. June Third-Carter B.V.M.S., M.R.C.V.S., Vet.M.F.Hom. for PetPlanet.co.uk

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