I am hoping for some encouragement, or at least some honesty... I have never encountered a dog, much less a puppy, like Ray. He is definitely healthy and growing like a reed, but besides that he really doesn't do anything at all. We have socialized him like there's no tomorrow - I bring him everywhere - boats, beaches, ponds, streets, restaurants, buses. He has met hundreds of people, has been on puppy play dates. We give him tons of love, training, affection - and he really doesn't respond much. My three kids are terrific with him - gentle and affectionate. We feed him by hand. He sleeps in our room in a crate.
He just has zero fire in his belly - no get up and go. I don't think he dislikes us or is scared of us, but he doesn't seem to particularly like us either. No tail wags when we come by. No following us around. No getting excited about anything except his lunch. The kids are trying so hard and are so disappointed. They get down on their hands and knees with toys and - nothing. I have tried to interest him in balls, toys, etc. He doesn't even really like to come out the yard - he just lies by the door wanting to go back in.
I have to drag him on walks to the pond. Carry him to where we are if I feel like enough's enough already - time to get up from the kitchen floor.
I know he's a baby (14 weeks tomorrow), and I know he's a growing boy, and I get that he's mellow, and finally, I know he needs time but really, is there anything else I can do to have him be a part of the family? We were so excited to get him and careful in choosing him and frankly, I fear he's a dud! I hate feeling this way. We are putting so much time and love and work into him and trying to create an ideal situation for him to "be a Lab" in but I see no sign at all of a happy go lucky dog, who enjoys his family and wants to be a part of the scene. That's all we were looking for and I feeling very very disappointed. He's barely here.
Any thoughts - even touch ones - would be helpful.
Thanks again for all your learned opinions.
I thought I'd add - people say i should be glad for a mellow puppy. But I really think this is beyond mellow.
Example - I just went down to the kitchen where he's lying on a dog bed. I said in my best puppy voice Hi Ray! He lifted his eyes. I bent down to pet him. Nothing. Meanwhile, it's my daughter's 7th birthday today and she got it in her head to wash the kitchen floor. She's down on her hands and knees with a rag. I'd expect a puppy to be getting in her way and pawing at or grabbing at the rag. He hasn't so much as looked her direction. Makes me want to cry.
I would start out by taking Ray to the Vet for a thorough physical including blood work. Tell the Vet your concerns, so it's more than just a quick exam.
Have you brought your concerns to his breeder?
Some of what you say sounds like my younger dog who was not all that interested in interacting as a small puppy. He is now very connected, seeks out contact and attention and is the most cuddly dog I have ever known. He did not like being on a lap as a puppy and usually would hang out away from us in another room if he could. Now he is right next to me on the couch as close to being on my lap as possible (and he is nearly 90# - ugh).
One thing that occurs to me is that maybe your puppy is a bit overloaded by all the attention/socialization you are showering on him. Usually that is all good - but if he is really sensitive to it - maybe it's just too much. Do you allow him quiet time where he is not being played with or petted?
The reluctance to go out for a walk or to be in the yard is odd - but again - it may be overstimulating for him. I'd talk to the breeder, consciously allow him his space and quiet time and wait for him to blossom. If he is not a more social dog by 6 months, maybe a behaviorist might help alleviate your concerns.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Thank you. I DID bring him to the vet and have all that done. Unless something has changed, he is perfectly healthy. He also stayed with the breeder while we were away for a week and I asked her to keep an eye on these things. She is not very interactive and had little to say.
He has plenty of time to himself - he sleeps so much we mostly leave him to do so. I do wonder if I try to do too much with him while he's awake. And I am mostly at loss. Do I try harder? Less hard? I fear if I completely leave him alone he'll become even less interested, if that's possible.
He's our dog. I am clinging to the hope that if I handle this right things will turn around.
ALso, if he were overwhelmed, wouldn't he show fear or cower or something? He's pretty unflappable, it seems anyway. He doesn't seem to be affected by anything at all. I wanted to be careful not to throw too much at him, but he never seems to care one way or the other so I decided he wasn't scared.
It is really hard to say without actually seeing him. But I think a thorough vet exam would be my first step. All pups are different, maybe he is withdrawing a bit from overstimulation. Again, hard to say. But he is young, only 3 1/2 months old. He may just be overwhelmed. But the not wanting to go in the yard is a bit odd. Hope everything works out. Please let us know how he is doing.
To the OP - did you look into a puppy kindergarten class? Doing things one on one with him may help with building a bond. The breeder not interacting with the puppies is not great - he may need additional patience on your part for him to learn that human interaction is a nice thing he should seek.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Hmm - I just wrote out a lng reply but it's gone.
Should I just leave him alone and hope he warms to us? I have had the idea that I should at least try to have him near us so he gets the idea that we're "his people" even if we're not playing or snuggling. LIke, when we go upstairs to watch TV I usually bring him up instead of leaving him lying alone on the kitchen floor. I am afraid that if I leave him be, it'll get worse!
Re the breeder, she did interact with the dogs - just no real individual attention. He has no reason to mistrust people.