Ruger is a little over 7 weeks now and has just had his first set of vaccinations. Today I took him out for a walk on the pavement for the first time, he seemed to be enjoying himself, but he was whining and shivering a little (it is a little cold her still) but he was doing good. Then a man started walking towards us and Ruger started to run behind my leg. The guy reached down to pet him and he started whining really loudly as if he had been hurt. I have never seen a lab act like this, so is it normal and what can I do to make him not be so fearful.
Your pup is WAY too young for walks. You are potentially exposing him to all kinds of trouble as he has not received his full set of vaccinations. In the mean time I would invite friends/family/neighbours over for a 'hello', arrange some play dates with other puppies or dogs if possible, work on getting him used to the leash and put your name down for a puppy class.
My vet told me that if I wanted to take him for walks he could go but only on the pavement, and not to let him sniff any feces. I guess I won't be doing that again, but then how am I going to socialize him with all kinds of people? The only people we really know in this town is my sister and her husband, they have a boxer who Ruger loves to play with, but he only gets to see them a few times a week. I would love to be able to sign him up for a puppy class but our small town doesn't offer them and being on an island I am not able to drive to them either. Wouldn't it be safe if I carried him and took him places with me to meet new people?
Carrying, yes, walks no. Walks should wait. I agree that it is tough -- you want to socialize them in those first few weeks but also don't want to expose them to nasties. I would definitely carry him places. Take him to outdoor seated restaurants/bars that allow dogs, sit on a bench in a busy area, take him to peoples houses, etc., but just avoid big dog populated areas.
Most pet stores are pet friendly...I took Max to Petsmart when he didn't have all his shots yet. He rode the cart; he was scared the very first time but got used to it. Max loved the attention. So, maybe you can take him to a pet friendly store. Oh, and I also enrolled Max in Puppy class when he was 10 wks. old. He didn't have all his shots when he was in puppy class but the trainer always sanitize the place before each class. Max loved the class.
Thanks for the replies. I took Ruger to all three of my daughters classes and he did great with all the kids and the teachers. He really loves kids! I think I'm just going to have to introduce him to a lot of different scary looking men. ;D