A 10 week old puppy might have their feet firmly under the table in your home. Or they might still be adjusting to the upheaval of moving in.
They are still a work in progress when it comes to toilet training, but most can now hold it in for six hours overnight, while you all get some valuable sleep.
This age is all about staving off cabin fever and puppy blues, whilst you wait for the immunity from their puppy shots to kick in.
PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES
Your 10 Week Old Puppy
Here are the topics we’ll cover in this article:
- 10 Week Old Puppy Vaccinations
- Puppy Blues
- Socializing a 10 Week Old Puppy
- Getting Used To Being Touched
- Troubleshooting Toilet Training
- Learning To Be Left Alone
- 10 Week Old Puppy Learning and Development
- Games and Training
At 10 weeks old, and usually around two weeks into your lives together, every Labrador puppy question you manage to answer is probably immediately replaced with another one.
10 Week Old Puppy Vaccinations And The Onset Of Cabin Fever
Around 10 weeks old or shortly after, your puppy’s next vaccinations are likely to fall due.
In the U.S., most puppies receive a set of shots between 10 and 12 weeks old. These build their immunity against distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and parvovirus.
Depending on your region, your vet might also recommend vaccinating against leptospirosis, bordetella or Lyme disease at the same time.
In the U.K., puppies typically receive their second set of shots between 9 and 13 weeks old, depending on the brand of vaccine, and when their vaccination schedule was started.
How Soon Can A 10 Week Old Puppy Go Out?
Your puppy’s immunity isn’t complete until a week after their final vaccination.
So it’s still going to be a little while before they can go on walks, or set foot anywhere unvaccinated dogs have been.
The Puppy Blues
No matter how much you prepare for the arrival of a new puppy, the reality can come as something of a shock.
Toileting accidents happen despite our best efforts.
Night times are interrupted, and apparently over for good by 6am.
Over-excited puppies launch themselves relentlessly at clothes and skin with razor sharp teeth.
And all the nice things you used to be able to do outside the home suddenly seem far, far out of reach.
Even experienced puppy parents aren’t immune: every puppy is different, some are simply harder than others.
It’s enough to leave us over-tired, wrung out, and deflated. What if it was all a massive mistake?
The good news is these feelings of puppy blues are completely normal.
How To Cope
Many puppy owners go through exactly the same emotions when they bring home a new puppy, and survive to reassure others about it from the other side.
Talking helps, so tell a friend with dogs in real life how you’re feeling.
Or, visit our forum where you can read dozens of stories from happy dog owners who also experienced that period of overwhelming doubt.
Socializing a 10 Week Old Puppy
At 10 weeks old, your puppy is right in the middle of the all-important socialisation window.
The socialisation window is an important period of puppy development. It’s when they’re most receptive to new experiences, and likely to form positive associations which last a lifetime.
It opens at three or four weeks old. It again closes between 12 and 20 weeks old, but on average by about 16 weeks old.
By 10 weeks old your puppy is likely to be satisfied that they’ve seen and experienced everything your home has to offer (and that you’re willing to share!).
So combined with the fact that you’re likely feeling cooped up yourself, and the socialisation window is closing, it’s time to start getting out more!
Quality Over Quantity
Ten week old puppies still get tired quickly, especially after taking in lots of new sensory information.
And to be honest, a 10 week old Lab is already getting a bit heavy to carry for long periods.
So these socialisation outings are only going to be short and sweet.
The trick is to make sure your puppy has a wonderful time seeing something new.
Don’t keep going until they’re bored, frustrated, overwhelmed or uncomfortable. Leave on a high!
Here’s How To Do It
Pop your puppy’s next meal into a resealable bag or tub.
Carry or drive them to somewhere they’ve never seen, heard or smelled before. Then feed them their meal, one piece at time while they sit on your lap (or by your side in the trunk of the car) and watch the world go by.
Great places to go include:
- a bench on a sidewalk with lots of pedestrians
- anywhere you can comfortably settle for five minutes by a busy road
- the parking lot at the beginning of a hiking trail (you’ll see lots of other dogs from a safe distance here!)
- dog friendly cafes, bars and restaurants
For bonus points, try to feed your puppy the moment something (a vehicle, or another dog for example) catches their attention, but before they can react by barking or trying to move towards it.
Getting Used To Being Touched
Socialisation isn’t just about visiting new places.
Brushing, bathing, nail clipping, teeth cleaning and veterinary exams are all inevitable parts of a dog’s life.
Socialising your 10 week old puppy to accept these experiences confidently is something you can work on in the safety of your own home.
But don’t try to give your puppy a full pedicure on your first attempt.
Start by putting the nail clippers in a work surface in sight of him and feed a small handful of treats. That’s day one done!
The next day, hold the clippers in one hand whilst treating from the other. Day two done!
On day three, have someone else dispense the treats while you hold the clippers in one hand and gently lift one paw with the other.
When it comes to socialising for grooming experiences, the slower you go, the faster you’ll get there!
Don’t Feel Overwhelmed!
The list of things to socialise your puppy to, and the fear of unintended consequences if you get it ‘wrong’ can be overwhelming.
But every bit of effort you make is a fantastic investment in your puppy’s future.
Research shows that puppies socialised to different places and physical examinations during puppyhood are less likely to be given up by their owners.
Most of the things you can do take less than half an hour.
Troubleshooting Toilet Training
Potty training starts from the moment your arrive home with your puppy.
But finessing it can take several weeks!
Hopefully by the time they’re 10 weeks old, you can recognise some of the signs that your puppy needs to go out and pee or poop.
They might be going a little longer between toilet trips too. But don’t get complacent – keep taking them out regularly.
When accidents do happen, clean them up thoroughly with a little dilute biological detergent, or a specialized enzyme cleaner.
Puppies love to pee where they’ve peed before, so don’t leave them any clues!
If you feel like you’re not making the potty training progress you’d hoped for at this stage, check out our trouble shooting guide now.
Starting To Be Left Alone
It’s still going to be several weeks before you can leave a 10 week old puppy at home while you go out for the morning.
If you haven’t already begun crate training, it’s not too late to start.
If you’re not using a crate, you’re still going to need a safe, secure area in your home where your puppy can be left for short periods as they get older.
This could be a playpen, or a whole room, with a comfy bed in it.
Now is the time to make sure this space is always a happy and comforting place to be.
Frequently drop a couple of treats into the bed while your puppy isn’t looking. You should find that by 10 weeks old they regularly take themselves back there to rest and nap.
The good news is that most puppies settle comfortably into a routine of being left for short periods from this age. And in the absence of anyone to play with, they usually just take the opportunity to have a nap!
10 Week Old Puppy Learning And Development
Your 10 week old puppy has absorbed a lot of information about their new home on the last week or so.
They’re learning your expectations of them, and also starting to understand the world in more sophisticated ways.
By 10 weeks old, most puppies have learned object permanence. In other words, they understand that something still exists when it is hidden from view.
Some precocious puppies might even be starting to understand hand signals from people (like pointing) to locate out-of-sight food.
Field observations of dogs’ closest wild ancestors, wolves, reveal that 10-12 weeks old is the earliest age pups stop spending all of their time in the den, and start to follow the adults on short excursions.
Games and Training
Right now, your 10 week old puppy’s mind is like a sponge.
And their appetite for fun and games is insatiable!
Playing with your puppy is a wonderful way to start forging a bond which places you at the center of their world.
And playing with them the right way means you can already start teaching good manners, without them even realising it was a lesson!
This article about how to play with your puppy will set you off on the right foot.
All of the games are fun for your puppy, simple for you, and lay the foundations of good behavior as an adult.
How Is Your 10 Week Old Puppy Getting On?
When your puppy reaches 10 weeks old, you’re likely to really be in the thick of it, and wondering what you’ve taken on.
But it’s also the cusp of a tipping point for many puppy parents.
In the next couple of weeks, your puppy will be ready to go for walks outdoors. And all the effort you’ve put into settling them in and potty training will start to pay off.
Just hang in there, share your progress, and ask any questions you have over on our forum.
References and Resources
Cannas et al, Puppy behavior when left home alone: Changes during the first few months after adoption, Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2010.
Serpell, The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Duxbury et al, Evaluation of association between retention in the home and attendance at puppy socialization classes, Journal of the American Veterinary Association, 2003.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website