When Dee does a training or behaviour consult, the first thing she asks is “what age was your puppy when you brought him home?” She is often surprised when some owners struggle to remember if the puppy was 8 or 12 weeks.
By law, your puppy must be at least 8 weeks before he leaves the breeder, and in most cases she would recommend not leaving it any later than this. Here’s why!
1. At 8 weeks your puppy is at a development stage where he is likely to accept new people and animals into his life happily, a process called socialisation. As this age creeps towards 12 weeks, survival instinct can kick in and make your puppy more suspicious and worried about new things.
2. If the puppy spends longer than 8 weeks in the litter, his littermates will most likely become his best friends and other dogs may become its role models, and you will miss out on this essential bonding time. You risk have a dog that is overly interested or reactive around other dogs.
3. Don’t take a puppy home over 10 weeks of age, unless you are dealing with an exceptional breeder or recue that understands these issues and will spend quality one to one time with the puppy, playing and socialising.
4. Issues such as learning to be alone, dealing with frustration, being calm around other dogs and not play biting are best taught between 8 and 12 weeks.
5. If you have booked a puppy and for some reason cannot collect him at 8 weeks, for example you are on holiday, ask a friend to mind him, making sure they are aware of the process of socialising and spend quality time with him. In most cases, this is far preferably than leaving him with the breeder.
So, whether you get a puppy from a breeder or a rescue, the age at which you welcome your puppy into your home is vital for his future development.