Getting a puppy too young.
When taking home a puppy there’s one thing that you can do that will almost ensure that your dog will have behavioral problems or aggression issues as they grow up. Adopting or purchasing a puppy from a breeder at an age under seven weeks is rarely a great idea.
Okay, I understand that there are situations where some puppies are abandoned and people need to take the puppy at a younger age to keep them alive but of course this is an incredibly uncommon situation.
As a trainer who’s trained thousands of reactive and aggressive dogs, I can say that it’s incredibly unhelpful to take puppies away from their mother before they are ready.
Puppies need to learn the difference between a soft bite and a hard bite but in reality, they learn that in the first few weeks of life and in many cases the first days as they are starting to drink milk from their mother. When they’re taken too early they don’t have the opportunity to be corrected by their mother and this naturally becomes an issue when the puppy transitions to its new human home. The vast majority of dog trainers do not believe that there should be any consequence whatsoever in any situation for a puppy that bites, and so the puppy never learns to use their mouth in a gentle way and rather chooses to be more forceful in their nipping and biting because it gets a bigger reaction from the human family.
The major reason I have such a problem with puppies leaving the mother too early is that it’s a great indication of how much the human owner of the mother wanted to do the right thing by the puppies. We commonly see puppies that were adopted at 4, 5, and 6 weeks and in many cases, these puppies almost didn’t have a chance because they went into homes that were not prepared to set them up for a life of success.
Anybody who has a litter of puppies and is letting them go before 7 or 8 weeks is just not a quality person that you should be purchasing or adopting a dog from. In reality, they are trying to get rid of the puppies as soon as they possibly can even though it will be detrimental to the puppies and the mother and the new owners. These people are selfish and they should not be in charge of breeding dogs, selling or adopting puppies.
I’m writing this blog for one reason. I want to see the number of people who are adopting or purchasing dogs at a young age decrease because it’s incredibly difficult for the dogs as they grow up and for their new human homes. We often see people come in who are crying and completely overwhelmed and their puppy who has just hit 6 months of age. Sure they probably got a deal and saved $500 on the puppy but they probably screwed themselves exponentially by purchasing from an unethical person or even taking a puppy from a litter for free because they felt bad for them.
Walk away from these undesirable people who only care about money and not their dogs or the puppies they are producing. When you give them money or even take a puppy from them you are reinforcing the cycle. They will be more likely to produce another litter and again the cycle starts for another group of families who will also struggle.
These unethical people will also commonly try to sell you more than one puppy at the same time which is almost never a good thing. And some of them will not let you meet the parents either. Be warned. Stay away.
If you want to see the exact opposite of a puppy leaving the litter at an early age here’s a video of Mark Fulmer who’s a great breeder who often will keep back puppies until 16 weeks of age so that they can stay with the mother longer and the other puppies and so that he can do training with them to prepare them for their final home.
Mark is an outlier and obviously, most people who breed dogs will not behave in this way but it’s just a good example to see how one can do things the right way as I’ve just spent this entire blog talking about how one can do things wrong.
Please share this post so that others will see it and hopefully say no to unethical people trying to get rid of dogs at a young age. Do what you feel is right, but now that you know, you know.