According to the American Kennel Club, the best age to send puppies to their new homes is from 7 to 12 weeks. In fact, any time prior to 7 weeks is considered too early by most veterinarians and breeders alike. Ideally, no puppy should be delivered into a new nesting place until 8 to 12 weeks to give proper time for the socialization stage to thoroughly present its advantages to the evolving pup.
The first two months of a new puppy’s life is a very crucial time in his life due to several factors concerning his evolvement. This is prime time in which a pup’s socialization factor comes into play and begins to make its full effects on his behavior with others as well as his adaptation skills. During this time, it is highly encouraged and advised to leave the entire puppy litter together and avoid separating them from their mum too early. Removing a dam’s puppies too soon can cause an array of developmental problems such as:
- increased aggression in the pups,
- increased fearfulness,
- over-reactivity, and
- various learning obstacles.
Socialization Before Sending Puppies Home
To better understand how puppies develop during a specific stage of their lives, it’s important to grasp the principles of socialization. This phase occurs between 6 to 12 weeks of age, during which a puppy is learning about the world and its interactions with other beings, including humans and siblings. During this time, it’s beneficial for the litter to stay together as it enhances their social skills and helps them understand how relationships work. Puppies tend to learn boundaries through playtime, reacting when play becomes too rough. Removing a puppy from its litter too early can disrupt its natural temperament and lead to instability in its life.
Indeed, increasing the generalization and socialization of puppies certainly prevents the added anxiety in long-term care. In fact, the prime reason many pups end up in canine shelters is due to behavioral issues. And these issues could have easily been prevented with the right socialized training in proper timing. Many breeders make that erroneous assumption that socialization with other pups only at the weaning stage is sufficient until they end up with problems that may not be so easy to fix.
Generally, between the ages of 7-and-a-half to 9-and-a-half weeks, the socialization fear factor comes into play in which dogs should be kept from abrupt fearful circumstances. This fear, if maximized at this stage, tends to stay with the pup until his later years and may be impossible at some point to alleviate. This will make the pup grow up to be a very anxious dog and fearful of others, thus, leading to increased aggression. This stage starts with the breeder and they need enough time to ensure a perfectly planned and performed socialization against high-pitched sounds, other pets, different humans (skin color, size, voices, etc.) as well as other stimuli (smells, agitation, cafes, etc.). Breeders need to always be in control of these situations and be very attentive. This can only be successfully completed if the work that began with the breeder is turned over and continued with the actual dog owner. That’s why the relationship between the breeder and the owner is crucial and communication should always be a high priority.
On the other hand, generalization refers to the general confidence a breeder or dog owner displays in any given circumstance, regardless of external influences. Ideally, you want to “proof” your dogs by introducing him to various environments with the same set of circumstances so he gets used to the adaptation of varying stimulations. When meeting other pets, keep the environment fairly pleasant and avoid unknown animals.
When the timing of the event is carefully planned out, this process can work wonders in both the dog’s life and the owners. Again, timing is everything. Though the time may vary due to outside factors, some countries do have a legal minimum of 8 weeks. Again, anything done between the 7th-week mark may result in an adverse chain of events.
Two-Month Old Suits Everybody
In general, it is ideal to introduce puppies to their new homes at around 12 weeks of age. This timing ensures that the puppies undergo a smooth social transition and helps eliminate any uncertainty.
Make sure you check out our bestseller, The Dog Breeder’s Handbook, for modern and up-to-date knowledge on breeding dogs responsibly.