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Old 02-17-2007, 10:54 PM
Cassie Abbott Cassie Abbott is offline
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Default Age to sell puppies

I'm not a breeder--I don't even have a dog atm--but I'm curious. Lately I've been seeing comments that puppies should be held onto until 10-12 weeks of age and that 8 weeks is too young to let a pup go. I'm not disagreeing that 10 weeks may be better than 8 weeks (more social learning with littermates), but when did 8 weeks become too young? Last I heard/read/saw anything under 8 weeks was too young.
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:58 AM
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ravennr ravennr is offline
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I know a few breeders who start training their puppies in basic obedience, so that the new owner has a good start. It helps, and they keep the puppies just a few weeks longer, no harm done, just help for the new family.

Some breeders probably do it by choice, for other reasons of their own, I'm sure. As far as the puppy learning anything from it's littermates or mother in that extra time, I couldn't be too sure about that. I've seen dogs sold both at 8 weeks and at 12 weeks, and there was no difference between them regarding that.
I still say 8 weeks at the very least and wouldn't completely trust a breeder sending them off any sooner.
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:03 AM
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the breeder i work for doesnt normally sell puppies until 16 weeks old, but i know of a hand full of BYB that let their puppies go at JUST 6 weeks
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:16 PM
Cassie Abbott Cassie Abbott is offline
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Originally Posted by ravennr View Post
As far as the puppy learning anything from it's littermates or mother in that extra time, I couldn't be too sure about that.
From what I've read (nothing in front of me atm, so going from memory) puppies begin learning social skills from the mother and littermates at 6 weeks and the "window" for optimal learning of these skills is between 6 and 12 weeks. A lot of problems get blamed on pups being taken too early and missing out on this learning. In theory I could understand this, but I haven't read any studies or had personal experience that backed that theory up.

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Originally Posted by ravennr View Post
I still say 8 weeks at the very least and wouldn't completely trust a breeder sending them off any sooner.
No kidding! Anything under 8 weeks is just plain too young and selling them that young can only mean there's a profit motive (IMO at least).
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:34 PM
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I like to see large breeds going to new homes at 8 to 9 weeks and toys at 12 weeks. As much for health reasons, as for socialization. Toys can be so fragile and I rarely like to see them placed, especially in a home with kids, before that age. On the other hand, 8 weeks is an ideal age for pups to be removed from littermates and mom and start acclamating to a new home. Their little brains are almost mature, at that point and they're ready to learn from their humans, verses continueing to bond with their dog family. The larger breeds generally do just fine, in most cases, once they're 8 weeks of age.
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:52 PM
IliamnasQuest IliamnasQuest is offline
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The development of puppies shows that the majority of their personality/ability to handle situations is developed between the ages of three and 12 weeks.

Many people believe there's a fear period that runs from 8-11 weeks old or so. This is why a lot of breeders opt to send their pups out right about the eight week mark so that it hits (hopefully) right before the fear period. Younger than that is not ideal as the pups truly need the interaction with their littermates for proper social development.

A breeder determines the personality of their pups nearly 100%. Not only are they genetically responsible, they have control of those pups for the early part of the social development (and usually for the majority of it). I went to a seminar with John Rogerson (an English behaviorist who does puppy training) and he straight out said that breeders are completely responsible for the temperament of the puppies they produce. In the period from three weeks to eight weeks, puppies should be introduced to numerous surfaces, sounds, interactions, etc. The breeder is responsible for this, and for making sure that the new owners continue this. A breeder who just lets the puppies live out in a kennel - or even in their home - and makes no effort to daily change the environment and expand the experiences the puppies have is a poor breeder.

By the time the pups are eight weeks old, they should have myriad experiences to fall back on. They should be comfortable with a collar and leash and a crate. They should be comfortable riding in a vehicle. They should have heard and learned to feel safe through dozens of sounds. Breeders are molding these little personalities into the dogs they will be.

I don't have a problem with a puppy leaving the litter at eight weeks as long as the breeder has done things properly and the new owner has been well-informed as to their further responsibilities (and agreed to follow through). It doesn't do a puppy much good to stay longer with a breeder who isn't doing the right things. I prefer to have a new pup come to me at eight weeks old because there are LOTS of things I'd like to continue to imprint the puppy with - things that may be more unique to my situation that the breeder can't simulate.

Done right, an eight week old pup should be confident and outgoing. I don't accept breeder's excuses that "this breed is just shy and scared at this age" (said by a prolific chow breeder not long ago). If you're breeding good temperaments and you're doing the socialization and handling that SHOULD be done prior to eight weeks, by that age the puppy should be able to tackle the world! (so to speak .. *L*).

I have to say that Rogerson's idea of a puppy kindergarten class was fascinating to me (and I'd implement it if we had enough puppies in this area). He accepted six puppies/familes at a time. The first night they met at his home .. everyone brought their puppies and treats, and all the treats were put together on a table so everyone shared. They met seven nights in a row - and each night met at another person's house. So by the time the week was up, the puppies had been to six new places, met dozens of people (families with kids and all that), met other dogs, heard lots of new noises, etc. - and they were highly socialized and ready to deal with most things! And this had to be done before the pup was 12 weeks old. I just found this to be such a neat way of doing things - and thought it made much more sense than a weekly puppy class that always met in the same place and that couldn't truly take good advantage of that small range of time before 12 weeks old.

I know, people will think "what about the vaccinations??" .. well, from a trainer's standpoint, the risk of having a vaccinated eight week old puppy catch parvo in a group of vaccinated puppies is much lower than the risk of having a dog with aggressive or fearful behaviors for the rest of its life because it didn't get the proper socialization and early training it needed. We all have to balance our risks ..

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:24 PM
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8 weeks is the minimum. Actually, here in California (not sure if it's a national law or just a state law) it is illegal to sell a puppy under 8 weeks of age.

For small breed dogs and sighthounds, many breeders will wait until 12 weeks which I personally think is a good idea.

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By the time the pups are eight weeks old, they should have myriad experiences to fall back on. They should be comfortable with a collar and leash and a crate. They should be comfortable riding in a vehicle. They should have heard and learned to feel safe through dozens of sounds. Breeders are molding these little personalities into the dogs they will be.
True, very true. Early socialization is so important. Although it may not be the end of the world if the breeder neglects this all important aspect of puppy raising, it certainly has a huge impact.

My GSD rosie was not socialized hardly at all. I got her at 9 weeks and she was completely anti social with people. Normally with just about any puppy who was given attention, you can squat down and pat your knees and call it in a high pitch voice and it will come bounding over to you with lots of kisses to give. But Rosie just sat and stared at you and eventually turned around. Training was hard because she wasn't food motivated, but she wasn't praise motivated either.

I literally had to teach this dog to love praise and human affection. It wasn't until she was 5 months old when she finally started coming around and bonding to me.
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:47 PM
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ya, 8 weeks, is old enough, but, if I were a breeder, I would keep the pups until they are 12 weeks.
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:50 PM
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planet molosser planet molosser is offline
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Most laws state 8 weeks, ive seen breeders sell at 6 weeks, I wont let them go until 10 weeks or earlier if a working lgd home.
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Old 02-18-2007, 06:19 PM
Cassie Abbott Cassie Abbott is offline
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If/when I eventually do breed (need a worthy dog first!), I would aim for 9 or 10 weeks as I'll have a large breed. I agree that the breeder has a major influence in the social development of the pups, and that many fall short in this area.

As for vaccinations, I personally would never wait for the full round of boosters to take my pup out. When I got Stella she'd had her first set and got her second within a few days of her arrival (she never got more than the second set). I had her out and about that first week with no problems. Course, I took precautions. She wasn't sick a day in her life!
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