It is well documented and fully accepted that puppies should not leave their mother and siblings until they are 7/8 weeks old.
To take away a puppy before this time will mean that it has not been with it's mother and siblings for enough time to learn many vital lessons.
It is actually illegal in the UK to sell a puppy under the age of eight weeks. I believe that needs amending to seven weeks.
During this period, pups learns about social interaction, play, and inhibiting aggression, from both the mother and their litter-mates.
Puppies who stay with their mother and litter-mates during this critical period are generally easier to train, more intelligent, quicker to pick up toilet training and more dog friendly.
This is also the period when Pups learn the most important lesson of their lives, they learn to accept discipline and control.
The mother cleans up the nest by eating and drinking the pups faeces and urine.
However after three to four weeks when the pups can hear and see she then teaches them to toilet outside the nest using aggressive growls and threats.
This of course is the trigger that allows us as owners to train the young dog to be clean in our own homes.
I often see dogs that were Puppy farmed where toilet training is a real problem.
These horrific breeders become lazy cannot be bothered to clean up after the pups once the mother has trained them to toilet outside.
They then sell them on well before the important seven week watershed. Of course those last couple of weeks with their mother and siblings have an enormous impact on the dogs future adult life. That is why you never ever buy a puppy if you cannot see the mother, whatever story the breeder may tell you.
I personally believe the best time to re-home a pup is seven weeks. This is because from 8 to 10.5 weeks they are in a full blown fear period, therefore the journey and removal from their mother and siblings can be more traumatic during this critical fear period.
Unfortunately in their wisdom the powers that be say it is illegal to sell a puppy until it is eight weeks old.
With today's knowledge about how dogs learn and dog behaviour this law is both outmoded and outdated, and I believe it should be re-assessed at the earliest opportunity.
The first 16 weeks of the puppies life are what is known as the "Human Socialisation Period". This is the time when you need to really introduce your puppy to as many things as possible. Learning at this age is permanent so this is a perfect time to start training.
This is also the ideal time to introduce the puppy to things that will play an important part in his life. The puppy should be handled gently and positively by different people especially children.
Remember to get your new puppy used to leads and collars before they are allowed to go out.
I sell what I believe are the very best collars and leads for puppies and adult dogs.
They are manufactured specifically for me and you cannot buy them anywhere else.
Made from cushion web they are soft on the puppy, and your hands. Leads and Collars
You should go to strange places, meet other animals, road noises, trains, buses, and the hustle and bustle of the outdoors.
You can also introduce various sounds such as the vacuum cleaner, washing machine, and lawn mower, All these new sounds should be introduced in a positive, non-threatening way.
Whatever you do never comfort your puppy if it is startled, frightened, or nervous of any new sound or object.
This only acts as a reinforcer for the fear, making the situation far worse. The earlier you can get to classes the better the dog will be socialised.
My classes are run on a six week basis. NOT a roll on roll off system which to my mind is ludicrous.
See details of my classes and what to look for in a Puppy Class if you are not near me. Puppy Classes
Early Sound Therapy
I meet many dogs and puppies that have major problems with various sounds. From Thunder to Traffic Noise, Fireworks and Gunshots. If this happens to your dog it can become a debilitating affliction, and interferes with the dogs life.
Most problems are breeder or owner created, when the dogs or puppies are startled or frightened we act as all humans do by comforting the dog this only serves to reinforce the fear the dog is feeling.
In rare cases this condition can be heredity and is then even more difficult to eradicate. I have created an audio disc that covers all the main phobias such as thunder, sirens, fireworks, traffic noises, (including lorries and buses and air brakes) and gunshots.
The best way is prevention rather than trying to cure the problem afterwards. If young pups are gently desensitised at a very early age, then they normally do not get these problems. Introduce these type of sounds very quietly and gently to young pups then gradually increase the volume over a period of days and weeks.
This will get the pup who may not be able to go out because of vaccinations to be introduced carefully to all the scary sounds they will be introduced to when they are finally allowed into the big wide World. Prevention is always better than cure.
The cost of this disc is only £8.00 plus P&P. I believe it is worth its weight in gold and comes with full instructions on how to introduce it to a puppy and how to use it on a dog already suffering from noise and traffic sensitivity.
Sound desensitisation has been used successfully for years to combat sound phobias in dogs.
If your dog is afraid of sounds such as thunderstorm, fireworks, gunshots, sirens, or car and traffic noise or you are preparing a puppy for the big wide world.
Then this is the disc for you. Click on the disc to buy it or for further information.
Vaccinations and Socialisation
You can have your new arrival meet other dogs and cats before your puppy vaccinations are complete, as long as those other animals are vaccinated (in the last three years). There is a vaccination that allows your dog to be fully covered at about 10.5 weeks.This is called Nobivac D.H.P.P.I/L. Speak to your vet regarding this or contact me for further information.
With regard to vaccinations It will depend on your Vet when he or she recommends you can take out your puppy after its final jabs. Some say two weeks, others one week and then again some who may state 48 hours, especially if they have been behaviourally trained.
In the end you should take due consideration of the potential risks and any outbreaks of canine diseases in your area and perhaps speak to a number of Vets locally and then make your decision on the information you are given.
My personal opinion is early socialisation is so vital as to almost override any other consideration, within reason of course if their an outbreak in your area of say parvovirus then that has to be taken into consideration.
I always take my puppies out after 48 hours if there are no major outbreaks of diseases in my area.
Make training fun and enjoyable, don't make it so hard or boring that your dog yawns through the whole lesson.
Begin to teach your puppy to understand sit, come, and down from the day you get her/him. Use toys, treats and chews.
Make sure you are controlling the game by taking these items away then giving them back or throwing them for the pup to retrieve.
At the end of the game, make sure that you finish by taking the toy away, replacing it with a treat to show he has not lost anything and you have therefore helped train the dog not to resource guard.
That is a problem I have to deal with on a very regular basis.
Most guarding behaviour starts from these critical periods. This can help, not only to avoid food guarding and possession aggression problems, but to discourage all bad habits from day one.
If your puppy jumps up then discourage him by saying "OFF" using body language and a turn of the head away.
Most dogs learn to control their bite when nipping their litter-mates whilst playing.
This is commonly called bite inhibition. If they bite another puppy too hard, the pup will cry-out and turn their head away.
The puppy that bit then learns that it is the end of play if iy bites too hard and learns to control the power of the bite with friends and family.
A device I designed and developed called the Jingler can be invaluable for creating a mutual respect between owner and dog. It will help stop jumping up and biting and will teach the puppy to walk to heel as it gets a little older.
Most puppies when they arrive in our homes for the first time, treat us and our families as play-mates, and may nip bite and lunge at us. By copying the litter-mates behaviour, and crying-out plus body language, helps discourage this natural behaviour.
No matter how gently your puppy bites you must react as if it has taken a chunk out of you, until the biting is almost like a butterfly landing on your hand. This discourages biting and mouthing in later life.
Make sure that your children and any others that visit do not treat the puppy as a play-thing or toy. Teach the children and any other visitor that they must abide by your rules regarding your new pet.
Socialisation and Training Classes
It is vitally important to socialise your dog at an early age. It is a known fact that socialisation is so vitally important that it almost outweighs all other considerations.
The fear of disease or infections has led breeders and owners alike to make the tragic mistake of keeping their puppies isolated until they have completed their vaccinations.
By taking this stance they risk ending up with a fearful dogs that may become aggressive or have serious behavioural problems in later life.
I allow youngsters on my classes from the age of eight weeks of age, as long as they have their 1st vaccination.
If you wait too long you will have missed the opportunity of allowing your dogs to be able to meet and greet other dogs, children, and strangers.
Pups learn this all important lessons up to about 16 weeks of age. Body language plays an important role in this process.
This lesson once learned is rarely forgotten. Most importantly pups learn the meeting and greeting techniques from other puppies of a similar age, not from adult dogs. Certainly all my classes have all the above.
I encourage children to attend and play pass the puppy where everybody gets the chance to handle all the other puppies in a positive and kind way.
Puppy classes are a must, it is not a case of should I take my dog, but where is the best classes and how early can I get my dog to attend. The earlier you can get to classes the better, as the pup will benefit more in the early weeks of its life.
My classes are run on a six week basis. NOT a roll on roll off system which to my mind counter productive. Be careful of any Puppy Behaviourist or Trainer who does not run Puppy Classes. This means they do not understand the importance of these dogs meeting under puppies and strangers under a controlled environment.
See details of my classes and what to look for in a Puppy Class if you are not near me. PUPPY CLASSES.
Some people think it is funny to see puppies abusing older dogs. Do not allow your puppy to constantly harass, leap on, and bite other dogs.
Do not allow over boisterous very aggression play, If you do not follow this criteria you may find that an adult dog may suddenly snap at your puppy.
This is fairly normal behaviour especially from the older dogs Though most dogs will allow quite a lot of leeway from puppies and their over-boisterous play.
You shouldn't chastise the adult dog if it just give a warning growl or an air snap with no connection.
But if you allow your pup to continually pester after it has been warned then the reprimand from the adult dog may become severe.
This could cause your pup to become fearful of other dogs and therefore defensive which could cause fear and aggression problems in later life.
Fear and Aggression is the single most behavioural problems when it comes to biting. It has been suggested that over 85% of all dogs bites are fear based.