View Full Version : Puppy question

13th December 2007, 11:10 PM
I read in another thread that cav pups shouldn't leave for their new homes before 10-12 weeks of age, and I didn't want to hijack that thread with my (probably silly to some) long-winded question... But what difference does it make to have them leave at that age rather than at 8 weeks?

Reason I'm asking is there seems to be no breeder in my country that waits that long to release the puppies. The minimum age to sell puppies here is 8 weeks and that's what every breeder seems to go by. I researched breeders extensively for a year before making a decision and I got my Dante at 8½ weeks from an IMO very reputable breeder who shows to get each dog their championships, health-tests (eyes, hips, patellas, heart), doesn't breed often, and is very knowledgeable of the breed. Unfortunately no SM test but I couldn't find any breeder in my country that tests for that yet.

I had the luxury of living fairly close to the breeder, it was on my way to and from work, so I was visiting her 3-4 times a week since the pups were 4 weeks old. I witnessed his development from a tiny pup that almost fit in my hand to a well-fed very playful and well socialized boy at 8 weeks who ever since he was 6 weeks old was desperate to come home with me every time I came for a visit. I saw the same development in his littermates, they all seemed very ready to leave for their new homes even as early as 7 weeks. I chose to wait until he was nearly 8½ for the extra socialization. He adjusted to the life at his new home brilliantly, was housebroken in days, never cried at nights and never once seemed to miss his old home with his littermates or his mom. I heard later from the breeder that all of his littermates were just the same.

He is my first dog so I don't really have anything to compare to, but considering what I saw, I have a fairly hard time to imagine what the difference would have been if I had brought him home at 12 weeks instead. Anyone mind taking the time to enlighten me so I can understand it better?

13th December 2007, 11:41 PM
I think it may have to do with the size they are. Puppies grow a lot in that little of time. But breeders on here can prolly give you a better answer.

14th December 2007, 04:12 AM
I think the recommended age to go to the homes varies somewhat from country to country. Here in Australia the minimim is 8 weeks, but I've heard many people from other countries recommending later.

Ok, so I can only speak for what the thought is here in my country. It is believed that from birth until 8 weeks the puppy learns very valuable socialising skills not only from his mother, but also from his litter mates. These skills help mould his personality & his confidence. He will learn all the dog body language, that biting his litter mates will make them yelp and may well have repercussions. When we humans take on a puppy, we are taking them away from their natural environment, and though we do our very best to teach him, there are some things that he learns better from his canine family.

Then there are the health issues. Again depending upoh the country, the vaccinations, microchipping & wormings all need to be done before the puppy gets to his new home. The move is traumatic, no matter how loving & attentive we are. These things do put a strain on the puppy and it is not uncommon for them to go off their food, get the squirts and generally feel a bit sad & sorry for a while.

An older dog is better able to cope with all of these things.

Bruce H
14th December 2007, 12:02 PM
What Caraline said.

Also, we do natural weening here; at 8 weeks the puppies are barely weened. My personal observation is that 8 weeks is too young and and there is a LOT to be gained for the puppy in waiting for that extra 3 to 4 weeks.

And it gives me more puppy playtime :D

14th December 2007, 10:56 PM
Can only agree with the others and Bruce in particular, in the years I have been breeding I generally let the pups determine when they want to be weaned, Cavaliers are extremely maternal, more so than most other breeds, they really enjoy their babies, I currently have a pair of 5 month old puppies here who still play daily with their still doting Momma, and a 2 month old litter who's Mum is also very fond of playing with them and still sleeps with them now that her milk is (long ago) dried up!

Here in the UK members of the various regional clubs and the national club sign a Code of Ethics which clearly states,

"No puppy to be sold under the age of 8 weeks"

I will NOT sell a puppy under 10 weeks of age, this basically is because I prefer to vaccinate my puppies before I let them go to their forever homes, this is my personnal choice, this way I know I have done as much as possible to protect the pups. Many years back a work colleague of my OH bought a Cavalier Puppy from a good friend of mine, a week later we met up with him and the puppy down on the canal towpath! He was trying to convince me that the puppy had now completed his vaccinations and was OK to be walked , I knew otherwise as I had actually delivered his litter:eek: to this day NO puppy leaves me that is not fully vaccinated!

Different countries and there respective breed clubs have their own standards and ethics, the above is mine!

14th December 2007, 11:24 PM
There's a really big difference in them developmentally between 7 and 8 weeks of age -- each week is PACKED with learning at that age. It's the difference between a 2 year old and a 4 year old, if you want to put it in those terms. There are studies that show that many puppies will suffer lifelong behaviour problems when homed at 7 weeks as it is simply too young. they may look active and happy with their siblings and adults, but that doesn't relate to whether they are really OK to home. Most developed countries and US states now ban homing puppies or kittens before 8 weeks because of these studies. Sadly, some places (like Ireland :mad:) still allow homing at 7 weeks. I have even seen puppies homed at 5-6 weeks -- when they are barely able to fend for themselves. :mad: I still read about 7 weeks being the 'ideal age for bonding' but I think that just just nonsense -- I have three other dogs acquired as adults and all are perfectly well bonded to me (maybe too enthusiastic!! :lol:)

In much of Ireland and the UK breeders will home at 8 weeks or so but from longer experience from when I got my first pup, I do see a very big difference in the quality of the dog's personality at the time it is homed when they are homed at 10 weeks or more. They are far more calm, confident, capable, focused, able puppies. They are less nippy, less barky, usually have started on their way to being housetrained. They are much easier for the new family, therefore there's a better chance for a successful homing! :)

Tara and Lisa my dog trainer friends who are also board members here, say they see regular problems in dogs that were homed at under 8 weeks. My first dog Jaspar was homed to me at 8.5 weeks and I do really see the difference in him and the others -- he is the most shy of my dogs and the least comfortable with people. He plays little with other dogs. He's a fabulous dog and my favourite and I do all sorts of things with him as he is very closely bonded to me, but he's a good example of a dog that would have really benefitted from another two weeks or so with his litter and mother. I did all the things the trainers and books say to socialise him well but a single person or even a full family of humans is not the same as that canine family unit.

Debby with a Y
14th December 2007, 11:58 PM
Barkley's breeder wouldn't let me bring him home until he was 13 weeks. Usually he homes his pups at 12 weeks but Barkley wasn't a good eater (and still isn't...but at least he is growing like a WEED!) Barkley adjusted to my home immediately, is not a nipper, and is an infrequent barker. He is affectionate and he dotes on me, but he is not clingy or insecure. I think that the extra time spent with his mom and other dogs and puppies was a big help. Yes, I was anxious to get my little one home, but he was worth the wait.

15th December 2007, 01:59 AM
When I got Dixie at 11 weeks, I couldn't believe what an easy puppy she was. She never cried in her crate, slept all night from the first night ,was potty trained very easily, didn't bark, made friends with my other two dogs etc. She by far was my easiest puppy and I got her probably 4 to 5 weeks later than my other two. I will never get a puppy younger than 10 weeks again. Judy and Dixie

15th December 2007, 07:12 AM
Seems like I was lucky to have such an easy-going confident pup after having read all this, just hope my next cav will be just as easy even though I'll probably have no other choice than to bring him/her home between 8-9 weeks.

Thanks for the explanations everyone :)