View Full Version : Is getting an older puppy unwise?

13th February 2009, 12:44 AM
I have a wonderful adult female Cavalier and have been searching for a puppy to join us. I'd expected to get an 9-10 week old puppy (love that puppy smell, the socialization process, the silliness/sweetness of a young puppy), but may have the chance to have a lovely 7 month old Cavalier from a breeder who follows (and documents!) the MVD and SM protocols, etc.. He's done a moderate amt of socialization with the puppy but not as much as I would've done. (Understandably, as he had a litter plus half a dozen Cavs in his household and I would have only two to dote on.) An older puppy would be closer in age/size to my adult Cavalier, which I thought would be nice.

My friend, an experienced trainer, advises against getting an older puppy, however. She says more often than not older puppies show up with fear issues in her training classes because of inadequate socialization by the breeder. Much better, she says, to wait for a younger puppy so I can do the socialization during the critical 8-12 week old window. Also, I don't know if it's more traumatic for an older puppy to leave the only home it's known than a youngster??

Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated!

13th February 2009, 01:34 AM
I'd totally disagree with your trainer friend (with all due respect!) and so would my trainer friends at Dog Training Ireland (APDT and CCPDT certified... :) ). I think an older puppy typically will suit MOST people far better, they rarely have socialising problems unless the breeder is a total BYB (and if so, why would anyone buy a puppy from that person?). IMHO good breeders socialise their puppies far better than most puppy homes will be able to do because the breeders are very experienced dog people, the pups get well socialised to other dogs, to a range of people, to noises, activity, stairs, indoor and outdoor environments -- the list is endless. Breeders know the puppies need far more exposure than just to occasional walks and some family members! They also get a great start on housetraining and general manners and will be beyond the puppy nipping phase. I cannot recommend an older puppy from a good breeder enough -- and also most reputable cavalier breeders in North America do not home puppies til about three months anyway...

Personally I'd jump at the chance to get a puppy that is beyond the young puppy stage -- yes they are sweet but they are such massive work. That age, 7 months, is a great age. Still a puppy if you like puppies, but a lot more mature and capable.

I'd go see the puppy and then decide. But the very last concern I would ever have is how well socialised the pup will be at that still very young age. Most cavaliers do not have any problems adjusting to new homes and changes and new people, as well -- this is a confident outgoing breed. :)

13th February 2009, 02:15 AM
We got our Mindy when she was 8 months old. The breeder had kept her as a show prospect but didn't feel she was suitable. She was well socialized and it was love at first sight for both of us. She had a few housetraining issues because she was used to a dog door and doing her business on a cement pad and we had a grass backyard. It was easy enough to solve though once I realized what the problem was - I just took her for a walk on the road until she felt she could do her business on the grass. She got along wonderfully with our two year old Golden Retriever. She has never chewed anything she wasn't supposed to. I love having a puppy and I don't find it THAT much work but I certainly wouldn't be adverse to an older puppy or mature dog if the right opportunity arose.

13th February 2009, 02:29 AM
Most breeders that would be homing an older puppy like this one probably had held onto it thinking it might wind up as a show prospect, but they are now rehoming it because it didn't wind up being show "quality". (cavaliers are SOOO hard to evaluate as show prospects at a young age. They just go thru SOOO many changes that a breeder hates to let one go if they are looking promising. The odds are, most of these pups wind up pet quality for subtle reasons). Anywho, someone who held onto this pup, if indeed they held onto it as a show prospect, would have done a great deal of socialization to prepare it for the show ring. It is neccessary for the puppy to be comfortable being around lots of different dogs, people and noise. They also must allow the judge to examine their teeth and touch them all over. In preparation for this, the breeder probably took many pains to ensure the puppy was comfortable with all this since they can be entered into shows when they reach 6 months of age. (You might ask if the breeder did indeed show the puppy and why the pup didn't work out as a show prospect)

13th February 2009, 03:36 AM
Thanks so much for the feedback. It's very helpful!

13th February 2009, 01:54 PM
Oh lucky you. You have the opportunity to get a quality pup from a good health focused breeder. Grab the chance whilst you have it. You'll find your present dog will very soon accept the newcomer with no probs. Oh and once you get it home we want pics, lots and lots of pics please.

Love my Cavaliers
13th February 2009, 02:39 PM
I got Riley from the breeder when she was almost 11 months old and she has been the easiest of my dogs - very well socialized and absolutely in love with everyone. A lot of it is probably just her personality, but I would get an older pup again in a nanosecond (if I didn't have 4 dogs already).