Puppies come from many different places. You may be getting a puppy from a shelter or from a breeder. Wherever your puppy is coming from he needs to learn a lot of things from his mother and siblings before he comes home with you. Ideally, your puppy should remain with his mother and littermates until he is at least eight weeks old. Unfortunately, there are people who are separating puppies from their mothers and littermates much earlier than this and sending them home with people at five-six weeks old. There are a number of reasons this is a bad idea and why you should never take a puppy this young.
At the age of five-six weeks puppies have barely been weaned from their mothers. They have not yet learned how to be dogs. When you bring a puppy this young to your home he has not learned any rules. He doesn’t know that he is not supposed to play too rough. He has not learned “bite inhibition,” which means that he is more likely to bite you and have a hard time learning that he isn’t supposed to do it. He has not learned the kind of manners that his mother would teach him. Your puppy has not learned that there is a pack leader and that he can’t do what he wants all the time. Your puppy has not learned any dog socialization or social skills. You are bringing home a cute puppy who is much more likely to grow up to be a brat and develop behavioral problems as an adult.
At the age of five-six weeks your puppy may not have even received his first set of shots. He is far more likely to develop a deadly disease like Parvo if you bring him home at this age than if you bring home a puppy at the age of eight weeks or later. Your puppy’s immunity from his mother is virtually gone and he has not been properly immunized by vaccinations yet. Bringing home a puppy this young is unhealthy for the puppy and for any other dogs in your household.
At the age of five-six weeks a puppy has not received any socialization from the person who brought him into this world. A good breeder will make sure that a puppy becomes used to things in a house, such as televisions, radios, vacuum cleaners, and scary things like cats, umbrellas, and kids. When you bring home a puppy who has not met these things they have no human socialization. They are more likely to grow up to be fearful adults and develop problems like separation anxiety later in life. A good breeder will also make sure that a puppy receives his first set of shots (at least) before you bring him home.
Good breeders do not release puppies at five-six weeks of age. They may allow you to meet puppies at this age. They may make arrangements with you. But they will not allow puppies to leave their home at such a young age. It’s too young.
If you are getting a puppy from an animal shelter you may have to take a puppy at this age because it could be dangerous to leave them in the shelter longer since shelters can house diseases. Be sure to get your puppy vaccinated against diseases as quickly as possible and take extra care in socializing your puppy in the coming months to try to make up for the socialization he missed with his mother and littermates.
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