How old do puppies have to be to leave their mom? Surprising Answer

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Dog breeders and behavioral specialists feel that the 8-12 week range is the adequate age for most dogs to leave their mother for their new homes.

Unfortunately, in talking with other dog trainers, behavioral consultants and behaviorists, we all agree were seeing a trend of puppies leaving mom and littermates far too young. A puppy who leaves his mother and littermates at five to six weeks of age, or worse yet, even younger, is going to suffer for that throughout his life.

Adopting Eight Week Old Dogs Is Typical

The traditional age for puppies to leave their mom and littermates and go to their new home has been eight weeks of age. At eight weeks of age most puppies are able to eat well, no longer need to nurse or eat supplemental formula, are mobile, and are aware of their world. They are well socialized to the people in their household and hopefully have also met other animals in the home. They have been exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, and smells and while they pay attention to these things, they are not afraid. At eight weeks of age these puppies are ready to leave their mother and siblings and go to their new home.

11 to 12 Weeks is Fine for Some Breeds

Some breeders prefer to keep their puppies a bit longer than 10 weeks. Those who breed toy breeds especially, including Chihuahuas, Papillons, and other tiny dogs, will keep the puppies until they are 11 to 12 weeks of age. These tiny puppies can be quite fragile physically and may be slower to mature mentally and emotionally as babies. A few more weeks with their mother and littermates, as well as the people they know in their family, is often best for them.

Larger puppies, however, shouldnt wait this long to go to their new homes. Nine to ten weeks of age is fine but any older could be problematic. Not only do large breed puppies grow rapidly, they are also stronger and rowdy, potentially making it more difficult for new owners to bond with this excited, big puppy who is jumping, pawing and otherwise making life difficult. Also, a 10-week-old large-breed puppy is still a dependent baby; by 12 weeks hes changing. Its much easier for new owners to bond with an eight—to 10-week-old puppy.

Right Age to Separate a Puppy from his/her Mother and Siblings

As a beginner breeder or new owner, you might be wondering: when can a puppy be away from its mother? Can puppies be without their mother at 8 weeks? Research shows that. Early separation disrupts a puppy’s physiological and psychological development.

Most responsible breeders agree that puppies should not be separated from their mother until they are ready and not just sold as soon as it is legal to do so. But when can a puppy be away from its mother? The AKC and UKC both recognize this and recommend that puppies should not be sold at less than 8 weeks old.