What is the best - earliest - age that a puppy should leave his mother?
I am getting a puppy - german shepherd cross with golden retriever - and am wondering the optimum time for him to come home with me?
he has 7 brothers and sisters and a good mother. He will be coming home to only me (although there will be family and friends visiting a lot!) I do work at home and can spend a lot of time with him.
Is 6 weeks old too young? (after his first vaccination) I am considering his socialization with his siblings - and also what his mother is teaching him as reasons he maybe should spend longer with his dog family...
There are several mentions on my site about this particular topic, and I'd recommend reading the pages concerned with choosing a puppy for more advice.
The optimum age for a pup to leave his momma and siblings is 8 weeks. Although the momma will start weaning puppies between 3 and 4 weeks of age, this is only the very beginning of their separation from her.
My Puppy Development page will help you understand the different stages that puppies go through and what they are learning at these times.
Young puppies are developing their social skills during the weeks between 3 and 8 (and beyond too of course), and bite inhibition and appropriate canine social interaction behavior are vitally important parts of their development.
A puppy who is taken from their canine family too early will often have excessive biting/nipping behavior which is difficult to discourage. You can read more about this on my Puppy Biting page.
Also, a pup who doesn't learn how to 'play nicely with others' or to accept adult discipline/rules from both older dogs and humans, may have more difficulty getting along with other dogs in general and even experience fearful/anxious or aggressive/defensive behavior when confronted with new people, places or animals.
If a puppy has a momma with a stable temperament, and a breeder who is taking proper care of the dog and her puppies then he or she is much better off to stay with the canine family until 8 weeks old.
Hope this helps, best of luck with your new puppy.
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