Best age to take puppy home? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Best age to take puppy home?

Just curious what everyone's opinions were on the best age to take a puppy home.

I used to think 8 weeks or older, but I've been doing a bit of reading about early puppy development, and am now thinking 7 weeks might be better.

I've read repeated references to studies that say around 7 weeks of age the puppy crosses into a new developmental period, where they are mature enough to learn, and have learned what they need to from their littermates. I have read that after 7 weeks, the mom will tend to ignore the pups more, and the pup could pick up undesireable traits based on their littermates' personalities. The one physiological downside to a 7 week old puppy is that they have that much less control over their bladder/bowels.

Also, I've read that somewhere between 7-12 weeks or so is the optimal period for bonding, which suggests to me that you might have a tad more difficulty bonding with a 3-4 month old pup than a younger one.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 11:22 AM
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The truth is there is no "one size fits all" time line that applies to every litter. They're ready when they're ready.

I have a list of behaviors that I look for in my litters that tells me they're ready to take on the world. Sometimes they're ready at 47 days, sometimes 49, sometimes 52 and sometimes 56. Each litter is different (even by the same parents) and you have to treat them in accordance to the feedback and responses they're giving you. You can't go by a date on the calendar, and waiting longer isn't necessarilly better.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 11:24 AM
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Since we do our "formal" evaluations at 49 days (7 weeks), our puppies do not go home before that. 7 weeks minimum here, 8 weeks being the norm.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 11:41 AM
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Mine leave no earlier than 7 weeks.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 11:55 AM
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Eight weeks is the norm for the breeders that I know. As long as the puppies are being socialized, stimulated and the breeder is working with them as individuals, it really doesn't matter when they go home. Different story if they are being kept outside or remain as a litter without socialization to people, other animals, etc.

The 7 week thing is based on some very old studies with beagle colonies I think, so puppies remaining were not socialised properly.

My puppies actively begin "looking" for their own people between 7 and 8 weeks of age. Any puppies that stay beyond 8 weeks are taken out of the litter environment and treated as individual puppies, with their own crates, food bowls, etc. They have mutual play time and individual play time.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 11:58 AM
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We got Obi when we was 6 1/2 weeks old.
He was potty trained within a week and knew sit, come and his name by 8 weeks old.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answers all.
When we started looking for pups we considered a couple of 10-12 week pups. I'm sure they would be fantastic dogs. But purely emotionally, we wanted to have the "puffball" stage. I was glad when my reading provided some support that our preference was not based solely on unreasoning emotion.
We've had 2 goldens in the past, both exceptional dogs. With our kids in high school and college, my wife and I are positioned to put the time and energy into raising our new pup the way we wish. Just trying to identify any and all factors possibly within our control to tweak things the way we want.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 12:54 PM
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Most breeders I know do not send them home before 8 weeks. There are numerous reasons for this. Some breeders do PERSONALITY EVALUATIONS at 7 weeks or after and determine which puppy should go to which pet home.

I like the last worming and shots to be right before they go home at 8 weeks and give a day or two to make sure all is well.

I'm sure each breeder has different concerns. I would be leary of a breeder that says to send them home at 6 weeks.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 02:07 PM
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We got Lucy when she was almost 7 weeks old. By the time she was eight weeks old, she was pretty much potty trained and knew "sit," which greatly impressed her Grandma, who is normally a cat person.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 03:36 PM
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It's against Colorado law for puppies to be sold under eight weeks of age. You might want to check your local laws, since breeders who sell their pups "illegally" may not be as ethical as you might like.

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