When Can Puppies Leave Their Mother

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In this article we look at when puppies can leave their mother.

We’ll investigate the benefits of bringing home a puppy at different ages and the best age for you to take your Labrador puppy home.

And we’ll look at what can go wrong when puppies are re-homed too early

When can you take a puppy home?

It’s the most exciting moment isn’t it? The day you get to bring your puppy home.

It isn’t surprising we all want that day to come as soon as possible. Sometimes sooner than it should.

Most puppies go to their new homes between 7 and 9 weeks old.

But there are various factors we need to consider carefully, in order to do the best for your puppy.

Can you take a puppy home at six weeks old?

In some parts of the world it is common for puppies to be re-homed at six weeks or even earlier.

Six weeks is a popular age for many people to want to bring home their Lab puppy.

And breeders who sell very young puppies will often explain, quite truthfully, that their six week old puppy is already weaned.

We’ll have a look at the relevance of that in a moment.

But in much of Europe, Australia and North America, most pedigree puppies are not sold until they are around 8 weeks old.

A few breeders may want puppies to be even older than this.

So why the big difference? And when can puppies leave their Mom? Let’s take a look

Kennel Club recommendations for rehoming puppies

The Kennel Club (UK) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) both recommend that puppies are over 8 weeks old before being rehomed.

The AKC explains that this allows the breeder to complete the weaning process and to make sure that the puppy is settled on solid food.

“But, BUT”, you cry “my six week old puppy is already weaned!”

That may well be true, in so far as your puppy no longer drinks his mother’s milk. However, weaning is not the only reason for delaying the sale of puppies until 8 weeks. We’ll look at this more closely in a moment

There are two issues here that need separating.

  • Can puppies leave their mother at six weeks
  • Should puppies leave their mother at six weeks

Can puppies leave their mother at 6 weeks?

Physically puppies can and do leave their mothers this young, and even younger, though not all such very young puppies will survive.

We get many sad letters here from people that have bought puppies as young as three or four weeks old and whose puppies are very sick

And while the sale of such tiny puppies is permitted in some parts of the world, it is illegal in others

Legal limits on the age of puppies when sold

In some 25 states in the USA there are legal requirements governing the sale of puppies

In most cases these laws stipulate that puppies should be over 8 weeks old when they go to their permanent homes.

So what is the purpose of this legislation and why is 8 weeks so important. Why do Kennel Clubs recommend puppies are not re-homed before 8 weeks?

Is it to do with weaning? Or is there some other reason. Let’s just go back to weaning first

Are puppies weaned at six weeks old?

If your breeder tells you your puppy is already weaned at six weeks old, they are almost certainly telling the truth.

Most breeders begin getting puppies used to solid food from around 3 to 4 weeks of age, and many puppies are indeed completely weaned off their mother’s milk at six weeks.

When can you take your puppy home? We look at the right age to bring home a puppy and the best time for puppies to leave their motherHowever, it is important that the puppies are observed and supported during this early stage of adjusting to solid food. And protected from stress.

The six week old pup has a very immature digestion and is vulnerable to stomach upsets.

It certainly isn’t a good time to uproot a puppy and add the additional stress of leaving the comfort and familiarity of his home.

More reasons not to rehome pups at 6 weeks

But there are other, even more important reasons to leave a puppy with his breeder and with his brothers and sisters, for a couple more weeks. These reasons include

  • Learning not to bite hard
  • Avoiding behavioral problems
  • Helping puppy buyers identify responsible breeders

Learning not to bite hard

All puppies bite. This is a normal part of puppy play.

Although puppy biting is normal, in puppies adopted early – at 5 or 6 weeks it often hurts more.

That is because puppies have to learn how hard they can bite in fun, without actually harming anyone. And one of the most important ways that puppies learn not to bite is from their mother and littermates.

Much of this ‘no bite’ training takes place during the two weeks before the puppy reaches 8 weeks of age.

This is when puppy play gets rougher and tougher and the puppies teach one another not to bite too hard.

Behavior problems in puppies separated from their mothers too early

We now know that behavioral problems are more common in puppies separated too early from their litter

A study published in 2011 has shown that these behavioral problems include

  • destructiveness
  • excessive barking
  • fearfulness on walks
  • reactivity to noises
  • toy possessiveness
  • food possessiveness
  • attention-seeking

This are important consideration for any puppy buyer.  But the 8 week rehoming guideline has yet another useful purpose. It helps you identify responsible dog breeders

Puppies are hard work.  Especially from 6 to 8 weeks of age when they are messy, noisy, and growing fast.

It takes commitment to keep puppies during this period when many puppy buyers are desperate to collect their baby and take them home.

This commitment is a good sign that you have chosen a responsible caring breeder and that that responsible attitude will affect all aspects of your puppy’s early life in a positive way.

Anyone who is just breeding for profit is likely to want to move the puppies on to their permanent homes as quickly as possible.

Reasons for rehoming puppies early

Of course sometimes there are exceptional reasons that mean a puppy needs to be brought home early.

A death in the breeder’s family may result in a litter being re-homed early for example

But let’s be honest, situations like this are extremely rare

All too often, breeders who let puppies go to their new homes at six weeks old, do so for selfish reasons.

Incidentally, a common excuse given by breeders who are just churning out puppies for profit, and want to get rid of the puppies as quickly as possible, is that ‘the mother dog has died’.

This is rarely true, and in any case it isn’t relevant.

Because at this point, the puppy needs to be with his brothers and sisters, as much as, if not more than, he needs to be with his mother.

When can puppies leave their mother?

So if 6 weeks is too young, when can puppies leave their mother and when can you take your puppy home?

What about 7 weeks of age?  Must you really wait a full 8 weeks?

I understand that waiting can be tough. Seven weeks is not ideal, but probably won’t do any great harm other than making biting harder and more difficult to stop.

Is that really worth an extra 7 days in the grand scheme of things?

The truthful answer is, that the right age to bring home a Labrador puppy is 8 weeks.  A couple of days early won’t hurt, but that is it.

With very small breeds, some breeders will want to keep the puppies for another three to four weeks after that.

Puppies that are too young to leave their mother

Here is an article explaining the problems that can arise with puppies that are sold at five or six weeks old.

With younger puppies,  three or four weeks,  the situation  is even more serious,  and your puppy may die.
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If you have been offered a three week old puppy for sale please be patient and refuse. He does look very appealing, but he really needs his mother and littermates.

And please think very hard about whether or not this is the right breeder, and the right litter for you. Even if the mother has genuinely sadly passed away, your puppy still needs to be kept with his littermates.

If you have brought a puppy home that is less than seven weeks old,  please have the courage to take your puppy back to the breeder.

If everyone in your situation did this, breeders would stop abusing dogs in this way,  because they would not be able to sell them.

Without legislation to protect these dogs, in many regions, the answer lies entirely in the hands of the buyer.

Finally, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum.  Is it ever too late to bring a puppy home?  Are some puppies too old to be adopted?

Is my puppy too old to bring home?

What happens if you have been offered an older puppy?  One that is 10 or even 12 weeks old?

Are there any problems you need to look out for? The answer here is that if you have found a good breeder, there shouldnt be any problems with adopting an older puppy

The main issue that can affect older puppies is lack of socialisation.

Socialisation  means taking a puppy out and about to get him used to all kinds of different situations and experiences, and it is hard  work to do this properly with more than one puppy

So, if your breeder has been left with two or three puppies, you need to check carefully on what he or she has done in the way of socialisation.

Summary

Eight weeks is a great age to bring your puppy home. The benefits are worth the wait.

Like so many aspects of puppy health and welfare, much hinges on whether or not you have found a good, responsible breeder

If you have done your research and picked your breeder carefully, none of these issues is likely to affect you.

A good breeder is most unlikely to let puppies go before 8 weeks of age, or to have leftover puppies much after 9 weeks. And if she does, she will know exactly what to do to ensure your puppy is thoroughly socialised.

More information on puppies

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300Check out our Labrador Puppies section for more help and advice on choosing the right puppy to join your family, at the right time.

For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

A brief version of this article was originally published in 2013 and the comments from it have been moved to this page. “When can puppies leave their mother” has been extensively revised and expanded for 2016

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.

57 COMMENTS

  1. i do have a question we just breed our Red Bone Coon Hound and where told 6 weeks by our vet. so i continued to ask other vets because that’s something i haven’t heard of and they said for there size at 6 weeks and they should already be weaned from milk and mother by that time and be up and around on there own?

  2. My husband bought a lab for me on our anniversary. He is a lot older than me and not really experienced with dogs, we had a black lab for years who was taken to Labrador heaven during the Summer after many years of love and fun with us due to cancer.
    The breeder sold him a 3-4 week old pup, (we are pursuing a case against him) we had a few problems medically but seems well now with really good care from our wonderful vet.
    My question is, he keeps biting us, and badly. Is there anything we can do? Can we help him?
    The breeder makes me angry, it cost my husband a lot of money and took advantage of his kind nature. I hope we can help this beautiful Labrador can grow to be a wonderful companion.

    • One thing that has helped with biting puppies is to yelp REALLY LOUDLY and at a high pitch–just as a brother or sister would have done. Also, IMMEDIATELY stop playing, petting, paying ANY attention at all to your puppy. I will even turn my back to her.
      Your puppy wants to play with you and get attention from you more than anything and this seems to have worked really well for me.
      My little girl (who didn’t leave momma early but still needed to learn that I don’t have a thick layer of fur over my skin!) has gotten MUCH better VERY quickly!
      Now, all I have to say is, “no mouth!” and she stops.
      Be patient. Your puppy doesn’t WANT to hurt you but he just doesn’t know any better until you teach him.

  3. Hi Pippa,

    I’ve looked into getting a golden retriever from a breeder. She said when the puppies are 7-8 weeks old they can go to their new homes. Does this mean this is not a good breeder?

    Thanks
    Tina

  4. We’ve got a beautiful chocolate lab who’s had eight gorgeous puppies, they are now 6 weeks old, they will not leave here till 8-9 weeks old, they have had beta puppy food moistened and blended three times a day since 4 weeks olds as well as a lactol milk feed morning and night along with water, they have now been separated from mum to get them used to not having her present and vice versa, they would still feed from her if they could but to be honest it’s me that’s taken the descion to step in as mum was giving me the “help” eyes… So I did, all puppies are fantastic even the dinky one survived and she is the most independent one !! All puppies have loving homes to go too, but will not leave until 8-9 weeks old, it is important that the hard and dangerous bit is done before they start there next chapter of life, I have them litter trained in there box, my next step is to crate train them and that way I know I’ve done everything I can to give them the best first steps to fun with there loving families. My beauty was crate trained from day one, and if she could she would still be in it now, they feel safe and secure in there crate and you know they can’t harm themselves while your not there. Love your dog as your dog sure loves you 🙂

    • Thank you for your information. I have old english female who breed with an akbash. She had 7the very large puppies. And i feel good about everything i have done with them to prepare for their new homes . Just as you said sad warn out mum so i had to lend a hand but they are so huge :). They will be very close to 9 weeks but we had to wait for a vet opening to have their shots done . This will be done on Saturday . My question to you is . Is it ok to allow them to go that day. The people who are buying them are asking to pick them up right after their shots ? Thank you

  5. Hi what it is i need some help if there is anyone out there that can help my Lab girl had 10 puppies on 1/08/2015 mum has taken mastitis twice now the puppies were four weeks past on Saturday,the mum is on painkiller,antibiotics and the vet has told me to seperate the mum from the puppies the puppies cry for there mum and mum keeps barking and pining,the puppies are already on solids and i have been feeding them every four hours do i only give them so many feeds per day what about during the night my husband well lets just say it was domestic violance when the puppies were just a few days old i am trying to mange my daughter is a very big help i am feeding them canned puppy food mushed up with lactol milk also puppies full meal mixer this morning i feel at the end of my tether i just need some helpful advice also the smallest pupiie born has a hare lip so i have been bottle feeding her around the clock i took a severe chest infection and i am very run down but i push forward for the sake of these beautiful puppies is there anyone out there who can offer any type of tips or advice i would be very grateful for any help or guidance what so ever thank you x

  6. Hi Pippa
    I am thrilled to have found your site today…I live in Bali and last week I rescued a labrador puppy,i think she is about 4 to 5 weeks old..I have to look after her as she was just left on the street..she is very sweet and placid although her little teeth are sharp and she tries to bite everything,I have been feeding her twice a day with boiled rice and mashed vegetables and a little puppy food…she seems very happy….she is going to the vet next week to be checked out..I am thinking to get a crate for her…I read that you dont give advice for puppies under 8 weeks and I can understand this….would it be possible for you to give me a yes or no on crating her.
    Thank You
    Kristine

  7. Hi…8 and 1/2 yrs ago my hubby and I were reeling from the lose of our 18month old black labs death…anemia and cancer took his life…we researched breeders, withe the help of a vet found one, (our dr. Requested we get a lab for our young son who was not able to talk….it worked wonders)., after his death we were driving in the back bush roads…we seen a sign….help, puppies need a home….my hubby said what harm could it do….well…we went in, and in the corner there was a mountain of little puppies….fast asleep….
    Here was a young mother of 3 little ones all under the age of 5yrs…
    The mother dog belonged to her ex hubby, who had just left on tour…leaving his dog with someone he trusted the mother of his children…
    anyways the female was 2 yrs old….She had given birth to 15 puppies all chocolate…She wanted nothing to do with the puppies….The whole 3 hours we were there the mother stayed on the couch….The male the father a chocolate lab was there….Both were easy going dogs…Very friendly. …seemed healthy….The vet had given her strict instructions…As to what to fed….how much to fed…When to fed them….and the woman was just so exhausted she just couldn’t keep it up….
    The puppies were born on NEWS YEARS DAY AT noon….well we offered to take one of the puppies…
    so we took the first puppy seemed to need the most cate. …he was only 28 days old….yes….we took him staight to our vet….explained who and where we got him….Our vet gave us the best advice…we did exactly what we were told….he is now 8 and 1/2 yrs old, perfectly healthy, we’ll adjusted, absolutely friendly…well rounded dog ever….
    about 6 months later we met the woman how we got our little from…we asked if she was able to find homes do them all….She said that…within days after we took our puppy home the puppies caught a virus….and she rushed them to her vet and one after the other they all died….we were so shocked we couldn’t believe it….She was so happy to hear that ours was alive and extremely healthy….
    mind you it was a lot of work with a puppy that young…we had to become the adult dog parents….
    to this day I thank God for being in the right place….to save one little life…I know and understand your point pippa…about not taking a puppy at a too early time….you are right….but just sometimes it is done for the right reason….Thank u

  8. Visited our second Chocolate pup after a few weeks old with mum and again at 5 weeks. Picked her up at 7 weeks. This was from a well established caring breeder who kept her dogs as pets. No one could have loved her dogs more and we had no qualms in taking ours home at 7 weeks. She is a well adjusted, sociable loving dog anyone could want. Agree earlier than 7 weeks is a no go but there is no set rule as ‘8 weeks’

  9. Hi Pippa,
    Many years ago I was given a chocolate lab puppy who was just four weeks old – his mother had been killed by kids with an airgun, and his human parents were not breeders and had no other bitches to take care of him. I was pregnant and had bottles for the awaited baby. These I used to feed him the milk recommended by my vet – I no longer recall what it was. I assume you agree that in such a case there really is no option other than try to do the best for the pup? He became a deeply devoted, gentle and biddable companion who lived till he was 16.

  10. i wish that I had found Pippa sooner as her advice and books would have the first year of our Yellow Labs life much more fun for all of us.

  11. Hi, My Lab pup is 6 weeks old. What is the appropriate dry food for him? My breeder was giving him Royal Canin Starter for Giant dogs. Even I was giving him the same. One of my neighbours pointed out that she gave Maxi starter. I am now confused. Is there a problem? Pls help.

  12. I received a 6,5week old labbie today,and from what i can see is that they need to adapt to their new environment.Eating an drinking quite well for a puppy in a new homeSince not being with mom and the new family makes them be a bit more “active” and seeking attention from the person who actually sits still the most.It’s just who’ll be master of the bed tonight that’s going to be a problem tonight…….

  13. I read the article.but my situation is different I adopt a 2week old charming lab whose mother had died.i cant loose him..can anyone suggest some ways to look after him at this age(what to feed.. etc..)
    Pls reply

  14. Hi I am a breeder and have a litter of chocolate labs not all breeders believe in palming off there pups at an early age I have a family who are wanting to take my bitch at 6 weeks and to me is a def NO NO my puppies are reared in my home enviroment and have the freedom of the garden with my other adult labs to interact with them and my children yes some breeders are simply after the money but for me a happy puppy is a healthy puppy I do all I can to give them a good start in life and believe from 8 weeks onwards the puppy is ready to become part of a family my pups go wormed vaccinated and vet checked before leaving my home and yes they are hard work at times but nothing pleases me to see them content and their new families excited to finally take them home after visiting several times and believe a pup at 6 weeks and under is def not ready to leave its familiar surrounding at such a young age my puppies are my pride thanks:)

  15. Hello,

    I just took in a sweet black lab puppy. I had to guess at his age because of a language barrier (I was told 45 days) but the mother of the pups was very, very ill and completely unable to nurse or care for her pups. The owners knew the mother wouldn’t be alive much longer, so they looked for good families to take in the pups. I understand that professionally, it is ill-advised to release pups before the 8 week mark, but these pups would have been taken to a pound or dumped out in the country. I could not personally have that on my conscience. I love my animals as family and couldn’t say no.

    I just wanted you to understand that sometimes, circumstances make it difficult for pups to stay the full 8 weeks – this most definitely being one of them. I took him to the vet today and was told all is well, in two weeks he will be big enough for full vaccines.

  16. Hi! I found out a day after I purchased a lab puppy at 6 weeks old that it was illegal. I have a yellow make who weighs 3.5 lbs. The man told me that both parents were labs. My baby us very active and eats well. Can a lab that is six weeks old be only 3.5 lbs?

  17. Hello,
    I am currently the mother dog to 4 lab pups that were rejected by their mum, on Sunday the pups will be 4 weeks old, mummy dog had 8 babies, one was stillborn and 3 unfortunately were not strong enough to make it, but I have 4 beautiful little labs to look after, any info you can give me about the next weeks would be wonderful, I am currently weaning them from bottles, as I’ve had enough of doing it and they don’t seem to interested suckling on the bottles, but they don’t really want to lap either, I am currently also giving them some tin puppy food with warm water and the dog replacement milk mixed all up and mushy that seem to be ok with.. having never dealt with pups this young before and all info would be greatly appreciated

  18. We got our puppy at 7,5 weeks old. He started at the beginning of his life with much problems. The bitch had a troublesome delivery. 3 were born normal, 4 with a Caesarian section. After a week the bitch got mastitis. She got so ill she had to be treated with antibiotics. These antibiotics were harmful for the puppy’s and therefor they were separated from their mother. They were hand fed with goat milk. The mother was not able to go back to the litter. After the goat milk they were fed with soaked kibble and liver pastry. After 2 month we had the puppy, I heard the mother of this litter had hypothyroidism. Are there things that we can expect with our pup, and can we expect problems with the upbringing, and of course the hereditary of the hypothyroidism? For example he can bite very hard in the tail of our older lab. He doesn’t know his strength!

    Annemarie from the Netherlands

  19. We had puppies 2 years ago June 2. I told everyone that the puppies could not go home till 8 weeks. Unfortunately we had no choice but to compromise with the people of the stud dog and let their pick go home at 7 weeks. They tried telling me that because he was going to be a service/companion dog that it was unacceptable that I wouldn’t let them take him at 5 or 6 weeks. We finally agreed on 7 but I still felt that was to soon.

  20. Hi
    As a breeder of Chocolate Labradors I am of the opinion that puppies should not be allowed to leave their mum or their sibblings before they are 8 weeks old. When they are weaned from their mum and on solid dry food, their mum still plays an important role. She can be allowed longer time with the pups once her milk has dried up, and will play with them, discipline them. But it is the role of the Breeder that is more important to get the pups ready for their new homes, beginning basic training, socialising the pups, getting 1st vaccinations and arranging insurance with companies like Pet Plan that give 4 free weeks insurance. Selling pups before 8 weeks is not in my opinion recommended as they are still too young and need to interact with their sibblings and mother. Also important for the breeder to ensure that the new owners are given guidance on how to look after a puppy, the do’s & don’ts, encouraging dog training immediately after the pups have had their 2nd vaccination at 12 weeks. Training of a pup starts asap as the first 20 weeks is the most important time in the life of a pup. The first 8 weeks is down to a breeder, from there on in for the rest of the dogs life 12-15 years its all down to the owner. A good dog is one where the owner has been properly trained a bad dog is down to one thing an owner that has not been bothered to get trained. Dog owners need to be trained in order to be able to train and continue to train a dog. In my experience this is where it all goes wrong, the 8 week to 1st year of a dogs life. A good breeder can only set the dog up for life but its the owner that is the key to a happy obedient dog. Don’t blame the dog it’s almost always the owner who is to blame.

    • I fully agree re the training side. I work for a behaviourist and trainer and we see far too many dogs of all breeds that are experiencing problems through a lack of socialisation when they were puppies. All too often the dog ends up using aggression as a means of dealing with other dogs because it does not know how else to approach them. In a good puppy training class owners should be able to get an insight into how their pup is developing and how it is likely to develop as time goes on, as well as starting on basic training. The pups should have a chance to play together in carefully supervised groups that ensure that no one gets overwhelmed or bullied. We always say that our job is training the owners. They train their dogs, and a good owner will continue with training for the whole of a dog’s life.

  21. pippa i agree puppies should be with mom till 8 weeks and in some cases even longer but i have taken responsibility for a 3 week old black lab little girl and i dont know what to feed her for sure jist formula or mix with wet food im at a loss this sweet girl lost her mom she was hit by a truck and the people that owned the dog was gonna kill the pups if they didnt get homes she was the last one left so i took her i couldnt bare the thought of her dying like that please help me

    • Hi Ashlee,
      How terribly sad that a nursing bitch (or any other dog) should be given access to a road. Unfortunately everyone that asks for help with three week old puppies tells me that the mother is dead. 🙁 It is very upsetting but I do explain in the article why I cannot condone the provision of information which enables people to purchase and rear such young puppies. If a bitch dies, the care of the orphaned puppies is the responsibility of the breeder and the puppies should not be sold until they are eight weeks old and thriving. Your local vet is the best person to assist you. Good luck with your puppy, I hope she survives.

  22. hi,
    we were planning to get a lob which was 4 weeks old, but after reading this article i’m gonna wait 12 more days coz my family and i are all so excited and coudnt wait….

    what do u think about her seperation age is this age i mentioned above is good for him.

    • I totally agree with pippa. We have bred our labs twice and both times kept them till they were 8 wks old. I was going to release at 6 but after researching about labs I found that 8 wks is the earliest. Yes they are on their own with food and off the mamma but between the 6 and 8 wks they learn soo much from their mamma and siblings. We had the advantage of daddy being on the premise and he even corrected them when needed. It is soo very important to wait till that 8 wk mark. And as a responsible breeder you shouldn’t allow them to leave any earlier. They get their 6 wk check up and then you should have them get their 8wk shot. Both breeder and buyer need to be responsible on this. Our buyers were encouraged to come and visit and we even called them by their names once the buyers knew what they wanted to name them. Our buyers couldn’t be happier with their crazy loveable labs. All 17 puppies have had great reports as I keep in contact with them all. Anything short of 8wks does not benefit the puppy. They need their mamma and siblings at least till then very important. We were first time breeders and everyone I talked to on breeding who was legit and caring of their dogs said no sooner than 8 wks. Research whatever breed you decide to buy or breed yourself and learn what is the best for them not for ourselves

  23. Hi,
    I am adopting a 38 year old white lab from it’s owner, it’s mother has been sold as the puppy’s were 35 days old, sadly this happens a lot in egypt, do you have any tips on what to feed him? Should I feed him normal puppy food or still feed him milk?

  24. I have put a deposit down on a chocolate lab…and the breeder says he will be ready to come home on the 2nd of September…he was orn on the 15th of july(7weeks)….is that ok for the pup to come home then?

  25. i just brought a puppy lab last week, he’s almost six weeks old..
    i observe him, he’s active and i give him food and water at the right time everyday..
    he’s active when he’s awake and love’s to play..

  26. Hello,

    I should have found this page before i got my puppy. He is only 6 weeks old and the so called vet (i am angry now) said that it was ok. He has only been staying two days with me so far, but apart from this that i cannot change. Can you please let me know what i should keep in mind, like when should i train him , because of course he relieves himself everywhere now:), and can i leave him alone while i am at work? Thank you 🙂

    • Check out the puppy section Megi, use the link at the top of the page, it is full of articles on feeding, house training etc. As to leaving him alone, it depends how long you work for, but for the first few weeks he needs someone with him much of the time. You can’t leave a young dog alone all day.
      Pippa

  27. When i purchased my Blacky, she was only 10 weeks old, and she was the little baby of her mother, means last baby…. And he have smaller size than other puppies… But now he was very active for running and other activities … Now she is 4 months old. And is there any problem in future for her look?? Somebody says she does not get a proper size like other labs?i feed her home made food(rice with fish curry or chicken curry ) and some dry food…and one question more she have small knot / hump on top head what is that??

  28. Hey! I just got my puppy and its 4 weeks. The mother died 10 days after the birth.. He is 1.100 kg black lab .. Should I be worried??vet said everything is ok ..

    • Sorry to hear that your puppy’s mother has died. In this situation, it is normally best for the pups to remain together with the breeder until eight weeks old, as the puppies benefit from being raised with their siblings. Presumably your breeder is advising you, but don’t hesitate to go back to the vet if you are at all worried. Good luck and best wishes. Pippa

  29. My 19 month old Lab was nine weeks old when we brought him home and to us, this was ideal . Mum had lots of time out whilst the pups played in a massive pen which was kept clean and warm , they also had interaction with the breeders children and her other two dogs . I felt that Sam was ready to leave but had learned valuable lessons on play , sociability and interaction with other dogs and people . I find it shocking that some pups can leave their Mum and siblings at such a young age.

  30. Pippa,
    Shocked to hear that you were put in such a situation. 20 days! Unbelievable ! Puppies need time to learn how to be dogs. Interaction with their littermates, with Mom, with the breeder, with the family cat, are all part of the foundation upon which the new owner will build their new companion. Bite-inhibition is one of the most critical skills Pup will learn in the time spent with littermates. Responsible breeders should hardly be unaware of this aspect of Pup’s development, and the social consequences of their decision to ignore it.

  31. I am a dog fosterer on the Greek Island of Zakynthos and spend my time caring for puppies and bringing them on to a point where they can be re-homed. Could not agree more with your attitude. I regularly deal with puppies that have been placed in a bin at hours old – I have the knowledge but the work involved is huge and involves you with 24 hours a day. I am extremely fortunate that I have an alsation cross dog who loves pups and if I do the feeding – he will do the loving, keeping warm and cleaning. Pups are best with their mums until they are at very least 8 weeks – they should leave when they are fully weaned and investigating the world around them. Take them before – you give yourself heartache and all too often the pup has a death sentence.

  32. Hi Pippa
    We got our dog from the breeder at 8 weeks and a day old but when we visited at 5 weeks to choose the puppy we were going to take they had already been separated from their mother because the breeder said they were hurting her by trying to feed so were kept outside in a shed with a heat lamp and brought in in groups of two or three or individually I think to socialise etc but were kept away from their mother. I was never tempted to take the puppy at this point because I knew i wasnt meant to and the breeder was only ever going to be letting them go at 8 weeks but I can imagine it would be quite easy if you didnt know any better, to ‘feel sorry’ for the puppy and having fallen in love with it want to somehow ‘rescue’ it. Obviously tjat’s not right but people just don’t have the information and experience that they need. i come across a lot of dog owners who describe their buying experiences and they are often quite shocking but none of them have been anything other than people desperate for a dog in their family who just don’t have the right information. As a first time dog owner I had done loads of research but still it didn’t seems to be enough and I things I had a general feeling were odd or worried I asked the breeder about (as diplomatically as possible) but they got quite defensive and we were nearly not able to have a puppy because the breeder thought we ‘weren’t ready’ to be dog owners. It all got very awkward but thankfully I think the owner of the stud dog who was very experienced intervened on our behalf and we managed to reassure the breeder that we were just trying to do the right thing. Through research we had thought that it was right to ask questions but it really didnt go down very well and the fact that we had rung the breeder’s vet (as advised) didn’t go down well either. Now I’m sure there were lots of things we did wrongly and sure this will be pointed out, but it is very difficult sometimes to walk away when you have gone so far down the line or when you have been disappointed before. A previous breeder had turned us down at the last minute because we hadnt asked ENOUGH questions during the pregnancy. I think there needs to be still more information for buyers about not just the age to take puppies but about how to speak to breeders and when to walk away if you have concerns. I still don’t know if my concerns were valid or not. There are certainly lots of articles about taking puppies at 7 weeks and it can be hard to know who to listen to. We went with the advice of the kennel club in the end but there is plenty of bad press about them too so it can be very difficult to know which information to trust. I wish breeders were more approachable and didn’t assume all buyers were terrible people (which was the impression we got from a few) but realised that actually most people have the best intentions but just haven’t been through the process before and are trying their best to follow the (sometimes very mixed) information available. I am glad that you have made the point about age so clearly and in your ‘Rachael’s story’ talked about the puppy buying process. I didn’t come across any of your sites till my dog was about 6 months old and if (when) I ever get another dog I’ll be confident about what I’m doing but everyone has to have a first time and I feel sorry for people trying to make sense of the information out there who are trying to do the right thing but have been misinformed.

    • When I collected my now 10 week old bitch, at 8 weeks, from a well- known breeder with a number of decades experience behind her, she stated that the litter hadn`t seen their mother for 2 weeks. Judging from Fern, who is trying to bite everything, including me, it appears to have been a blessed relief for the mother. Can I deduce from this that this is common practice.

  33. 6 weeks is far too young. 10 -12 weeks is ideal for the puppy. It is only the breeder that has had enough at 6 weeks………….give your puppies a chance…and be fair to the pups.

  34. In my opinion I feel the right time for a lab puppy to leave mum should be 6 weeks of age no younger and no older.
    By 6 weeks the bitches have truly had enough of the puppies biting there teats and we strat to feed at 2 to 3 weeks so the puppies are up and running at full pelt by 6 weeks.
    The new owners can only do for the puppies what we have done regards feeding. And I also feel a good bond is made at 6 weeks as they are ready for human interaction.
    I would never take a puppy away from mum before 6 weeks. And I think 8 weeks is far too long and not good for the poor bitch.

    • Even though we start to supplement mother’s milk with puppy food at 4 weeks and the pups are usually completely weaned by 6 weeks the pups learn to get along with other dogs by playing with their siblings and parents. Puppies learn bite inhibition by being bitten. A bond with humans is formed best at 6 weeks, that is true but you are doing the pup a disservice by making it hard for him to get along with his own species when you remove him too early. I encourage my new owners to come and play with their new puppy often between 6-8 weeks. The bond starts before they go home and all of the puppies benefit from meeting new people, big and small. A well socialized puppy is a happy puppy.

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