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Is Weaning At 6 Weeks Too Soon?
Sherry L. Shivley, Field Reporter-Photographer
Letting puppies go at 6 weeks was normal, then more vaccinations came about so 8 weeks was the accepted time to send puppies to their new homes.
My question is, why the rush for sending 2-month-old babies to new owners? Think about the issues you have had when you get a pup. The housebreaking, leash training, teething, behavior issues from being left alone.
These are all the problems you are sending to new owners from YOUR litter!
If you keep them another month-just 30 days more-it gives them time to mature, understand that they need to go outside and not inside to go potty. At 12 weeks they can learn not to fight the leash and respond to simple commands down such as “sit” and “No!” They can learn that they can be alone and sometimes must be crated.
Wouldn’t it ensure a higher degree of success if we just gave those babies a little time to grow up and learn how to be big dogs before shipping them off to a strange and scary place? Would there be fewer dogs in shelters or dumped if we just slowed down and took time with our baby puppies?
As Preservationist Breeders, we should be leading the way, proving that we walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Others should follow our example and not shove baby puppies out the door just because the law says we can.
Let’s send puppies to their new homes because they are ready to go, not because we want to be rid of them!
If we gave puppies that extra week or two, we might see fewer dogs cringing in the ring and more responsive, happy dogs in performance. Puppies would be better “started” and we would see families who keep their dogs forever instead of dumping them in shelters because of separation anxiety or behavior problems.
Another thing to think about; there are reports of puppies getting sick and dying from vaccinations. By spreading out the doses instead of rushing to get them vaccinated and sold, the babies have more time between shots to recover. I like to give my pups their second vaccinations at 10 weeks when their immune system is more developed.
I also see puppies becoming more assured and confident each day. I have fewer accidents to clean up. Leash training is still an issue because darn it! I am restricting their Freedom! LOL! I expect to receive a letter from the Puppy Union any day about that.
But my Boxer puppies know “sit” and are getting pretty good at “down.” Their mother is still teaching them manners, which is more important and effective than me teaching them. Only two weeks ago they would just look at me while peeing inside. They would still chew blankets, flip backward and refuse to move on the leash…
I do not regret keeping my babies and working with them. I want their families to love and enjoy them from Day One. I do not want them to have to clean up messes or listen to howling from the crate.
A well-behaved dog is a well-loved dog.
I am doing all I can to ensure that my puppies will be cherished for life. Try to help them AND their new owners have the best start you can with the little miracle you planned, bred and raised.
See ya around the ring ~ Sherry
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