Why puppies NEED to stay with their moms and siblings - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 05-05-2014, 12:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why puppies NEED to stay with their moms and siblings

I've seen it said over and over on the board - that puppies need to stay with their mom and siblings until 7-8 weeks of age - but I don't think anyone has ever really explained why. I thought it might be helpful for those people looking to purchase a puppy to know why it's so important.

Puppies can start eating solid foods between 3-4 weeks of age. Some pups can be weaned (stop nursing on mom) as early as 5-6 weeks of age.

Just because a puppy is eating solid food and not nursing does NOT mean they should be removed from the bitch.

The bitch is not just a milk factory and cleaning lady. She will have a VERY great influence on the puppies early development. Her actions and reactions will help (or hinder) in shaping the puppies temperament.

For example, let's say I threw a metal pan into the whelping area so that it makes a very loud noise. If the bitch runs and hides from the noise in fear the pups will see this and most will react the same way. The puppies think "If MOM thinks it's scary then so do we".

But if the bitch either doesn't react or approaches the pan, the pups will see this and react the same way.

A dogs' temperament is influenced by nature (the genetic material used to create the dog) and nurture (the way the dog was raised as a puppy).

The bitch (at least a GOOD bitch) will also maintain order in the puppy pack. A bully puppy that constantly picks on the others can find themselves being reprimanded by mom. A puppy that plays too rough with a sibling might just get a "time out" from mom.

These actions by mom help puppies learn what is acceptable and what is not and they learn how to behave around other dogs (both puppies and adults).

Puppies need to be with their siblings to learn about dog body language, dog social skills and bite inhibition.

When puppies play with each other and one gets too bitey, the other pup will cry out and move away. After a couple of these encounters the offender learns that if they bite too hard the fun stops. That's natural bit inhibition.

Puppies learn the same thing when they interact with their mom - bite too hard and you get in trouble!
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting this. It is surprising the number of people on this forum that get puppies prior to 8 weeks. On the TV show, Too Cute, there was a GSD family that kept the pups with the mom until 12 weeks and exposed them to many things. I wish my pup went through something like that.

We had kittens abandoned at our business, I found them at 5-6 days old and even though I was able to raise and bottle feed them, there are many things they missed not having a real cat mom around to teach them. The babies really do benefit from being with mom and siblings.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lauri - My (Lacy) breeder also swears that the early foundations of potty and crate training can be introduced to the puppies after they are 4-6 weeks of age (after mom stops cleaning up after them). If the breeder has the correct whelping area for them. Do you think this can happen as well?
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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mom teaches them some of this already lilie
she will teach them to poop away from the main nest
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
Lauri - My (Lacy) breeder also swears that the early foundations of potty and crate training can be introduced to the puppies after they are 4-6 weeks of age (after mom stops cleaning up after them). If the breeder has the correct whelping area for them. Do you think this can happen as well?

Absolutely! If they are give an attached area to the whelping box they will cross over and do their business there. They prefer not to soil their bed area so given the opportunity they will take it. This is why I advise not to use small crates or partitons. If they gotta go they gotta go, if given some space with newspaper and they will utilize it.

I have used the early neuro stimulation on litters (days 3-16) as well as played puppy cd's. (This would not be dance music, , it's all kinds of sounds...trains, planes, crying babies, kids on playgrounds, dog shows, on and on). All 3 items listed (potty area, early neuro stim, sounds) do make a difference.

Last edited by GSDAlphaMom; 05-05-2014 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great post, thanks for taking the time to write it!
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great post. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Thanks for posting this. It is surprising the number of people on this forum that get puppies prior to 8 weeks. On the TV show, Too Cute, there was a GSD family that kept the pups with the mom until 12 weeks and exposed them to many things. I wish my pup went through something like that.

We had kittens abandoned at our business, I found them at 5-6 days old and even though I was able to raise and bottle feed them, there are many things they missed not having a real cat mom around to teach them. The babies really do benefit from being with mom and siblings.
I was told at about 10 weeks old, the puppies really get attached to the pack and it is better to go to their homes between 8-9 weeks. Not sure how true this is, but wanted to put it out there for discussion.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have had dogs go on time, and I have had pups go to their new homes as late as a little over a year old. Older puppies take a little longer to adjust, but do just fine.

Personally, I like to manage the pup during a good portion of the 3-16 week (roughly) super-socialization period, where learning tends to be more long term or concrete. After that period socialization still is important, but it doesn't do the same kind of stuff that early socialization does.

As a buyer having that pup from weeks 8 to 16 means that puppy leaves his litter -- huge change and latches onto his new owner. At this point the socialization is done with the puppy alone, not with his mom and/or litter, where puppies can run on the group confidence. It must sink or swim, and it must rely on its own and your confidence to manage all the things he will now need to experience without his litter.

The 3-8 week time frame is an awesome time for puppies to be introduced to sights and sounds while he is relatively safe with his dam and mates. If you see a cat walk by your area while your dam is right there, you can look to her and see that she is not concerned, ok, then what is this thing, it isn't going to eat me. Same with children, and other types of distractions.

But spending 12 weeks in the litter will only be helpful if the breeder can dedicate the time and energy to start taking the pup out and about individually. For the majority of the cases, having your puppy at the breeders where they have 4 or more adult dogs, 5 or more puppies (small litters are a toss up as a breeder's experience may be better and they will probably be able to give individualized attention to 4 or less puppies), is probably not as beneficial as with you beyond the 8 week point.

You can devote much more time to getting the puppy used to all the things that are common in your everyday life.
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