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Photo credit CCI.org
The Social K9
Just Born (Birth to 2 months)
From the time a puppy is born to the time it is chosen as a family pet, it ages about two human years. During this very important time, the puppy is imprinted with lessons by its mother and littermates.
Most breeders believe, and research has shown, that puppies thrive when they are held in human hands from day one. A puppy that is raised indoors with it's litter, and slowly introduced to human sounds, smells, and other stimulus, is much more likely to do well with humans later.
Bite inhibition is something that puppies exhibit early on, and through play with each other, they learn how to get along with other dogs and “bite fair.”
The neonatal time period is crucial in a pup’s early development and health. For this reason, it is never a good idea to adopt a puppy that is less than 7 weeks old, and that has not been fully weaned from its mother.
Buying a Puppy
If possible, get to know the breeder and meet both of the puppy's parents in person. If it is not possible to meet them, make sure you have seen pictures of both the male (sire) and female (dam), and inquire about their temperament. A breeder who has properly socialized their young pups will be proud to share pictures with you.
These 5 week-old Chocolate Labrador puppies are developmentally similar to a 1 year-old child.
Many people make the mistake of acquiring a puppy without knowing the environment it came from. Do not buy a puppy from a pet store, or from a basket of pups for sale in a parking lot. Unfortunately, some people pray upon our desire to nurture and love these beautiful little creatures. They may be adorable, but most have never seen a veterinarian, are unvaccinated, and may be full of disease causing parasites. Some of these poor puppies may even have life threatening congenital abnormalities.
The only way we can stop puppy mills and end irresponsible backyard breeding is to stop buying dogs without seeing where they came from.