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Breed Education

Too Young to Leave My Mom
(how old should your new puppy be when you get it)

 by Roberta Mallott

I will write a little personal background information as to why I so fervently believe these little tykes need activities to keep their minds working. 

Twelve years ago, we brought home a little Yorkie puppy.  After much insistence on our part, the breeder allowed us to bring the puppy home with us from Texas.   She was just a couple of days under 6 weeks old when we took her from her mom and siblings.  We know now that was way too young to leave her mom.  But at the time, we had no idea what a terrible thing we were doing to that little girl.  After all, we would love Cassie, give her everything she needed, we had two other Yorkies for her to play with.  What else would she ever need? 

She learned no bite inhibition, nor did she learn to play with the others.  She learned very quickly how to rule them - they gave in to her every whim.  We were raising a five pound monster.  She became dog aggressive, and a little people aggressive (especially with kids).  I decided that I would try to bring a little happiness into her little life - she was not a happy girl at this time.  We spent an entire summer attempting to control the dog aggression - this was important as by this time we belonged to a group of people involved in agility, and public demonstrations of pet ownership.  A nasty little dog was not a good promotion of the image we wanted to portray.  She learned that it was not necessary to growl at every dog she saw, that by watching me she received tasty rewards, much more praise (I had tried the traditional obedience method - didn’t do anything but make her worse) and she reveled in the time spent.  She was keeping busy - learning agility - learning to play  - share - what a nice change.

Then we acquired a little pom girl who got along with everyone.  Such a wonderful change.  She was happy, played nicely, shared toys, and yes - got along with Cassie very well.

Then we did it again.  Brought home a little pom puppy - about 7 weeks old, but who had been taken from her mother between five and six weeks of age.  Again, we spoiled her - she became demanding, we pampered her - she learned “everything belonged to her”.   But, over the years, we had become a little wiser.  We could see where we were heading and did not like the direction.

Ladybug was enrolled in agility classes - given a job to do. Cassie learned to cart, Ladybug learned agility.  They are happiest when they are busy. These two little girls were given jobs to do, to keep their minds and bodies busy.  It gave them things to think about besides bad behaviors.

And, after re-reading this article, I am not so sure it has so much to do with giving our little ones jobs to do, as it has to do with the necessity of not taking them from their moms and siblings too early.  Their moms teach them so much.  So much that we know nothing about. Bite inhibition, getting along with others, SOCIALIZATION SKILLS!  Skills that are necessary for them to become well adjusted members of the community. Those first few months of their lives are so very important to their well-being.  This information is probably a replay for many, to many it is well known fact.  But, if it helps just one little puppy learn what it should from its mom, then I will be happy.

~ Submitted by

Roberta Mallott, Pondside Toys

Blenheim Ontario, Canada

rmalott1@ciaccess.com

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