Hopeful future lab owner - is 14 weeks too old to take on a puppy?

Discussion in 'Introductions & Saying Hello' started by SeaChelle, May 15, 2019.

  1. SeaChelle

    SeaChelle Registered Users

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    Hi there
    My long-held dream of having our own dog is getting closer. After years of dog borrowing, Husband has eventually agreed to it after we had a friend's lab staying with us for a few weeks and he was smitten!

    I work part-time from home, but do have to travel with my job a day or two a month. July - August is the only window when I can be home for 6 weeks in order to cope with the full-time demands of the puppy stage, but we have a week's holiday during this time that we booked ages ago. We have found a fantastic litter which ticks all the boxes on temperament, health, etc. but they would be 13 weeks old when we go on holiday.

    The breeder has said she could keep the pup on for us until after our holiday, but after reading all the advice on this site, I'm now worried that we might miss a critical window for socialization and bonding if we wait to pick her up till 14 weeks. I'd be interested to hear from anyone on here who has experience of taking on a puppy at 14+ weeks - how did it work out for you in the short and longer term?
     
  2. lucy@labforumHQ

    lucy@labforumHQ Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Welcome to the forum!

    I'd be wary of taking on a puppy at 14 weeks, but it's not necessarily a bad idea as long as the breeder is prepared to do loads of socialization for you.

    So taking the puppy to lots of locations, having lots of guests over, and making sure they meet people of lots of different ages.

    I'd recommend having a frank chat and asking what socialization they would be willing/able to do, and then make a tough decision if you feel it isn't what you would have done.

    Best of luck, it's a tricky one!
     
  3. SeaChelle

    SeaChelle Registered Users

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    Thanks Lucy - that's what I had been thinking. I am preparing myself to make that tough decision and I do know it's better to wait another year and get it right, but I want to make sure I've fully explored every angle before we decide to do that.

    Assuming we were happy that the breeder could fully socialise the puppy (she has done this for a previous pup, so I will be asking her more about how that worked out), could there be any issues with the pup bonding with us if it's had longer with mum and the breeder?

    We will be holidaying very close to where the breeder lives, so I even wondered about asking if they could have the pup back for a week while we were on holiday so that we could take her at 8 weeks. Could that be detrimental to the puppy and/or the mum, even if the breeder would be prepared to do that?

    Alternatively, a friend has offered to have the pup while we are on holiday for that week. Even if they would still be happy to do so, once I've explained to them exactly what level of work would be involved (having read the excellent articles on here), I am worried that this would be confusing for the pup as she would only have been with us for 5-6 weeks. Is there a recommended age when it is ok for pups to stay with another family?

    lots of questions I know, so thank you for any advice you can give - much appreciated from someone who has a lot to learn!

    Best regards,
    Michelle
     
  4. lucy@labforumHQ

    lucy@labforumHQ Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Hi Michelle,

    It's a tough one!

    I'd be concerned about causing the puppy extra stress by taking her, returning her, then taking her again. But I haven't any hard evidence for that!

    Your friend's offer is really kind, but i'd probably only take her up on it if she's raised puppies before and familiar with the socialization process, potty training etc, or you could accidentally end up with some bad habits you'd have otherwise avoided.

    I'm not aware of any studies that show bonding problems if you take on a puppy a few weeks later, in fact they tend to show that pup's who have longer with their littermates have better bite inhibition etc. However I'm not an expert in that area, so don't take my word for it :)

    Hopefully the breeder will be totally on board with thorough socialization and be able to put your mind at rest during your chat. But although it's crushingly disappointing, also don't be afraid to walk away and wait a little longer for the right timing of litter to come along if that's your gut feeling.

    Have both the parents been fully health tested (recent eye exam, great hips and elbows, PRA clear) and have a low COI?

    Let us know what you decide, it's not a straightforward one! Best of luck x
     
  5. SeaChelle

    SeaChelle Registered Users

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    Thanks very much Lucy - really appreciate you sharing your advice and thoughts.

    I had asked about health tests, specifically eye exam, hip and elbow scores on the phone and all was in order, but didn't ask about PRA or COI so will do that next. Pups are still only a couple of weeks old, so next step is a follow-up phone call where I can ask all of that more detailed info and discuss the socialisation issue before I decide whether to take it further.

    I will keep you posted on progress and thanks again for your advice - I am very grateful to have found this forum and am sure I will be making great use of it on our future lab journey!

    Cheers,
    Michelle x
     
  6. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

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    Personally, I wouldn't be thinking about all this too much until you have seen the hip and elbow scored of the parents. You can also use "MyKC" when you know the parents KC names, to look though the hip and elbow scores of close relatives.
    That aside; I have kept pups back for new owners before. It is very hard work indeed trying to introduce a pup to everything it needs to see and experience, when it's not your own. It also drew from the time I would have been spending with the pup I was keeping. There were however, no bonding issues with the new owners.
    Conversely, I had a pup given at 10 weeks old and swore that I would never do that again. He screamed merry hell for 3 weeks and was terrified of other dogs as his breeder had not socialised him at all.
    There are plenty of well bred (and raised) litters out there so it shouldn't be difficult to find another, but if you do decide to take this one, then personally, I'd ask the breeder if they will look after him which you are on holiday.
     
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  7. lucy@labforumHQ

    lucy@labforumHQ Administrator Forum Supporter

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    That's great Michelle, do let us know how the phone call goes! x
     
  8. SeaChelle

    SeaChelle Registered Users

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    Thanks very much for your advice- I will let you all know what we decide once we've followed up with the breeder.
    Cheers,
    Michelle
     

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