Most veterinarians and dog breeders believe that puppies should not be separated from their mother and siblings to reach other families until they have reached the age of 2 months. A recent study confirms these tips and shows that dog pups separated from their mother too soon are likely to develop behavioral problems in adulthood.
The consequences are dramatic and will create serious problems because of their behavioral disorders, which affect the relationship that dogs have with their owners and increase the risk of abandonment.
Italian researchers have interviewed 140 dog owners. Their dogs were aged between 18 months and 7 years. Half the puppies were taken away from their mother and siblings when they were 30-40 days and the other half was adopted after the age of 2 months. Almost 50% of the puppies were taken from pet shop, 33% came from friends or relatives, and 16% were bought from breeders. None of the dogs in the study was not adopted from a shelter and was not traumatized in childhood.
The most common behavioral problems seen in dogs were the need to get attention all the time and fear of noise. Also, dogs under 3 years were tempted to break objects around the house and to chase its own tail.
Dogs that were separated from their mother and siblings prematurely, regardless of breed, size or reproductive status (neutered or not) also had additional problems such as:
– Fear to go out for a walk;
– Fear or aggression towards strangers;
– Habit of biting while playing;
– Possessiveness towards toys and food;
– Excessive barking.
Researchers have not determined exactly why premature separation of mother and brothers cause these behavioral problems, but had considered a genetic edge predispose some dogs to be fearful, anxious, fearful of noises, which can be encouraged by factors environment, such as early removal from their mother. It is obvious that the puppyhood has an important and deep influence on its future behavior. Therefore, it is extremely important to know precisely how old is the puppy when you want to bring it home. Between three and twelve weeks, puppies are somehow like in a preschool. They learn and assimilate a lot of things, which will be decisive for their development as adults.
Puppies go through a very sensitive period of their life in which social experiences and contacts have a major impact on the development of behavior and temperament in adulthood.