At the very least, you should wait until your puppy is at least 6.5 weeks old before bringing him or her into your home, with the commonly agreed upon age of 8 weeks old.
So what gives?
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Problems Associated With Early Puppy Separation from Mother
Premature separation of a puppy out of its mother and littermates can lead to a variety of developmental issues for the pup.
Many studies have indicated that puppies who were taken from their mothers too soon have increased aggression, over-reactivity, learning issues, fearfulness, and anxiety as a result.
What a pup learns from its mother and littermates in the first few weeks of life explains why this is so.
From Mother and Littermates, What Do Puppy's Learn? – And The Implications of Not Learning.
When a puppy is left in the nest for an extended period of time, it learns many things that it would otherwise miss out on:
They come to understand the value of self-control
Punishing a puppy for undesirable conduct is a common occurrence in the first few weeks after birth.
Even if the puppy throws a fit and complains about being treated unfairly, the mother will remain firm...
But still being able to show their love and respect for the rules
Instilling a sense of right and wrong in a puppy at such a young age helps him learn that his actions carry consequences and misbehavior is not tolerated.
If the puppy is deprived of this training, it is possible that it could grow up with behavioral problems and be unable to follow its owner's instructions.
This can make training more difficult and, as a result, the dog may become less manageable.
As a result, they learn how to control their bite and speak with a "soft mouth."
Puppies learn about proper bite strength and not nipping too hard from their mothers and other puppies.
As soon as the puppy tries to bite or harm itself while nursing, it will be punished by both its mother and her littermates.
In addition, the puppy will experience the anguish of being bitten too hard for its own good.
Because biting too forcefully hurts and has negative repercussions, the puppy gradually learns to control its bite as a result of this.
"Bite inhibition" refers to the ability to keep your dog from biting someone.
If these lessons aren't taught to the puppy, he'll grow up to be a large and dangerous dog who will attack too hard since he doesn't know any different.
You'd must go through the practice of teaching biting inhibition on your own, and this can be arduous and even physically unpleasant!!
They discover what it's like to live as a dog
When a puppy spends time with its littermates and mother, it will learn how to communicate and interact with other canines.
Among other things, they learn about canine hierarchy, posture, and tones of voice (barking, growling etc.)
They also learn how to play with other dogs in a fair and safe manner, including how to chase as well as how to play with other dogs properly.
In doing so, the puppy will skip out on this crucial lesson, which might lead in the puppy becoming afraid of or averse to other canines later on in life if it is taken away too early.
Is There A Certain Age At Which You Shouldn't Bring Home A Labrador Puppy?
If the puppy is well-socialized while growing, it isn't as damaging as taking a puppy too early in life. The importance of interacting with others cannot be overstated.
A puppy's confidence and terror levels later in life are strongly influenced by the socialization it receives during the first 12 weeks of life.
The puppy's curiosity and desire to approach new things and people reaches its peak around the age of seven weeks.
It continues to wane at around 12 weeks and almost fully terminates at 14 weeks, when fear begins to seep in as a normal trait required to survive if it survived in the wild.
Because of this, puppies should be socialized as much as possible between the ages of 7 and 12 weeks, and at the earliest 14 weeks.
You could even say that if your Labrador gets exposed to the things you don't want him to fear in a positive way at this vital time period, he won't have any fear of them at all.
A Labrador puppy's strongest relationships are formed with the people with whom he or she spends the majority of his or her time during this period.
Your Lab puppy's link with you and those in your circle should be as strong as possible throughout this period, so take advantage of the opportunity to get one while it's still available.
With only 4 weeks to prepare, bringing home an 8-week-old dog offers you only 2!
At 12 weeks old, you've missed a crucial window of opportunity to socialize your puppy, making it much more difficult than it should have been.
Poor socialization may cause the puppy to be scared of many objects, places and people.
In order to get the best outcomes from your puppy, it's essential that you and the people with whom it will spend its whole life conduct the majority of the socialization.
As a result, the puppy will be more comfortable around people and locations for the rest of its life.
(NOTE: This isn't the only time socializing can be successful, it really should be sustained throughout life, but it's just the most crucial moment.)
So, when is the best time to bring home a puppy?
The optimal time to bring the puppy home is 8 weeks old, if possible, but no earlier than the preceding week.
Aside from all of the reasons listed above, you must avoid bringing your puppy into your home sooner than 8 weeks.
If you don't socialize and train your Labrador puppy properly, you'll have to put in a lot more time and effort to get them to be a well-rounded, confident, and happy dog.
While some breeders try to pressure you into taking the pup home at 8 weeks, it's usually because they want to save money and don't want to spend time caring and socializing. If that's the breeder's goal, you should be wary of their intentions.
You should never buy a puppy from an unskilled breeder who refuses to let it leave the house until it is at least eight weeks old.