Dear Daisy Dog
Our dog just had puppies. How soon may we sell them?
It’s best for the puppies to stay with you until they are eight to 10 weeks old.
In Pennsylvania, where I live, it’s against the law to transfer ownership before seven weeks of age.
That’s because puppies gain so much – both behaviorally and medically – by remaining with their mom and litter mates through the first couple of months of life.
They learn how to communicate and play appropriately. For example, when their mother and siblings chastise them for nipping, they learn not to bite.
It’s an essential lesson, and like the other lessons learned during the critical first 16 weeks of life, it’s more difficult to learn later, when the brain is less plastic.
Furthermore, puppies taken from the mother prematurely are more likely to become ill.
A young pup’s immune system isn’t fully developed, and the stress of early separation from the mother further impairs immune function.
During the months the puppies live with you, socialize them with healthy, nice dogs and cats, and expose them to a variety of sights, sounds, people and experiences. As they mature, they’ll feel confident in new situations.
Start their house training and leash training, and teach them to sleep in a crate.
The pups will benefit if you make the most of these early months.