Are you thinking of getting a new puppy but unsure of where to get him from? Perhaps that new puppy in the pet store has caught your eye or a classified advertisement from an obscure breeder? It is vital that, when choosing a puppy you know the risks of not researching exactly where the little dog came from.
I say this because not only do badly bred puppies leave behind sad and often unhealthy parents but they also bring along their learning so far which, even at six weeks old, will contribute to the adult dog that the puppy will become.
Pet store and many classified puppies are known for being puppy farm dogs, or the product of backyard breeders. Now you may think it is a noble thing to do by bringing a puppy like this home, you may even believe that his life up to seven or eight weeks old will not affect him. However it does affect him because every puppy begins to be shaped by his environment right back at conception.
A New Puppy’s Learning Stages
Whilst a puppy is in the womb he will be influenced by his mother’s hormones. If a pregnant mother dog is sad, stressed, and anxious or abused then the puppies within will be receiving the related hormones. These hormones, right back then, will find a place in the personality of each puppy. Therefore a puppy farmed dog is affected by the practice even before he is born.
In the neo-natal stage between birth and twelve days a puppy is completely reliant on his mother. He will absorb her hormones through the milk that she provides him. It is proven that puppies in this stage learn to cope with change. In tests it has been shown a puppy that receives positive gentle touch and mild temperature changes will be more adept at dealing with stressors later in his life.
After twelve days old the puppy begins to really learn about his environment. The neurons in his brain begin to form and his experiences start to form his personality and coping ability. This is why an ethical dog breeder raises puppies in the home, around household noises and regular gentle human contact.
Any puppy that spends his first few weeks in a puppy farm, blank kennel or without human contact will probably never learn to be completely happy around humans. This is the case, regardless of how kind they are to him afterwards, from as early as eight weeks old.
Similarly if a young puppy witnesses any type of rough behaviour towards his mother in the first few weeks of his life this puppy will probably have a lifelong fear of humans that no rehabilitation can completely eradicate.
A Breeders Job
The role of any dog breeder is to bring a happy puppy, from a happy secure and healthy mother, into the world. They are then responsible for this puppy and his learning right through to when he comes home with you. They should know all about learning stages and how the crucial first few weeks will shape a dog forever.
This is the only breeder that you, as a potential puppy parent, should consider approaching when you are looking for your new dog.