Puppies are generally taken from the litter at 7 to 8 weeks of age. This time with its litter mates is critical as it is used to help puppies learn to read body language and signals with it’s littermates through play and interaction. Signals like, let’s play or too rough!, or back off please!
Good breeders do not take their puppies from the litter too soon because they are aware of the importance of this time needed for socialization and puppy training so that prospective owners don’t wind up having puppy behavioral problems (like biting).
Responsible owners wait until the optimum age to get a puppy and then immediately begin their puppy training in the home. Smaller dog breeds like terriers or toy pups should stay in the litter until 8 to 12 weeks. A little research along with the following note worthy facts and you may have a better understanding of why your puppy is exhibiting aggressive behavior.
- Fact: It is common to frequently see aggression develop in dogs that were removed from their mother and litter mates between the ages of 2 to 6 weeks.
- Fact: A lack of experience in the socialization process with littermates and other puppies can lead to fearful behavior and possibly defensive aggression. Puppy training and socialization with other puppies is critical.
- Fact: This same aggressive behavior is also seen in dogs that are brought home at 8 weeks of age but are never taken out for environmentally rich experiences like meeting and playing with other puppies and dogs, walks in parks and the neighborhood and proper training when it comes to meeting people and children.
- Fact: These dogs automatically opt to use defensive aggressive behavior as their only tool when first communicating with other dogs.
If adequate puppy training, desensitization and socialization is started as early as possible after puppy is brought home, many puppies can learn to develop the critical social skills they need to lead productive and positive social lives interacting very well with other puppies and adult dogs.
Be as careful about the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!