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Vets Huge Focus On Socialisation


DakotasDad
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If I thought that of you, I would have to think that of myself! We have had some challenges with our dog that I would guess come from not being properly socialized as a tiny puppy, but we work through it. I think the problem is that not everyone who gets a puppy at 6 weeks is going to be willing to put in the time to teach bite inhibition and proper interaction with other dogs. Especially with huskies who are very mouthy and play rough.

 

For what it's worth, I have disagreed with my vet on several things based on my own research. Vets, like the rest of us, are human and aren't always right. 

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This is a link to individual state laws in the US about the age at which you can sell a puppy. You can see a good number of states have set the minimum at 8 weeks. That is obviously going to color my views on this issue, since in order to sell a puppy at 6 weeks, you'd have to be willing to break the law in my state. I realize that doesn't apply to your location, but it does mine!

 

http://www.animallaw.info/articles/State%20Tables/tbuspuppyagelaws.htm

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Great points Chula. I guess that's the importance of us as their parents to ensure we research as much as possible and make the best choices for our pups.

It took me endless hours of research before I even decided what food to give her.

As for biting, she does chew our hands and can occasionally be a little hard. The way we've dealt with it thus far is to say ouch in a kind of shocked manner and to pull our hands away and if she goes overly hard then I've gently held her mouth closed and told her no bite. She's responding quite well and is learning.

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I just read this topic and first off wanted to welcome you to the forum if I haven't done so already. 

 

You will find many on here (myself included) that believe that a puppy should not be adopted before that 8 week point.  These are the most critical times in a puppies life, and like it has already been mentioned, not a good thing if a breeder sells a puppy before that point.  I don't know your particular breeder but I think what sends a red flag to most on here is that a breeder would do this.  That doesn't say anything negative about you, it sounds like you have done your research and will give Dakota a wonderful home!  It is a sensitive topic for many people on here, but I am sure no one means any disrespect and it looks like it's been a civil conversation so far. 

 

It was also interesting to see the different state laws that regulate the age a puppy can be adopted or sold.  I got Yukon at 7 1/2 weeks, and if I had to do it over again I would have preferred to wait another week or so. 

 

Anyway, congrats on your new addition and again, welcome :)

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Paul, welcome to the pack. Discussion of topics is always a good things, even when it involves something we firmly believe or have ingrained in us, as it forces us to take a second look whether we like it or not. This was an Interesting read and I think there were good arguments on both sides of the issue.

 

To me, it sounds as though the vet has a bit of a bias against show breeders, and is passing out some miss information. IME Show breeders do not evaluate puppies for show potential at 12 weeks of age. By 12 weeks puppies are all gangly and out of sorts and evaluation for show potential is not truly possible. Most show puppies are evaluated at 8 weeks of age - the age at which everything is proportional as it will be when they mature, and the breeder does not again evaluate them until they are six months of age. I don't know a single show breeder who holds on to puppies to evaluate at 12 weeks.

 

In regards to socialization, socialization means many different things. It includes learning to meet other dogs and interact with them properly as well as exposure to other things. Certainly mom and the other pups in the litter teach many of these skills, and they are other dogs. Additionally, if I were going to be socializing a puppy by introducing it to other dogs at a time when it hasn't had all of its vaccinations, I would much prefer to introduce it to dogs that I know for a fact have had all their shots, and are not carrying any of the potentially harmful diseases. In the public arena, you have absolutely no idea which dogs have had shots and which haven't - regardless of rules or laws requiring them, nor do you have any idea which dogs may carry those diseases.

 

I don't disagree that some breeders, many of who can arguably be called reputable have far too many litters on the ground at any given time to be able to properly socialize a puppy. That still does not in my mind justify removing a puppy from a litter prior to 8 weeks of age. The benefits of keeping that puppy with its family until at least eight weeks are very well documented and far out weigh any benefits of socialization to other situations which can properly be done throughout the entire life of the dog. There are things that very well may outweigh the benefits, and the most likely one I can come up with would be the draw on the dam by 7 puppies. If there were health issues involved, then that may be a justifiable reason, however even that can be countered by increased feedings of Mash by the time puppies are 4 weeks of age (3.5 if you are pushing things).

 

You are quite correct in that the first 12 weeks of age are absolutely the most critical, research shows that time period is absolutely essential for teaching many dogs critical skills, such as guarding, herding, recall, etc. As anyone who has adopted a unsocialized dog from a shelter can tell you however, it is not the only time that socialization can occur. It may take a bit longer to socialize a older dog, but it can certainly be done. Other skills, research would say, not so much. Our Border collie was adopted from a shelter at about 6 months of age, He has zero herding skills, nor have we ever been able to teach him any. When we first got him, he was also completely unsocialized and was totally afraid of men. He has overcome both of those obstacles, although he still prefers the ladies to men.

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Paul, you would make an excellent diplomat.  First off, welcome to Husky-Owners.  We are proud to have you join in with lively conversation and do so with a level of professionalism that others could well emulate.  As Jason stated, the age of bringing a puppy to its new home is one that most of us have strong opinions on.  I did not always have such an opinion, six weeks seemed good to me at one point in my life.  But it was the breeder we got our Zoya from that explained the importance of those extra two weeks; the interaction they get from their siblings and the change in attitude they pick up from their mother, that sets the stage for the human leadership to come into play.  At any rate, this has been a great read through out, you've done an excellent job in explaining and clarifying, and it's always easy for us to become rather exuberant in our responses on some topics, so I'm thankful you took no offense.  We look forward to some pics of this lovely girl of yours, and will keep an eye out for you in other areas of the forum.  Good to meet you.

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Thanks for the extremely warm welcomes.

I very much appreciate the additional input and reasonings.

I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile taking Dakota several times over the next few weeks to spend time with her mother? I don't know if there are any potential pitfalls to this? But I'd like to do everything possible to limit the possibility of any issues due to her early departure from mum.

Any ideas are very much welcomed.

I'm slightly anxious now. I've gone from being anxious, to relived after speaking to the vet, back to anxious haha.

But it's great to have this forum as a resource, no doubt it's going to be highly valuable.

Thanks again guys!

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Paul, I think that with someone who is as invested in his dog as you are, that your dog will be fine. I think the danger is often in people who aren't willing to take the time to help a puppy learn how to behave, and then get frustrated because their dog is nipping, the dog nips at one of their kids, and the dog goes to the pound. Obviously there are puppies who are taken earlier than 8 weeks and grow up to be lovely, happy, healthy pets. I think what was startling for many of us was not that you got a six week old puppy, we have seen that many times on this forum. It was that it sounded as though your vet was encouraging people to take puppies at six weeks. I know I don't speak for the forum, but for me, I think it's a lot like the off leash discussion. I don't want to encourage people to do things that are generally accepted as not "best practice", for lack of a better term. Not everyone out there is a responsible, caring person that is going to be a good owner. Some people really DO just get huskies because they are adorable little balls of fur, especially when they are tiny.

 

I think puppy class is a wonderful idea and will help her learn bite inhibition and how to interact with other dogs.

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I don't think they are any downsides to taking your pup to socialize with her mother, but I don't think it is something that you HAVE to do.  Also, these are only issues that can happen, not that will happen.  Every dog is different, so I don't think you have to worry about much :)

 

And as Emily said, I would be more concerned if it was someone getting a 6 week old puppy that wasn't prepared.  This is obviously not the case as you have certainly done your homework!  

 

Good luck !! 

Thanks for the extremely warm welcomes.

I very much appreciate the additional input and reasonings.

I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile taking Dakota several times over the next few weeks to spend time with her mother? I don't know if there are any potential pitfalls to this? But I'd like to do everything possible to limit the possibility of any issues due to her early departure from mum.

Any ideas are very much welcomed.

I'm slightly anxious now. I've gone from being anxious, to relived after speaking to the vet, back to anxious haha.

But it's great to have this forum as a resource, no doubt it's going to be highly valuable.

Thanks again guys!

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This is true and I guess knowing that it's possible, is empowering, because we can therefore watch for signs and be prepared if pup needs extra attention in a specific area i.e. socialising, bite inhibition etc.

 

 

 

Some people really DO just get huskies because they are adorable little balls of fur, especially when they are tiny.

 

So true and so sad. We have had Dakota a little over a week and she is already a part of the family, in fact, she was the moment we went for the first visit.

 

Thanks again to all of you.  :)

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I agree with the others, there is certainly no reason you have to, I do think that there could be benefits, but at this point there is also a possibility that the pup could be viewed as an outside, which could cause a whole different set of issues. Just be aware that by haven taken her early, there are some things like appropriate roughness of play and bite inhibition specifically that she is not going to have learned. Sounds like you are already working on them and that is great. Just keep after it, because at this point you are replacing mom and pups. Also realize that it will likely get worse before it gets better. Stay firm and consistent.

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Great points Chula. I guess that's the importance of us as their parents to ensure we research as much as possible and make the best choices for our pups.

It took me endless hours of research before I even decided what food to give her.

As for biting, she does chew our hands and can occasionally be a little hard. The way we've dealt with it thus far is to say ouch in a kind of shocked manner and to pull our hands away and if she goes overly hard then I've gently held her mouth closed and told her no bite. She's responding quite well and is learning.

 

The trainers where I went for puppy school, mentioned that initially you should allow the pups to mouth for around six seconds and if it gets too hard, do the ouch and walk away. The theory (which I think is sound) is that if you react with an ouch! to any mouthing the puppy wont learn what is soft and what is hard, which can be dangerous later on. So I think that this method is probably ideal for a young puppy. 

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Great advice given so far. (And welcome to the forums! :))

I would also recommend taking her to puppy classes - it will help with not only socialization, etc but it will help you to better understand how to train your pup. It will give you some hands-on experience, with feedback right away from the trainer. 

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