Opinion is divided as to the best time for a puppy to leave the litter. The advantages of staying with the litter needs to be weighed against the advantages of settling in with their new family.
Staying with the litter allows the puppy to learn more about canine communication and how to deal appropriately with day to day encounters with other dogs. A problem often encountered with puppies that are deprived of play with other puppies is they have difficulties coping with other dogs as they mature. Puppies naturally learn how to deal with the daily frustrations encountered with litter brother and sisters and the consequences of not coping appropriately. Puppies that leave the litter too early do not experience these frustrations and can be difficult to handle becoming frustrated when they cannot get their own way.
The longer a puppy stays in the litter the less chance he has to learn human ways and what he will encounter in the big wide world. A puppy has significant capacity to learn during these early stages of development a capacity that cannot be repeated in the later stages of development.
Dogs that do not have the opportunity for regular positive interactions with both familiar and unfamiliar humans can be difficult to communicate and play with and can be shy around humans this in turn can lead to nervous aggression. An added complication is that some breeds mature more quickly than others so a six week old puppy of a small breed may be more mature than a eight week old puppy of a larger breed.
The current view is a puppy is ready to leave the litter between six and eight weeks but this has to be a compromise. The degree of socialisation and habituation that the breeder is able to give the puppies is a major consideration if the puppy is remaining with the breeder for longer. The importance of having as many humans of all ages positively interacting with the puppy should not be underestimated. The puppy should also be enjoying loads of new daily experiences and the individual attention that is all part of joining a human family.
Is is evident that Drifter already enjoys lots of positive socialisation and is more than capable of dealing with the daily frustrations that living with his brothers and sisters create. We have decided to bring Drifter home at seven weeks of age to build on this and introduce him to our world.