Why do some people travel hundreds of miles for their new puppy?
Did you know that the earliest impact on the development of the puppy will be the physical health, emotional state and nutritional status of the dam during pregnancy? Even after that the ongoing nutritional status of the dam during feeding and nutrition during weaning also impact on puppy development. On top of this, nutrition fed the dam during gestation coupled with the nutrition fed her new born pups up to 14 weeks could improve learning. So a happy, healthy mum means healthy pups!
The pups experiences while still with the breeder make a difference too. It’s been shown that gentle handling during this period can lead to greater emotional stability as the puppy grows. The littermates make a difference too, during the 3 – 7 week period they have a major influence on the development of playfulness, chase-proneness, fearfulness and even aggression. The puppy learns the basics of being part of a pack, the comfort of the presence of their littermates as well as the disadvantages at this stage.
Pups in this stage of development benefit from exposure to opportunities to explore and learn in areas away from their kennel. Puppies lacking these opportunities tended to become fearful of unfamiliar objects and were generally more withdrawn. It’s a delicate balance, as early experiences can adversely affect learning and must be used with caution i.e. avoid causing over-stimulation, fear or stress.
So choosing a good, reputable breeder is important. Go and visit the breeder and the puppies at least once before deciding to buy from them. Check some of the issues above, as well as looking at any required council registrations and genetic tests, before you are in too deep with puppy love.