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5 Week Puppy Syndrome

By Raina Townson

Puppies should never be removed from their mother and littermates before 8 weeks of age if it can be avoided. They learn things like bite inhibition from each other. This means that the pup is learning the force of his bite and when to ease up or let go.

They are also learning how to play and socialize with each other. Between birth and 8 weeks is the most important time for mom to teach her pups and correct them when she sees fit. Litter mates will also learn how to correct one another.

Puppies stripped from their mothers and littermates too soon usually grow to have issues with fear, reactivity, socialization and biting. Because this is such a crucial time for puppies to be among their mother and littermates, there are laws in many states that prohibit puppies from being separated from their mother and placed in a new home before 8 weeks of age. 

Many shelters and rescues end up with puppies under 8 weeks old that do not have a mother and/or littermates. If you decide to adopt a puppy in this situation, be sure to go ahead and get a trainer!

Any breeder who is selling puppies under the age of 8 weeks is not responsible or reputable. You should not buy from them. 

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