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Thread: Is 8 1/2 weeks a suitable time to bring a new Cavalier puppy home?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Bowers Gifford, Essex, UK.


    Puppyhood and Beyond. (Part Two)

    Flight Instinct Period (4 - 8 Months)
    This is the age when puppies become more independent of their owners and are likely to venture off on their own. Puppies that have always come when called or stayed close to their owners will now ignore them, often running in the opposite direction. This period can last from several weeks to months. How you handle your puppy's refusal to come or stay with you will determine when (or not) he will be trustworthy to exercise off lead. It is important to emphasize here that no puppy this young should ever be off lead. Therefore, keep your puppy on lead when this period arises and keep him on lead until he readily returns to you or shows no inclination to leave you. The privilege of being off lead outside of a confined area, is reserved for dogs whose owners have trained them to the point where there is no potential for them to run and fail to obey to stop or come on command. Releasing an unleashed dog in an unconfined area that is not well trained off lead is irresponsible ownership and dangerous to your dog. Even well trained dogs can make mistakes or become distracted by something in the environment so that they do not respond to their owners' commands. Work hard on training your puppy to come on command in an enclosed, safe area, and use the recall training as a game. Even if your puppy appears less inclined to bolt, this does not mean that he is reliable off lead without more maturity and a lot more training.

    Adolescence Period (5 - 18 months)
    Adolescence can appear in smaller dogs as early as five months. In larger breeds, it can start as late as nine or ten months. In giant breeds, adolescence doesn't take place until twelve to eighteen months. In general, the larger the dog, the longer it will take to physically mature. Some breeds can remain adolescents until they are two and a half, or three years old. Adolescence is expressed in male dogs by scent marking behaviour. Scent marking behaviour is stimulated by the release of testosterone into the dog's system. At this time, males may become macho. Male dogs may become less friendly and even somewhat aggressive to other male dogs. He may begin lifting his leg in the house. He may become very interested in girls, tend to roam, and certainly not interested in listening to you! Some males at this age become totally unruly. In females, adolescence is marked by the onset of the heat cycle, oestrus. During this three week period, your bitch could become pregnant. So, keep her away from all male dogs. Bitches exhibit erratic behaviour during oestrus. Some get real moody and insecure. Others become quite bold or even aggressive. Adolescence is a very difficult time for pet owners. They are surprised when their cute little puppy becomes a free and independent thinker. Adolescence is certainly a good time to start (or reinstitute) rigorous training. You must work hard NOW to mould the dog of your dreams. This course will teach you training methods which are based on sound knowledge of dog behaviour. You will gain knowledge about dog behaviour and training techniques. This knowledge will help you to get through your dog's adolescence. Establish yourself early as the pack leader, but be realistic about your expectations. You cannot expect young dogs to grow up overnight. Learn to appreciate your dog's adolescence for it is a truly wonderful time. At this time of their lives, dogs are very energetic and exuberant in their responses. They can be full of beans, but still, delightful playmates. You as the owner must learn to channel that energy and exuberance into learning, working, exercising, and playing games. It is not too late to train (or retrain) your dog to help him to become a long-lasting companion.

    Second Fear Imprint Period (6 - 14 Months)
    The Second Fear Imprint Period is similar to the one that occurred during the socialization period, but, it is much less defined. It occurs as dogs enter adolescence and seems more common in males. It is often referred to as adolescent shyness. Your dog may suddenly become reluctant to approach something new or suddenly become afraid of something familiar. This behaviour can be very frustrating to the owner and difficult to understand because its onset is so sudden and, seemingly, unprovoked. If you notice this behaviour, it is important to avoid the two extremes in response: Don't force him to do or approach something frightening to him and don't coddle or baby him. To get through situations that make your dog fearful, be patient, kind, and understanding. Desensitise him to the object or situation by gradually introducing him to it and using food rewards and praise to entice him to confront the fearful object or situation. Do not coddle or reassure him in any way that will encourage his fearful behaviour. Do not correct him either. Simply make light of it and encourage him give him food rewards as he begins to deal with his fear better. Make sure you lavishly praise his attempts! If your companion has been socialised at the correct stage of development this fearful phase will quickly pass.

    Mature Adulthood (1 - 4 Years)
    During this period your dog may again attempt to become assertive. For instance, they may become more protective, by barking when someone comes to the door. Temper this protective behaviours by teaching how to accept strangers into your home. Friendly play with other dogs may escalate to a dominance situation, so allow them to interact with non threatening dogs, puppies and friendly bitches. Always praise positive efforts to interact. Watch for behavioural signs of playfulness before allowing two dogs to play together. Also, be alert to the posturing of aggressive behaviours. Watch for circling behaviours, walking on toes, stiff tail wags, and tense facial expressions. Adulthood is also a time that your dog may again test your position as pack leader. If he does, handle the situation firmly, suspend any rough play that may be giving the idea that he can dominate you, and continue with training. Additional classes or private help with training may be a wise investment. It can provide you with the structure and commitment to train him that you need at this time. Proceed with training in a matter-of-fact, no nonsense manner and your dog will become a reasonably obedient dog. Always give lots of positive attention for your companions good efforts!

    Closing Remarks This has been a cursory look at some of the behavioural changes that often occur during puppy hood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Other problems may arise at these stages which are not the result of the developmental period itself, but are caused by something in the environment or the dog's basic personality. Even so, they are probably aggravated by immaturity and you cannot afford to overlook them. Understanding, training, and perhaps professional help with training are the keys to success. All dogs are different. Some will not exhibit the behaviours we have discussed and others will pass through them at varying rates with smaller dogs maturing faster than large dogs. Remember that your dog needs you to play a role in his development and you can do that with knowledge and commitment to training. Learning plays a significant role in a dog's development. The skills your dog or puppy will learn should not tax him. Learning can be fun and each dog can achieve success in becoming a valued member of your family.

    Shared by Veronica.

  2. #12


    Veronica, thank you for that long posting. It is very informative.

    My 3 big dogs came home at 8 weeks. My first purebred dog I brought home at 6 weeks, 13 years ago-gosh, I have learned so much since then!!

  3. #13


    This article was really interesting reading. Thank you.

  4. #14


    The youngest Cavalier puppy I brought home was 9 weeks; I loved having such a little baby but I would have preferred him to be a little older so that he had completed his vaccination course before I got him. He had an older puppy for "guidance" but he could, perhaps in retrospect, have spent a little more time with mum and sister too as he was a wicked little biter! My previous two (litter mates) came at 10 weeks and that seemed to be the ideal time for me - they were the easiest pups I've had. The others have ranged from 12 weeks to five months.

    Rosemary, off to read Veronica's long posts...

  5. #15


    I read this thread when it began, but just recently was re-reading the laws of sale in France and discovered that not only is it illegal to sell or give a puppy under the age of eight weeks, there can be a fine of up to 750€ for doing so !!! Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy walkers are exempted from this rule; guide dogs go at six weeks; but that is for their very particular requirements. The Cavalier and King breed club here states (well, for breeders signed to the Charte de Qualité, that is) that pups should not be sold before the age of ten weeks. OK for pups who have been well socialised, but not so good for those raised in kennels.

    The other thing partly mentioned was vaccination: I prefer them not to go within a week of vaccination, just in case of any adverse reaction. To date I have never had one, but prefer to be cautious. That’s fine here, as the schedule is first vaccines at eight weeks, which is when the microchip is inserted and the puppy’s individual registration with the SCC applied for. The next vaccines are a month later, so ten weeks is perfect, between vaccines, and gives the pup a chance to settle in his new home before the next vaccines. The downside is that often when the pup goes its birth certificate hasn’t yet come back! I generally take photocopies of the application document to give to the new owner and send the birth certificate on when it arrives!

    French system: register a mating within three weeks; get back a form on which to:
    complete the date of birth and number of puppies in the litter, also how many of each sex. Send that part of the form off to the SCC, then,
    At eight weeks have the pups microchipped; complete the other part of the form with their microchip numbers and request their official names. Send that off to the SCC, then
    Receive the pups’ individual birth certificates; basically a pedigree but with an incomplete registration number.

    The full registration number is given when the dog has been confirmed by a licensed judge to be representative of its breed, at age ten months, a year or fifteen months, according to breed. It’s a thorough system; the SCC has the data to produce figures of unproductive matings and also the rate of puppy mortality.


  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Rochester, Kent


    We bought Charlie home at 8.5 weeks. Breeder lives near to us, and we had already met him. He had had all his health checks, first vaccinations and had been microchipped and he settled beautifully.

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