Does anyone know if there is a disadvantage to apopting a puppy that lost it's mother at 3 weeks old? I know they say you should never take a puppy away from it's mother before 8 weeks but I don't know why? 3 of the puppies were kept together at a foster home. Will the puppy have a different temperament, potential medical issues, etc? She is now 12 weeks old and is being fostered and seems like a sweet puppy. Any advice would be appreciated!
I'll let the others answer this. I feel like since she was kept with her siblings, (they learn a lot over the weeks together) the interaction with the others will be beneficial to her. With the mother dying, and the pups being raised in a foster home, they probably got a lot of attention. I would think that would be a good thing. I'm anxious to see what others think.
I actually have a pretty strong opinion about this, but before I say anything, please understand that this is only an opinion based on my own experience with one puppy.
This will probably get long...
We adopted Angus from the local Humane Association. He was "found under a shed" with his brothers and sisters, five of them in all. That is all I know for sure, so the rest of this is really speculation.
Now: They said he was 8 weeks old. No way, no how. We have him pegged at more like five weeks when we brought him home. It is standard protocol for this shelter to keep them for a week before they are put up for adoption, so that puts him at four weeks when he was brought in.
I am assuming there was no mother.
Right away it was clearly apparent that he was too young to be away from Mom. He had a penchant for trying to nurse my shirt, and would scream bloody murder when you tried to remove him. He was barely toddling around, and his eyes remained blue for so long I thought they'd stay that way permanently.
So, all this to set up the following: Not only was he separated from Mom at an early age, but also from his littermates.
We then made what I now think was the worst possible decision we could have made: We decided to follow traditional advice to keep him away from other dogs until four months of age, when his shots were complete.
In hindsight, I'd have foregone that advice for lots of heavy, heavy socialization (with known, healthy puppies of course). Instead, he was denied any opportunity to learn proper doggie manners from the only ones who can effectively teach that: Other doggies.
What we ended up with was, frankly, a terrible mess of our own making. I won't bore you with a lot of details, but suffice it to say that we had to do a lot of learning about how to help him overcome a lot of bizarre fears and poor communication with others of his species.
Now, it might sound like I am discouraging you from adopting this little one. But again, these were just my experiences with Angus, and I wanted to tell you about them briefly so you might be able to avoid making some of the mistakes we made.
I wonder if the puppy has been fostered around other dogs? That would go a long way towards helping. Also, please enroll in a puppy class as soon as they will take you, and try to arrange for puppy play dates with any friends who also have young ones, or friends who have older dogs who are well-socialized.
Dogs all have unique personalities, and it is entirely possible that your puppy may not have any of the same problems as Angus. But I do know that those first few formative weeks are absolutely critical to their social development, so I do think you may have to put in a little extra work than you might with a puppy who has been with his litter and Mom the proper amount of time.
I hope that helps!
If she's already 12 weeks old and has been socialized with other dogs and her littermates in the interim, she should be fine. There are potential issues as Connie (AngusFangus) pointed out above - both behavioral/developmental issues, socialization issues, and some possible medical issues (there are antibodies and nutrients in mother's milk that formula just can't replicate, and at 3 weeks when the mother dog died, the pups were far from being weaned). However, as long as she was cared for well during her most vulnerable time and is healthy now, there's no reason she won't become a wonderful adult and a great family companion.
Good for you for considering rescue. I hope it works out.
Oops! I just re-read and saw that three of the puppies have been in the foster home together. That is great news. I agree that if she has been socialized with littermates all this time, things should be fine.
My non-Lab Blackie was from a litter who mother died. She was fostered with her littermates and probably other dogs. She turned out fine. I am sure there are many potential outcomes but I wanted to let you know mine.
Blackie and Ranger ...............................Reggie: 1996-2010 "Fly Reggie Fly"