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Hello everyone,

I just got my first dog and its a Yellow Lab Retriever, 4 weeks old (Hobbes). I know its not good to separate the pup from its mom, however, circumstances led me to take this one in.

Since this is my first time with a dog, need all the inputs and suggestions i can possibly get from this forum. Its just been 5 hours and am totally in love with Hobbes, just fed him his dinner n he's fast asleep.

More to come in the following days (will definitely post pics of him).

Cheers,
JB
 

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wow 4 wks! I bet hes so sweet and tiny. Are you bottle feeding him?
 

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No...the breeder had already started him on pup cereal. I took him to the vet today for a general check up, and he said it was fine to continue him on the cereal.

and yes, his antics are so adorable. All he does all day is eat, drink water, run around a lil, poop, and sleep :)
 

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We got Bess (Black Lab) from the breeder when she was 5 weeks old--since that was over 40 years ago, I no longer remember if it was 5 weeks plus so many days or what. And that was long before the time there was much awareness about the importance of pups staying with their littermates until they are around 8 weeks age. And in those years, all Labrador Retrievers were described as black !!

The most noticeable effect on Bess that I recall was that she didn't view herself as a dog or ever really want to socialize with dogs. When other dogs approached her (which they often did), she never responded with interest (smelling, tail wagging) and, when they ran beside her as when she was chasing a retrieving dummy, she almost always gave them sudden sideways jolts that sent them rolling, ass over tea kettle. They always gave up after a few of these, going away muttering, I'm sure, the canine equivalent of "that's one strange dog."

Bess, for her part, when approached by a friendly member of her species, gave Char and me inquisitive looks as if to say, "what's this strange creature doing bothering me? -- can't you do something to make it go away?" It was other people Bess approached as her fellow species members and potential best friends.

I'm quite sure she viewed herself as a person. She was very smart and Charlotte (DW) and I learned we had to spell things such as "L-A-K-E" or "S-A-I-L-I-N-G" to keep her from getting too excited with anticipatory joy (since, unfortunately, Bess never bothered to understand such modifiers as "this evening" or "tomorrow").

Bess's lack of play with other dogs was a real handicap. It denied her much happiness and pleasure.

I strongly suggest --
--You quickly, immediately, scan Scott & Fuller's "Genetics and the Social Behavior of Dogs." You can get a copy either through your public library's Interlibrary Loan service and/OR order your own copy through Amazon. While this is an old book, it's still in print probably because there's been no reason to revise or update its most important findings. It's a summary of their (S&F's) 20+ years of research and many published articles dealing with the effects of differences caused by the effects of early developmental experiences of puppies on their later adult behaviors.

The "genetics" in their book's title is, now, in our present era, quite misleading; what it's in reference to is that they (S&F's research teams) used 5 different pure breeds of dogs. But, as their research revealed, the effects of different breeds were very minor--they differed only slightly between the various breeds. As a result, the major effects--which were quite considerable--depended upon the presence or absence of certain early experiences and the times at which they occurred.

Most of the middle of the book deals with the nit-picking details of their various experiments. Some of the early chapters and the last chapter give excellent summaries/generalizations of the important causes-effects of early experiences on later behaviors. (If any of their generalizations interest you, you can always find more detail in the middle of the book on the actual experiment.)

Amazon.com: Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog (9780226743387): John Paul Scott, John L. Fuller: Books

Reader reviews:
Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog

-- While it's certainly better healthwise to keep your pup away from other dogs until it's received all its shots, doing so delays important experiences past the most critically important times they should occur which can create other problems.

Dr. Patricia McConnell, author of the widely respected "The Other End of the Leash" advises that this is too late for normal puppies' best experiences. That would be even more true for yours which was separated even earlier. I suggest you read what she recommends & her reasons why and make your own decisions. (IIRC, she recommends some experiences, taking some precautions, after a 2nd round of shots.)

Reader reviews of Dr. McC's "TOEotL":
Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

Getting a puppy and separating it from its mother and sibs so early (4 weeks) WILL ABSOLUTELY have significant, lasting effects. Being aware of what those effects could be and taking steps at this time to minimize them as much as possible will result in a much happier and well-adjusted adult dog and a far happier owner.

 
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