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Maltese Puppy Homecoming Agemaltese puppy
by Larry Stanberry - Divine Maltese


First, I am not trying to make anyone upset. I have read that the best time for human bonding with the puppy is from 8-12 Weeks. Also, they learn things best starting at 7 Weeks and are usually weened by 5-6 Weeks. Before 7-8 Weeks they are still learning dog language, etc. from mom/siblings and I would not ever get a puppy before this. But I would like to have a puppy during it's optimal bonding time with me since I will be it's mom for the duration. What is it about maltese that they don't fit into this model? I have read some post before but the only argument I can recall is that they are too small. What is the scientific evidence that 8 Weeks is too early to get a puppy depending on the litter of course? - Mary


Mary, ALL pups are individuals, even within any given breed - some mature faster, some slower (both physically and mentally). Some dams wean and instruct their pups earlier, some later. There is no doubt that some Maltese pups are "ready" for the transition to a new home at eight to ten weeks of age, where others may not be ready until much much later, even five months or older. That transition away from the mother and littermates, the breeder, and the physical environment of its birth is extremely traumatic - even on a well adjusted "social butterfly" puppy. This type of shock on a toy dog's system, at such a tender age, MAY make him more susceptible to illness or ailment as his system is weakened simply through "culture shock".

The question should more aptly be "What is the youngest age at which ALL typical toy breed pups are most apt to make that transition safely ?" and not "Is it possible for any particular Maltese pup to make that "jump" at seven or eight weeks of age?" Why take a risk unnecessarily? If a pup is going to exhibit signs of ailment or infirmity - it will invariably be before the twelve week mark, and not necessarily before the eight week age. As a breeder we'd rather deliver a healthy pup with an ultimate opportunity to thrive in its new family environment - and, as an owner, you should want the same. Why bond with a pup at seven or eight weeks of age and then subject yourself and the pup to emotional trauma if a condition arises that either forces you to return the pup or, even worse, threatens the pup's life or future health ? Additionally, a toy breed pup at eight weeks is injured so very easily - a fall from the bed or sofa, dropped from unsuspecting arms, caught in a closing door as it attempts to follow you into a room.

By twelve weeks of age our pups have at least two innoculations - at eight weeks they may have only one - or none. Unless the pup is "off" the mother for at least a couple of weeks it is possible that an innoculation doesn't "take" as the natural antibodies it receives from its mother's milk can prevent the shot from effectively stimulating the antibodies for which it is intended - then a shot at eight weeks is not any good. We avoid the vet at all costs with young pups - that's where illness and disease is rampant. An eight week old pup is better off in its breeder's house, where it has obviously thrived in a safe and secure environment to reach this age, than to make a risky transition into a new environment.

Maltese are a "love the one your with" kind of breed. They will bond just as strongly with a new owner at twelve weeks, fifteen weeks, or six months - given proper socialization by the breeder - as they will at seven or eight weeks of age - and at a much lower chance of risk.

-Larry Stanberry - Divine Maltese

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