Best Times to Visit Your Litter
Many of you have been patiently waiting until the puppies are four weeks so that you can come and visit. It is best for the puppies for people to come after they are 5 ½ weeks old but you are welcome to come between 4 and 5 ½ weeks also as long as you will comply with a few requests. I have these additional requests because 4 week old puppies are still mostly sleeping and being kept awake and picked up over and over for long periods exhausts and even stresses some of them. If you wait and come when puppies are older than 6 weeks, none of these requests apply and you can visit and help socialize puppies as long as you like.
For puppies between 4 and 5 ½ weeks, here are our requests. First, please wait until puppies are older before bringing children under 13 years of age. We do have children under 13 with our young puppies but these are children that we know and trust to be very gentle. Second, schedule your visit around feeding times when they are awake. Third, schedule your visit for a weekend. Fourth, let the puppies come to you instead of picking up this puppy and then that puppy. Fifth, limit your time playing with the puppies to less than 30 minutes and when the puppies all start to crawl in a lap to sleep, let them sleep and know that play time is over. It is great to sit with them while they sleep and we can sit and talk as long as you like, but don’t continue waking them up.
These requests are only for the time period before puppies are 5 ½ weeks. Early visits before 5 ½ weeks will not give you an idea of what the puppies will be like at all. They will change a HUGE amount before they are 7 weeks old. Four week old puppies mostly sleep. They’ve only been walking well for a little over a week and have just learned to run (awkwardly) in the few days preceding 4 weeks. They still sleep most of the day and they are not nearly as active as they will become even within the next week.
To many of you, these requests may seem unnecessary and would be things you’d do anyway, but many people don’t know much about 4 week old puppies and I think they need guidance. Before making these rules, I had 2 families come visit the puppies at 4 weeks on the same day. Both families (including 2 children) stayed in the pen with the puppies for 30-60 minutes picking up and putting down puppies over and over. The puppies were so worn out that by the next day, 2 of them had diarrhea which is very common with young puppies when they are stressed. One of them had to be taken to the vet. This was not the fault of the families, but mine for not communicating well.
By the time the puppies are 6 weeks old, they are to the point where it is best for as many people as possible to come in order to better socialize them. When they are 6 weeks old, I’m asking not only those who get our puppies to visit but my family’s friends are coming too. The puppies need lots of visitors. They are awake and playing more and you can tell so much more about the puppies than when they are 4 weeks old. By then, you can come as often as you like, even during the week. I am spending a good bit more of my puppy time socializing and so I would enjoy socializing puppies with you.
If you are coming to pick out your puppy, I strongly recommend waiting until puppies are over 6 weeks of age when you will get a much better idea of what puppies will be like. Some puppies are slow to mature and at even as late as 5 ½ weeks of age will appear to be calmer and more independent than they will be even a week later.