At Top Meadow we place puppies in homes between 10 and 12 weeks of age. Some larger breeds such as Labradors are placed as early as 8 weeks. In fact, here's something you might not know: placing a dog before 8 weeks is a misdemeanor in almost half the states in the Republic, including California! In any case, we know that a toy-breed puppy such as a Cavalier benefits from a few more weeks at home.
Why? Well for one thing, it gives us time to work with the puppy and get him or her on the road to good behavior. What we do is just a start, but a good start is important to a lifetime of a well-adjusted dog. While puppies are with us, they are becoming accustomed to the life and activities (very active activities!) of a home. They are learning new sounds and surfaces, and new noises! The more we can introduce our pups to the normal rhythms of everyday life, the more quickly they will adapt to the new environment of the forever home.
But the truth is that most of this work is done by Mom. It’s always amazing and wonderful to watch. Everyday, she’s teaching her pups their manners. It’s true! They learn their place in the pack; they are gently weaned; they are set on the path to happy puppyhood by being socialized at just the right pace that nature intends.
At Top Meadow, when we place a puppy, we know there is still more training to be done, but we know that by keeping them here for about 10-12 weeks, that we’ve given them a good socialization—or really, that Mom has!