Is Twelve Weeks Too Old To Get A Puppy

With the addition of a puppy in the house, everything changes. The sad working environment quickly transits into a happy, playful one. It might be easy to select the breed but what about the age? Is twelve-weeks too old to get a puppy? Should I get one at six weeks?

If you adopt a puppy before twelve weeks they need much care like an infant human baby. By the time they’ve reached twelve weeks, you can assume they are in a toddler/child stage, and it’s fairly easier to manage with an office job and partner. It’s the perfect time to start training and socialization with your puppy. It’s also the time when the bond between you two gets much stronger.

However, some breeders will keep their puppies for 16 weeks and won’t release them before that. That is fine too, a dog can learn anything at any age, it just makes training more difficult.

If you came across a misbehaving, frightening, unhappy puppy, it’s most likely that she has been separated from the littermates too early. Separating a puppy before the weaning time can induce behavioral problems.


is 12 weeks too old to get a puppy

Why get a puppy at 12 weeks?

Is twelve weeks too old to get a puppy? Why are 12 weeks so much in focus? These questions might strike anyone’s mind before they make the dog-buying decision. To make it easier, here are some reasons.

Best for First-time owners

Eight weeks is too early and needs constant attention. As a first-time owner, you won’t be knowing much. If you are a working person, it might be very difficult to take extra care of the little one and take him out for socialization.

Ready for Adventure

At the age of 12 weeks, your puppy is filled with adventurous thoughts and ready to explore around the house. He has recently walked out of the fearful age and now is the time to gain all the confidence. It’s time to make the home puppy-friendly for him. It’s also time to let them out in the open air. However,as puppies might mouth on everything they see, make your house puppy-proof!

Filled with energy

Puppies at twelve weeks might still not have a proper gait but they are ready to play around. They’ll run around the house, get excited about little treats and move excitedly in circles called zoomies. It’s the perfect time to bond and play with the new member of the family.

With an overdose of energy, your little companion might bite more than usual. If he bites repeatedly during this stage give him a chewing toy or bully stick. After all, a 12 weeks puppy is just like a toddler and you can’t expect him to be highly mannered.

Best time to socialize

It’s the prime time to take your four-legged baby out and introduce him to his friends. Take him on car rides, puppy parties, make him meet new people. You may also enroll him in puppy classes. Most puppies are confident and well socialized by the breeders until this time.

Already vaccinated

Till 12 weeks puppies have had most of their vaccinations. It’s now safe to head him out and play in parks with him. However,  you still need to supervise him.

Easy to Housetrain

If your pup hasn’t been potty-trained it’s okay. Younger puppies can’t hold urine for long and pass out anywhere anytime. However, a twelve-week puppy can keep its bladder full for 2-4 hours. This means every four hours you take him out. Moreover, take him out every time you feed him, give him water or wake him up. This is the best learning stage and you can still teach him a lot of things. Adopt a calm behavior, stay consistent, and do reward-based training.

Easy to Bond

Puppies in this age group can easily bond with the entire family, they are already looking for attention and love.

Learns Survival Techniques

In the den, puppies tend to guard their food against other mates after weaning. This helped in the older era, as a survival technique so they do not starve. By twelve weeks when a puppy is at your home he has already learned this from his mother and littermates. You will see him guarding his food and toys with no sharing option.

Ready to learn

By the time a puppy is 12 weeks, his brain has fully developed. He can recognize the smell, taste, and other variables. Now is the time you train him living with a collar and leash. Try the positive reward technique to train him with name and basic actions. Use early intelligence in the best possible way.

Training to live alone

Just like toddlers are trained for their initial habits puppies need to be too. Address the basic needs such as thirstiness or defecation. If the pup is whining and or crying, wait for him to calm down and then visit. This is to make him learn that calm behavior will get him back.

Wake up less often

Eight weeks old puppies or younger need extra care and might wake up several times at night. At twelve weeks you can train them to sleep at a scheduled time. They normally sleep 18-20 hours.

What happens if you get a puppy before eight weeks?

According to research, some puppies were adopted at three and eight weeks. After the pups were around 12 weeks of age, they were tested for their social behavior. To our surprise, puppies separated earlier than eight weeks showed social deficits while the other group had no such signs.

Before two weeks, they are blind, can not hear properly and the motor function is also not well developed. The defection and urination are also initiated in response to the mother licking the anogenital area. And most of all the separation from the mother is too difficult to see and bear for both the new owner and pup. They are more likely to develop health risks and behavioral issues.

By 3rd week eyes and ears open, puppies start to play with littermates. As the mother leaves puppies might cry or whine, but sooner they get along with their mates. This marks the beginning of the socialization period.

Mostly by the end of 7 weeks, the mother starts to separate the puppies by barking, growling, and walking away.

The first fear period occurs in 7-8 weeks and sending puppies out at this time is to build resilience. But according to many social behaviorists, 8-12 weeks should be spent with breeders rather than new homes to control the experiences of puppies during the social and fear period. At 12 weeks they are ready to head out for training.

At eight weeks puppy has learned to feed, mobile, and is aware of the world surrounding him. You can take them off supplement food and they recognize and respond to surrounding stimuli. They are ready to depart from home.

Nine to ten weeks is fine too. Some puppies have passed their fearful period by this time and they are all ready to set their paws in the new house.

Before eight weeks the puppies haven’t learned the basic habits. They’ll specifically show behavioral problems. Moreover, they’ll be fearful and lack confidence, hiding in corners. You can also expect them to be non-social and totally depend on the owner. And if the owner leaves them alone they’ll show signs of anxiety.

They can be convinced at biting everything and everyone around. A mother teaches the little doggo to control his biting. Teaching him not to bite might turn into a struggle.

There is also the comparative issue of the house training problem. A puppy who has just been separated from his family will be needing house training lessons. His bowel movements and bladder is uncontrollable so he might pass out anywhere at any time.

Other factors

Why are some puppies adopted at a much younger age while others a few weeks later? There are certain factors that influence you to adopt a puppy at a certain point.


Dogs above 14 years get slow and require frequent visits to the vet. Adopting a puppy is always a wise decision as he’s playful and easy to train. Dogs of middle age have already developed habits and some might have behavioral issues, training them is a real challenge.

According to many States in the United States, it’s an illegal practice to separate puppies from their mother before eight weeks.

Breeding factor

Some small breeds cannot be sent home until they are twelve weeks, this includes Maltase. Toy breeds like Papillons that stay with their family for 14 weeks. They are so tiny that mothers are not ready to give them away.

In comparison, Larger breeds as Labs are ready by eight weeks to be adopted by an owner. Malinois get away from their mothers by the end of the 4th week. They grow more rapidly, are stronger. With increasing age, they become problematic to train.

Socialization period

The socialization period is the time when puppies are learning about the norms in the environment around them. They learn to interact with the littermates. The primary factor to choose when to get a puppy is the socialization period that lasts from 6-12 weeks (according to most definitions).

During socialization, a dog interacts with sights, sounds, people, and animals within his full senses. During this time the puppies can be shaped right to avoid any behavioral changes in the future. This is again influenced by the breed, German Shepherd and Yorkshire pups have early socialization as compared to Cavalier King pups. A breeder performs the job better than us. She takes out the puppies, manages their initial habits, teaches them obedience skills which an owner who is busy with office and household work might not be able to do. The same is the case with the mother of the pups, she can teach them well. Keeping litter together for too long can make puppies dependent on others. Get a puppy between eight to twelve weeks and increase his social circle during this time.

How do you take care of a 12-week old puppy?

Your four-legged, 12-week companion is full of energy and needs constant care. But there are certain things you must keep in mind. What are they? Have a look at this!

  • Immunization is the most important factor. The puppies get their first booster of the vaccine at 6-8 weeks. At 12 weeks many important vaccines are given out of which Rabies and Lepto are most important. Others include adenovirus, hepatitis, parvovirus. Don’t forget to get him vaccinated before taking him to the park.
  • During this time puppies usually get their first bath, since they have softer hair it sheds less. For our short-haired pup, remember to use a low pH shampoo.
  • From 12 weeks onwards puppies start losing their teeth. This means they need extra care with what you feed them and how you handle them. Give them brushing twice a week. Along with that feed them easily digestible food, as the GIT system is not fully developed. Also, don’t forget to give chew toys and teethers as treats.
  • Take the little doggo out to socialize. Enroll him in puppy classes or take him out to the bank, and pet-friendly stores. It’s time to see the world outside the house from a puppy’s sight. Normally vets recommend taking the puppy out 10-12 days after the last vaccine. Make him familiar with in-house sounds such as vacuum cleaner, DVD, songs so that he doesn’t get scared or hides in a corner or maybe barks nonstop.
  • Feed him three to four meals a day. Plan the meal according to his body weight. You can also add treats to give your puppy some additional excitement and calorie intake as he is in a growing phase.
  • Make a Housetraining schedule for your pup. Take him out to urinate every two to four hours. Feed him four meals a day and fifteen minutes after each meal set him out to eliminate all that he has eaten. In short, head him out every time he eats, drinks, or wakes up from a nap.
  • During training give him positive reinforcement. Take full advantage of his intelligence and start training him with the collar. Start by teaching him to react to his name and learn the non-visiting zones in the house.
  • Provide only safe chew toys. Contaminated chewing toys might cause infection.

Final thoughts- Is Twelve weeks too old to get a puppy?

Puppies are so cute that you’d want to get one with the closed eyelids. But separating the little ones this early is not suitable at all.

Eight to twelve (8-12) weeks is the best time to get a puppy. This is the time they have recently started to separate from their mother, with the new independence and early age it’s easier to train them. The little pups are ready to socialize in the new environment.

Make sure the puppy has weaned, is no more on mother milk, and has started to take puppy food already. You can also make sure the breeder has started to housetrain it at regular intervals. Moreover, please make sure that the pup has received his first dose of vaccinations before you carry them to your house.

Little doggos go through fear periods and are afraid of anything new so persistent attention is necessary to keep them safe and growing. By the time he comes to you, he will have learned social skills. This means a stable temperament and easy socialization with other mates.

In response to the main heading, no twelve weeks is not too old to get a puppy. It’s the perfect time to stretch your hands forward for getting a new family member.

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