A study conducted by Dr Federica Pirrone at the University of Milan has demonstrated that dogs that were that taken from their mother and litter too early as pups are more likely to have behavioural issues in the future.
Seventy dogs that had been removed from their litter for adoption at 60 days were compared to seventy that had been removed between the ages of 30 to 40 days. The 140 dogs that were observed ranged from the ages of 18 months up to 7 years giving the researcher a broad spectrum to work from.
The owners of the dogs that took part were asked to complete a questionnaire detailing information on whether their dog displayed any problematic behavioural issues whilst in its normal environment. Such behavioural issues included attention-seeking, excessive barking, extreme sensitivity to noise, how destructive the dogs were, how fearful the dogs were on walks and how possessive the dogs were over their food and toys.
The results illustrated that the dogs taken from the litter at the age of between 30 to 40 days displayed negative behaviour far more than the dogs that were removed for adoption at the age of 60 days. Furthermore, the dogs that had been purchased from a pet shop at the age of between 30 to 40 days had more behavioural issues than dogs bought from a pet shop at the age of 60 days.
The selling of a pup at 30 to 40 days of age can clearly be detrimental to its social development. It is crucial that the pup is fed properly, socialised and generally cared and nurtured for up to the age of at least 8 weeks (60 days). Taking it away from its litter and parent (adult role model) before it has learnt and developed this socialisation can lead to stress-related diarrhoea, suppression of the immune system and separation anxiety as well as the behavioural issues outlined in the study.
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