When can Labradoodle puppies leave their mother? Labradoodle puppies need to stay with their mom for at least eight weeks before going to their new home with you.
Some breeders may even choose to keep their puppies until 12 weeks of age.
In those first two months, puppies must stay with their mom and littermates to develop properly – both physically and mentally.
If you take your puppy home too early, they can be more prone to physical health issues, and to behavioral problems.
When Can Labradoodle Puppies Leave Their Mother?
As we now know, Labradoodle puppies must stay with their mom and littermates for at least eight weeks.
But, some Labradoodle breeders may choose to keep their puppies for 9, 10, or even 11 weeks.
In this guide, we are going to look at exactly what a puppy will gain from spending those first 8 weeks with their mom.
And, the potential consequences of leaving their mom too early.
Labradoodle Puppy Development Timeline
Labradoodle puppies have a packed schedule right from whelping day.
We’re going to break down those first 8 weeks, so you’ll know exactly what will be happening to your Labradoodle before they come home with you.
Your Labradoodle puppy comes into the world blind, deaf, toothless, and utterly helpless.
At this point, he won’t even be able to keep himself warm if alone. So, he will spend all of his time cuddled up with his siblings and mother.
As well as crying out to his mom for food. If he isn’t sleeping, drinking milk is likely what he’s doing at this point!
Your puppy’s eyes and ears will be starting to open at this stage. And, this is around the time that puppies will get their first worming treatment.
At this age, they will still be relying on their mother for food, and their mother and siblings for warmth.
This is also the time when your reputable breeder will start interacting with the puppies a lot more, to make sure they’re used to human contact.
During week 3, your puppy will figure out what standing and walking are all about.
And, as if that isn’t enough to keep them busy, their puppy teeth will start to grow in, in preparation for weaning.
Some breeders may even offer a small amount of puppy food by the end of this week.
3 week old Labradoodle puppies will be more able to regulate their body temperatures.
They will also be interacting with their littermates more, play growling and starting to wag their little tails.
This is when things start to get really cute. Your puppy will continue figuring out how to play and wag their tiny puppy tail.
And this is when they embark on two of the big essentials of puppyhood – weaning and potty training.
By the end of week four, puppies will be getting considerably more solid food.
Puppies at this age will also be much braver. They may even start trying to explore their home, moving away from their mom and siblings when they’re not playing, eating, or sleeping.
This is another exciting week! At this age, the mother dog is encouraging puppy independence and teaching bite inhibition.
Puppies are also building on their previous social skills with littermates and people.
Puppies will roll around, run with one another, play fight, and will even enjoy playing with toys.
Breeders will introduce them to more new things around the house, making sure they’re used to the normal activities of a family home.
Some Labradoodle puppies may also discover their voices at this age, which means plenty of barking.
Your six week old puppy is most likely fully weaned. Instead of relying on their mother for food, puppies will receive four or five small meals of puppy food.
They usually get their second worming during this week.
Your pup should also have their full set of 28 puppy teeth.
Your puppy is really starting to learn the ropes of daily life with people, now.
But, puppies haven’t stopped learning from their mother and siblings. Your pup’s mom will still be teaching bite inhibition at this stage.
And puppies will continue to play with one another, on top of the new experiences breeders give them.
This week typically includes their first veterinary visit and their first vaccinations.
Week eight is when your puppy’s litter starts shrinking. Littermates are heading off to their new forever homes.
Potty training and general puppy training is going full steam ahead, to be continued by you!
What if a Labradoodle Puppy is Orphaned?
Of course, if your Labradoodle puppy has sadly lost their mother, their first eight weeks of life will look very different to this.
Your reputable breeder will have to step up their game, and will be feeding each puppy by hand, as often as every 2 hours in the first week. Puppies will also need an artificial heat source to help them keep warm.
Labradoodle puppies without a mother may be slightly more hard work as they grow up. As, they have missed out on some important lessons in puppyhood.
This includes bite inhibition. So, owners may need to be more patient as their older Labradoodle puppy learns that biting won’t get them what they want.
Generally, for first time owners, it’s best to choose a Labradoodle puppy that has had a normal first eight weeks, and plenty of time with their mom.
Orphaned puppies can present unusual challenges when they’re older, and will need lots of love and consistent work.
What If My Labradoodle Puppy Comes Home Before 8 Weeks?
Labradoodle puppies will learn so much from their mother and siblings, even up to the eighth week mark when they come home with you.
If they leave their mother early, they will miss out on some of these important lessons. This can lead to behavioral problems later in life. For instance, if your puppy hasn’t learned proper bite inhibition.
On top of this, Labradoodle puppies have a lot of growing to do, which is why time with their mom is so important. She provides them with nutrient rich food to support their body’s and brain’s development.
Leaving their mother too early can mean that your puppy doesn’t get the right amount of, or balance of nutrients it needs to grow up healthy and at the right rate.
A reputable breeder will not let your Labradoodle puppy leave their mother before eight weeks. In fact, if they refuse to let you take them earlier, it’s a great sign!
If your breeder has let you take your Doodle pup home early, at five or six weeks old for example, you must return them to their mother until eight weeks of age.
Doing so will save you a lot of stress later on. It’s hard leaving such cute little puppies for so long, but waiting until eight weeks will benefit you greatly in the long run.
Why is Week 8 So Important?
So what happens in week eight that makes it such a pivotal point in a puppy’s life? Well, week eight is the start of the first “fear imprinting” period.
If that sounds like your annual Halloween horror house excursion, it probably feels that way to your Labradoodle puppy!
The first fear imprinting period will last from week eight, through to the end of week 11.
During these three weeks, any experience your puppy has (good or bad) will be heightened and remembered for the rest of their life.
What This Means
It sounds like a lot of pressure. But, all this means is that you must take good care to fill your puppy’s new life with love, cuddles, positive experiences, positive training methods and reassuring routines.
This is especially true during socialization with strange people and animals, including other pets.
The first fear period is also why some Labradoodle breeders may choose to keep their puppies for an extra week or two before releasing them to their new homes.
Whether your breeder chooses to keep your Doodle pup for an extra week or two, or is willing to rehome your pup at eight weeks, just remember this.
Good, positive, loving experiences are critically important during these first few weeks of your new life together.
Can I Just Skip Socialization?
If you’re feeling the pressure of this first fear period, you aren’t alone! But, socialization is a very important process that shouldn’t be skipped.
In fact, it will really help you out in the long run to socialize your Labradoodle puppy well in those first few weeks after they’ve left their mother.
Studies have shown that proper socialization in puppyhood can help to reduce behavioral problems in adult dogs, including aggression and fearfulness.
So, it’s not something you want to skip for your Labradoodle puppy.
Just remember, when socializing your pup outside the house, that you must not let them go on the ground until they’re fully vaccinated.
Instead you should carry them. This also makes it easier to slip them treats and give new experiences a positive edge! You can even invest in puppy slings if your Doodle gets too heavy for you.
Scary Experiences to Watch Out For With Labradoodle Puppies
So, what types of experiences could cause lifelong fear, fearful aggression, or simply socialization problems for your Labradoodle puppy later in life?
Learning these common issues now will help you to ensure your puppy’s experiences with them are positive.
One of the most frequently overlooked scary things that happens to Labradoodle puppies is rough handling from children.
Kids love puppies. So do adults! Puppies are cute, playful, and curious. And Labradoodle puppies look just like teddy bears!
But, a young puppy isn’t a toy and doesn’t understand when kids tug on their tails, ears, or fur. This is very different to the type of play they experienced with their siblings so far.
Even playful screeching or shouting from kids can strike fear into the heart of a newly rehomed puppy.
Instead, teach young children to be gentle with your Labradoodle puppy, to stroke them softly and to walk away if the puppy gets overexcited.
Make sure your Labradoodle puppy has a positive experience with kids of all ages. Treats can help to make the meetings even more fun!
2. Other Dogs
You definitely don’t want to let your young Doodle puppy play with unknown dogs until they receive all of their vaccinations. This is often not until 12 weeks, and can be as late as 16 weeks.
But, before then, known, vaccinated, well-trained, and well-behaved dogs can offer important positive socialization for your puppy.
If a strange dog nips or bites your puppy, or even plays too roughly, this can cause a fear scar that will recur in the future. Often in the form of aggression towards other dogs.
So, socialize your puppy with dogs you know and trust. Keep meetings short and happy.
Make sure both dogs have a positive time, with lots of lovely treats. And remove your Labradoodle puppy if it looks like your older dog has had enough, to avoid the situation turning sour.
3. Veterinary Care
Puppies will need to visit their veterinarian from an early age, to get pest treatments and vaccinations.
But, your Labradoodle puppy may also need to go if they are unwell, or injured in their first few weeks.
When at the vets, make sure it’s a fun and positive experience.
Don’t leave your puppy alone if possible, and bring lots of tasty treats from your puppy’s daily allowance to show them that the veterinarian office is a great place!
4. Unexpected Loud Noises
Don’t we all wish we could control the weather, or our neighbours’ noisy habits!
Sadly, that isn’t how the world works. But, you can be extra-vigilant to protect your new puppy from unexpected loud noises.
Avoid playing outside during morning or evening rush hour, when honking, car alarms, or backfiring might startle your pup.
Get your puppy an anxiety vest if a thunderstorm or noisy holiday is brewing. Choose a quiet area for crate training, naps, and overnight.
You can even play very quiet noises like cars or fireworks at home, slowly increasing the volume to ensure your pup is used to them, and associates them with positive experiences.
Or, take them to see a busy road or loud school yard, but start very far away, gradually moving closer as long as you know your pup is happy with the sounds.
Fear is Inevitable But Lifetime Fear is Not!
Every Labradoodle puppy has their own unique personality and temperament based on which of their parents influenced them the most, genetically.
So, some Labradoodle puppies will naturally be more outgoing and adventurous. But, others will be more shy and wary.
No matter how brave they are, your Labradoodle puppy will encounter lots of potentially scary experiences in the days and weeks after being rehomed.
You can’t completely prevent your puppy from feeling fear.
But, you can provide lots of love, soothing words, pats, cuddles, treats, and the reassurance that your puppy can always turn to you for comfort and protection.
Make sure you work with your Labradoodle puppy during socialization. Keep experiences positive, and don’t jump straight in at the deep end! Move slowly when introducing new things.
When Can Labradoodle Puppies Leave Their Mother?
If you have any concerns about bringing your new Doodle puppy home, your dog’s breeder and veterinarian will be a great resource.
Reputable breeders will usually be happy to send you some items that smell like your puppy’s old den and mother. This could be a favorite toy or blanket.
Your breeder may also give you some suggestions for puppy bedding, crate training, and potty training.
So, the care you provide will be consistent and familiar with what your puppy has already experienced at the breeder’s home or kennel.
As for the rest, just be sure to give your Labradoodle puppy lots and lots of love to get your new life together off to a great start.
References and Resources
- Gestes, T. ‘Doodle Development’, Archview Labradoodles (2021)
- Meyerhofer, M. ‘Week by Week’, Family Labradoodles (2021)
- Hoisington, C. ‘Puppy Socialization’, Animal Health Center (2021)
- Mattinson, P. ‘Labradoodle Lifespan’, The Labrador Site (2019)
- Ward, E. ‘Breeding for Dog Owners – Caring from Birth to Weaning’, VCA Animal Hospital (2021)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Vaterlaws-Whiteside, H. & Hartmann, A. ‘Improving Puppy Behavior Using a New Standardized Socialization Program’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2017)