Can Puppies Leave Mother At 6 Weeks: [Ultimate Guide]


In this article, we will answer the main question – Can I bring a puppy home at 6 weeks? 

We will also look at several related questions that may concern you about separating a puppy from its mother and the litter too early so that you can make the best decision for you and your new dog.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • Can puppies leave the mother at 6 weeks old?
  • When are puppies fully weaned?
  • What do 6-week-old puppies eat, and how often do they need to feed?
  • How many meals a day do 6-week-old puppies need?
  • What do 6-week-old puppies do during the day?
  • Are 6-week-old puppies potty trained?
  • What is the best age to take a puppy away from a litter?
  • What is bite inhibition?
  • What behaviors result in puppies separated from the mother too early?

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Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting event for the whole family. No doubt everybody is eager for the day to arrive, and you may find yourself wondering – Can I bring a puppy home at 6 weeks? 

You may also be interested in:Tips for potty training your new puppy

There are several reasons that you may want to bring a puppy home as young as possible. Maybe you hope that the younger your puppy is, the more bonded it will become with you?

Are you anxious that another buyer will offer more money for your chosen pup?

Or perhaps it is simply more convenient for you to bring the puppy home a few weeks earlier because you have time off work, or maybe the kids are on school holidays, and everyone will be at home to settle the puppy in?

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can puppies leave mother at 6 weeks

can puppies leave mother at 6 weeks

Can Puppies Leave The Mother At 6 Weeks Old?

The main question that may concern you is, can puppies leave the mother at 6 weeks old? Many healthy puppies at this age can appear to be very sturdy and independent.

They are playing with littermates, eating solid food, and they don’t seem to depend on the mother being there. But does this mean that they are fully ready to leave the litter and go home with you?

See Also: Can you bathe a puppy at 8-weeks old?

Depending on where you live, it may be illegal for you to take a pedigree puppy home with you before 8 weeks of age. There are several other things to be considered at this crucial stage of a puppy’s development.

Keep reading to find out why leaving your puppy with its mother and the litter for a few more weeks can be very beneficial for them and you.

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Can Puppies Leave Mother At 6 Weeks: [Ultimate Guide] 1

When Are Puppies Fully Weaned?

What is weaning?

Weaning in puppies is the process in which a puppy is transferred from a diet consisting solely of the mother’s milk to solid food.

A mother dog has the capability of producing milk for her young for several months, and in the wild will suckle her pups for longer, allowing them to wean off naturally.

However, it is in the interests of domestic puppies to be weaned earlier with the help of the breeder.

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When do puppies start being weaned?

The weaning process usually starts between 3 and 4 weeks of age. This may seem quite early, but due to the fact that most pups are re-homed around the two-month mark, it is important for the breeder to ensure that they are fully weaned by this time so that the puppies’ gastrointestinal tracts are used to dealing with commercially solid foods.

How old are puppies when they are fully weaned?

For this reason, at 6 weeks old, puppies are often fully weaned and eating solid food. Depending on the puppy, they may still be suckling the mother as well as eating solid food at this point. By 7 and 8 weeks, the puppy is fully weaned and ready to leave.


What do 6-Week-Old Puppies Eat And How Often Do They Need To Feed?

Does the mother dog wean the puppies herself?

With the help of the breeder, puppies are transitioned from feeding entirely on the mother dog’s milk to eating solids through a gradual process of mixing high-quality puppy food, usually of the same brand that is being fed to the mother, with a liquid puppy milk replacer.

See Also: How much should 8-week old puppies eat?

How do the puppies get used to eating solid food?

The consistency of the puppy food changes as less and less milk is added to the mixture until the puppies can eat the puppy food completely dry.

By 7 weeks old, the puppy should be eating completely dry kibble, if this is the choice of diet that the breeder has chosen.

How often should you feed a 6-week-old puppy?

You may choose to feed a 6-week-old puppy four times a day, which is ideal. A useful guide is to feed once in the morning, once around noon, once mid-afternoon, and then finally once more in the evening.

As the puppy develops and starts to grow, the stomach will be able to handle a little more food in one sitting, and so you can then increase the meal portions slightly and feed the puppy three times a day.

Nonetheless, if you want a healthy puppy, never take it home until it is 8 weeks old. Are there exceptions? Their mother has already died, for example. Unluckily, the answer is no. Be sure to keep your new puppy hydrated.

can puppies come home at 6 weeks

What do 6-Week-Old Puppies Do During The Day?

6-week-old puppies are adorable little bundles of fun. They are usually very playful and curious, but you might be surprised at just how much of their time they spend sleeping.

What is happening to a puppy at 6 weeks of age?

At this tender age, not only is the puppy’s body developing fast with its muscles and bones growing, but they are also learning so much about life.

Everything that a puppy experience at this tender age needs to be processed by the brain, and this is exhausting work, especially as the learning process is constant.

Also See:Can Dogs Eat Greek Yogurt?

Why do puppies sleep so much?

Every little thing from taking in new sights and sounds, to learning how to play and interact with their littermates, and understanding the world and people around them is information that needs to be processed by their tiny little brains.

Most of this processing happens when the puppy is sleeping, which is why they need so much sleep.

How much sleep should a puppy have?

Puppies at this young age need to sleep 18 to 20 hours a day! This will feel like pretty much all of the time to a new family who is excited about bringing a new puppy home, and who may want to spend more time playing with the little newcomer.

What should a puppy do when it is awake?

When the puppy is awake, these are windows of opportunity for a new family to use the time productively and incorporate as much structure, routine, fun, love, and training as possible into all of the puppy’s activities.

Feeding time, toilet time, walkies, playtime, and cuddles are all golden opportunities to teach a new pup, who is soaking up all the information he can get his paws on, sociable behaviors that you and society will desire of the dog when it grows up into an adult.

Can Puppies Leave Mother At 6 Weeks: [Ultimate Guide] 2

Are 6 Week Old Puppies Potty Trained?

Will the breeder potty train the puppies?

If you are lucky and you have sourced a responsible breeder with an excellent reputation who is dedicated to giving their pups the best start in life, you may have the luxury of bringing home a young puppy that is already fully potty trained, or partly potty trained.

This can help in decreasing the amount of time you will need to spend reinforcing your new puppy’s good toilet habits when you bring them home.

Why does a potty-trained puppy still have accidents?

At 6 weeks of age, however, be aware that a puppy hasn’t developed the physical ability to wait to go to the toilet. This means that the puppy’s success will depend on making sure that you provide them with access to a designated toilet area.

Because when a 6-week-old puppy needs to go to the toilet, they are just going to go to the toilet. And if your puppy can’t gain access to where they would typically go, they will settle for the next best thing.

How can I support my puppy’s potty training?

If your puppy has already learned to use a litter tray with cedar chips or a puppy pad, then make sure that they always have access to one, and ensure that you keep the area clean.

They will continue to use it in the same way that they are used to. If the puppies have learned to go to the toilet on grass, then you may have more work cut out for you, as you will have to keep a closer eye to make sure that you are there to let them out when they need to go, to avoid any accidents indoors.

Note: It’s easier to teach an 8-week puppy to speak compared to a 6-week one.

What Is The Best Age To Take A Puppy Away From A Litter?

Taking everything into consideration, the longer you can leave a puppy with the breeder, the better.

Why wait until 12 weeks to bring a new puppy home?

The best age to take a puppy away from a litter is 12 weeks. They will be bigger, stronger, and more confident at this age, and ready to embrace the next stage of their life and their independence.

You can also be assured that they are fully weaned and healthy, as they will have had all necessary vet checks, worming, and vaccinations.

What benefits will a puppy get from staying an extra two weeks with littermates?

The first few weeks of a puppy’s life are so precious. They do so much learning during the time that they are weaning away from the mother, and they have all the opportunities they need to establish social skills, behaviors, and personality traits while interacting with their littermates.

See Also: Why do puppies chase their tails?

These are only things that their mother and littermates can teach them, and they are essential skills and knowledge that will last them a lifetime.

Here are some of the things that a puppy learns and experiences in the early stages of its life:

  • Touch & Other Senses – The first sensation that new puppies experience is touch. The mother spends an immense amount of time one-on-one grooming and feeding each puppy. The physical contact a puppy experience with its mother and littermates is a vital part of the bonding process. They learn about feeling safe and secure, interaction, and communication. This is the beginning of the process of socialization and building positive relationships with other dogs.
  • Socialization – Next, as the puppies start to move about, comes the many trials and tribulations of learning how to get along with the other pups in the litter. They learn how to compete for resources and attention, and also how to enjoy the company of other dogs and have fun.
  • Behaviour Modification – Along with play comes learning about the boundaries of play. The bigger and more confident the puppies get, the more they will want to test each other to see where they are in the pecking order. This reinforces their feelings of safety and security and helps to build trust and strengthen bonds between littermates. An important lesson to learn during this stage is bite inhibition. Keep reading to find out what it is and why it is so important.
can puppies leave mother at 6 weeks

What Is Bite Inhibition?

An adult dog that has been adequately socialized and had plenty of opportunities to play with littermates and other puppies when they were young should have the capability to control the pressure of its mouth when biting.

A dog that has not developed any bite inhibition is dangerous to other dogs, people, and children.

Bite inhibition is incredibly crucial for several reasons:

  1. TRUST – A dog with good bite inhibition can be trusted not to hurt a child when playing with toys, especially when the play is exciting. They are in complete control of their mouths and can cause little to no damage to whatever they are biting on. This is important when playing with children, because sometimes a hand may get in the way of a toy.
  2. GENTLE MOUTH – A dog with good bite inhibition is led likely to snap someone’s finger off when taking a treat overenthusiastically.
  3. SAFE PLAY WITH OTHER DOGS – Dogs with good bite inhibition gain the trust of other dogs quickly and can engage in play without the risk of things turning nasty, and the dogs are ending up in a fight.
  4. WORKING DOG SKILLS – Bite inhibition is especially crucial for some hunting dogs that are trained to retrieve prey without killing or damaging it.

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How do dogs learn bite inhibition?

Dogs usually learn about bite inhibition naturally during play with their littermates as puppies. The learning process is straightforward. Puppies can engage in rough play, which includes chasing, wrestling, and lots of biting.

Their puppy teeth are too tiny to do any real damage, but they are very sharp for a good reason!

If one puppy bites too hard, the other puppy will feel the sharp teeth and yelp. Immediately play stops, and the injured puppy doesn’t want to play anymore.

The overzealous puppy has just learned that when he bites too hard, all the fun goes away. So the next time they engage in playtime, the pup has to restrain himself so that his bites are not hard enough to end the play session.

Bite inhibition is a long learning process which has been started since they are little puppies. The first lesson is taught through playing with another puppy or with their mother. 

What Behaviours Result In Puppies Separated From The Mother Too Early?

If you are still tempted to bring home a 6-week-old puppy, check out this list of some of the behaviors that can result in puppies being separated from the mother too early.

  • Reactivity
  • Fearful behavior
  • Separation anxiety
  • Toy or food possessiveness
  • Shy or nervous around strangers
  • Play-biting with humans
  • On-going toilet training issues
  • Needy or attention-seeking
  • Destructive in the home or garden
  • Excessive barking
  • Excessive licking

This list could go on and on, and most of the behaviors will stem from improper early socialization and being separated from the mother or litter too early.

These are all issues that can be worked on and improved with the help of a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, but they will always underpin your dog’s personality.

According to a published study in 2011, the behavioral problems in puppy are inclusive of attention-seeking, toy and food possessiveness, reactivity to noises, fearfulness on walks, excessive barking, and destructiveness. 

Any puppy buyers should consider these before anything else as 6 – 8 weeks old is the time of growing fast when puppies are messy and noisy. Thus, with a wrong decision, you have trouble taking care of your puppy. Here are 5 tips to control negative behaviours in dogs.


If you are still wondering if you can bring a puppy home at 6 weeks, the answer is yes, you can, but you will be doing the dog, your family, and any human being or animal that comes into contact with your dog as it grows up no favors.

It is far better if possible to leave a puppy with its mother and littermates a few weeks longer, just to ensure that it picks up all of the social skills and confidence it needs to grow up into a well-balanced family dog that you will be able to enjoy, be confident in, and share a lifetime with.

I hope I’ve answered the question, “can puppies leave their mother at 6 weeks?” to your satisfaction. 6 week old puppy care can be challenging for new parents.

Please leave a comment or question below. I look forward to responding to your comments. Don’t forget to share the article with your friends and loved ones too.

can puppies leave mother at 6 weeks


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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