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I am trying to help a friend get her first Maltese. She is not a computer user, so I am doing the computer work for her. We found a breeder who has a great reputation for beautiful show dogsl She is very nice to talk to over the phone. She has been breeding Maltese for over 25 years.

We went to see 8 week old puppies at her home. She has about 35 dogs and puppies there. She has almost no one helping her with the dogs, and she mostly lives alone. She had three litters in 9 days. She seems like she is not inbreeding. and she is very aware of the many health problems Maltese can get. She seems to take care of the dogs medically and she is careful to keep the litters separate.

This is my question. When I got my dog, she was 8 weeks old and she was very socialized to people. When I got her home, she found every hiding place in my home, and she got by every barrier I put up. She knew more about people than I knew about dogs. The puppies I just saw with my friend at 8 weeks old seemed to be having their first encounter with people. They didn't really sniff us, they hardly kissed us at all, and they didn't try to snuggle in toward us. The mother of the dogs did not seem to be socialized to people at all. She just sat on our laps but she made no eye contact and seemed oblivious to attempts at affection. I don't think these puppies have had much contact with people by the time they were 8 weeks old. The breeder was rough with the puppies when she picked them up. A few times, the puppies squealed. When I tried to pick the puppies up from the pen, they seemed to hop away from me rather than come towards me. There have not been any children around to play with the puppies. My dog was raised in the breeder's home with her children around. (She has not bred Maltese for many years, and she did not know any breeders to recommend to me).

Right now, in a 7 state radius from where I live, only two breeders have any female puppies. Both are older women who have been breeding for years, and both have very good reputations. Most breeders take non-refundable deposits when female puppies are very young, so my friend would not get a chance to evaluate the personality of any puppies she might want to adopt. My friend wants a 12 week old puppy. She has looked at rescues, but she has not found a young female.

The ultimate question I have is if puppies don't have much contact with people during the first 8 weeks of their lives, and then they don't get daily contact and handling from people from 8 to 12 weeks, how much socialization will continue after they are adopted at 12 weeks? How much do their personalities change after they are adopted if the new family gives them lots of love and attention but they didn't get held and cuddled and they don’t play with people during that first 12 weeks of life? And, it the breeder is rough when she handles them, how will that affect their socialization?

I know that Maltese are delicate and they should not be held by young children. How much does exposure to children affect puppy socialization as opposed to puppies socialized only by older adults?

Thank you for your interest in my friend’s dilemma.
 

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I have 2 little maltese girls and both have been socialized around my little nieces. I have also played with my girls kind of like a child would. I get a little rough with them so that they are used to it for when my DH and I do decided to have children. Both of my girls are used to their tails being pulled and their fur being pulled. When my nieces play with them, they just sit and lick their hands. IT's so cute and funny. I believe if you get your puppy used to kids and the way kids play, you should have no problems with children. Hence always watch the children when they are playing with your maltese because kids will be kids. Hope this helps.
 

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The breeder's part in socializing pups until 12 weeks is absolutely essential for a happy, well-adjusted puppy. If there is any doubt, that pup wouldn't end up in my house personally.
I feel it is important to get to know a breeder and develop a relationship. The addition of a puppy can wait until a litter comes along. Grabbing up the first pup available because now is good is not typically the best approach. I would take some time and find a breeder, meet their dogs, and go with someone you are 100% comfortable with.
 

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We have had a family living w/us for a while who have twin babies just one year old. I have watched Kitzel like a hawk and the little girl is wonderful and gentle w/him and he w/her. The little boy was stronger and rougher but Kitzi never bit him---I did intervene several times to protect Kitzi! It was a great experience for all of them.
If I were you I don't think I would take one of these puppies. It might be better to wait and find one that has more socialization---even if you have to wait a while. This is a very important part of the dog's character IMO!
There are so many breeders that it should not be a problem! Wishing you success!
 
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