“Puppy protection” is a common term among dog owners. In general, when a puppy encounters an adult dog while walking, for example, is generally not attacked or even injured.
The adult dog feels supposedly instinctively, that it is a young dog in need of protection who is allowed to deprive himself of all fool’s freedom. However, this assumption is wrong and could become life-threatening for the puppy.
How does it come to be assumed that there is a “puppy protection” at all? Scientists observed how wolf parents treated their pups in the first few weeks of life. They act almost youthful and goofy, and their patience seems limitless. Only after a few weeks the little ones learn what are their afford and experience limits. This “fool’s freedom”, which is tolerated by the own family in the first few weeks after the birth, has been described as “puppy protection”. Wrong conclusions were drawn from these observations. The “puppy protection” within the own wolf family was only observed in the first 6-7 weeks of life. After this time, the little ones learn their limits and the family rules.
With house dogs, “puppy protection” exists, only within the own dog family (father, mother, and siblings) – and only in the very first weeks of life.
At the latest, when a puppy moves into its new human family at around 8-12 weeks, the protection within its own family is over anyway. With strange, adult dogs, your puppy does not enjoy so-called “puppy protection”! Although it is possible that an adult dog gets along well with a young dog and apparently puts up with everything from him, there is no guarantee that it will be intact. Often, uncastrated adult female dogs are not exactly friendly towards unfamiliar puppies, but also males or neutered female dogs are often too excited, distant puppies, and so it can happen that an adult dog attacks a puppy. This can be a traumatic experience for a young dog that can affect their entire dog life later on.
Consequences of knowing this: So be careful which dogs you let your puppy with. Ask the other dog owner if their dog gets along well with puppies. If he denies this or if he refers you to “puppy protection”, it is better not to allow contact! A dog is always learning, every second of its life.
Mammals cannot “not learn”. However, this means that every dog encounter leaves a lasting impression on the dog’s brain – whether it was friendly or not. For this reason, dog contacts should be as positive as possible in the first year of life. Ideally, you should only introduce socially acceptable dogs to your youngster. By the way, your dog gets a lot more from a two-person encounter than from encounters with two, three, or even more other dogs at the same time, because he can calmly adjust to his counterpart. If it seems that things are going to get too wild soon, you can intervene in good time, while this is hardly possible with a group of dogs.
Puppies are not guinea pigs! As a caregiver, you take responsibility for your young dog. The same applies to puppies as to dogs of small breeds: An unfortunate encounter with dogs can easily lead to injuries to vital organs.