Learning how to choose a puppy that’s healthy takes effort and patience. Once you’ve found the right one, how do you know he’s ready to come home with you?
Timing can be everything. Ideally, the age to bring home a puppy is when he’s between seven and twelve weeks old. This is considered the critical socialization period in a puppy’s life, the time when he learns the most about his environment and begins to adjust to his surroundings.
If you find a puppy younger than six weeks, he may develop issues with separation anxiety and poor socialization habits. The puppy needs the first few weeks with his mother and other puppies from the litter to properly socialize. It will take a lot of hard work on the part of the owner to make sure a puppy so young grows up to be well adjusted. It’s not impossible, but it involves a lot of time and expertise and such a puppy may not be right for you.
Puppies older than twelve weeks have usually finished the socialization or learning stage and will be set with their surroundings. Choosing a puppy older than twelve weeks is perfectly fine, and even senior dog rescue can be a great investment of your time and love. But, preferably, you want to find the right puppy in his most formative weeks so that he can quickly adjust to you and your lifestyle.
If you’re choosing a puppy that’s older than seven weeks, you want to find a dog breeder that properly socializes their puppies. You want to make sure that each puppy is handled on a regular basis both in the litter and individually. They should be exposed to new environments and new people to ensure they grow up to be stable and well-rounded.
While bringing home a puppy during the seven week period is ideal, you shouldn’t worry too much if you’re adopting from a responsible breeder. If the breeder takes the time to properly socialize their puppies, the timing isn’t that important. Regardless of his age, you’ll be sure to find the right puppy for you.