A caller to my radio show last Sunday asked about the best age to bring a new puppy home.
The answer is that you should never get a puppy younger than 7 weeks of age. The ideal age to get a new puppy is 8 weeks.
When people say, “Well, I got my puppy at 6 weeks--that’s only one week different. What’s the big deal?” Developmentally--and here comes the shocker--in the life of a puppy, one week is equal to four months to a human baby. So there’s no such thing as saying, “It’s only a week different.” How would you like to get a baby at 5 months of age?
What happens during puppyhood has a profound influence on the adult dog’s behavior. That's why it's very important to know how old the puppy should be when you bring him home. From about three to twelve weeks of age, pups go through a primary socialization period when they learn like sponges. Experiences during this time can have permanent effects--good or bad.
So, again, the best time to take a pup from the litter into your home is at eight weeks of age and NEVER from a store. A pet shop pup has learned to soil in its crate and live in a store. Do you live in a store?
Since pups begin learning at about twenty-one days of age, if you bring your puppy home at the age of eight weeks, this allows socialization to both humans and other dogs. A sociable dog is much easier to live with than a fighter or a fear biter -- and much easier to train in behaviors like stopping problem dog or puppy digging.