You have decided to get a dog and are considering a puppy. What’s the right age to bring a puppy home? Different experts have different ideas, but most will say after she has reached 8 weeks of age. It could be as early as six weeks for an experience owner. However, in the early weeks, it is crucial for her to be with her mother and siblings in order to be nurtured physically and learn social interaction with her siblings.
During your search for a puppy, however, it is a good idea to visit the breeder and see the litter when they are about four or five weeks old. Experts believe that the mother dog’s behavior is a strong indicator of the future behavior of its puppies. So try to gauge her temperament. Looking for signs of fearfulness or nervousness, aggression or ‘neurotic’ symptoms such as chewing at her feet or tail, skin damage, or pacing.
Environment also plays a big role in shaping a dog’s personality. Puppies who have been socialised correctly adapt more organically to new situations such as a new home. For those who appear skittish or distressed in a new environment, it is important to handle them quite regularly to make them familiar and trusting of people. Once your puppy is used to people, she will have an easier time adapting to unfamiliar situations.
Older puppies, over 12 weeks, can sometimes be problematic to train so get enough information about their living conditions before committing. For instance, dogs kept at home in a loving environment with constant contact with people are a better bet than those who are resigned to a kennel outdoors with scarce human contact.
Before bringing your dog home, keep everything you will need for her ready if the breeder or vet cannot provide them. This includes a bed, toys and treats. If you plan to housebreak her using a cage then you will need one of those as well. On the other hand if you are getting an older dog that can be taken out, you will also need a collar, leash and a dog tag with your name, address and telephone number. Check about the food your pup needs to be given and keep a supply of that at home. Also check with your breeder and vet about the shots needed and the food routine you should follow.
If this is your first dog, one of the most important preparations you can make is to inform yourself on how to care for her. That includes feeding, training, house-breaking and keeping her clean.
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