1. When is a good time to pick a puppy out of a litter?
According to the "experts", a puppy is not
neurologically complete until 49 days of age. Meaning. A puppy doesn't
have the brain of an adult dog until it reaches the age of seven weeks.
When personality is important, picking out a puppy prior to age seven
weeks is only giving you partial information.
The ASPCA has a nice page on what to look for when you
visit a litter. I do take exception to one item though. In my opinion, a
dog should never be given rawhide, because if rawhide gets stuck
in a dog's throat, it can swell and obstruct breathing. Other than that,
I think it's a nice page to review before coming to visit a litter.
Again, if you visit a litter prior to age seven weeks, these suggestions
on what to look for would be pre-mature.
Additionally. If you are considering the puppy's
structure as well as it's personality, the "experts" also say
that age 8 weeks, plus or minus a day, is the best time to get a
preview of what the puppy is going to look like as an adult. It's not a
perfect preview, but it's the most closest preview you are going to get
to see the body parts in the proportion they are going to be
as an adult.
2. When is a good time to bring a puppy home?
Some States have laws with respect to when a puppy can
be released to it's new home. New Hampshire is one of those States. New
Hampshire law doesn't allow puppies to be transferred to new owners
until the age of 8 weeks.
That said. I prefer to keep the puppies until the age of 9 weeks, or
close to it. The puppies tend to go through a fear-response around age 8
weeks. At age 9 weeks the puppies just seem to bounce out the door and
never look back.