Getting a new puppy is always an exciting experience. Any prospect of a new addition to your home usually brings so much joy. However, before the excitement kicks in, you should think about how ready you are to welcome the pup to your home and whether the puppy is ready to be isolated from the mother and other littermates. Like humans, dogs have emotional needs and require a socialization schedule, which is where the age factor comes in. So, what is the best age to buy a puppy for a child?
8 Weeks is the Best Age to Buy a Puppy for a Child
Change is never easy, and when you are buying a puppy, you are essentially removing them from a familiar environment and isolating them from their mother. If a pup leaves too early, they will miss out on the mother-pup bond, resulting in emotional trauma. On the other hand, if a puppy overstays in his first home, he will be so attached to his dog family, making it difficult to transition smoothly.
By the time a lab puppy is 8 weeks old, he has already bonded with the mother and other littermates. Simply put, the pup has undergone enough socialization with fellow dogs and can safely mingle with a new family of dogs in parks or puppy class. At eight weeks, the puppy is old enough to transition to his new home and is also young enough to develop a strong bond with his new family.
While 8 weeks is the recommended age, you also need to consider the pup’s unique emotional needs. Some dog breeds such as Labrador retrievers will be ready to leave as soon as they are 8 weeks or as young as 6 weeks, while others will have to stay longer. Usually, the breeder will assess whether you are qualified to take the dog at an early or older age, depending on your level of expertise in dog training. However, if you feel like you are ready for your new addition to the family and the breeder is not barging, you can always find another breeder.
At What Age Is a Child Old Enough to Own a Puppy?
As for children, it’s a good idea to hold on until she is mature enough to manage and care for the pet. Typically, children are ready to handle a puppy at around age 5 or 6. Much younger kids may have difficulty distinguishing the pet from a toy. Consequently, they may inadvertently provoke a nasty bite or scare off the puppy through persistent teasing or mistreatment.
Quality Breeder Care Matters
Your puppy will under a breeder’s care before you take him home with you, and you should ensure that you agree with everything the breeder does. Things to consider include socialization, weaning, and the appropriate time to take home the puppy. We can never overstate the fact that you should handle a pup with utmost care. The most critical stage is early socialization, which you should do carefully.
Great breeders will slowly expose puppies to solid foods, grooming tools, outdoors, surfaces, crate time, noises, car rides, other adults, and children. Therefore, the puppy will be able to withstand frightening situations and adapt to being taken care of by a new human companion by developing human connections. When your puppy finally comes home, the breeder will properly coach you on how to socialize with the puppy safely without traumatizing him.
In some cases, especially where long-distance travel is involved, the breeder might have to ensure that your pup gets the critical vaccinations before releasing him to you. This is to ensure that he can withstand the emotional and physical stress of traveling.
Legal Requirements for Puppy Adoption
Depending on where you live, some laws touch on the required age to buy a puppy. Although the ideal age is mostly 8 weeks, certain jurisdictions might have different legal requirements, including spay or neuter laws. These laws usually target pet breeders, retail pet stores, and pet dealers. Humane societies and nonprofit animal shelters are often excluded from these restrictions.
In the United States, 27 states have laws concerning the legal age to buy a puppy. Around 15 states consider it unlawful for anybody to buy an immature puppy. But some states allow you to buy a puppy at 7 weeks or younger. This law also includes a clause that requires the pup to undergo weaning before being purchased.
Why Get a Puppy At 8 Weeks
You should buy the a puppy at around 8 weeks old. There is a lot that the puppy learns from being with his mother and littermates. The mother disciplines the pup, who in turn learns discipline. He becomes tolerant of being touched so that when you bring him home with you, he will be easy to groom to stay clean and healthy.
Proper grooming ensures the safety of those around your pup. Spending time with his littermates enables the puppy to know what it means to be a dog and communicate and relate with other dogs. The pup learns about body posture, playing correctly, chasing, growling, and barking.
The first 12 weeks are meant for a lab puppy to learn most of the things that enable him to adapt to a new environment easily. Get your lab puppy precisely between 7 to 12 weeks. After that, the pup will retreat to survival mode with fear being his primary instinct. When you buy a puppy, you want him to fear certain things positively. And that will not happen when he is much older.
It should be in your best interest to get your lab puppy early so he can form lasting bonds with you, your children, family, and friends. Lack of early socialization will result in the pup fearing human contact, places, and things. The behavior of your lab puppy is entirely dependent on how long you wait before bringing him home.
The Bottom Line
Before rushing to buy a new puppy, consider the right age to ensure a smooth relationship with the new family member. The best age to buy a puppy is 8 years old. Talk to your breeder or veterinarian to ensure you get your puppy at the right age. Also, prepare your child adequately to handle the responsibility of being a dog owner. All the best!