Getting a puppy is a major life event. And, there are things you can do to help make the transition go smoothly. If you’re wondering when is the best time to get a puppy, there are some important things to keep in mind.
“Let’s say it straight out, late fall and winter are the worst times to get a puppy and it has nothing to do with Christmas,” says K9 Possible Dog Training, in Oliver, British Columbia. “It is the simple fact of lack of socialization opportunities available plus the busy holidays where everybody is bothered with everything else than potty training the new pup.”
You might also want to avoid the middle of summer, when the heat can take a toll on both you and your puppy’s activity levels.
If you could pick an opportune time for getting a puppy, it would be spring or early or late summer. The weather is mild to warm, making for more opportunities for your puppy to potty train, explore the outdoors and interact with humans and other animals.
Naturally, in climates that offer mild weather year-round, such as California, South Carolina and Hawaii, offering comfortable temperatures that hover between 63 and 86 degrees F for seven or more months, there are going to be more outdoor opportunities for your puppy. Still, avoiding unusual highs or lows in temperatures, and steering clear of busy times in late fall and winter, is ideal.
As for when it’s best for the puppy, most veterinarians and breeders agree that 7 to 8 weeks of age is ideal. According to veterinarian and behaviorist Dr. Sally Foote, puppies are in their socialization period during this time. The socialization period typically lasts from 6 to 12 weeks of age, and involves puppies learning the norms of the world around them. Foote says getting a puppy at this time allows them to best adapt to their new environment.
You should also consider your lifestyle. You’ll want to make sure the time you choose to get your puppy makes the most sense for your family. Your puppy is going to need a lot of exercise, play and companionship, so it’s important to be thoughtful when considering what is going on in your life during certain times of the year. Consider things like whether you’re settled in a home, if you’re planning a vacation and even if you’re going to be spending late nights at the office. “Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals and like to be part of the family. It might be stressful for your puppy to be separated from you right after becoming part of the family,” notes Rover.com.
Some breeds will require more hands-on work (dogs that require intensive training), like rottweilers, pitbulls, hounds, bulldogs and huskies. Be sure to research the breed you’re interested in, and match that with how much time you ‘ll need at first to get them trained and adjusted to your home.
Another thing to consider is your children. “As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to get a dog if you have young children or are more than a few months pregnant,” says dog specialist Richard Cross. “Training a new puppy can take up a lot of time, which most parents of young children don’t have! Ideally, you should wait until your children are at school-age before getting a dog, as studies have shown that babies are more likely to be bitten (usually because they provoked the dog accidentally). Young children are also often not responsible enough to be around a dog.”