The responsibility of the prospective Dog Owner
Did you know that the place where you buy your puppy (pet store or breeder) and the age at which you introduce it to your family are crucial to his mental development ? That's why we recommend to buy your puppy from a responsible breeder and if possible only between the puppy's seventh and ninth week of age. Failing to respect this time frame may influence the development of your puppy in its early growth stages and may become a cause of canine aggression and anxiety at a later stage. The upper time limit does not apply for puppies that grow up within the breeder's human family, because in that cause, most probably, they will have been adequately socialized.
That's why responsible breeders will sell puppies when they are ready to be sold, and never before that time. Dog brokers, pet stores and puppy mills, on the contrary, buy puppies which have been separated from their mother at too early an age and resell them as soon as possible (to keep down operating costs).
These puppies lack imprinting from their litter-mates and mother, fundamental to attain mental and emotional maturity. Once adverse conditions during this critical period have developed negative behavioral traits, no amount of re-conditioning or training at a later stage will be able to significantly improve or compensate these negative characteristics. On the other hand, puppies raised in stimulus-poor surroundings ("industrial" kennel conditions like puppy mills, pet stores or back-yard breeders) and placed for the first time in a highly stimulating environment (a family with children, or living in the city) at the age of 12 or 16 weeks are most likely to display inhibited behavior (anxiety, fear). Once again, the only way to avoid this, is to buy from a responsible breeder, who will only plan litters he is sure to sell.