If you have decided to buy a puppy, there are some things you need to know in advance. Puppies are in a litter with their mom for about 8 weeks. Toy breeds should stay a bit longer because they are slower maturing. Puppies need to stay with their litter because this is the time that they learn their social skills. It is much like children in day care and grade school. They learn how to read other kids and how to react appropriately.
They also learn bite inhibition from their siblings and from their mom. Even singleton puppies will learn these things from the mother. Don’t ever let a breeder talk you into taking a puppy younger than 7 weeks. A breeder is there to make sure her puppies are everything they should be, well socialized, healthy and confident pups.
Look for a breeder who does things with the puppies. Getting puppies out of the litter box and out on a walk with their mom and siblings prepares them for the real world. They learn how to negotiate walking through stones and grass and they are introduced to a world of new smells. If your breeder has not done things like this with your puppy, you can do some of this yourself as soon as you get the puppy home. Most puppies will stay right with you, so let the puppy drag a very light leash so that it gets used to the leash. Gradually start picking the leash up and encourage the pup to go with you on the leash.
Take your pup everywhere you go as long as the weather is not extreme. Take them in the car right away. Take them to pet food stores and anywhere else that it is safe and clean. Be wary of dirty pathways where a lot of dog fecal matter is lying around as your dog can pick up nasty virus before it is fully vaccinated.
Get your puppy a crate and crate train your dog. This is very important if your dog ever has to spend time at the vet or in a boarding kennel.
All this applies doubly so to farm dogs! Because they so rarely get off the farm they need to develop some socialization skills at an early age. It takes very little time to prepare a dog for trips to the vet. Your dog will be happier for it as well your veterinarian.
Puppies at this age do very well with some easy obedience training that is done with a clicker. It is not for everyone but if you want to do some obedience later on this is the time to start it.
Feeding puppies is fairly straight forward. Put the food down for the puppy. Give him 5 to 10 minutes to clean it up and pick the empty or partly empty bowl up. Don’t bother the dog while it is eating and don’t let the kids bother him either. Just walk away and leave it alone. If you have more than one dog, feed the puppy separately at first so the other dog does not steal the pups food.
Always keep in mind that everything they do at 8 weeks they will continue to do at 8 months. So if you are not okay with your dog jumping up and getting on furniture, now is the time to stop that.