When Do Breeders Let You Pick Up Your Puppy? (2024)

Is there anything in the world more exciting than getting a puppy? We may be biased, but we don’t think so! Don’t believe us? Look at the thousands of YouTube videos featuring kids (and adults!) breaking down in tears when presented with a new puppy. It’s simply magical.

As excited as you are to bring home your little bundle of fur, it is important not to rush the process or bring home your new puppy prematurely. Every step of your puppy’s early development is critical to helping your puppy grow into a well-adjusted, happy dog.

So when do breeders let you pick up your puppy? Most breeders will let you take home your puppy when they are eight to ten weeks old. We will also talk about what to bring when you pick up your puppy from the breeder.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Other articles you would like: Why Can’t a Human Breed With Other Animals? and How Old Do Male Dogs Have To Be To Breed?

When Do Breeders Let You Pick Up Your Puppy?


If you buy your puppy from a reputable breeder, they will probably have strict rules about when you can bring your puppy home. Most breeders and veterinarians recommend that you take a puppy home when it is between eight and ten weeks old.

There are several reasons why eight to ten weeks is the recommended age to bring home a new puppy. During the first eight weeks of life, a puppy is still wholly dependent on its mother for nutrients and care. A puppy also learns its first social skills from its mother and littermates. Finally, a good breeder will do the hard work of early socialization for you.


The primary concern that dictates when a new puppy can leave its mother is weaning. Puppies begin their lives dependent on their mothers for nutrition. They begin to wean off milk and onto solid food around three to five weeks old.

The weaning process can take a few weeks, depending on the puppy. You should not remove a puppy from its mother until it is happily eating on its own. Additionally, puppies also suckle for comfort. If you prematurely deny a puppy the ability to suckle for comfort, it might develop insecure or fearful behaviors.


Many breeders of toy dogs choose to keep their puppies past eight or even ten weeks because the puppies are so tiny. Not only are small puppies more delicate than bigger puppies, but they also have slightly different developmental timelines. Their size can also make them more susceptible to the cold and more likely to die or become very ill from diseases.

Socialization With Other Dogs

The first few weeks and months of a puppy’s life are crucial for its behavioral development. There are many “socialization windows” that you must handle with care to prevent fearful, aggressive, or reactive behaviors from developing.

A puppy builds its first social skills by interacting with its littermates. This is the time when a puppy learns how to behave around other dogs and receives corrections and social cues from its siblings and mother. The litter is a safe environment for the puppy to learn in. Interactions with littermates provide the foundation for healthy social interactions later in life.

It has been shown that puppies who are removed from their litter before the age of eight to ten weeks are more likely to develop aggressive and antisocial behaviors toward other dogs, such as resource guarding, reactivity to other dogs, and anxiety around other dogs.

Exposure to New Stimulus

In addition to receiving proper socialization with other dogs, a puppy needs to be carefully introduced to elements of the human world. These elements include riding in the car, playing with toys, crate time, grooming and handling, trips to the vet, and interaction with humans.

A responsible breeder will expose a puppy to these things carefully and thoughtfully. This will take a large part of the puppy’s socialization needs off your plate. A good breeder will provide a puppy with plenty of individual attention and expose it to things like cars, bikes, children, and other potentially scary or triggering things.

A breeder may even begin basic training with a puppy before it goes home, but don’t count on this. Many breeders also begin potty-training puppies before they come home, but don’t expect to get a fully potty-trained puppy at eight weeks old. It is your responsibility to continue with the training that a good breeder has started.

Legal Requirements and Regulations

In some places, specific laws dictate when a puppy can leave its mother. In 15 of the 28 states, it is illegal to sell an underage puppy. A puppy is considered underage when it is less than eight weeks old.

In most states, humane societies and shelters are exempt from this rule, so you may find that you are allowed to take a puppy home from a shelter when it is less than eight weeks old. We highly recommend that you don’t do this as it can inhibit their social growth and they may exhibit negative behavior later on.

In some cases, if a puppy is without its litter in a shelter and you have experience weaning and socializing young puppies, it may be better to take the puppy home. However, if the puppy is with its litter in the shelter, it is better to leave it until it is old enough to come home alone.

What to Bring When You Pick Up Your Puppy From the Breeder


You’ve chosen your puppy, been patient for eight weeks, and the day has finally arrived! You are picking up your new puppy. What should you bring? How should you prepare your home for your new arrival?

What to Bring With You

At the very least, you will need a few items to transport your puppy safely home from the breeder. These include:

  • A soft collar
  • A leash
  • A crate
  • Some towels or soft bedding
  • A chew toy
  • Small, soft training treats

Be prepared to transport your puppy home in a crate. Allowing your puppy to be loose in the car on the way home is a recipe for disaster. The puppy could urinate or defecate on your car’s upholstery, sustain an injury if the car stops suddenly, or get in the way of the safe operation of the vehicle. Put your puppy in a crate on the way home!

Line the crate with towels and soft bedding to make it comfortable, and put a chew toy in there so the puppy has something to do. Encourage the puppy to chew the toy instead of their bedding. Training begins now!

Soft training treats will not only help the puppy begin to trust you and bond with you but will be useful for getting the puppy to go where you want. Toss a few treats into the crate to encourage the puppy to go in there. This is preferable to shoving the dog in the crate without their consent, which can be scary for them.

What to Prepare at Home

You’ll want to prepare your home well in advance of bringing a puppy into it. Purchasing and preparing these items ahead of time will make the transition into your home much smoother.

  • Crate
  • Food
  • Bowls for food and water (and a waterproof spill mat)
  • Bed and bedding
  • Toys (chew toys, stuffed toys, balls, tug toys, puzzle toys)
  • Training treats
  • Harness for walking
  • Identification tag
  • Enzyme cleaner
  • Poop bags
  • Potty training pads

Set up the puppy’s crate in a quiet corner of the house. Next to your bed is a great option, as you will need to get up throughout the night to take the puppy out to the potty. Make the bed comfortable and quiet. This should be your puppy’s safe space. No one should bother the puppy while they are in their crate.

Set up the food and water bowls in an easily accessible location, and try not to move them once they are there. Moving the food and water can make a puppy feel insecure and like they can’t depend on knowing where those things will be.

Similarly, if you are using potty training pads (which we don’t recommend as it can slow down potty training and confuse your puppy) choose a place that will remain the designated potty place for as long as you need it. Moving the training pads will increase the chances of your puppy having an accident.

Conclusion For When Do Breeders Let You Pick Up Your Puppy?


Understandably, you are impatient to bring home your new puppy, but it’s important not to rush the process. If you are patient, you will be rewarded with an amazing, happy dog that is easy to train and loves being in your home.

Always ensure that you are purchasing your puppy from a reputable breeder. Many warning signs indicate that you might be considering a puppy from a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Heed these signs and steer well clear of these places.

While it may be tempting to get your puppy from a backyard breeder or puppy mill, supporting people who do not have the best interest of their animals at heart only increases the number of dogs who end up abused, in shelters, and euthanized. Rescuing an older dog or puppy is also an option, and if you have the means, it can be a life-changing experience for both you and the dog.

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For more information about Puppy Breeding, check out the video below: