Looking after a puppy is a very time consuming pastime and can involve a lot of hard work and stress. You obviously need to consider whether you can afford the time and patience to dedicate to a puppy before you buy one, but having done this you will no doubt find the task of puppy care very involving and rewarding.
Most breeders agree to release their puppies at around 8 weeks old. Your puppy will have been used to being with its litter mates and so be prepared for some initial nerves when you get it home.
A good way to help your puppy to settle is to have a blanket or soft toy that contains the scent of the mother and litter mates, a good breeder will normally provide you with this. Some puppies can take a few nights to settle which is quite normal, it is just important to remember to be patient.
Puppies at 7/8 weeks of age will normally be eating four meals a day evenly spaced throughout the day. This does not always fit in with everyone's lifestyle but do remember it will only be for a short time and any drastic change to the puppies’ routine will only help to upset it more.
When the puppy reaches 9 to 10 weeks it will be ready for it's first inoculation. Some vets vary as to what age they will administer the first jab, so it is a good idea to contact your vet as soon as you purchase the puppy. The vet will give your puppy a general examination of health on your first visit and after the second jab is given your puppy will soon be ready to see the big wide world it is about to grow up in.
It is extremely important not to exercise your puppy too often during the crucial developing period between 3 and 8 months, too much exercise will stop the puppies bones from forming properly. It is however just as important not to under exercise a puppy. Generally you will tend to find puppies will give themselves plenty of exercise by playing in the garden and you can introduce exercise on a lead very gradually.
Also, I do not recommend allowing the puppy to climb stairs, this can cause stress on the bones between the wrist and elbow/knee causing the bone to push over the joint. This is generally called overrun and is caused when the dog comes down stairs and puts pressure on those front paws pushing the soft bone up and over.
Your puppy will be learning from the very second it sets foot in your home, so it is a good idea to lay the ground rules down as soon as your puppy arrives. Puppy training should not be a succession of corrections and telling off. It should all be done in the spirit of puppy play, firm but fair.
The way your puppy develops into an adult depends a great deal on how it is guided through its formative early months. The two most important words to remember throughout the life of any dog, be it a puppy or an adult, are consistency and fairness.