Many times I've heard a prospective dog owner say "I want the same breed as my friend's dog. It has a marvelous temperament and does all kinds of tricks." Or, "I'm going to get an "all-American mutt". They're better dogs."
Even with a promising genetic potential or the characteristics that fit your profile of the ideal puppy, the kind of dog your puppy becomes will largely be determined by how you socialize it. The experiences a puppy encounters in its new environment are key factors in shaping its personality and temperament as an adult.
A puppy's socialization begins with its mother and litter mates and continues as it is placed in a new home and, to the puppy, a strange environment. Behavioral studies show that a key period of socialization for puppies to humans is from six to eight weeks. This is the time when the mother usually weans her puppies. The puppy's nervous system is reaching the structural and functional capacities of an adult dog. Eight weeks is also the time a puppy is normally placed in its new home. It's ready to learn and intensive socialization should begin.
Socializing your puppy means providing quality time. Give it lots of attention and affection. Pet it and call it by its chosen name. Introduce it to your neighbors and service people such as the mail carrier and others who come to your home regularly. Show children how to hold and pet it. Socializing your puppy to other dogs is important, but this does not mean letting it run free in the neighborhood. Give it the opportunity for safe, controlled interaction with dogs whose owners you know and be sure the dogs are immunized.