we went to see our puppy at 4 weeks old, then again at 6 and then took her home at 7...although not found through ads.
its never too early really... earlier the better in a way as then its not last minute and hopefully you wont end up with 2/3 unwanted pups.
Can you begin to soon? (A rhetorical question.) I've payed a deposit on a 1 week old puppy once. Though if you want to be able to match suitable temperament to suitable owner, I know of a Rottweiler breeder who took deposits for unspecified puppies and then she decided which puppy the buyer would be allowed to take home at 8 weeks of age.
They could come and meet the puppies while they were at the breeder and she would listen to the buyers wishes but, in the end, she made the decision and the buyer either understood her reasons or got their deposit back.
Don't forget to take names and ask questions even if you think all puppies are sold, until they are actually collected, people might change their mind. If you get one back after, let's say, two weeks, it is handy if you already have one or more names on a reserve/backup list.
*FinnishLapphund leans back and wonder when/if somebody will reply saying something along "You mean you don't already have a list of names to call..."*
Sound advice Finny, although, yes, if planned, I would have a list of potential homes before the mating.
It is not a great time of year to sell pups and free websites and newspaper ads bear testimony to this.
I know CaveCanem, but sometimes people have long lists of names and once the puppies are born, the potential buyers have changed their mind, they want dogs and you only got bitches etc. And if the person in question didn't have a list with names before, it wont change anything by x number of replies telling them that they should have had it with a sarcastic one liner.
To be honest, tonight I remembered the other times I've seen such one line replies and just felt that I maybe could inspire people to say, albeit the same thing, but perhaps with different words.
Heeding Finnys comments I will try and be constructive. I hate seeing puppies on free ads so wouldn't really recommend them. You could try your vets, most practices have a notice board in the waiting room. In that way then hopefully if people are interested your vet would be able to supply a reference (and of course can recommend you as a breeder). Possibly tack shops and pet shops as well. Be prepared with a list of questions you are going to ask prospective owners, and also expect them to ask you questions. Personally if people don't want to answer questions, or don't want to ask loads about the pups and parents I wouldn't be interested, and if their first question is how much its a definite no!
And yes Finny, I think we have all been caught out with a list of people wanting male pups and the bitch producing 1 male and 7 females, or vice versa. So helpful!
Duh, after typing that all out I realised you asked when not where to advertise
, in which case as others my answer would be asap.