Once you have decided on bringing a dog into your home, and you have settled on the type or breed you want, you will then need to find an available puppy. This search starts with finding a responsible breeder or other supplier from where you will get your new puppy. Then you have to examine the puppies in the litter and choose the one for you. Here are 9 tips to keep in mind as you are selecting a puppy.
- Avoid pet stores. Finding a responsible breeder poses a challenge the world over, as there are many unscrupulous breeders and middle-men who care nothing about the animals that they trade in, and will go to horrible lengths to produce lots of puppies cheaply and sell them quickly to make a profit. Many of those puppies end up in pet stores. The little thing in the display cage may look adorable and tug on your heartstrings, but there could be many problems later.
- Meet the parents: It’s always advisable to buy or get a puppy from someone who will let you meet its parents, at least the mother. This way you will know that the pup has not been taken from its mother and siblings too early, which can cause behavioral problems in its interaction with people and other dogs. Don’t let a breeder or seller talk you out of seeing the animal’s parents – it’s most likely a sign that the pup has had no access to them in a while.
- Don’t be impulsive: It’s hard to turn away from a timid, frightened puppy; you’ll just want to take it home. But remember that your new pet will be with you for a long time so you need to carefully consider its background before you commit. Also, taking a dog home too soon, before it has grown enough and learned to socialize with its siblings can lead to health and behaviour problems later.
- Check out living conditions: Puppies who have been brought up in a good environment are likely to be better behaved. Take a look at the breeder’s housing for the litter. It’s best if the brood is taken care of indoors.
- Check for pedigree: If you are spending big bucks on a pure breed, you definitely want to see the mother, and you need to make sure it’s papers are in order. Get its certificates checked by an expert to ensure they’re legitimate.
- Check credentials: It’s always best to buy from reputed breeders. Ask other dog owners about their experiences and recommendations.
- Watch out for the overenthusiastic one: This is the pup that comes bounding to you seeking attention, not caring what or who he knocks down on his way. This shows dominance that its personality may be hard to train if you are not very experienced with animals.
- And the shrinking violet: Steer clear of the extremely timid and scared one too – that’s probably the runt of the litter. These pups tend to have physical and behavioral disadvantages. You are best off picking a puppy who falls somewhere in the middle of this hierarchy.
- It’s not twice the fun: Even if you want two dogs, do not buy them at the same time. You may see adopting two sibling pups as a great idea but it often turns out to be a recipe for co-dependency, leading to behaviour problems with people and other dogs.