It is exciting to want a puppy; after all, dogs are man’s best friend, loyal too. However, there are some vital points you must take into consideration when choosing the right puppy.
- Does your family stand with you on the idea? They must do. You do not want a dog to bring disunity to your family neither would you want it where people may discriminate against it.
- Have you thought about the financial obligations, as well as the time and commitment having a puppy will require? Taking custody of a puppy is fun but demanding. You should consider if you are ready and willing for all that.
- Another point to consider is your age, environment, needs, health, and availability of time. These will determine whether you will need an inactive puppy or an active one. It is wiser to research the type of dog that will suit you and your family before you choose. Some dogs demand lots of attention from you – physical and mental stimulation. Others are naturally laidback, requiring fewer activities. If you live in a flat with little space and time, then buying a Springer spaniel would amount to some behavioural difficulties for you and the puppy.
- There are some cute puppies you see and you immediately get attracted to them. When you go ahead to buy a puppy on aesthetic justification, you may be asking for trouble. Have you considered the nature of the dog? Certain breeds come with unique needs and characters. Before you even start looking for a puppy, make sure you understand the negative and positive traits of the particular breed you are interested in. The traits should align with your lifestyle, accommodation, and needs.
- Having decided on the breed of puppy to add to your family, find out where you can locate them. I advise you to start with your local animal rescue shelter.
Now that we have those points out of the way, let us look at choosing the right puppy from a litter.
Irrespective of the dog breed you choose, there are some vital signs and qualities to watch out for.
You want a certified healthy puppy. Therefore perform the following acts–
- Check the physical appearance of the pup for any under or over-shot jaw.
- Confirm that there is no inflammation or discharge from the genitals, eyes, or ears.
- Carefully check whether the puppies possess a healthy, shiny coat. Are they well rounded? You also do not want them to be too fat or too skinny.
You need to monitor the pups closely on your first visit. This will enable you to observe their actions and temperaments with other dogs. That way, you will discover the ones that are laid back, hyperactive, dominant, or submissive.
Socially grounded puppies have a good upbringing with strong characters. Their sociability shows in the way they move to meet you when you visit with them. With heads held high, sure steps, and tails wagging, they will approach you. They should not cower before you.
To test the pup’s level of sociability, try some of these tricks:
- Check their reaction to your presence and touch. Lift each puppy and watch whether they are relaxed in your arms or squirm terribly. If they relax comfortably in your arms without nipping, vocalizing, or fighting back excessively, then they are well rounded socially.
- Try holding them down on their back for a moment. This can be tricky but if you can, keep your hands steady with a little confidence. The puppy should be able to relax under the gentle pressure of your hands after the initial struggle.
- You can also gently probe them on parts of their bodies like feet, mouths, and tails. Watch how they react to your pokes. Do they lean into your touch or get agitated and fight you off, maybe with a bite?
These tests should tell you which puppies are confident, friendly, fearful, or aggressive. It is natural to get drawn to the fearful underdog among the litter. But I would advise you to reign in on your emotions and act wisely. Go for the fearless, confident but friendly pup. It may not be easy to retrain the socially unsound pup.
So far, you must have selected two or three pups out of the litter. But your work is not yet done. Take these ones you selected away from the litter. Clap near them or drop something on the ground to see if they will react. That way, you can test their hearing. To test their sight, drop a treat or a toy where they can see it and watch how that goes.
Before you leave the breeder’s, make sure you get all the required papers for the puppy. However, it is strongly recommended that you also get a vet to run a medical examination on the puppy and request the relevant medical certification.
The best time to get your puppy is between 7 and 8 weeks. You catch them right when they are just getting into their period of formation. This essential moment is relevant to the development of the puppy.
Not only is it the natural time for the puppies to leave the litter to socialize, but it is also the best time for you and your family to bond with the dog. It is also an excellent time for the pup to mingle with other dogs, animals, your family, neighbours, and get acquainted with the environment.
At this phase, you have the opportunity to train the puppy to be what you want. The social and mental skills, etiquette, and foundational skills needed for lifetime survival are taught and learned at this point. Therefore, make sure you give your puppy the best training once you bring it home.
Choosing the right puppy from the litter is an exciting activity but you must act responsibly every step of the way.
Now, enjoy your new family member!