This is a decision you are going to live with for many years, hopefully anything between 10-15 years so it makes sense to take a bit of time and think about what kind of dog you have always dreamt of owning AND does it fit in with your lifestyle. These requirements are not always the same!
If you were going to buy a new house or even just a new sofa you would take the time to do a bit of research into your preferences before you buy and the same should apply to buying a puppy.
People often ask me if there are any dogs that are untrainable my feeling is no …. with the exception being a mental illness of some kind, which is rare, but when there is a miss-match between owner and dog it can be far more difficult to achieve the wanted results.
If you choose to buy a puppy against an older dog you have a great opportunity to select the right dog to fit your needs and lifestyle….
Choose the right puppy
Look to choose a pup that reflects your own personality.
If you have a more sedentary lifestyle or do not have the inclination to exercise your dog for a minimum of 1-2 hours a day then high energy breeds like Springer Spaniels, Border Collies working Cocker spaniels are probably not for you.
Bearded Collies, Old English Sheep dogs need masses of grooming.
German Shepherds, Dobermans, Dalmations respond well but need lots of on 2 one training.
I am generalizing but I think you get the picture!
If you want to get the best out of your dog and your dog want to get the best out of you it pays to do your research
How to go about it!
I would recommend you make a list of what you as an individual and if appropriate as a family want from owning a dog.
Some factors to consider could be;
- size of dog when full grown
- Long-haired or short – think about grooming
- Any one in the family with allergies? There are a number of non casting dog breeds.
- Amount of exercise both physical and mental you are willing/able to give on a daily basis.
- An under exercised dog will find stimulation in other ways e.g destructive chewing/digging, hyperactivity etc.
- Cost of the dog over its lifetime. Some pedigree breeds are prone to certain medical conditions.
- Many cross-breed puppies make excellent pets but the size of the grown dog can be a bit of a guessing game unless the parents are known.
- The dogs expected life span – Generally large breeds like Great Danes and Newfoundlands have a much shorter lifespan than most small to medium breeds and cross breeds often outlive many pedigree dogs.
- The sex of the dog male v female. Has to be a matter of personal choice
Temperament of the dog
Probably the most important factor in whether you end up with an easy puppy /dog or a more challenging one and it is easily the most difficult area to assess when choosing your puppy.
Some general pointers to look for when viewing the puppies:
- Take your time –preferably try to watch the whole litter at play
- Insist on seeing the mother and ideally the father of the pups.
- Avoid at all costs the situation where you have no choice or the breeder has selected a puppy for you.
Warning bells should ring if you are not able to at least see the pups mother.
That lone puppy could well turn into a great dog but you will not have had the opportunity to observe how it interacts with its litter mates which is important in assessing your dogs personality.
The two extreams of behaviour to look out for are:
- The overly boisterous pup who comes rushing up to you while pushing his litter mates out of the way.This pup probably has a more confident personality which is great …if you can handle it!
- Try not to choose the pup you feel sorry for…the one sitting well back on its own who does not interact with the others. Possibly looks a little thinner than the rest. This pup probably has personality issues and with experienced handling can turn into a good dog but will always be more work than the others.
The ideal pup is the one that is happily playing with its siblings and not being too bossy. Ask if you can pick the pup up and if he is calm about being cuddled and handled he is likely to grow into a calm well adjusted dog with few behavioural issues.
This dog is going to be your responsibility for many years….you should have a say in the selection process
- Never ever buy a puppy from an unrecognised source.e.g the local pub or the back of a car (many of these pups come from puppy farms and often come with illness, genetic issues etc.)
- You should question the breeder/owner who is willing to release a pup under 8 weeks old. Ideally 10 weeks is better. Puppies need these crucial early weeks to learn socialisation and communication skills from their mother and siblings.
- If you decide to take two puppies from the same litter be prepared for much more work.
The ideal combination is a boy and a girl but if you want siblings of the same sex and you are an inexperienced dog owner two boys are generally a bit easier than two girls.
I am sure your puppy will grow up to be a happy well adjusted dog but if you would like some help to make sure this happens please don’t hesitate to contact me.
At Pawsitive Solutions, we specialise in helping you get the best possible relationship with your dog.
If your are thinking about how to choose the right puppy or how to train a puppy, why not enquire about our services using our enquiry page – Enquiries