Choosing The Perfect Puppy: A K9 Magazine Guide
Choosing a puppy that offers a perfect fit between what you desire in a dog and your particular lifestyle is a decision not to be taken lightly. Whilst it may be often repeated, it bares further reiteration - puppies will grow in to adults and, if you're lucky, you could be spending upwards of the next 15-years with the result of your puppy choice.
Two Major Decisions When Choosing a Puppy
There are two major decisions to be made when choosing a new puppy. Firstly, and most obviously, what breed of dog is going to be right for you and your family. It is absolutely essential that both you and the dog are compatible with each other. It would not be suitable to buy a Bull Mastiff pup if you live in a tiny tenth floor flat, because he would grow too large to live in it and both of you would be unhappy. It would not be suitable to buy a Shih Tzu if you were expecting a child. The Shih Tzu is a jealous dog by nature and the new child would upset the environment to which the dog would have grown accustomed.
Secondly, and perhaps not quite as obviously, what sex is going to be suitable for you and your family. Do you have any other pets which might be intimidated by a new male dog that is of a very dominant nature? Do you want to run the risk of being responsible for a litters worth of puppies should your bitch accidentally get pregnant? Do you want a male who wanders off in search of a mate? Do you want a dominant or submissive pet? All of these questions and more need to be considered before a new pup is chosen.
Once the breed and sex have been decided on you must then seek to choose your new dog on it’s own individual merits. Each dog is different and certain dogs would just not suit certain people and vice versa. Always watch the pup in it’s own environment (i.e. with it’s litter) to see how he behaves. Consider how much you are prepared to change your way of life to accommodate your new puppy. If a large change would not be possible perhaps a more passive, more submissive member of the litter would be suitable. Perhaps you want a lively, bold pet, then the alpha male would be a wise choice.
Here is a five point guide to consider when choosing a new puppy.
* Decide whether you want to buy or adopt a new dog
* Ensure that you are equipped personally and financially to look after a new puppy successfully.
*Be certain of what breed and sex you want before getting to know any individual dog. (You may become attached to a dog that is completely unsuitable for your situation)
* Be sure the breeder is a reputable one. Enquire about things such as his policy on taking back an unsuitable dog. Does he possess the relevant paper work to be selling you the dog?
* Spend time with the prospective pet before deciding, you may like him but he may be uncomfortable with you or a family member for any number of reasons.
*Ensure that the dog is free of any condition or disease that may prevent your enjoying of a long and happy life with your new friend. You can enhance your chances of choosing a puppy with a lower risk of disease by - if you're buying a puppy - insisting on only purchasing from a breeder who has chosen a sire and dam that have both been fully health screened.
Now that your new puppy is home, it is important to let the dog feel comfortable and safe in his new environment. You can do this by bringing an object from his former home, such as a cushion or blanket, into his new space. He will be able to smell things that he is comfortable with, such as his mother or sleeping space, and he will associate a sense of familiarity with his new home.
The dog must have somewhere to call his own. Perhaps a basket or a corner where he keeps his chewy toys. He needs this to be able to adapt to the new house, but also to get him used to being on his own. At some point it will be unavoidable to leave him on his own, so he must be aware that you or a family member will return to be with him sooner or later. Perhaps confining him to this space for a certain amount of time a day will get him used to it. It would also help prevent him going to the toilet in the living room while he is being house trained.
He must learn to go to the toilet at the right time. This can be achieved if the person with the responsibility of letting him out has him in the bedroom so he can learn to alert people to his need to be let into the garden.
During his first sixteen weeks he should stay at home (apart from visiting the vets) as to avoid the unnecessary contraction of disease picked up in the park or on the pavement.
A quality diet, a good home and a good family will benefit your new dog immeasurably, be sure to enjoy being with the pet as much as he enjoys being with you.