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What to look for in a puppy

| Buyers Guide, Frenchie Owners menu | May 1, 2008

A ten-week-old female red merle Australian Shepherd puppy.Image via Wikipedia

Once you have decided on the breed of puppy you want and the sex of the puppy the next big question you should ask yourself is which puppy you should choose and what to look for when going to buy your puppy. Searching for information on the internet could have led to more confusion, so here are some helpful sensible hints to help you decide what to look for when you choose your new puppy:

Evaluate the litter

You should never feel rushed into making a decision and choosing a puppy, a reputable breeder will give you all the time you need when choosing your puppy, but don’t be swayed by their choice. While the breeder can give you good advice on caring for your new puppy and most will be honest, there are some who might try to sell you those puppies they don’t want to be stuck with, for example the boisterous dominating puppy, while most breeders wouldn’t dream of doing this there is the odd one which might be tempted.

Don’t be fooled either by well meaning friends telling you to let the puppy choose you, the pushy puppies will come forward every time and these can often be the most difficult ones to raise, while the gentle ones which normally make the gentler pets are left behind.

Also don’t rely on the biggest puppy being the best; this isn’t always so the bigger puppy will be the more aggressive puppy that always pushed his way in to make sure he got fed, which again could be a problem with dominance as the puppy grows older. Puppies are very much like children each one of them will grow at a different rate and what is the smallest in the litter now could well turn into the biggest and best out of the litter. Certain things however should be taken into account and these are:

* Look at the whole litter as a group, if three out of four of the puppies run away, growl, bark or show some form of aggression then choose another breeder.

* Don’t be conned by the breeder telling you there just shy, socialization at an early age is crucial and any reputable breeder will have handled their puppies and got them used to being around people.

* Puppies who shrink away from you with their tails tucked between their legs are not a good choice, shy puppies will usually grow into shy dogs if this is in their genes.

* A healthy normal puppy should be very curious often running around your feet, tugging at your shoelaces, nibbling at your fingers and trying to climb into your lap.

* Watch how the puppies interact with each other, you can tell a lot about the puppy from how is interacts with its litter mates.

* Look for a puppy in the middle range, this is one that will be inquisitive, who joins in and holds their own without being too bossy and one who doesn’t growl or bite its fellow litter mates.

* Try a few simple tests, try clapping your hands or jiggling your car keys, which puppy is alert, interested or which shrinks away in fright.

Once you have checked out the litter as a whole then you can ask the breeder if you see them all singularly, this will give you a good idea of how the puppy will cope being away from its litter mates. This is the time you can evaluate the puppy’s own personality, sometimes a bold puppy will totally change when separated from the others. Signs to watch for are:

* The puppy’s general expression and body language.

* Does the puppy wag his tail or is it tucked between its legs.

* When you talk to the puppy how does it respond.

* Is the puppy lively and energetic, is the puppy inquisitive.

Spend as much time as you need with the litter as a whole and also with each puppy you are interested in, a reputable breeder will give you all the time you need with the puppies and should never rush you or sway you into making a choice. Perhaps the only time when a breeder should give you advice on which puppy is right for you is if you are thinking of showing the dog. Here the breeder can point out which puppy might be best for show and why they think it is.


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