Choosing the Best of the Litter

If you are going to choose a puppy make sure you do it from a reputable breeder. Puppies are ready to be chosen when they are about four weeks old.

Puppies come with as many different personalities as humans do. And no matter what their breed is any single one has the potential to become an introvert or an extrovert: a grouch or a goofball; an athlete or a couch potato; a jealous neurotic or a clever escape artist.

Dogs like people take some time to get to know. A dog that is from a breed that is known to be a good lap warmer could just as easily turn out to be an enthusiastic ankle biter. Almost any dog is capable of being difficult to train, deaf when it convenient and aggressive with strangers. The key to picking the best pet is to find the one that seems the most socialized. In other words it is the dog that seems to be relating the best to human contact.

Before you buy a dog you should first ask to observe how it acts in its own litter. If it is playing with other dogs then it is a sociable extrovert. If it is huddling by itself in a corner it may be irritable or sick.

A healthy puppy will be one that does not wince at human contact and instead jumps up to lick your hand or check you out. A lack of inquisitiveness can mean the dog is sick or has a lower intelligence.

Before selecting the puppy you should also examine it physically. First figure out or ask whether it is a boy or a girl. A healthy puppy should have a slightly plump rebounded tummy. There should be no fleas or sores on its body or bald patches in its fur. The eyes should be clear with no watery discharge or reddish looking streaks alongside its nose. It’s ears shoulder clean and pink, and the puppy should not be sniffling or sneezing

Never pick up or handle a puppy that is less than three weeks old! It is fragile; needs its mom and you could injure its delicate body with too much manhandling. Let it alone so it does not develop a fear of humans.

During each visit, observe the puppies as a group and take note of the different personalities. Characteristics worth noting include activity level, social interactions, vocalizations and the puppy’s response to a visitor. Puppies that are shy, retiring or snap at you are not good choices for pets.

Beware of a puppy that repeatedly mouths and claws at a visitor’s hands. This puppy might have dominant or aggressive traits that might make it difficult to get along with as it gets older.

There is still much to learn about how we can predict adult behavior from the behavior of a puppy (or a puppy). However, personality traits do appear over the course of days or weeks, even during a single introduction, and can help you decide whether a particular puppy would be a good match for your lifestyle.