Saturday, 28 July 2012

Choosing A Puppy

Which Puppy Should I Pick?

The breed, type, size, activity level, hair colour, hair length, and sex of your prospective puppy are personal choices and best left entirely up to you and your family.

Once you have all agreed on a choice, approach friends, go to your local rescue centre or dog training school to look for and "test-drive" at least six adult dogs of the type that you have selected. Test- driving adult dogs will teach you more about what to expect from a puppy than any book or video. Also, the experience of test-driving will ensure you know how to teach and control adult dogs before you get your puppy. Really, the process of choosing a dog is not much different from choosing a car. First, you need to learn to drive, and second, you want to choose a car that looks and feels right to you.

You will probably have read lots of well-meaning advice from pet professionals that advise you, for example, not to get certain breeds if you have children, not to get large dogs if you live in a flat, and not to get active dogs in the city. In reality, all breeds and types of dog can be wonderful or problematic with children. It very much depends on whether or not the puppy was trained how to act around children and the children were taught how to act around the puppy. Because of their lower activity levels, large dogs adapt more quickly to living in a flat than little dogs. Big dogs just take up more space. And active dogs can live in cities and built up areas just as active people live in cities. In fact, town dogs tend to be walked and exercised more than suburban dogs.
In the long run, it will be you who will be living with your puppy and teaching him to adjust to your lifestyle and living arrangement.

Selecting Your Individual Puppy

It is vital however that you know how to evaluate whether your prospective puppy is physically and mentally healthy. Research your prospective puppy's lineage to confirm that his grandparents and great-grandparents all lived to a ripe old age, and to check how many of his doggy family suffered from breed-specific problems. 
Long life is the best indicator of overall physical and behavioral health and the best predictor that your puppy will have a long life expectancy. Research well; you want your puppy to enjoy his sunset years with you. 
In terms of behavioral development, by eight weeks of age your prospective puppy should be housetrained, chewtoy-trained, outgoing, friendly, and sociable, and at the very least, know how to come, sit, lie down, and roll over. Any signs of fearfulness are absolutely abnormal in an eight- week-old pup.
Check that the puppy was raised indoors, around human companionship and influence. Check that the puppy uses a dog toilet, rather than urinating and defecating all over the floor (which he will continue to do if you take him home). Check that hollow chewtoys stuffed with food are readily available. Ask the breeder how many strangers, especially including men and children, have handled and trained the puppies. Check for yourself how easy (or difficult) it is to hug and handle (restrain and examine) your prospective puppy. Also check how quickly (or slowly) the puppy learns to come, sit, lie down, and roll over for each family member.

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