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What to look for in a puppy?

June 7, 2024

Are you in the market for a new puppy? So exciting! Dogs bring so much happiness to homes all over the world. They can benefit your physical, mental, and emotional health. But there is a lot to consider when choosing the right kind of dog to bring home. Are you looking for a big or small dog? A spunky and sassy pooch or a loyal and loving companion? Is there a breed you’ve always wanted or want to try something new? There is a lot to consider when making a decision like this. That’s why we’ve broken down a three-step process for you to follow and successfully find your newest furry friend.

Research & Choose Your Breed

It’s important to research different breeds. There are many factors to each breed that require consideration before you make the big decision. Here are six questions to use as a guide for finding the right breed that will fit your lifestyle best:

How trainable do you want your dog to be?

Training is crucial to having a healthy and happy relationship with your dog. Some dogs strive to please their owners, while others tend to be more stubborn. This is an important consideration because some owners may need more time to train a stubborn breed properly. If that’s the case, you’ll want to find a breed that is a bit more eager and trains much easier/faster.

How much energy do you want your dog to have?

It’s essential to find a dog breed that fits your lifestyle first. High-energy dogs are always eager for the next adventure. They’ll spend their time running, jumping, and playing. Meanwhile, low-energy dog breeds are usually content with lots of cuddles and snoozing. If you’re always out and on the go, a high-energy dog may be the right fit for you. If you’d rather stay in and relax, then you’ll want to get a breed that is happy chilling on your lap.

How much shedding can you handle?

High-shedding dog breeds must be brushed regularly, may trigger certain types of allergies in your home, and require a regular vacuuming and cleaning schedule. If any of those factors are a concern, we’d recommend getting a low-shed and hypoallergenic dog breed.

How frequently can you care for their grooming needs?

Consider how much time, patience, and budget you have to maintain your dog’s grooming needs. Routine grooming habits are key to their health, comfort, and happiness. When researching different breeds, check how much grooming maintenance is required and make sure you’re prepared.

How much barking are you okay with?

Remember, barking is a way for your dog to express themselves, so barking will happen. However, some dogs bark at every passer-by or bird in the window, while others may be less vocal. Consider your living situation at this point. Do you have neighbors close by? Are you living in a busy area? You can help manage your dog’s barking with proper training, but it’s always important to consider how much you’d be willing to handle.

What size dog do you want?

Every size of dog has benefits, but this is another big factor to consider. Take a look at your living situation again. Do you have the space to accommodate a large dog’s needs, or should you consider getting a smaller breed?

Answering these questions will give you a better idea about which breed will be a good fit for your home. Some other things you might need to consider with your research include:

  • Breeds that are good with children.
  • Breeds that are good with other animals.

Determine Temperament

Once you’ve researched, it’s time to find your prospective puppy. A good owner is willing to FaceTime with you or schedule a time for you to visit the litter. Don’t hesitate to ask them as many questions about the breed, their health, and their personalities. You want to look for an attentive and confident puppy. A nervous puppy afraid of sudden sounds or quick moves may have difficulty adapting to your home. A completely oblivious puppy may be difficult to train. Below is a list of ten temperament tests you can perform with a puppy to see if they’re a right fit for you and your family. You’ll need to decide if you want your pup to have a dominant, submissive, independent, or well-balanced personality. But please note that these quick tests are not the end-all-be-all. They may indicate what kind of personality your new pup may have, but they’re growing and developing a lot at this time.

10 Quick temperament tests:

  1. Click your tongue – is the puppy alert? Interested? Does he come over to investigate?
  2. Jingle your car keys – is he curious or frightened?
  3. Place the keys on the floor in front of them. Does the puppy come over to investigate? Or is he wary and distrustful?
  4. Gently handle the puppy – is he okay when you guide him into a sitting position? Is he okay when you feel around his ears like you’re cleaning them? Is he okay when you pick up a front paw and feel around his toes? Is he okay when you gently lift his lip and touch his teeth?
    • Please note that it’s normal for a puppy to struggle or lick and nibble at your fingers. But they shouldn’t become panicky, or growl, or bite.
  5. See how they react to being picked up –is he relaxed? Or does he tense up?
  6. Encourage the puppy to come to you. The best way to do this is by kneeling down and clapping your hands softly and close to the floor.
    • A typical puppy will confidently approach you.
    • A bold/dominant puppy may rush wildly at you, jumping on you or nibbling your hands.
    • A submissive puppy will come hesitantly, often with his tail down or belly low to the floor.
    • An independent puppy will ignore or glance at you but will continue to do his own thing.
  7. Walk around the room and encourage the puppy to follow you. Stand up and walk away from the puppy, bending down as you walk and gently clapping your hands to encourage him to follow.
    • A typical puppy will follow you.
    • A bold/dominant puppy will also follow, but he’ll entangle your feet, pounce on your shoes, or try to grab at your pant leg.
    • A submissive puppy will follow hesitantly with his tail down.
    • An independent puppy will just watch you leave or wander away to explore.
  8. Roll the puppy. Gently roll the puppy onto his back and hold him in that position for a few seconds.
    • A typical puppy will struggle a little, then settle down.
    • A bold/dominant or independent puppy will struggle fiercely the whole time, perhaps crying or trying to nip.
    • A submissive puppy will freeze in position, or lie passively without any struggle, or perhaps lick your fingers.
  9. Hold your puppy above the floor – raise him just a little so that his four feet are off the floor.
    • A typical puppy will struggle a little, then settle down.
    • A bold/dominant or independent puppy will struggle fiercely the whole time, perhaps crying or trying to nip.
    • A submissive puppy will freeze in position or hang passively without any struggle, perhaps even licking your fingers.
  10. Put the puppy in a new room and observe – does he explore? Or is he taken aback by this unexpected turn of events? If so, how long can he get over his uncertainty and start exploring?

Observe Their Health

Good health is crucial when selecting the right puppy for you. It’s important to do your research and speak with the owner. Ask them about appetite and eliminations. Do all the puppies in the litter eat dry food? Have they vomited or had diarrhea? Have the pups been treated for intestinal parasites? All these factors are important in determining a happy and healthy puppy. After asking these critical questions, you’ll want to observe the entire litter. Do they all play together, or is there one that retreats to a corner? Is there a pup that leads the pack? If you want an assertive/bold pup, that may be the one for you. If you want a more docile/submissive puppy, then you may want to get the puppy in the corner. It is important to note that every puppy has a different personality, but all will require adequate socialization and positive reinforcement training. Once you’ve observed how the puppies interact with each other, then it’s time to survey their overall appearance. This includes:

Eyes – they should be clear with no redness or drainage. There should be no hair loss around the eyes. The pup should not squint or rub at his eyes.

Ears – ears should not have an odor or discharge. The ear flaps should be covered in healthy fur or hair. Scratching at the ear could be a sign of infection.

Nose – it’s okay for the nose to have a slight clear discharge, but discolored drainage is not normal. The puppy should breathe easily and noiselessly from his nose.

Mouth – their gums should be moist and a healthy pink color.

Body Wall – check a puppy’s belly for a protrusion around the navel. This could indicate an umbilical hernia, which means a surgical correction may be necessary.

Coat –a puppy’s coat should be shiny.

Skin –there should be no areas of hair loss, pustules, redness, or flaking.

We hope this process can help you find the right furry addition to your home. If you have any questions about the puppies that we have available, please reach out and join our waitlist.

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