How to Choose a Puppy

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2Selecting the right pup for your family requires a little leg work, but we’ll show you how to choose a puppy that’s perfect for you. The worst thing to do is to run out and get your pup just by looking at him. There is much more to choosing a dog than seeing how energetic and friendly she is. Also, don’t pick a dog breed because your neighbor/best friend/cousin has a dog of that breed and they are a wonderful dog. More than likely, your requirements for a dog will be different from theirs. And definitely, do not pick out a puppy because it looks cute or the parents are beautiful. In doing that, you may have a beautiful dog, but what is beauty if you have a dog you can’t control?

 

Issues to address

Get out a piece of paper and pen, then go through each of the sections below. Jot down your answers and any notes to the questions in each section. Answer as honestly as you can and when you are finished, you will have a profile of your ideal dog.

 

Dog Jobs

Are you looking for a watch dog, guard dog or just a family pet? Do you need your dog to herd animals on your farm or watch over flocks? Are you looking for a dog that can retrieve your game or track animal scents while hunting? Do you need a dog that will retrieve your game from the water? Or would you like your dog to work in assistance? From retrieving to sled pulling, there are dogs that are specifically bred for all of these functions and more. For example, a Lab will be excellent at retrieving your game for you, but will make a lousy guard dog due to their overly friendly temperament. A German Shepherd will make an excellent guard dog, but may not do as well with retrieving.

 

Dogs Were Bred to Work

Keep in mind that our domesticated canine friends are man-made creations. Every dog breed has been bred to enhance certain traits and characteristics that humans found useful in some way shape or form to assist with everyday life. Some dogs were bred to be guard dogs, which means they were bred to be be more aggressive than others. Other dogs were bred to be working dogs, which meant they were bred for long lasting energy and stamina, which means they require a lot of exercise. Others are good at hunting while others are good at chasing mice away. Some dogs demand a lot of your time and others are more relaxed. Some dogs will do very well with strangers, others are protective and wary. Still other dogs require a job to do such as retrieving or herding, otherwise they become bored and destructive.

Due to our modern world, there is less need for dogs to be used as working animals and now mostly find themselves as (hopefully) pampered pets. However, just because you no longer need your dog to pull carts on the farm or chase rats out of the barn doesn’t mean that they don’t still have those characteristics that originally made them good at those jobs. If you don’t address all of these aspects, you may find you end up with a dog that you can’t manage and she quickly becomes an annoyance. And these are the things that lead to people giving up on their dogs. By choosing the breed of your new pup carefully, you’ll ensure that you have a best friend that fits your life perfectly.

 

Grooming

Determine how much time and money you are willing to spend on grooming your dog. Some breeds need to have their coats clipped on a regular basis, while others only need to be brushed. The frequency with which you need to brush also varies between breeds. Some require daily brushing, others you can get away with once per week. All dogs will need their nails clipped. If you are planning on doing it yourself, a dog with light-colored nails will be easier to clip than one with dark nails. All dogs have a vein running through their nails called the quick, which will bleed if cut. In light colored nails this is easier to see.

 

Shedding

How much shedding are you willing to put up with? Some breeds hardly shed at all, but will require regular grooming. Others shed constantly, meaning you will have to sweep and /or vacuum daily to keep your house from looking like a fur pit. Even if you don’t choose a heavy shedding dog, at least twice a year you’ll have to deal with your dog losing it’s summer or winter coat. Most dogs are in between, but are you willing to have dog hair all over your house and all over your clothes? Inevitably, with a dog that sheds, you’re going to find dog hair in some pretty interesting places.

 

Allergies

Do you or someone in your household have allergies to pet dander? If so, you are going to want to pick out a pup that is hypoallergenic, which means they do not shed or shed very little. But the flipside to this is regular trips to the groomer.

 

Where You Live

Do you live in a house with an average sized yard, an apartment or smaller house or on a farm? Do you live in the city or country or suburbs? Giant breed dogs will do best on farms or large properties, smaller dogs or toy breeds are ideal for smaller apartments. Some breeds need to have lots of room to roam around or need jobs such as herding or guarding to keep them busy and happy. Others are content to romp in your yard, then curl up by the fireplace.