How to Pick a Puppy, Keep the End in Mind
Know what you are looking for. Are you wanting a family companion, guard dog or show/competition candidate? Knowing what you’re looking for will help keep you on track as you talk to breeders about their dogs and litters. This is where you’ll want to think about health and longevity –how important is it that the breeder screen his/her dogs for things like Hip AND Elbow dysplasia and genetic diseases like Degenerative Myelopathy? Don’t be afraid to ask to see copies of the health certifications for the parents –think twice if the breeder can’t produce them. Chances are you will want to stack the deck in your favor of having a companion that is happy and healthy for years to come.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good breeders are always happy to answer questions and help educate people about their dogs. If you feel like you’re getting the brush off or your questions are an annoyance…just remember that is how you’ll feel after you purchase the puppy and need help with something.
Pick a Breeder – Then a Puppy
Ask about the breeders goals, and what they enjoy doing with their dogs. If a breeder’s goals and interests match your own you will be more likely to get the right puppy. For example, if a breeder’s main interests lay in Schutzhund/IPO competition or producing police dogs then their blood lines and litters will naturally be filled with high energy/high drive working line dogs. Imagine the frustration of the puppy and family if they wanted a family companion who would maybe go boating, play ball or take walks with them, and the dog is bred to WORK hard all day and wants to go to bed tired from it!
Trust the Expert
Once you have found a breeder to work with, trust them to help select the right puppy for you. The right puppy is more than just a cute picture, and good breeders have spent a lot of time with their litters, know the parents and probably do some temperament testing with the puppies. They will ask you lots of questions about your lifestyle and interests and will be best able to match you with the right puppy.
One last thought…as you look forward to bringing your new bundle of joy home, be sure you have prepared, not only crates and toys and yard, but do you have a trainer to work with? Have you read up on puppy development and training? Your breeder started with a good foundation, be sure you build well the masterpiece your dog can become!