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The Final Decision

Chapter Seven- The Final Decision

Choosing a Puppy from the Litter:

Many breeders will make a recommendation for you and your family based on their experience with the puppies and the information you have provided them about your family.  An informed breeder will consider the role the puppy is supposed to play in the family from information provided in the purchase application or from communication with you prior to your first visit.

New puppy health checkBehavior and health tests are significant indicators of temperament and behavior. A family with small children and other pets may not be able to handle the dominant temperament of an alpha male. On the other hand, a family interested in entering their new pup in a companion program may need the confidence and spirit of the alpha. In some scenarios, the burden of choice can be moved from the hands of the potential buyer to the breeder.

However, this is not always the case, and it is becoming less and less common as many prospective buyers enjoy the process of choosing their own puppy.  For these reasons, it is important that you become informed on how to choose the right puppy from the litter for your family.

The puppies’ parents:

Selecting a male and a female to breed a great puppy includes:

  • Excellent health and great temperaments for both mom and dad
  • Hip, elbow, and other joint evaluations
  • Eyes, teeth, and jaw confirmation
  • Extensive blood tests to determine genetic markers for epilepsy and other disorders
  • The mating dogs should be a minimum of two years of age before the first litter of puppies
  • A female dog should have at least a year to recover before she is allowed to become pregnant again

Purebred dogs will have the advantage of a generational pedigree, but typically a crossbred puppy will not. Check for any genetic issues in the line(s). For both parents, confirmation of health tests  and any generational information from a licensed veterinarian should be expected.

Mom and English Bulldog Litter

Health tests and certificates

When a dam becomes pregnant she should enter a comprehensive prenatal program. Good nutrition, exercise, and medical care are critical to prevent congenital issues. Most breeders will request an ultrasound evaluation of the uterus to determine the number of puppies and to identify any possible issues with the delivery. Additional health tests of both the mother and her offspring are an indicator of good health. You should expect certificates of health including worming and inoculations at regular intervals from birth by a qualified veterinarian when you purchase your dog.

How is the personality determined in an infant dog?

puppy personalitiesTesting a puppy’s personality to determine its future capabilities as an adult began as an extension of testing children’s learning abilities in the 1950s. In the 1960s, tests were stylized to include a determinant of the potential for a canine’s dominance or submission. These tests were further improved and today the battery is considered a leading indicator of a dog’s behavioral traits as adults. Known as the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, the system is used broadly by breeders, trainers and handlers in determining the ideal home for a dog. There are no losers in the test – only winners when there is the proper match.

Beyond the technology of testing, there are determinants to consider when visiting a kennel with a litter of cute, lovable, excited puppies.

  • A puppy will exhibit his/her best potential at 8-10 weeks of age. A good breeder would not let a puppy leave the litter before 8 weeks.
  • Consider taking a trainer, groomer, veterinarian, or vet tech to visit the kennel and help with the selection process.
  • Look for the happy, active, playful pup.
  • Pick the puppy up. It should be round and wriggly, not fat, and certainly not skinny. Even inherently thin breeds like Greyhounds are pudgy puppies.
  • Look for the pup that struts his stuff. The confident personality with a high head and a wiggly tail, consider an excited slurp of a kiss a bonus.
  • Look for bright eyes, a clean, shiny coat, clear ears, and no debris or discharge from tip to tail (especially tail!).
  • Be wary of an anxious, fearful, or shy pup. A puppy at 8-10 weeks of age should not show these traits.
  • Conduct a hearing test. With the puppy facing away from you stamp your foot, whistle or drop keys. Make sure the pup reacts to the noise by turning, jumping, or expressing curiosity.
  • Pick the puppy up and turn him/her on their back. They should calm and allow you to stroke their belly. If the dog objects and fails to settle it is a bad sign.
  • You should be able to touch the puppy all over, mouth, ears, nose, paws, toes, tummy, and tail, without objection.
  • Make sure the litter has been screened for genetic conditions.
  • The breeder should allow your personal veterinarian screening upon purchase with a money back guarantee if health defects are discovered.
Aggressive Puppy
Happy Puppy
Shy Puppy
Agressive puppy personalityHappy Puppy PersonalityShy Puppy Personality
Aggressive puppies can be more headstrong and harder to train, but can work well with active, large families, and as only pets.Happy puppies are easier to train and can get along well with almost anyone.Shy puppies can be more needy and require more attention, but can also give out a lot of love.

Finding the Perfect Puppy:

You want a perfect puppy? Stop looking now. Puppies – like people – are not perfect. To imagine a living being capable of fulfilling every expectation is simply not realistic. Puppies poop and pee in inappropriate places. They bark and whine. They chew expensive shoes and soil heirloom rugs. They will eat nearly anything. Many a chair, table or bed has been reduced to splinters by the teething, boredom, or simply the insatiable curiosity of a puppy. They run, jump, dash and dive.  You will surely experience hundreds of things you never expected the first time you bring a new puppy home!

Chooisng the right puppy from the litterOwning a puppy means tolerating late-night howling and crying and learning to function with serious sleep deprivation. Puppies issue ear-splitting objections to being confined to a crate. They require frequent cleaning up as a result of missed puppy pads and they vomit inedible, undigested objects that must have somehow looked irresistible minutes before. They roll in disgusting, foul-smelling gunk with glee and subsequently need frequent baths. Puppies are not easy, they are not convenient, and they are not subject to short cuts. They require patience, training, persistence, tolerance, and much love.

What they deliver is the comical, whimsical, full-tilt frenzy and infectious happiness that only a puppy can bring. They snuggle, kiss, and simply adore you despite your most offensive human crimes. No one can experience a totally bad day with a puppy. Puppies grow into dogs that with just a little nurturing and guidance provide unconditional love and complete devotion. They ask so little, and return so much.

So to find the perfect puppy you simply need to commit to working on becoming the perfect pet owner. If you fall short no worries, your dog will most definitely forgive you and love you just the same!


{ 2 comments… add one }
  • VALERIE March 16, 2016, 7:12 pm

    I just want to thank you for taking the time to document such extensive and comprehensive information and resources. I want to purchase the right dog for me, and you have made this task seamless.
    God Bless You

  • marivee October 30, 2016, 2:41 am

    I wanted to thank you for writing this article! It is very helpful. I want to get a boxer puppy for me and my family and seems like so intimidating because of not knowing where to start. I have only had one dog in my life, when I was a teenager. I am now 42 and want to get a puppy but want to make sure I am making the right decision since I haven’t been a pet owner for so long…well we have a fish and a bunny. They are both easy to care for! Thanks again and God bless!