Choosing a puppy is a fun, fulfilling experience that you’ll remember forever. But since you’ll also be choosing your pup’s forever home, this is an extremely important decision that you’ll want to weigh carefully based on several factors.
Sure, that adorable little pup may be staring at you with big puppy dog eyes. But does that mean it’s the right puppy for you? Well, it could be, but there are a few things to ask first.
Here are some quick tips to help you find the perfect puppy for YOU.
1) Learn about the breed
Take the time to find out about the personality and needs of the breed(s) you’re considering. While every puppy personality is different, the breed may have certain traits that could make the puppy a perfect fit (or not). For example, a border collie will need an owner with lots of energy who can help it stay active every day. Meanwhile, a sleepy basset hound may not be the best pick if you’re looking for a dog to take with you on long jogs twice a day.
In addition to temperament, breed will also affect things like size, weight, how much food they’ll need, potential medical issues and more, so it’s one of the most important factors to consider.
2) Meet and observe the puppy
Don’t rely on images alone. A picture won’t tell you if the puppy is good with kids or what its personality is. Take the time to see the puppy in person, spend some time with it and see how it interacts with you and other dogs. If possible, consider taking the puppy home for a day or two, before you make a final decision.
3) Ask questions
In addition to your own observations, you should be asking pointed questions to the owner, foster, breeder or agency that is offering the puppy:
- How old are the puppies?
- Any medical issues to be aware of?
- Have they seen a veterinarian? Which vaccinations have they had? Have they been treated for worms?
- What food does the puppy eat?
4) Touch, cradle and summons
Dog experts recommend a variety of brief tests to try when you’re meeting the puppy. The most common ones are:
- Cradle test: Seeing how the puppy reacts when you cradle them
- Touch sensitivity test: gently squeezing a puppy’s toes when holding them
- Getting on the ground and summoning the puppy to you
The puppy’s reaction to each of these tests can tell a lot about its personality and disposition. Use this guide to determine what you should be looking for.
5) Don’t let the puppy pick you
Beware of the “it picked me!” myth!
Yes, it can be a heart-melting experience when a puppy seems to come right to you, begging you to bring them home. But let’s face it, this isn’t a very scientific way to make sure the puppy is perfectly matched with you!
Try not to make an emotional decision based on a single interaction. Instead, your decision should be based on the larger picture and accumulation of factors we’ve highlighted above.
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