Choosing a puppy is not a task to take lightly as owning a puppy – which as you know – will turn into a dog, is a lifetime commitment. Consider that many dogs can live as long as 15 years and you can see how important it is to choose wisely when getting a puppy. Before you even make a decision on getting a puppy, you also need to check your budget and make certain you have enough money to properly care for a puppy. In a puppy’s first year of life, he will make many visits to the vet’s office for vaccinations and neutering; you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in bills for care of your new family member.
When I made the decision to get a puppy, the ever-lovely now five-year-old diva poodle Henrietta, I knew I wanted a dog that would be small and portable because I traveled quite a bit and wanted a companion. I also wanted a dog that didn’t shed as we had a lab-husky mix in the house and he shed almost year round. After researching breed websites and searching out rescue sites, I decided that a poodle was the best breed for me – and my temperament. And yes, your temperament should figure into the type of puppy you’re getting. If you’re a couch potato and know you will get the energy to walk your dog several times a day but have no desire to talk long walks on the beach with him or go jogging around the soccer field, then choose a dog that is happy with brief outdoor jaunts (like a Pug) as opposed to a high-energy dog (like a Terrier breed).
Choosing a puppy from a breed rescue or a shelter is a highly recommended way to go when you’re adopting a puppy, but for some individuals they simply don’t want to take a chance on a puppy whose size will be indeterminate. If you get a puppy from a breeder make certain he or she is reputable, visit their home and check the condition of the puppies, the parents and the home environment. Never buy a puppy from a mall pet store as they are notorious for purchasing puppies from puppy mills.
Understand the breed that you’re buying. Is the breed prone to any health issues? Are they prone to being aggressive? Do they need to be in a large yard environment? Do they get easily bored? Again, understanding the dog breed temperament and meshing it with your lifestyle and your living arrangements are crucial to a successful lifetime together. Do you want a long hair or short hair dog? Will you have the time and money to take a dog to the groomer (Poodles, for example need to be groomed and have their hair cut at least every couple of months)
Once you’re surrounded by a litter of squirming puppies that you’re looking to adopt, it is difficult to tell which puppy will be the best fit. Look for a puppy that is healthy and active and one that has bright eyes and a clear, clean nose. Check the puppy’s coat and skin make sure his coat is clean and that his skin is clear and flea-free. Check the puppy’s teeth and bite (make sure their mouth closes properly, in other words). Do a “hearing test” on your puppy, does she respond when you talk?
To make certain your puppy is truly healthy, you will want to ask for a health guarantee from the breeder and you will also want to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to have the puppy checked out.
Remember, even if you find the puppy of your dreams that meets all of the criteria you researched, it is still – bottom line – a puppy. She will need to be trained, housebroken and you will likely be looking forward to many sleepless nights as your new family member becomes accustomed to her new environment. No puppy or any kind of breed comes with a guarantee of “this will be the best dog ever” it is up to you – the owner – to work with your puppy to mold him into the best dog ever. Pet ownership is a responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. The rewards are more than worth the training times and sleepless nights.