A Guide to Choosing a Puppy

Spot Aggressive Dog Behavior and Find the Right Breed when You Adopt a Puppy

Holding dog pup

Are you asking yourself, "What kind of puppy is right for me?" Picking a puppy for your family is a very important task. It is not something that should be left up to the children, either. Adults should thoroughly research each dog breed that is being considered to narrow down the choices of suitable puppies. Things that should be taken into account include the breed's temperament, maintenance and grooming needs, and the family's environment and lifestyle. This will help you adopt a puppy that is the right breed for the entire family from the get-go - rather than discovering you have the wrong breed after you have already brought it home.

To find the perfect puppy for you and your family:

  1. When you arrive at the home or business where there are puppies for sale, or offered for adoption, you should take note of the kennel's cleanliness. If the kennel is unkempt, smelly and dirty, you can safely assume that the mother dog may not be in the best health. Have a general knowledge of dog health before you start looking, so that you can easily notice any health problems.
  2. Thoroughly look over the mother dog. However, keep in mind that most may appear thin. This is common, especially during the weaning process. If she is malnourished, you will know it. If she is, you should not purchase a puppy from her litter. If she is overly aggressive toward you, you may also want to reconsider a puppy from her litter. Try to spot aggressive dog behavior early in a puppy's life.
  3. When looking at the puppies, you should observe them before you pick them up. How to pick a puppy out of a litter is a difficult task. How the puppies play and act will tell you a lot about them. You should easily be able to pick out the dominant puppies in the litter, as well as ones that may be too rough or who are very shy. This is important information for you.

    Are you going to take your dog camping every weekend or will he be an indoor, apartment dog? If you want a guard dog, the shy one cowering in the corner may not be the best choice. However, if you want a dog that is good with children, you should not choose the alpha male or the shy one. Alpha males may not take kindly to their territory being invaded. Shy dogs may startle around very small, excited children and snip at them. You should look for a middle of the line puppy.

  4. If you are interested in a dog that is barking at you, try to figure out why he or she is barking. Is it because he or she is scared, or is the pup trying to be friendly? Fearful dogs will bark and could possibly grow up to be aggressive. You should be able to tell if it is saying "Hello" or "Stay away from me, I don't like you."
  5. Take each puppy you are interested in away from their litter mates. How does he or she react? Is he or she cowering, jumpy, or nervous? Perhaps he or she is happy, confident and ready to investigate your shoe strings? When you walk away from the puppy and call him or her, what kind of reaction do you get? If it is interested in you, he or she will come to you. If it is not interested in you, or is very independent, he or she will ignore you. All of these reactions are a clue and an inside peek into the dog's personality.
  6. Next, hold each puppy you are interested in like an infant. If it resists laying on its back, it may be very stubborn. If it is afraid and wide-eyed, it may need extra coaxing and love. The puppy that tries to right itself, but then relaxes and continues this pattern is considered a middle-of-the-road pup. It is probably going to be very easy to work with.

If you follow these tips, you should easily be able to pick out a puppy that will work for your family. Remember, do not let the children choose. Many times their choice is based purely on how "cute" the puppy looks.


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