Finding the perfect puppy or dog for your family can be a lot of fun, and with a little knowledge you can turn the experience into a good one with a happy ending for everyone involved.
The aim of this article is to give you a few things to keep in mind as you set out to find a dog.
1. Puppies should not be younger than 8 weeks when they leave their litter. If your breeder wants you to take the puppy by 5-6 weeks of age, find another breeder. Responsible, caring breeders will not leave you with a younger puppy.
2. Be careful when you are offered the last puppy of the litter. Why is it the last puppy? Why did all these new dog owners turn down that one dog? Is he too shy? Is he dismissive or does he seem fearful? There’s a reason he wasn’t selected. Maybe it is better to wait for the next litter or look elsewhere.
3. Beware of older puppies. Breeders sell puppies when they are 8 weeks old because they no longer want to keep the dogs. That’s not the business they’re in. When a breeder has a 16 week old, or worse 6-8 month old puppy, the problem always seems to be the lack of socialization. Put simply, most breeders don’t properly socialize the leftover pups, and that’s where the problem arises. Puppies really need to be socialized well before they’re 20 weeks old and usually that just doesn’t happen.
4. How are mother and father? I always want to see the father and mother. Are they friendly and social or does the breeder say the mother is a bit aggressive so we don’t flaunt her. This is another sign to pass this litter on. Aggression and fear can be passed on to the litter genetically so why take a risk. There are just so many puppies out there why take a risk with this mating. Remember, this dog will be with you for many years, so make a good decision about which puppy to choose.
Unsocialized dogs are very likely (almost always) to begin showing fear or aggression at any time between 12 and 24 months. Living with an aggressive dog is not fun and can be a huge strain on your family. On the flip side, a dog that has been properly socialized will almost always be a delight and can be active on many family outings and adventures.