Choosing your pet: How to choose the right pup for you

There are many breeds to choose from and all of them have different exercise needs, temperaments and how they interact with humans. Here are some things that you should think about before buying or adopting a puppy:

How much activity are you prepared to give to your puppy? Breeds such as Huskies need lots of walking and play time, while a pug might be more relaxed.

Do you have enough space for the breed you want? A large dog will need lots of space to run around when fully grown compared to a smaller breed.

Will you want to have a purebred or a cross breed? There are pros and cons to both, so be sure to look at the information closely.

Would you prefer to have a male or female puppy?

Be aware of any health issues that certain breeds are prone to, such as skin or eye diseases, issues with their hips, etc.

The type of coat the dog may have. Long haired breeds require a lot of grooming and will often need a professional to do it.

Once you have thought about what breed you would like and considered all these points, it is time to visit the breeders. To prepare, make sure you bring a list of questions to ask about the puppies, how long they have been breeding and if there is anything you should know. The breeder should provide you with details on worming, inoculations, and feeding.

Make sure you always visit the breeder’s home to see the puppies in person. It helps to know what sort of environment they have been brought up in, as well as what the mother is like in temperament. It may not be possible to meet the father as they don’t always belong to the breeder. When looking at the mother, check to see if they have any behaviour problems. These may show as acting aggressively, barking, or cowering away when you go closer.

It is important to make a note of any issues as sometimes puppies can grow up to become like their parents.

What should the puppies look like?

They should be alert and aware of what’s going on around them, not lethargic.

They should be well fed with a little fat around their rib cage.

Their coat shouldn’t have any bald patches or dry/flaky skin.

When they walk or run, they should do so normally without limping.

There should be no discharge from their eyes, ears or nose.

When you play with them, they should want to engage.

Make sure they aren’t coughing, sneezing or having difficulty breathing.

It is also important to watch how the puppy plays with their littermates to determine whether they will get along with other animals later on. Puppies should also interact well with humans from different backgrounds.

Make sure the puppy is at least 8 to 10 weeks old before it leaves to go to a new home. By this point, their mother will have disciplined the puppies and taught them how to interact and communicate.

How to choose a puppy from the litter?

Let the puppies to come to you. This will allow you to see who is brave and who is shy.

While inquisitive puppies are good, ones who are too shy could bring poor social skills into their adult life.

When you identify the puppy that you are most interested in, ask to spend time with it away from its littermates.

Once you have decided which puppy from the litter is the one for you, the breeder will supply you with all the paperwork you need. This should also include a diet sheet so you know what the puppy is eating, how much, and when they should be fed. It is important not to change their diet quickly as it can upset their stomach.

Going home with your puppy

Always remember to allow your puppy time to adjust once they leave their family and go home with you. It is often stressful for them and they may want to hide away. Create a calm and gentle environment for them to settle down and ensure that every experience is a positive one.