Choosing a puppy is fun, but it is work if you do it right. Much of the choosing dilemma can be reduced by a breeder who is in the know. As most of you already know, I am a huge temperament testing advocate. I do testing of litters often and find it extremely interesting. The test puts puppies through different trials to see how they react. I believe testing to be extremely important but one should also know how to read the results and between the lines. I do a great deal of between the line result reading when I test myself. As a behavior specialist this gives me more information than simply relying on the initial test.
Another huge factor in choosing a puppy is a breeder who knows their litter. A breeder in the know will take temperament test scores and the individual puppy personality within the litter into account. These two factors will help to best place a puppy in the proper home. There are many things to consider when adding a puppy to your home and communication with the breeder, rescue or foster is imperative.
The first and most important thing is to choose a breed or mix of breeds that will suit your lifestyle. I cannot tell you how many people got a dog because of appearance. This can be a huge mistake. Choosing a puppy because it is the cutest in your mind is not a good idea. I am not a fan of breeders who just let puppy buyers choose who they want. Most have no idea how to choose and go by looks alone. When you visit puppies, they may be hungry, tired, just awake etc. etc. So there is no way to really know if you don't even know what to look for.
Breeders should guide prospective puppy buyers. They should communicate extensively to make sure that the buyers get the best puppy for their family. Perhaps a puppy buyer may not be a good match for a particular breed or mix of breeds; breeders need to communicate that as well. They should share the good and bad about their puppies with prospective buyers.
Communication is huge, both with breeders and potential buyers. People who are interested may have a long list of questions; that's a good thing. Questions mean that the buyer cares, a good thing! If a breeder is not willing to freely share information, move along to the next. If a breeder is pushing their puppies, move along. If a breeder does not make you feel warm and fuzzy about your purchase, move along.
Above all, listen to your gut. That extra sense that tells you right from wrong, listen to it. Looking for a puppy to add to your family is serious business. Find a breeder, rescue or foster who is up to your standard. Anything less is less. Dogs deserve the best.