It's hump day yet again; the morning is a quiet one with all three dogs snuggled in bed, locking my legs in place. I have my cup of java, now what to write about? I have once again been dealing with a lot of puppy issues and trying to finish up my puppy training book. So I thought I'd discuss the theory of temperament testing and puppy placement. I love hearing how people ended up with the dog of their dreams; how when they locked eyes initially it was love at first sight. Unfortunately it's not always this way and far too often the dog they chose to bring home is not the dog they should have chosen.
This choosing a puppy thing goes for all breeds and mixes. It makes absolutely no difference what type of dog it is; big, small, long bodied, short bodied and everything in between. In a perfect world; a great breeder who has a litter of puppies, sells those puppies once they hit the ground. Meaning that they should only accept money once the dogs are born; otherwise they could have a great deal of money to return if their dog only pops out a couple or should some not make it through the birthing process. Many breeders only accept deposits as a prospective puppy buyer may not find what they are looking for in a particular litter.
Like people; dogs are very individual and what one family may consider as desirable traits, another may find to be quite annoying. Maybe you want a dog for flyball; that means you are going to want alot of drive in your puppy. If you are a quiet couch potato family; drive is going to drive you over the edge. Perhaps you want a dog to do therapy visits to hospitals; you will want a very friendly pup that loves to be handled. But far too often people choose puppies for the exterior; the shell, the cute factor. Of course their are litters where the puppies are very close in similarities; Mom is great, Dad has a wonderful temperament so the picking and choosing of puppies is an easier process. This may mean that there are several puppies who would fit the bill.
But don't you want the best fit? I do. One of the most important things for me when looking for a puppy is the touchy feely part, I want a dog that wants to be with me constantly. One who loves to be snuggled and kissed. So I would not choose the puppy who doesn't give me the time of day and goes about busying herself. Let's face it; all puppies are cute, I've never ever met an ugly one. But it is the inside of the puppy that you have to deal with most throughout your lives together. Even if a breeder does not do "official" temperament testing they should be able to direct you to one or a couple of puppies that would best suit your family situation.
I know many people who were given their puppy out of a litter; they had no choice in the matter "this is your one." And they could not be a better match; good breeders want a good match. Of course a great breeder will take a puppy back if for some reason it should not work out; but they would prefer to do it right the first time. In all honesty; most people do not know what to look for in a puppy. It is overwhelming to visit a litter and try to pick; they are all adorable. When you do; visit a litter things may not be as they seem. The puppy who is most awake and keeps coming to visit you may be the dominant pup in the litter; and the fact that everyone else is sleeping is why you don't see this. Maybe one of the sleepy ones in the corner; the one that can't keep their eyes open is the most lovable little munchkin but at the moment she is very very tired. So you pass her by.
Questions; ask tons of questions when choosing a dog. If the breeder simply says "nice puppy" for every one you pick up; this is not an attentive breeder. Breeders should use words like feisty, trouble maker, love bug, snuggler, first out, first one to walk, thinker, adventurous, etc. And if a breeder says to you "you don't want this puppy," listen. Breeders; you should step up and give all the information that you can if you are having people choose their own puppy. Don't just sit back and hope that they choose the one you think that they should choose.
There are many online sites where puppies are shown in the cutest of poses; big flowers, cute blankets and baby paraphernalia all around them. A number or name is listed beside each puppy; you simply call up and order the puppy. This is not a good breeder; good breeders don't sell puppies like this. There is a good chance that it is a mill. It should be difficult to get a puppy; if the breeder is a good one. You will have to fill out forms; perhaps be put on a waiting list for the next available litter. A good breeder will want to know all about you and your family; this can help to match the best puppy to you. The same goes for rescue dogs; not all will be a match to your family. The really great recue folks will help to match you and the dog who best fit.
Choosing the wrong dog is a major contributor for dogs ending up in shelters or rehomed. Know yourself; know what you can live with and what you cannot live with.