This mornings blog is about a topic that I am very passionate about; choosing puppies. Just how does one go about choosing a puppy? Well, first the puppy needs to be of age to actually be able to see some sort of their personality. Far too many puppies are chosen from look; be it color, sex or markings. Maybe you are looking for a white and black dog. You find a breeder of your choice and wait. When a black and white one comes out, it's yours. But should that be your puppy? Maybe yes, maybe no. Having been involved with dogs and canine behavior for so long I see a huge difference between puppies within a litter. I also do temperament testing which is done at the age of seven weeks.
If you are dealing with a good breeder; they will have a good idea of temperament and steer you in the right direction. That is if you have a choice at all. When I got Elsa I gave the breeder my requirements as far as "fitting in" with my existing pack. She was chosen as the best puppy for me after being temperament tested. Had I just chosen from the puppies when they were born or only weeks old I may have ended up with a not so great choice for us.
Whether you are choosing a purebred or a mix makes no difference. Yes there will always be the puppy that draws you in because of their looks or maybe even their behavior at the precise moment you met but you need to look deeper. I know so many people who just chose one with no knowledge of the temperament and regretted their decision. That is not to say that you will never end up with the perfect dog when randomly choosing or going strictly by looks. It happens and it can happen more often with a fairly level and even temperament litter.
Puppies develop over time. Some will be more timid, some may be crazy driven puppies that might drive you crazy. Others will be very submissive or highly dominant. If you choose your puppy by looks or are simply assigned a puppy at birth it could very well be the worst choice. Now I know that many breeders do not temperament test; but they should at least wait to see who will best fit what family before placement. I see a lot of people who have the wrong dog and both the family and the dog suffer for it. I am not talking about wrong breed here; I am specifically talking about the wrong puppy within a litter.
Choosing a puppy without ever knowing who that puppy is, is much like saying that your newborn baby will be a superstar Baseball player. Crazy. I have seen people who wanted a guard dog; a dog that would be trained in Schutzhund only to be severely disappointed when the dog obviously wanted to be a therapy dog. Or a dog chosen as a therapy dog who wanted nothing to do with being touched by strangers.
The best way to chose a puppy is to do it with your brain. That means the breeder and the potential puppy buyer. Imagine going to pick up your puppy and seeing another one that is clearly the dog meant for you. You were paired together before anyone knew anything about the puppy now in your arms. I know breeders who place puppies as they come out, first out goes to the first in line on the list. Its a crap shoot. Choosing someone to live with you for the rest of your life should take time. Why not make the best choice so that no one has to suffer for a flippant pairing?
It is such an easy step to take as a breeder; I truly wish that more would wait and see who their puppies might be before placing with their forever home.