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How to pick a puppy

So, how "should" you pick your pet puppy? Well, first, if you don't trust your breeder, DO NOT buy your puppy from that breeder. Everything you read is contingent on you trusting your breeder.  Your breeder should talk to you about anything you want to hear about there dogs whether it be the goods and the faults.  Don't believe anyone that tells you there dog doesn't have a fault.  No one has ever produced the perfect dog.  They can only strive for that and they should.



For what it is worth, here are our thoughts:

  • Put away the book that tells you how to pick a puppy

  • Put aside the notion that a puppy *must* be "x" days old when it goes home, or it is damaged goods.

  • Put aside your notions that bigger is better.

  • Try to put aside prejudice with respect to sex and color if more than one sex and color is available.

  • Don't try to be a behavior expert by testing temperaments, using tests you know little or nothing about.

  • Does the puppy relax when you turn it on its back?

  • Ever consider the breeder might play with the puppies in this manner and they're trained to like the position? That'll shoot a hole in the notion that a puppy relaxed on its back is easy going and easy to train. It was just conditioned. Most of my puppies like being on their backs.

  • Sit down

  • Really look at the litter.

  • Notice puppies that are trying to get your attention (there is something to be said about chemistry)

  • Listen to your breeder when he/she tells you about specific personalities

  • Follow your heart.

  • Take your time (never, ever, rush)

  • Ask questions

  • Why is that puppy so quiet?

  • Tired from other visitors?

  • Full from eating more than its littermates?

  • Always that quiet?

  • * Breeders know their puppies! Ask!

Do you have "last pick"? RELAX. If you like mom, you'll probably like her puppies. If you have had the luxury of meeting the father, and you like him too, so much the better -- after all, these puppies will be similar to their parents. If you trust your breeder, and they're reputable, they'll tell you everything you need to know about that puppy. It is unlikely that the last pick puppy has any problems. If a puppy does have a problem (overbite, undescended testicle, hernia, etc.) the breeder will tell you and explain it to you. I don't know a reputable breeder that would not give you back your deposit if the last pick puppy has some minor problem. If a puppy has a major problem, it shouldn't be for sale anyhow.

If you are the owner of the "last pick" puppy in a healthy litter, here is the scientific process by which those before you have selected their puppy (from years of observing, with wonder, this strange process).

  • It had the prettiest color

  • It was the biggest

  • It was the lightest

  • It was the smallest

  • It was the darkest

  • It had the "sweetest face"

  • It had a bigger head

  • It was the most active

  • It was the least active

  • It had the biggest feet

  • It had the shortest coat

  • It had the longest coat

  • It had the softest coat

  • It was the laziest (yeah until they got it home...LOL)

  • The roof of its mouth is darkest (I swear this is how one was picked)

  • Its ears were longer/shorter

  • It "came to its name" (say what?)

  • It retrieved a feather

  • It didn't chew their shoes

  • It DID chew their shoes

  • The one without white, because white makes them hyperactive and stubborn (say WHAT?)

Or, my favorite, and most common method ... they asked me "which puppy would you pick"? (If I am keeping one, THAT is the one I would pick <grin>) As for the puppies from that litter that I didn't pick for myself.... well, I never pick a puppy for others -- I will, however, tell you everything you want to know about each puppy.

Your last pick puppy simply did not fit into any one of the above physical/behavior expectations of those who came before you. I have never sold a pet puppy to anyone who had any concept of proper conformation, or had a true working knowledge of what constitutes "first pick".

If you have a pick, great. Pick the puppy that your heart tells you is "the one". If you don't have a pick, consider yourself lucky, because you didn't have to go through the tough process of trying to pick one over the other, fearing you'll make some sort of mistake. The majority of people who have to pick one over another, tell me it is a terrible process.


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