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Picking the Right Puppy for YOU!


There they are, all in a row ... so alike, and yet so different.

Which is the right pup for your family?

A litter of Soft Coated Wheaten pups - photo courtesy Mark & Carol Schulz GREEN MOUNTAIN KENNELS, Woodland, WA


They are all so cute! How in the world do you choose?

A good breeder knows their puppies. They've watched them grow and change and have handled and socialized them extensively. They have evaluated their temperament and they know who is headstrong and who is cautious. They know who is cuddly, who is resistant to handling, and which pup is friendly and accepting of new things. They will know if that particular puppy is only acting quiet right now because he's tired from beating up his brothers and sisters all morning. They will know which pups will enjoy interracting with your children, and which pup will want to avoid them. A good breeder may talk you out of your first choice if you are a first time puppy owner and you unwisely choose the headstrong, independent one standing on the more tolerant pup's head. They will wisely steer you to that easier pup instead!


A reputable breeder will have conducted comprehensive evaluations of the litter to determine whether or not they are structurally and temperamentally show quality or pet quality. This will narrow the individuals from which you have to choose.




What is a Puppy Aptitude Evaluation?
There are several well-known tests to help determine a puppy's basic personality or temperament strengths and weaknesses. Probably the most well-known behavioral aptitude test is the Volhard puppy aptitude test, developed by Jack and Wendy Volhard. Pat Hastings is probably one of the best known for evaluating litters for show vs pet quality and has written several excellent puppy development books and produced outstanding videos. Many breeders hire her to evaluate their litters for them.


Pick a great breeder and let them help you pick the right pup for you.
A good breeder is more interested in matching the right dog with the right family than how much money he's making selling dogs. He or she will turn away any puppy buyer that doesn't meet their standards. They will interview you and ask many questions about your lifestyle and help you select the pup that best matches your particular family.


Resist the urge to take two!
But won't they be lonely without their brothers and sisters? It may seem like a good idea - someone to play with and all ... but read on. There are many reasons why one puppy at a time is the very best choice.



Are you considering a purebred dog?
Do your homework. Talk to reputable breeders about the breed's personality and characteristics. A reputable breeder will be just as interested in your home as you are in the dog. They will be more interested in making a good match than making a sale. Most breeders are happy to help you make the right choice. A reputable breeder will require that you sign a spay/neuter contract for a pet quality dog and will be able to give you lots of information on the potential "undesireable" qualities and hereditary health problems the breed may possess. Ask for references—from dog owners and other breeders. If your breeder has a good reputation, they will be well respected within their breed clubs.


Know the true meaning of AKC Registered... "AKC registered" means nothing about the quality or temperament of your dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is merely a record keeping agency. They do not police breeders who register their litters. That is up to you. Meet the parents of your puppy...temperament is most definitely passed on. Ask about screening and certification regarding hereditary health problems. Is there a health guarantee?  Look passed the cute face - what you don't see could break your heart. Ask about early socialization and health screening. Meet the parents. Don't buy a purebred from a pet store!!

How Much IS that Doggy in the Window?
Don't fall into the Puppy Mill trap ... or online sale, just send $ we send you a puppy

RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS DON'T SELL TO PET STORES! They are very particular and insist on meeting and screening the each and every home their puppies go to. They are also willing to give you ongoing support and are willing to take that puppy back if for any reason you cannot keep it.


Now that you have brought your new puppy home ...
Continue to socialize, learn all you can, and enroll in a good positive puppy class.

See also:

Your New Puppy

Early Puppy Socialization

Ongoing Socialization

Developmental Stages




This handout may be reprinted in its entirety for distribution free of charge and with full credit given:
© CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF" Training for Dogs & Their People -
ditr_training @ - 

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