It is important to know how to choose a puppy.
Do your homework decide on size and basic type of breed before you even start looking. Look at your working and time commitments. Can you really afford the time and expense of dog ownership? Does everyone in the family want a dog? Never buy a puppy from a pet shop or a place where you can’t see the mother; you could be supporting the horrific trade in puppy-farmed dogs. Never buy on impulse. Check the appearance of the mother and puppies. Do they appear healthy; eyes clear and bright, free of any discharge? Are their coats shiny? If possible get confirmation of the eye and hip scores of both the mother and the father.
- Don’t assume that your dog is a pedigree, just because the breeder has supplied a certificate, especially if parents cannot be seen. Research with The Kennel Club; ask for previous litter owners names for reference.
- Don’t pick the pup sitting alone and not playing with the rest of the litter. It’s too shy, scared, ill or dominant. It will more than likely grow up to be a problem dog.
- Do pick a puppy that is happily playing but not too bossy.
- Don’t choose the biggest or the smallest in the litter. They’re either very dominant or nervous and may become high maintenance!
- Don’t choose the puppy that was rejected by its mother. She instinctively rejected it for a reason and it will be trouble later in life.
- Educate yourself on the responsibilities and cost of owning a dog.
- Leave a soft toy or blanket with the litter to pick up the scent. Bring it home with you when you collect your puppy to give comfort to your pup and help it to settle in.
- Register with a local vets, especially one who is experienced with your breed of dog.
- Your garden must be secure and safe.
- Do use a crate. Puppies love small, dark places to sleep and feel secure. They speed up toilet training too.
- Never leave children alone with a puppy or dog they can be rough and over handle it.
- Feed your puppy well and research the benefits of a natural diet.
- Start gentle and simple obedience training with your puppy as soon as possible; you need to be its pack leader.
It is never too early to start training your pup.
Seek the advice of an experienced behaviourist, early on to avoid behavioural problems.
As your young pup grows and develops it will periodically challenge your authority to check that you are committed to your new role as pack leader. You may need initial reassurance and help with this.
It is better to avoid issues than to wait until they have become a habit.
A dog is not going to grow out of behaviour, it needs to be educated just like our children!