Choosing A Puppy - About Puppies
Positive Event Or Headache?

Labrador Retriever - mother and son
at the local library. Smart dogs!

Choosing a puppy is a major event and can turn your life upside down for almost a year if you decide to get one. Choosing the RIGHT puppy is something else and takes some doing. Puppies are simply baby adult dogs that stand a slim chance of survival in life.


Only about 1 out of 13 of the puppies that come into this world ever live to be two years old. They die from a disease called “being unwanted.” “Being unwanted” is defined as a failure to live up to the expectations of their new owners.

Too many people rush into choosing a puppy without researching first and have no idea what is involved to take on the responsibility of a puppy or even an adult dog.

These puppies develop predictable, trainable behavior problems such as chewing, digging, barking, peeing and pooping in the house. They end up with animal control and in animal shelters where they are euthanized because there are just too many puppies and dogs already there for the shelters to cope with.

The cause? Somewhere between irresponsible ownership, lack of know-how and pure laziness on the part of the new owners. Too many people rush out and “get a puppy” because “it’s the thing to do” or “the kids want one” or “grandma's alone now so we’ll get her a puppy” and these people have no idea what they are getting involved in The puppy suffers with her life.

There is just not enough good information available to the public about WHAT TO EXPECT when out choosing a puppy.

Books don't warn people. Websites that I’ve seen don’t warn people enough. (Well, this one does!)

Do you expect to be up in the middle of the night to let the puppy outdoors in the rain or snow to go potty? The puppy doesn’t care if you have to get up at 5 AM to get to work. She does care about her potty time, food dish and exercise though.

Puppies don’t come to us knowing our language and they don’t use our type of bathroom. WE must TEACH them everything they need to know or they will never fit into our “human” society and give us the loving companionship we expect. Choosing a puppy the RIGHT way and puppy training are essential.

This tiny Silky Terrier puppy
is wondering what the world is all about.


There are better ways to cope with puppies and raise them to become the wonderful companions we dream about. It’s just that no one puts the information out there and too few owners are willing to make the effort. Choosing the right puppy is a good start.

That means researching the dog breeds for a dog suited to your situation in life, checking with kennels or breeders for characteristics of the breeds, and digesting what you have time for in this website.

Household destruction stems from a puppy that is searching for a way out of boredom, looking for entertainment and for something to hold his interest. Choosing a puppy must take all this into consideration. How much time the dog will be alone with no entertainment is a MAJOR consideration. Some breeds are better than others with this.

Not all puppies of a given breed are the same. You need to determine the educational and developmental levels when choosing a puppy. The first four weeks you have your dog are the most important in his life and will determine, based on how you handle them, what he will grow up to be like. This is a short time in your home for you to make a major impact. What your new puppy does later in life is in your control. During the weeks 8 to 12 you can really make a huge difference in the puppies future!

When a puppy comes to your house at 8 weeks, expect it to pee and poop everywhere it goes, bite and chew everything in sight, bark, whine, jump all over the furniture in wild abandon and attempt to dig holes in everything including sofa cushions.

Beagle puppy
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These are natural and necessary behaviors for all puppies of all breeds. Your puppy actually wants to please you, though. You have to be ready and willing and take the time to teach it HOW to act, which is managed through crate training.

So, Your goal is choosing the right puppy, but before you go out and commit to a puppy, you need to first learn HOW to teach the new dog where he is to go potty, what he is to chew on, when he is to bark, and not, where he can dig a hole (if any), how to greet your guests without jumping all over them and all the other things a well-mannered dog must know to exist in the human world.


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What about puppy health NOW? Feeding? Being left alone? Socializing? These and a ton of other questions that need to be answered before and after choosing a puppy to be your new member of the family.

When a new puppy first comes home, s/he is going to be scared and under stress. Up to this point, the puppy has been with his mother and other litter mates with a great sense of security.

Now, suddenly, she’s ALONE! No mother, nothing. Strange sounds, smells and sights. She probably won’t eat and will likely be vocal all night out of fear. Don’t count on much sleep the first few nights. Besides, you have to get up several times to let her out to go potty.

Soon though, your puppy, like all puppies, will realize this is her new family and her new “pack” and will begin to settle in to a routine which you will set for her.

Choosing a puppy allows you to shape it to your satisfaction as it grows, providing you have ample time. You will lose sleep at first, and you'll work hard, lose patience, and even wonder if you did the right thing, especially the first few months while the puppy is growing so fast and getting into everything, just like an infant and then a crawler and then a toddler. Choosing the right puppy the first time around will make a difference in how smoothly this all goes.

Check The Breeders

If you feel you have the time and energy to raise a puppy from the ground up, be sure in your own mind that you are dealing with a reputable breeder who is going to give you a quality pup with all the socialization and early dog command training it should have. A good breeder can do a lot for you and make your purchase easier.

Labrador Retriever puppy at Christmas.
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Examine The Puppy Before Buying

Use these ideas when choosing the right puppy so you end up with a healthy one:

  • Watch the puppies in the litter. Do one or two try to dominate the others? Is any one pup pushy? Excessively mouthy? That's BAD.

  • Does he hang back and avoid the crowd? Not good.

  • Any one of the above suggest problems that you want to avoid.

  • Pick one that actively plays with the group, that seems to be having fun but isn’t overbearing.

  • While choosing a puppy, do you see any that look a bit plump? A little overweight? That's a sign the pup is dominant and grabs food by pushing others out of the way. Bad choice.

  • A puppy should be lively, eyes sparkling, and come running over to investigate you as soon as you appear. That's good.

  • Lift the puppy up and massage it. Does she enjoy this? Good sign. Well socialized.

  • Does the pup try to bite your hand, but GENTLY with no harm intended; just "play biting?" Good sign. That's normal.

  • Are the eyes clear, bright and free of any discharge?

  • The puppy’s ears should be pink inside with no odor, wax or crusty buildup or discharge. This could be a problem, easily solved with medication

  • The puppy’s skin should not be oily or flaky. There should be no sores or lumps. The fur should be firm and not come out when stroked.

  • Check the gums. They should be pink and have no odor.

  • The anal area needs to be clean and dry.

Before choosing a puppy-of-choice, be sure to look over the parents of the pup. Make sure they appear in good health, well cared for and clean. If their health reports are available, check those out too. If possible, question the breeder as to the health track record of the parents and the puppy you are choosing. Find about the return policy in event the puppy develops a health problem. Some serious hereditary diseases don't show up until the pup is 1 to 3 years old.

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