Choosing A Puppy
I have had dogs as pets all of my life. Though I may not be a professional at this I've always found following a few rules in choosing a puppy has resulted in a long line of excellent family pets for me. So, I thought I would share them with you.
Watch the litter as they are together. You are looking for a puppy who is confident but not aggressively picking on the others. He's a team player who will easily join your team.
Now call that puppy to you. He should be willing to choose human company over dog company. If he could be fed at this time see if he will leave his food to choose human company. Reach for his food but be careful you don't get bit. A cooperative puppy will share with you gladly. A puppy who growls is self-centered and will be much harder to train and he will never truly join your family team.
If the puppy comes to you happily but stays off of you until you invite him up this shows a necessary respect. A puppy that jumps all over you seems very cute and you may think he is very loving but in dog language he is disrespecting you and is solely focused on himself. Also consider how this action will play out when he is fully grown and greeting a small child or frail senior citizen. This will not make for easy training or a good watch dog and family protector. You want a dog that puts humans into the alpha position in his pack.
I stated a puppy should be confident. A fearful dog will often bite in self-protection. Though his shyness may seem precious and appeal to your protective instincts while he is a puppy, the adult outcome will usually be a real problem with guests and children.
Pick up the puppy of your choice and lay him in your arms on his back. A good dog will settle down and rest in your arms. This is the character of a dog who when he is older can be safely trusted with babies crawling on him and pulling his ears. A true family baby sitter.
Of course you should also check his bone structure for squareness. His back should be straight from shoulder to hip and should remain strongly in alignment as he moves. Watch each leg as he walks and moves. Is the motion smooth and strong or is there a catch in any leg movement? Look at his teeth and gums for pink health. A loose tooth may just be puppy teeth going and adult teeth coming, depending on his age. If the rest of his teeth are white and solid in the gums they are probably healthy.
One last thing. It is usually best to separate a puppy from the litter by no later than eight weeks of age. If a puppy stays in the litter longer than that he will have the tendency to bond more strongly with dogs than with humans and will not be as good a team member with your family.
These rules have always resulted in great family dogs for me. I hope they will result in the same for you.