If you want a bold puppy that will have a strong character but may prove to be a bit of a handful, then choose the one in the litter that comes straight up to you.
However, if you want a puppy that may be a little more reserved, choose one that is more cautious. A puppy that does not march straight over to you, but comes over quite quickly after weighing the situation, may be easier to control and more willing to do as you ask. If you want a dog that is suspicious of anything new, or is shy with anyone outside the immediate family but will develop a very strong attachment to you, you should choose the puppy that is most reluctant to interact with you.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD A PUPPY BE TAKEN HOME?
The best age to take a puppy home is at about seven to eight weeks. By this age, he will have spent enough time learning social skills from his mother and littermates and should be robust enough to begin life in a household full of humans.
If you take him home any later than nine weeks, the puppy will get less of the vital one to one interaction with humans that will help to ensure he grows up friendly and confident.
An exception to this is when the breeder or rescue shelter has taken time and care with each puppy on a individual basis.
Breeders of purebred puppies often keep puppies until they are about six months old to see which one will have the best conformation for showing. Do not be tempted to take an older puppy that has not lived as a pet dog in a busy household. Such dogs often find it very difficult to adjust to normal family life.
ONE OR TWO?
Do not be tempted to take two puppies from the same litter, no matter how appealing or how hard the breeder tries to sell them. Puppies that grow up together will form a very strong bond with each other. As a result, they are likely to be less obedient, less attached to their owners, and more unruly than dogs that are raised singly.
Dogs that really enjoy being with people make the best pets for sociable owners. Whether a dog will be sociable or not depends on the following:
• His genetic make-up.
• His upbringing, including the amount of socialization he receive, and the environment in which he lives.
A puppy that has parents and ancestors that were good-natured and friendly will be easier to socialize and raise than a puppy that had aggressive or fearful parents.
Puppies with a poor genetic make-up will be more difficult to socialize and are likely to be predisposed to being afraid, shy, or aggressive. Puppies like this can turn out all right but will take more time to socialize and are more likely to require expert help.
Even is his genes predispose a dog to be friendly and unafraid, good behavior is not guaranteed unless the puppy is raised well. Of all the influences on future behavior, socialization and upbringing have the biggest effect. Being raised with care, with plenty of social contact and exposure to the world in which we live will usually turn most puppies into happy, friendly adults.
As well as good socialization and upbringing, how a dog lives as an adult will also have an effect on his behavior. A dog that finds himself in a hostile world with aggressive, nasty owners will rapidly develop strategies for coping and his behavior will deteriorate as a result. Similarly, shy, unfriendly dogs kept in a happy, safe environment will usually change their behavior and become better pets.
PUPPIES FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
If your dog is to live with children or have frequent contact with them, it is particularly important that you choose the right puppy at the beginning. A puppy that has been bred to be good-natured and that has been well socialized and brought up with children has the best chance of being friendly with them as an adult.
For families with young children, dogs from breeds in the Sporting group (See http://netpet.batw.net/dogs/group.html ) may be most suitable. These dogs have been bred to work closely with people and to be biddable and trainable. Of all groups, the Sporting group possesses dogs with the most friendly of natures and this may explain their popularity with owners.
FAMILIES WITH TODDLERS
Puppies need a lot of time and attention and, for this reason, it is not advisable to take on a new puppy if you have babies or several very young children.
If you have very young children, and have enough free time to raise a puppy, one of the more placid breeds, such as the Golden Retriever, may be a good choice. Obviously, it will depend where the puppy comes from, but, if the breeding is good, this may be one of the best options for families with young children.
FAMILIES WITH SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN
These families need a robust, active dog that will be good with visiting children as well as those in the family. Labrador/Golden Retrievers often make ideal dogs for these conditions, which helps to explain why they are the most popular breed of dog in both the United Kingdom and the United States. As with all puppies, the experience the puppy has with children early on, both in the litter and in the new home, will set the scene for his future behavior. If all experiences with children of all ages are pleasant, non-frightening, and fun, the puppy is likely to grow up to be tolerant of their attentions and to enjoy their company. School-age children and their friends are likely to want to play with the dog and members of the Sporting group are usually very playful. Any problems experienced with Labradors/Golden Retrievers are likely to be those of over-exuberance, such as jumping up or play-biting and chewing, since they have been bred to enjoy using their mouths.
FAMILIES WITH TEENAGERS
For families with teenagers, it is less crucial that the puppy acquired has “safe” genetics since teenagers are more adult in their behavior and are therefore less likely to interact inappropriately. Teenagers are often more interested in life outside the home and are likely to quickly lose interest in a new puppy once the novelty has worn off. However, they will often still expect their pets to take an interest in them and their friends from time to time, but these moments are likely to be rare. Dogs that will cope quite well with this are those of a more independent nature who also have a strong character of their own. Jack Russell Terriers and Beagles fall into this category and thus would make good pets for a family with older children.
ARE YOU A SUITABLE OWNER?
Puppies are very cute, but needs lots of love and care. They will return in kind to you. Some people are disarmed by the cuteness and exuberant of the puppies that they forgotten to count the cost of caring for them. It is a lifelong responsibility. There will be much headache and joy in cleaning after pooing/peeing, taking to veterinarian when s/he fall sick, vaccination, feeding etc.
Some good breeder will want to ensure that you will be a suitable owner. Answer questions honestly and try not to be offended if a breeder genuinely feels that you would be better off without a breed. It will save you from lots of headache and unwanted puppies/dogs latter on.
There are no bad puppies/dogs. Only bad or unprepared owners.