So, you are getting a dog or puppy.
These are my 5 biggest considerations in choosing WHICH dog or puppy to get:
- Exercise needs (some need more than others - generally speaking, breed determines this, but that is not guaranteed - regardless, dogs need to RUN every day. This is the most neglected need dogs have, and the one most likely to cause "dog problems.")
- Confidence (be aware that fearful/shy dogs have a lot of problems and can really limit your life, and are most likely to bite)
- Food drive (get only pups/dogs who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE food as they are easier and quicker to train)
- Toy drive (not all dogs/breeds retrieve, but those who do are easiest to exercise)
- No puppies raised without littermates
Breed you can decide for yourself - lots of info on the Internet.
Grooming requirements are also a consideration.
BUT... MOST IMPORTANT is regarding CONFIDENCE: You need to see the dog in its home and out in public, including in noisy environments and around traffic and other animals and children and "big men in hats" and in the car, etc, and without its owner, before you can really see what you have. :-) (And never introduce dogs on either one’s property - always do it on neutral territory and never by putting the dogs together right away. Let me know if you need some quick tips on how to do this correctly? No charge.)
Shy, fearful, cautious, timid dogs need homes and love. If you can provide what they need, terrific. BUT... be aware that these dogs are a TON of trouble and will inhibit your life in many ways and that these are the dogs who most often bite. And sorry... generally speaking (it depends on the severity), we cannot fix this.
A puppy's most vital socialization period is OVER at four months of age. The best time to get a puppy is 7 1/2 weeks. Then for the next two months, work hard on socialization. Do it right or you can mess it up! Dogs who do not get PROPER socialization by the age of 4 months are usually fearful of our world. And while we can usually make them better, we cannot cure them.
Ask me for my newsletter on this topic? It explains exactly HOW to properly socialize a puppy (and yes, it CAN be done without exposing him to parvo).
If you get a puppy older than 7 1/2 weeks, make sure the breeder has been working on proper socialization. (Caution: few breeders can do everything required for a whole litter of puppies. Also, MOST breeders are "backyard breeders" and don't know anything about this anyway. Don't take their word for it – KNOW what is required and ask pointed questions, or better yet, hire a trainer to evaluate the dog.)
Again, ask me for my newsletter on socialization? It will explain it all and tell you how to do it safely so the puppy doesn't get exposed to the puppy killer disease, parvovirus.
Buying from a breeder? Ask me for my “Breeder Comparison” so you can see if you are buying from a good breeder or a bad breeder.
If looking at rescue dogs, ask me for an excellent article from the Whole Dog Journal, “How to Pick a Winner,” explaining how to evaluate shelter dogs.
I also strongly suggest you test a dog for signs of separation anxiety before adopting him or her. SA can be debilitating to dogs and cause you a lot of grief when they tear up your house and make it hard or impossible to ever leave them alone.
(Think of hiring me if you need a consultation or evaluation.)
And consider planning a lesson asap. Whether you know it or not, you ARE training your puppy or adult dog the VERY DAY you bring him home. It's vital to NOT start bad habits, and again: Right or wrong, you ARE training your dog EVERY MOMENT you are with him. :-)
- Candy -
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