Picking a Puppy

Written by: Jodie Lindop

Deciding to bring a puppy into your life is one of the most exciting and life-changing things you can ever do. Getting a puppy is an extremely long commitment and something that should be very carefully considered. They require lots of love, time and a whole load of patience!

If you have made the decision that you are ready and you have settled on a breed, see Picking a Dog Breed then it’s now time to pick your puppy. So where do you start? Here are our top 5 tips to consider when picking a puppy.

Male or Female?

Males are:

• Larger in size
• More authoritative
• Less moody
• More likely to fight and roam

Females are:
• Smaller in size
• Less authoritative
• Less likely to fight and roam
• Moodier than males if not spayed
• More attuned to people’s emotions

The following physical and trait differences between male and female dogs are seen as theoretical and can be disputed.

Meet the Parents

Many experts believe that you should meet a puppy’s parents. By doing so, this will help you learn about the puppy’s potential personality. However, what you see in a pup’s parents is not necessarily what you are going to get in the next generation. Just like humans and other animals, every dog has their own unique character and traits.

When going to visit a litter, rather than focusing on the adorable litter of puppies, you should pay close attention to their mother and father. By doing so, you can observe how they react to new people, environments and other dogs. However, it is important to remember that their own upbringing and lifestyle are going to be very different to how you will bring up your pup.

Above all, you should expect the home you’re visiting the pups in to have a sociable, well-fed mother, who is caring and attentive to her pups.

Picking a Healthy Puppy

Should be free of parasites – to check, part the pup’s hair and look out for a pepper-like substance, which is actually flea droppings. The pup should not be biting or scratching the base of their tail or rear end (parasites). Their skin should also not be dry, white or flaky.
Should be bright and clear. The whites of the pup’s eyes should be white—not watery, yellowish or streaked with red. No tearstains down the face.
Should be straight and white, with no undershot bite (with the exception of a few breeds like Bulldogs, which require it) and no overshot bite where upper teeth jut over the lowers.
Should not have an odour or discharge. Look out for a puppy shaking it’s head or scratching their ears, this is a sign of ear mites.

Can I Get 2 Puppies at Once?

This is generally a bad idea, especially if the two puppies are from the same litter. You might have a lovely picture painted in your mind, however you run the risk of raising two dogs that don’t have the opportunity to learn and grow up properly. Littermates bond very closely, therefore it will be a will be a daily battle to train them and get them to focus on you instead of each other.

If you want two dogs, then we advise getting one puppy first and to concentrate on training that pup to be your ideal companion. You can get another puppy after about two years, when your first dog will now be approaching adulthood. You can then enjoy watching your first dog being a role model to your new pup. This will also cut out half of the work for raising the second puppy. Bonus!

What Age Should I Take My Puppy Home?

As a general rule of thumb, between 6 and 8 weeks is the best age. It is believed that 6 weeks is too young because it interrupts the puppy’s socialisation to other dogs by removing him or her from their litter.

Many dog experts believe that if you take a puppy home with you before eight weeks, the pup will miss out on essential interaction time with their littermates and mother. For example, learning how hard is acceptable to bite by having the opportunity to practice on a littermate. This is an important factor to consider if you have young children.

7 – 12 Weeks Old

• Tiny and adorable
• Has yet to form any bad habits
• Can easily be introduced to your life and those around you.
• You get to watch them grow up.

• You cannot predict his/her final personality and looks
• Needs constant attention, protection and lot of patience
• Inquisitive – Everything goes in their mouth
• Not house trained/can only control it’s bladder/bowel for a few hours.

12 + Weeks Old

• Easier to train or may already be part trained, e.g. housetrained
• Exercises and plays more fully
• His/her features have developed more, giving you a clearer picture of what they will look like.

• Grown out of the ‘cute’ phase
• Could potentially be more clumsy and rebellious
• If the pup has been raised at the breeder’s, it may have “kennel syndrome” (fear of
new things, e.g. people, objects and noises)

8 + Months Old

• Most likely housebroken, with some training
• What you see is what you get
• Bad habits and behaviours take more time to correct
• You don’t know their history/how it affected them

About Jodie: Jodie starting working for Orvis UK in August 2016. As Digital Marketing Executive, she has the opportunity to be involved with a wide range of opportunities in the business. Her main responsibilities include managing the Orvis UK social media channels and blog, as well as providing support to the wider Marketing team. She has previously worked in a number of creative roles and has enjoyed writing from a young age, so is a regular contributor to the Orvis UK blog.

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