Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pet Puppy Selection Simplified

I get asked frequently; how to select a pet puppy. I am going to avoid discussing breed, gender and working aptitude selection in this post (subjects I will address in future posts). Here I will focus on the most basic aspects of selecting a pet puppy.

Far too often puppy selection is made out to be complicated. When testing for social attraction, resistance to restraint, social and elevation dominance, touch/sound/sight sensitivity and prey/retrieve drive, we tend to lose sight of what I believe to be the most important trait a pet puppy can posses, confidence. Assessing confidence can be done simply and fairly informally.

The first impression is important, so start to observe the pup(s) from the moment you arrive. This initial introduction can be the best gauge of confidence. The outgoing pup(s) are confident and show properly developing social skills with people. Separate the pups to observe them individually as well. The pup(s) that shy away, avoid or bond quickly and closely to one person (while avoiding others) are lacking confidence and could develop antisocial or even dangerous behavior as they mature. As hard as it is to leave that cute, shy pup with the puppy-dog-eyes, you will likely be avoiding years of frustration by doing so.

Selecting a pup by color size or cuteness while disregarding temperament should be avoided. If you don't like what you see when evaluating a litter's temperament do not settle. Be willing to leave without a pup and continue your search. When you select a confident puppy you will be setting yourself and the puppy up for a successful life together.

Look for future posts discussing breed, gender and energy level selection as well as selection for working aptitude.

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