Animals & Wildlife Magazine

How to Adopt a puppy-What to Look for

By Dogercise

How to adopt a puppy-What to look for

When getting a new dog you can be overwhelmed thinking of everything that comes with it!  It’s important to do your research before getting a pup! Don’t let this happen to you (photo)!!!

Things to think about:

  • Size-what size range are you looking for.  Decide what best suits your lifestyle.
  • Exercise Capabilities-a dog’s size does not always determine how much exercise he needs.  For instance, a toy poodle is highly intelligent and not only needs a lot of exercise, but a lot of stimulus so he isn’t using his brilliant mind to take apart your house.  A Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog, but doesn’t need near as much exercise as other breeds his size.  Do your homework and find out what breed suits your needs.  If you are looking for a dog that just needs to walk a few times a day and some basic obedience training, then look for a dog like a Pug that is happy with that kind of life, not a Golden Retriever.
  • Energy Level-You should always get a dog that has a slightly lower level of energy than you do-otherwise your energy will easily escalate your dogs into an unwanted state of behavior.  If you are a high energy person who hikes twice a week, roller blades, and exercises, then you are up for a higher energy dog that needs to be challenged.  If you barely leave your home or apartment, then you need to look for a very laid back breed that requires less stimulus.  It sounds easy to find, but it actually isn’t.  You always want to go for the dog that is relaxed around you and calm.  Don’t go for the pup that is jumping all over you and is over-excited or the one that is scared of you.
  • Grooming-Some dogs require extensive grooming.  Make sure you do your research to find what type of hair requires what type of care.

Many people think that exercise needs and energy is the same thing.  This isn’t true.  You always want a dog that has a calm, submissive personality, no matter the breed.  This doesn’t mean that this dog will require less stimulation and exercise.  It means that this dog will have less behavioral issues as he gets older.  For instance a Schnauzer makes a great lap dog, but is extremely agile and needs to be exercised.  They tend to have dominance issues if you do not well establish yourself as pack leader.  This comes with the territory when you get an intelligent dog that has the capabilities to work for hours hunting small animals.  So again, do your homework.

There are 3 ways people get dogs-Shelter/Rescue Group/Breeder

Introduce yourself by facing sideways and squatting down.  No eye contact yet so they can just get your scent and respond to your energy. 
You are looking for 3 qualities in a dog in a shelter or any facility:

  • Quietness
  • Friendliness(not over-excitement)
  • Curiousness
  • Calmness-translating into happy and comfortable with people

How to adopt a puppy-What to look for

You must understand that a dog can act as different as night and day outside of a kennel.  That is why it is extremely important to see how Fido acts outside of the kennel.   Have the people get out more than one dog you are looking at to see how they interact.  You are looking for good social skills-calm curiosity!  Not over-excitement, anxiety, fear, or signs of dominance.
Again, look for a dog that has a lower level of energy than you.

How to adopt a puppy-What to look for

Breeders will know the background of a dog.  Some breeders specifically breed for high/low energy dogs, so look for that.  They will be able to give you advice for city verses country suited dogs.  Make sure you research a breeder, ask for references and follow up on those references.  Make sure they socialize their pups from an early age with people and dogs. 
NEVER get a dog earlier then 8 weeks.  8-12 is ideal.  Any earlier and they haven’t had time to socialize with there mom and siblings yet.  This can lead to many behavioral issues like biting, dominance, and not understanding corrections as well.

Make sure when you are getting a family dog that the whole family will be involved with the training, walking, feeding, etc.  It is necessary in order for the dog to be balanced.  That is why it is important to know the breeds you are looking for and know what you and your family can commit to.

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