Picking the right puppy dog

You’ve done your homework and are aware of the responsibilities involved; you’ve decided on size, sex and breed.  What next?  Find out all you can about the breed that you have chosen, including any hereditary diseases that may be inherent in the breed.  You can visit the conformation dog shows put on by The Barbados Kennel Club to see various breeds and talk to the breeders and owners. Once your research has led you to a breeder willing to sell you a puppy, you will need to arrange a visit to see the litter, in order to pick out a puppy. 

You will need to ask the breeder some questions:-

  • Can you see one or both of the parents?
  • Are the puppies purebred and registered with the Barbados Kennel Club?
  • What was the breeder’s goal for this mating?  A reputable breeder always strives to improve upon the standard of the breed – the puppies’ temperament, health, genes, working abilities.
  • How old are the puppies?  They should be sold not younger than 7 weeks of age.
  • Have they been vaccinated and wormed?  The first of a series of shots should be given at six weeks.

Then Ask Yourself

  • Do the parents have the kind of temperament and personality I want in my puppy? 
  • Are the premises clean? 
  • Are the dogs’ and puppies’ clean and happy and do they appear to be healthy?

What is a Healthy Puppy?  When you find a suitable puppy, look for the following:-

  • Are the eyes bright, clear and alert, with no discharge or cataracts?
  • Is the nose clean, with no purulent nasal discharge?
  • Are the ears clean and pink, with no excessive wax?
  • Do the gums have a good pink colour? They shouldn’t be too pale or too red.
  • Is the skin and coat shiny with no fleas or ticks?
  • Are the faeces firm and well formed with no sign of worms?  A potbelly may be a sign of worms.

Temperament – This is a major consideration!  To judge a puppy’s potential temperament, ask yourself the following questions:-

  • How do the puppies play and interact with each other?
  • How does your chosen puppy react to you and sudden noises and movements?
  • How does it react to being separated from the litter?
  • How does it react to being cradled in your arms?
  • How does it react to being lightly rolled on his back?
  • Is it very sensitive to slight discomfort?
  • Does it approach and follow you when you call it?   This is a good indicator of sociability, curiosity and trust.

A puppy that gives minimal resistance to these actions should be relatively easy to handle and train.

Shy / Nervous Pups – Unless you have lots of experience and patience, do NOT choose a puppy that is nervous or shy, or the most assertive or aggressive one.  These types will need more work and time and can be more difficult to train.  Think about it, if a pup is nervous in it’s own home, where it was born, grew up with it’s mum and littermates, for the first 7 weeks of it’s life, then it will most definitely be nervous in it’s new home with you.  Dogs don’t outgrow fear. Choose a puppy that is confident, calm, curious and one that will complement your personality and lifestyle.

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