Thinking of getting a puppy?

Picking the Perfect Puppy

A puppy should not younger than 8-12 weeks before being separated from its mother.

By Darran Rowe

1 – Puppy care – consider all the cost

Puppies cost money that’s for sure, but make sure you actor in all the other things that will drain your hard-earned cash. If you can’t afford one you shouldn’t get one. Vets, groomers, toys, dog-day cares, it all adds up!

To be a responsible puppy and dog owner you need time, money and energy. The average spend on a puppy in the first year in New Zealand is around $1500, not including the initial cost of the puppy.

Too many puppies end up as abandoned or destroyed dogs because people don’t see beyond that bundle of cheekiness and consider the rational, practical aspects of dog ownership.

2 – Research the breeder

Is your breeder reputable, who says so and do you know anyone who has previously got a puppy from him/her? If the puppy turns out to be unsuitable, will they take him back? Is the paperwork in order? To you have any contractual obligations, like De-sexing restrictions, this could affect your dogs training and behaviour.

Use your instincts and decide whether you actually like this person before trusting their judgement and knowledge. Go to the the NZ kennel club breeders list – or A pedigree dogs is not always more expensive, if you are going to get a pedigree dog, make sure it is from a breeder on this list. If you are using Trademe, check to see if they are on the list. Kennel Club approved breeders do advertise on Trademe. If you are considering a cross-breed them do your homework on the breeder.

3 – Consider the puppy’s breed and temperament.

Think about your lifestyle, it’s really important that your puppy can fit into your life seamlessly if your relationship is going to flourish. Some breeds will be better if you want to be able to run 10 Km a day with your dog or just walk him around to all your friends’ houses to show him off?

Also consider the maintenance of your puppies coat. If you don’t have $100 a month spare or you’re not a budding hairdresser, don’t get yourself an Old English Sheep Dog. Lots of people buy a puppy because they like their appearance without considering the needs and temperament of that particular breed.

Choosing a puppy like a Border Collie is not a great idea if you are never at home or you don’t like to get out and run. Your Border Collie puppy is going to go crazy. It is important that you are clear on the type of dog you are getting so you know what to expect. Make sure you also take into consideration your health and age.

4 – Don’t rush the process

Don’t rush the process. Visit your puppy a few times if you can. Or ask the breeder for a few videos. Try and watch the puppies play for an hour or so at least. Drop own to the ground and see the puppies reaction to you. You want to pick a puppy that is playing happily and not being too rough.

5 – Ask to see Mum and Dad

You want to see the parents temperaments. Puppies generally inherit more behavioural traits from their mother. It stands to reason that if the mother is laid back, the puppy has a higher chance of being this way too. If the breeder says you cannot see the mother because ‘she is ill’ or ‘isn’t good with the puppies’, take this as a sign that something is probably being hidden from you.

All the Kennel Club approved breeder will let you see the parents, or at least Mum as a lot of dogs, due to the small gene pool are artificially inseminated. If you are told that the bitch exhibits aggressive tendencies towards a stranger approaching her litter, take this as a warning of things to come.

6 – Go middle dog

The largest puppy in the litter will generally be the greediest one – he probably pushed past all the other puppies to get the most food. The smallest one may not be able to fend for itself and as a result may not be getting enough food and is likely to be a resource guarder.

You want to go for the middle-sized puppy, because he’s the one that is neither greedy nor weedy and who knew something about sharing. Greedy puppies or weak puppies may end up giving you more headaches than joy.

7 – It’s got to be sociable.

There is always a puppy on his own in the corner looking all sad and lost. Our human instinct always cry for us to save this little sad puppy. This is a mistake. This puppy is probably too shy, scared, sick or aloof to interact with the rest of the litter.

Sometimes the rest of the puppies won’t want to play with that particular puppy because he has already shown signs of being a bully. The mother will know already that this puppy is likely to grow up to be a problem dog. It’s so hard to do but you’ll be thankful in the long run.

8 – Get a vet check

Check that the puppy has had all the necessary injection, worming and vet checks. If the puppies look ill, too thin, this could be an indicator of an underlying illness. Check the back end of your puppy. Are there signs of upset tummy problems. Give the breeders vet a call. It’s cost enough to buy your puppy without adding un-necessary veterinary bills.

8 – Cross breeds can be awesome

Crossbred puppies can make lovely, loyal pets, but you take a gamble on their final size. Generally the be a little bit smaller than the large breed. Rememberthe puppies could have upto 7 different Dads!

Temperament in one breed can be balanced by qualities in the other breeds. This can give you a really balanced dog.

Try not to pick a puppy with a mixture of highly strung breeds, this may cause you issue with behaviour later.

9 – Bring them home at the right time

A puppy should be no younger than 8-12 weeks of age before being separated from its mother. They will not have developed enough if you take them younger, you are asking for trouble.

Puppies kept in the litter until they are three months (12 weeks) of age rarely exhibit dog aggression later if the socialisation process is continued after they enter your family

10 – Enjoy the process and have fun