UPG: How to Choose a Puppy, Part 1
Here are some things to consider when choosing a puppy
Your living situation.
If you live in an apartment you should consider a small to medium sized dog; conversely if you live on 30 acres you could have a large or energetic dog and not be concerned that it feels cooped up. Think about your family and schedule, especially when getting a puppy. Be sure to recognize how much time she will be spending at home alone, or with your other dog, and who will let her out or walk during the day.
Purebred or Mutt?
Do you have a breed in mind? Many purebred dogs will behave within certain limits expressed in the breed standard, as they were bred for specific jobs. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, a purebred dog will have the traits of that specific breed. Mixed breeds are watered down versions of purebreds, and tend to be healthier as there is a more diverse genetic pool. Do plenty of research if you're interested in a purebred dog.
Where to get the puppy.
Animal shelters are a great place to get a puppy. There are too many homeless dogs in the US and there are just as many unwanted litters of puppies! Most puppies at animal shelters are mixed breeds, so keep that in mind. Reputable shelters will have the puppy spayed/neutered before the puppy goes home.
Breeders are a great option when getting a purebred puppy, though it is often much more expensive. Puppies that come from breeders are also more socialized and have been handled appropriately (ie nail trims). Responsible breeders will have a contract that you will get the puppy spayed/neutered and that you will return the dog if it is no longer wanted.
Please be careful when choosing a breeder. Trustworthy breeders will not send a puppy home before 8 weeks of age, they will allow you to meet the parents (at least the mother!), and they've done a lot of socializing before the puppy leaves. They should also be able to match you with the right puppy from a litter. Do not buy any puppy from a pet store, as they likely came from a puppy mill, and please don't support backyard breeders who are using the puppies to make money.
Think about vet bills and grooming costs when considering a puppy! Any poodle (mix) will need grooming every 6 weeks and many brachycephalic (smashed faced) dogs are riddled with health issues . If you want to keep costs low, find a low maintenance pup.
Stayed tuned for Part 2! I'll be explaining how to pick a puppy out of a litter.