Choosing your puppy

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Choosing your puppy

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Faced with a full litter of adorable puppies, it can be nearly impossible to narrow your choice to only one. Here are some points that might help you...

Faced with a full litter of adorable puppies, it can be nearly impossible to narrow your choice to only one. Here are some points that might help you...

Many prospective owners make their pick on impulse - either theirs or the puppy's. It's hard to choose, but take a look at the points below to help you make the decision.

The right age

The best age for a puppy to leave his mother is about seven to eight weeks old, after the puppy has been weaned. At this age, the puppy is independent, yet just ready to be trained. Puppies over three months old may have already formed habits and will find it harder to adapt to a new home.

Meet the folks

If possible, see if you can meet the puppy's parents. The mother and father (if available) will give you some idea of how the puppy will mature, both in physical size and temperament.

Visiting the litter

When visiting the litter, first observe how the puppies interact. Some may be shy, while others more assertive. Keep in mind that an outgoing puppy may turn into a dominant adult that's difficult to train, while a retiring puppy could end up an anxious dog.

Which one to choose?

Experts advise selecting a 'middle' puppy; one that is lively but not the first to leap out at you, and one that might struggle slightly when restrained but soon defers to your handling. Play with the puppy and watch his or her reaction to being lifted, held gently on his back and petted; to loud noises; to a person walking away or calling him to come. Don't choose the runt out of sympathy, but instead hedge your bets by taking home the puppy whose behaviour does not stand out from the rest. Choose a puppy that's healthy, bright and alert.

What to look for

Pick a puppy with clear bright eyes: there should be no inflammation or irritations. The ears should be pink inside and the ear-flaps should hang evenly. The puppy's gums should be odourless and pink, while his anus should be clean and dry with no signs of discharge.



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