How to pick the right puppy from a litter

How to pick the right puppy from a litter

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to see a puppy in the place where it was born. This will help to avoid puppy farm scams and choose a puppy that has been well-bred and is suitable for a family home. Here’s how pick the right puppy from a litter.

Advice provided by Puppy School founder and dog behaviourist Gwen Bailey

Seeing the puppy with its mother in the place where it was born will help you to get a feel for your puppy’s character and personality. Always choose a puppy that has been bred in a family home, as opposed to a barn or outbuilding. This is because puppies that have been bred in a family home will be used to a busy household environment. Puppies that have not been bred in a family home are much more likely to be anxious and develop behaviour problems.

Questions to ask the breeder

Ask the breeder about what sort of experiences the puppies have had:

  • Have they met lots of different people, children, other animals?
  • What sort of noises have they been exposed to?

Look for a puppy that is confident and seems happy to approach you. Watch these videos from Puppy School on what to look for in a puppy.

The first video shows a litter of puppies that has been bred in a family home. They are confident and interested in what’s going on around them and will make good family pets.

The second video shows a litter of puppies that has been bred in a barn. In contrast to the first litter, these puppies appear anxious and afraid. As these puppies have not been used to people, they are likely to grow into nervous dogs and will not make good family pets.

It can be hard to walk away from a litter of puppies, particularly if you feel sorry for them. However, if you are looking for a family dog, then walking away if you’re not 100% sure is the best thing you can do.

Read this story: Choosing the perfect puppy for our family

How to tell if a puppy is healthy

Make sure the puppies have clear, bright eyes and clean ears that don’t smell. Look for clean teeth and pink gums, shiny, soft fur, a clean bottom and no sign of fleas.

Use the Puppy Contract

The Puppy Contract has been designed by veterinary and animal welfare professionals as a tool to help you make an informed choice about the puppy you buy. It is a legally binding contract of sale between you and your puppy’s breeder. It also gives guidance on what to look for when choosing a puppy and questions to ask the breeder. You should be suspicious of a breeder who will not use the puppy contract.

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