Choosing a puppy is a special moment in a dog owner's life, but it's important to select a puppy that will grow up to be the dog that's right for you. Our pet pro, Luciano Aguilar, explains how to get the pick of the litter.
"Nothing warms your heart quite like a cute puppy dog. It's hard to imagine that one of these cute little fur balls is going to grow up to be a full-grown dog, but it happens and usually before you know it," says Luciano.
Picking out a puppy is lots of fun, but it's important that you don't get so caught up in the moment that you forget what you're doing. You're choosing an animal that will be living with you for several years to come, so you want to pick a puppy that will grow up to be the dog that's just right for you and your family.
There are three things that determine what kind of dog a puppy will become.
First is genetics; the breed's DNA. Then there's it's learned behavior – how the puppy is trained, or not trained. And the third thing is the puppy's personality.
Since each individual puppy has its own personality, Luciano suggests conducting a personality test on any puppy you decide to bring home.
The first test you can do is a toy test. If you're an active family, you're going to want to play games with your dog. So a toy test will actually tell you if this dog's going to be active and what you're going to be able to do with this dog. If the puppy doesn't have any toy drive and you're an active family, well, this may not be the puppy for you. You're going to want a dog that's active with a toy from the beginning.
The next test you can conduct on the puppy is a nerve test. What you want to do with this test is you actually want to turn the puppy on its backside and see if he's calm or if he starts squirming. A puppy that can be put on his backside without squirming actually tells you that the dog has strong nerves. This is especially important for families that have lots of kids.
The third test you want to conduct is the paw test. Grab the puppy's paw and tug on it and see what he does. If he tries biting at your hand, then maybe it's not the right dog for you if you have kids at home. Understand that your kids are going to tug and pull on the dog anywhere and everywhere. And the paws being the most sensitive, you want to see if the dog can actually stand that.
Some people like to surprise their kids by bringing home a puppy, but Luciano says he prefers them to be a part of the selection process.
"And remember, no matter what promise they make, at the end of the day you're going to be the one who's going to be feeding and cleaning up after your puppy," he adds.
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