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Choose the Right Puppy for Your Family
by: Ian White
Purchasing a puppy for your family is a very big decision. It should never be approached casually, or lightly. A new pet becomes part of your family. You should do everything you can to educate yourself about the breed of puppy you are considering and its personality. You should also explore how much grooming or maintenance each new addition to your family requires.

The worst thing you can do when selecting a puppy is simply choosing one because you think it is cute. Most dogs are cute. Cuteness alone does not make a good pet. Even the sweetest looking dog can bring havoc to your home if you are not set up and prepared for it.

Each breed of dog should be investigated. You do not want a dog with herding instincts around small children. They may truly take to rounding up the kids and nip and bite at their heels during play. Breeds which have the hunter instinct in them may not work well in homes where there are other pets, such as cats, hamsters, rabbits and birds. Dogs which require constant grooming may not work well in a farming family, or living outside. Research the history of the breed you are considering before you purchase your animal. If you are purchasing a beagle to hang out in the house, you may be upset when he decides to take off after that aroma that is beckoning to him from the woods.

Terriers are favored choices by pet owners because this breed comes in various sizes, from large to small and they have much personality. The Cairn Terrier, for instance is wire-haired. This breed sheds very little. You should keep in mind the Carin was bred to be a ratter. You should be prepared for a pet that loves to dig and burrow. This breed is very trainable, and if you supply him a patch of ground for digging all should be well. However, if you plan on keeping a Carin in a quiet apartment complex, you should keep in mind this breed is prone to barking. Find a breed which matches the personality of your home. Be realistic and do not assume you can change a dogs nature.

When you go to observe a litter of pups, you should take in the kennel cleanliness and the health of the parents. If the kennel is smelly, dirty and unkempt, you can assume the mother dog may not be in the best of health or she probably hasn't had the best care. You should never assume because the mother is thin she is unhealthy. Most mother dogs do go through a thin stage after birth and during the weaning process. However, signs of malnutrition are obvious. If the mother dog is in bad shape, you should not purchase a pup from her litter. If she is aggressive toward you, you should also reconsider purchasing one of her pups.

Don't jump right in and start picking up the pups. When you go to choose your pet, you should observe him as he plays with the rest of his litter, first. Is there a pup that dominates his family? Is he pushing the others aside, or being rough toward his siblings? This pup should be considered the alpha dog of the litter. This dog knows who he is and what he wants. You should keep in mind these dogs tend to push their boundaries. If you purchase one, you will have to be very diligent with your training. He can never assume he is dominant over you, or the children in your family. These dogs do make wonderful pets for the family who has enough time to give them the consistent loving but firm attention he will require. However, they can be stubborn.

What about the pup who is cowering in the corner? This pup may be the runt, or the shy one in his family. If you are wanting to purchase a pet to serve as family protection, this dog is probably not for you. This dog will scare easily and will most probably beat you to the hiding place if an intruder bursts into your home! However, it should be said these pets do work well with children. They tend to be gentle, and they will come out of their shell if they are lavished with love, praise and the proper training. These dogs are lovers, not fighters. However, if these pups are not worked with, their shyness will turn to fear. This could lead to snippy dogs, or ones that actually bite. Children should not be allowed to mistreat animals, especially ones which are timid or shy by nature. Their sweet, loving pet may turn on them.

If there is a pup in the litter who is barking at your presence, you should carefully observe it. Is it barking simply because you are a stranger? Is it barking because he wants your attention? Or, is it barking because he is afraid? If he is afraid, this dog could possibly grow up to be aggressive and possibly dangerous. Fearful dogs protect themselves through barking and barring of their teeth. If the pup is aggressive, it will most probably grow up to be even more so. Just because a dog barks doesn't mean he is aggressive, though. Some dogs bark to be friendly. You should be able to tell if the pup you are observing is simply saying "hello" or "get out of here and leave me alone."

The middle of the road pups are usually the best. These are the pups which come up to you. They are friendly. They may playfully pull on your shoe strings or climb upon your lap and start licking your face. These puppies are already trusting by nature. They are willing to socialize with you and they want to make friends.

You should take each pup you are considering purchasing away from its litter to a different area for observation. How does it react away from its family? Is it jumpy and nervous? Is he confident and happy? Does it cower? Do loud noises send it scurrying to hide, or is he simply startled and then full of investigation instincts? When you talk to the pup, does he seem interested in you, or is he simply ignoring you and doing his own thing? All of these little clues will give you an inside peek as to the personality of the pup.

When you hold the pup like a baby, what is his reaction? Does he struggle, lash madly and try to nip at you? If so, this pup is probably very stubborn and will require a firm hand to get it to obey. Does the pup stare at you wild eyed and it fright? This pup is probably very skittish and will require a lot of love and coaxing. The pup who tries to right itself, relaxes, then tries again, off and on while you are holding him should be considered a middle of the line dog. This dog should be fairly easy to train with the proper care and training.

Try walking away from the pup. If he doesn't follow you and is more interested in doing his own thing, this dog will be very independent. He may not be interested in training at all, and it may be a challenge to get this pup to focus on you. If you call him, he looks up and continues about his business, this is also a sign that you have a little prince or princess on your hands who may be oblivious to rules.

Choosing a puppy for the family should be an adult decision. Children can easily be swayed to choose a pet on a whim. Parents can easily check out the litter first and choose a suitable pup or two for the children to choose from. You should also keep in mind that children will be happy with a pet you simply bring home, even if they had no say in the selection process.

About the author:
Author Ian White is founder of This extensive online directory includes listings by private breeders, kennel clubs, and occasional hobby or family breeders. Those seeking dogs can locate and match with appropriate breeders. automates the matching of dogs for sale with dog wanted entries, with daily email notifications to all parties. Dog lovers and breeders can find more information on the website at:

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