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Selecting and Bringing Home A Puppy

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Before selecting a puppy, ask yourself if you are willing to make the commitment of time needed to train and care for the dog and have the money available to provide the proper nutrition and needed veterinary care over the years. Choosing a puppy is making a commitment to provide long term care for a living creature that will be totally dependent upon you.

Making the Right Choice
Once you and your family members have agreed that you are ready to make a commitment to care for a dog for many years (even up to 18 years for small breeds), it’s time to decide what breed is best for you. First, consider your lifestyle. Large breed dogs, hunting or working dogs, require more exercise than small breeds and may crowd an apartment or small home. Long-haired dogs require daily grooming to help avoid mats and tangles in the haircoat, which can lead to poor appearance and skin irritation. A short-haired dog requires grooming only a couple of times each week. Some breeds should be groomed professionally if they are to look like the standards of their breed.

Should you choose a purebred or mixed breed? Many mixed breed dogs grow into lovable companions. However, you are getting an unknown quality as to adult size. Local humane societies, animal shelters and neighbors are sources for a mixed breed puppy.

If you would like a purebred puppy, first consult dog books at your local library for photographs of each breed along with a description of the breed’s traits. To learn more about the breeds that interest you, contact breeders and attend dog shows in your area.

Important caution: Regardless of breed, the puppy you select will grow into an adult dog with behavior patterns largely determined by your care and training.

You may see a dog of a certain breed give an impressive performance in an obedience demonstration or admire a well behaved purebred that is a family pet. As a result, you may decide you want that particular breed because of these favorable impressions. Please remember that breed characteristics alone do not determine the behavior of an individual dog. A dog’s exemplary behavior represents the socialization and training it received as a puppy together with continuing reinforcement of that training throughout its lifetime.

If you decide on a certain breed, you will need to locate a breeder in your area and wait until a puppy is available for adoption. Most breeders separate their puppies into two groups, show quality and pet quality .If you select a pet quality purebred, you can usually get the breed you prefer at lower cost.

When You Are Ready to Adopt
Do not adopt a puppy until it is six to eight weeks of age. Select a puppy who is alert, curious and active. Avoid one who is shy or nervous. Look for a puppy with clear eyes, no discharge from the nose, clean ears, white teeth, pink gums, no skin irritations or blotches from insect bites. Check around the tail area to be certain there is no evidence of diarrhea or skin inflammation.

If you are buying a purebred puppy, ask to see at least one of the parents. Registration papers should be provided when you pick up the puppy as well as a record of the vaccinations and any other medical treatment the puppy has received. If you are getting a large breed dog, have an understanding with the breeder that the puppy is guaranteed against bone abnormalities such as hip dysplasia. Clean, odor-free living quarters for the puppies and their mother and a breeder who asks questions about the kind of home you will provide the puppy are indications that the animal has been well cared for.
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