Choosing a puppy: the ABCs

Thinking about a new puppy? Your first steps…

Ask for assistance

The pet food company had chosen my friend for her superb photography skills, but also as an expert who could assist them in making their final spokesdog choice. Likewise, it is advisable for families to enlist the support of a trainer or shelter staff to help them choose the companion dog that is best suited to their family and vice versa. With hundreds of dogs to choose from, an expert can help you narrow down your choice.

Be realistic

Just as there are no perfect people or families, consider that there are no breeds or mixes that are perfect. The goal is not to find the ‘perfect’ dog, but rather to narrow your search to a type of dog that has the general attributes that are most likely to fit with your lifestyle. Also, remember that each pup is an individual and while a general assessment of a pup’s potential future activity level, behavioral tendencies, and the like can be made, it is ultimately your responsibility to guide your pup towards becoming the mannerly, well-socialized adult dog you hope for. That will require early and ongoing management, supervision and training, and a whole lot of love.

Create a wish List

Start with a detailed list outlining your weekly schedule, the general time and monetary commitment you can make, and the activities you enjoy (and hope for your dog to be a part of). This will give you a good starting point in regards to what sort of dog may be most suitable for your family.

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Andrea Arden is an animal behavior counselor, rescuer, author, speaker, and a resident pet expert on the Today Show. For more information, check out her website, AndreaArden.com.