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How to Choose a Puppy

The dog has always been called the man's best friend. The two have lived and worked together for thousands of years. In lots of ways, dogs are like people-they enjoy company, they can communicate how they feel and they love to play too. So it's no wonder that you would want to adopt a puppy! A puppy can be lots of fun, but caring for one means taking responsibility. you will have to look after this animal for a long time - it cannot take care of itself. Remember, puppies grow into dogs and some dogs live to 15 years or over. There are several questions you need to ponder on before even getting one!

1 Make sure that your home fits the dog's personality. Do you have enough space in your house? A big, loud dog in a small house could drive everyone crazy. Do you have a backyard? Puppies have lots of energy, and they need space to exercise. Having a backyard also allows you to train your puppy to urinate outside.

2 Ensure that you have enough resources. Do you have time to care for your puppy? A new puppy needs lots of care and training for the first few months of it's life. It will always need at least one good walk every day. Do you have a stable financial status? Know that keeping a dog is not cheap, equipment, food and vets fees can cost a lot.

3 Prepare a dog-sitter. Is there someone who could help take care of your dog? You can't always take your pet on vacation with you, so you might need a friend or neighbor to look after it while you are away. Puppies like company, so it's good for them when there is nobody around. If not, consider getting puppies from the same litter, so they can keep each other company.

4 Note that a dog can be mischievous. Are you worried about your furniture? Puppies can be clumsy and messy - and they will chew anything including carpets and furniture. You might not mind, but others who live with you might not be happy. Some dogs can live outside and be taken into the house a few times a day.

5 Check whether you have other pets. If so, you need to be sure they will be able to get along with your puppy. A male cat that you've had for a very long time could easily get jealous.

6 Choose the right type of puppy.

Male or female? Male puppies tend to be more lively and aggressive. While females may be more home-loving.

Big or small? Big dogs like the Great Dane and the St. Bernard, are calm and gentle while breeds like the Jack Russel terrier are smaller, more energetic. The tallest breeds are the Great Dane, the Irish wolfhound, the English mastiff, the borzoi and the Anatolian shepherd. All these breeds can stand at 3ft (90cm) tall at the shoulder. The smallest and lightest breed of dog is the chihuahua, which measures about 5 in (12 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs between 2 and 6 pounds (0.9 kg and 2.7 kg).

Purebred or mixed? Sometimes known as pedigrees, purebred puppies are more expensive than the mixed breeds, but purebred dogs are often easier to guess how big they are going to grow. Anyway, mixed breed puppies are generally healthy and strong and they also come in a wide range or colors, types and sizes. Unfortunately, purebreds are more prone to suffer from inherited diseases than mixed breeds.

Puppy or dog? Can you cope with an energetic puppy? You may say that a young puppy is fun, but it puts a burden on your workload. In the first few weeks, you will need to housebreak your puppy and teach it to obey simple commands. You'll also need to have it vaccinated, wormed and neutered. If this sounds like too much work or if you just don't have enough time, why not consider buying an adult dog instead? your local pet rescue center usually has lots to choose from.

7 Know what exactly to do while you are choosing. While you are still making a choice whether you are at a local breeder's place or pet rescue center,you have to know this information below.
If possible, choose a puppy from a healthy litter that has been brought up with it's mother, rather than in kennels. It will adapt more quickly to it's new life in your home.

If you're buying a mixed breed, ask as much as you can about the puppy's parents - that way you will have a good idea of what it will be like when it grows up.

Make sure that your puppy is used to being handled from birth and has had contact with lots of people. It's more likely to be friendly when it grows up.

Play with all the puppies and get to know them. Look for one that walks up to you and licks your hand while wagging it's tail. Be cautious of a puppy who is very shy, cowers, or tries to bite.

If your buying a purebred dog, talk to the breeder. Good breeders spend a lot of time with their animals and should be able to tell you about each of the puppies personalities.

Even if you choose your puppy when it's tiny, don't take it home until it's at least eight weeks old. Puppies need this time to develop and learn from their mother.

Check the puppy's health.

Don't forget to bring home important documents.

8 Neuter it before it's six months old. It's a good idea to take it to the vet before it's six months and have it treated so it can't breed. This operation, called neutering, can make the distinctions between male and female personalities disappear. So, in the end, weather your puppy is male or female may not make any difference in terms of behavior. What you really need to think about is your puppies personality. Before you pick one over another, watch it closely to see if it seems energetic or lazy, affectionate or aggressive, anxious or calm.
Never buy from a puppy mill. They breed much too often from the same bitch and often don't care for the puppies properly. Most of the time, when the bitch can produce no more litters, they just abandon her or even kill her. Don't support this cruel practice, no matter how cute that puppy looks. It could have a fatal hereditary disease (epilepsy, heart failure) which the farmer will not tell you about, he may not even know. They don't care. They breed to make money, and that's it.

Health check

Before you buy a puppy, you need to make sure that it's healthy. Here are some things for you to keep in mind:
A healthy puppy will be alert and interested on what is going on around him/her.

Healthy puppies are playful and happy to be handled.

A healthy puppy's tummy should feel soft when you press it gently.

It's tail and bottom should be clean and dry.

It's ears, nose and mouth should not be runny or look sore.

The eyes should be clear, bright and open.

Look at the puppies skin, it should be clean and smooth, with no flaky or red patches. The fur should be shiny and healthy.

Do a flea check, look for small, black specks in the puppy's fur. Don't get too upset if you find one though - it's easy to get rid of fleas.

Important information to take home

A diet sheet giving information on what to feed your puppy and how often.

The puppies purebred and registration papers (if it's pedigree)

The puppy's worming history, with the names of products used.

A certificate showing when the next vaccine is due.
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