Okay, you have determined that because you will provide your new puppy with the needed exercise and training plus care, a puppy is right for you.  Now you’re looking at the litter, but which pup should you select and why?

You have researched and found the breed of dog you want.   You have secured a reputable breeder. Now you are looking at a litter of the cutest puppies.  The one you select should be determined by your own, specific level of energy.  Most of us have a moderate energy level so we will want a puppy with average energy. We’ll want to allow that higher spirited pup to remain for the marathon runner who can provide huge amounts of exercise, training and care. plus the extra human-alpha leadership it will take to train that high-energy, spirited dog.

Most of us will want to pick a pup who has a level of energy equal to or lower than our own and is not too shy but also not too feisty.  But how do you tell the difference? How can you tell a truly friendly puppy?  How will you know a healthy pup? What characteristics do you want?

First, make a list describing your lifestyle, the circumstances of both you and the pup plus what you ultimately expect from your adult dog.  Do you live in a condo or do you have big, country fields where your dog can run, bark and romp with your other dogs?   Or, will this dog be your one and only dog? Do you work all day and have kids? Is this a rescue dog?  Did the puppy have an adequate amount of time with its mother in order to learn those early and extremely important canine socialization and obedience skills?  Was the mother healthy and a good teacher? Was the puppy handled gently by humans and exposed to educational environments and elements?  There are ways to determine such things.

At about seven weeks of age, a puppy can be given a temperament test to assist in  determining the level of socialization, aggression, acceptance of a human leader, forgiveness, submissiveness or dominance and to some degree, aptitude.  In conducting the test, the help of a professional breeder is important.  You will want to test between two to four puppies separately (see our other articles).

Do not allow a puppy to pick you. Use logic, be patient and know your criterion.  Your new dog will live with you a long time so get the right one so that both you and your wonderful dog will be happy and content.

Take your time and understand the all-important energy level of the pup and get to know its character and disposition. Our ongoing articles discuss temperament tests, puppy selection, training, care and behavior challenges.