This is the final step once you’ve first looked at various breeders online, narrowed down to the breeders you are most interested in, contacted those breeders, then visited the breeders’ dogs and puppies. You should now have one or two that you really like and who meet all the criteria mentioned in the previous blogs. Between those two, it most likely comes down to just the right puppy at the right time.

It’s important to wait until the right time to get your new puppy. Maybe it’s a time when you can take vacation from work, or you’ll have part of the summer off to spend with the new puppy. Time with your puppy, especially during those first few weeks, is essential. The more initial time you can have with the new puppy, the better bonded and comfortable the puppy will be.

You probably not only have a gender preference, but possibly a preference on markings and coloring. Many new puppy parents, especially first-time owners, pay more attention to the markings than they do to the personalities of these puppies, and this can easily backfire.

First, there are basic but incredibly crucial personality traits you should look for in any puppy. These are signs of a normal, brain-healthy puppy. Make sure the puppy makes eye contact with you. It may be running around and playing and busy being a puppy, but if you visit the puppy a few times, you should notice if it can make eye contact with you at some point. If you talk to the puppy, it should look at you, acknowledging your “command center”. This is vital. A puppy that does not make eye contact and does not recognize where communication is coming from will be an extremely difficult puppy and most likely grow into a difficult dog. These puppies often only learn by constant repetition and sometimes can never learn basic commands or even basic training. If they were children, they would be diagnosed with ADHD or other cognitive disorders.

Puppies, like people, come in all different personality types. Think about the type of puppy that would fit best in your family and lifestyle. Do you have young, active children? Then you probably need an active, bold puppy. A calm, shy puppy may not thrive in this type of family atmosphere. More than once a puppy has been returned to a breeder because it just “didn’t fit in” to a family’s lifestyle. This can be devastating for both the family and the puppy. The breeder might get back a very traumatized puppy that will take some rehabilitation before it can find a new home, and it could end up with social issues that could make it difficult to find it a new home.

Hopefully you spent a lot of time researching the breed you’ve chosen to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your family first and foremost. But even then, one litter of puppies can have varying personalities. The gentle, laid-back puppy might be a great fit for an elderly couple who have no other pets, but not a good fit for a family with toddlers or young, active children. A feisty, stubborn puppy would be a perfect fit for a young couple who may not yet have children but have lots of time for a dog, but not a good fit for the elderly couple who may always give in to this kind of puppy which could lead to bad behaviors.

A good breeder will get to know their prospective puppy parents and make recommendations. Sometimes breeders get frustrated with a puppy parent who is only interested in the “look” of the puppy but not the personality-fit for them or their family. Listen to the breeder and take their recommendations to heart. They want to make sure you get the puppy that is perfect for you. They are excellent at match-making puppies to families, so if you take their advice, you will end up with the perfect puppy for you.

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