Yesterday we talked about How To Choose A Puppy? Today we’re going to discuss How To Choose A Puppy From A Litter. First here is a quick summary of the steps we went through in the first article:
- First of all, make sure you’re ready for the responsibility of taking care of a puppy/dog for the next 10+ years.
- Research your puppy. We recommend reading Puppies For Dummies (affiliate link)
- Ask yourself more questions: What breed suits your lifestyle? Should you save your dog from the shelter or rescue? Should you go to a breeder? Why shouldn’t you go to the Pet Store.
- Find your puppy on Petfinder.com.
That brings us to today’s discussion on How To Choose A Puppy From A Litter.
image by pellaea
How To Choose A Puppy From A Litter
Our story ended yesterday with me finding a group of Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mixed puppies through Petfinder.com. Here’s the continuation from yesterday (to read the entire story go back to Part 1):
…After searching for Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers (did you know some purebred Golden Retrievers have spotted tongues?)in the Petfinder.com database I found a litter of three Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mixed breed puppies:
- A tri-colored female
- A black male
- A black male with a white spot on his chest
Obviously I was very excited. Not only did I find a litter of puppies, but the litter was mixed with two of my three target breeds – Labrador Retriever and Australian Shepherd. The puppies were not far away about 30 minutes at the Carson Shelter in Los Angeles. I grabbed my Puppies For Dummies book and reviewed the section on temperament testing and how to determine dominant and submissive puppies in a litter.
Our goal was to find the perfect puppy in the litter and according to the book we were looking for not an overly dominant or an overly submissive puppy. Both those types are considered much more difficult to raise for a first time puppy owner. Puppies for Dummies lists five personality types:
- Top Dog
- Next In Line
- Passive Pup
- Shy Pup
We wanted to avoid the “Top Dog” and the “Shy Pup” and ultimately our goal was to try and identify a “Middleman.” How were we going to find our little “Middleman”? Well, we were armed with seven personality tests to help determine our future puppy’s temperament.
When we arrived at the shelter we were happy to see two adorable fluff balls sleeping on the hard concrete kennel floor – a tri-colored female and a black male with a white spot on his chest. The third one we found on Petfinder.com was already adopted. We got permission to take the two puppies out of the kennel and perform our temperament testing. Here’s what we did:
- Observe – We tried to observe the two puppies out of the kennel, but they were very lethargic and really just wanted to rest.
- Uplift – Cradle mid body and suspend the puppy several inches from the ground. Both puppies allowed us to do this and were quite relaxed without struggle. Check them both for “Middleman” or “Passive Pup”
- Flip-Flop – Cradle the puppy in your arms belly up like a baby. Black with white dot settled right in with no struggle – check mark for “middleman” or “passive”. Tri-color struggled for a moment then settled in. Check mark for “Next In Line”
- Gentle Caress – Just sitting next to the puppy and pet them. Both puppies just lied there and let me pet them. Check mark “Middleman” or “Passive”
- Wacky Walk – Stand up and shake leg and clap hands to try and get the puppy to follow you. Both were somewhat lethargic and not super eager to follow or jump. Mark both for “Passive”
- What’s That – Shake your keys above the puppies head and observe the reaction. Both puppies noticed, but were not eager to jump up nor scared. “Middleman” or “Passive”
- Crash Test – Step several paces from the puppy and fall to the floor like you hurt your knee…observe the reaction. Neither puppy got real scared nor overreacted. Once again “Middleman” or “Passive”
After running through all the tests we determined both puppies would make great pets and Black with a white dot was probably somewhere between a “Middleman” and a “Passive Pup” while little miss tri-color was probably a “Middleman” with possibly some “Next In Line.”
Once again, how do I choose a puppy from the litter? Here are the questions raising through my mind:
- Do I want a male or a female? I had my choice of boy or girl.
- Do I want a larger or a smaller puppy? Black with white dot male was considerably smaller then his sister.
- Do I want a tri-color or a mostly black puppy? I had a choice of colors.
- Do I want a more passive or more dominant dog? Neither of the dogs were overly dominant or overly submissive however between the two one was more dominant then the other.
- One final question. Why not bring them both home?
I had heard that male dogs were easier to take care of them female dogs so I planned on getting a male. Since these little puppies were mixed breeds with big feet I preferred a smaller dog (we were guessing they’d be anywhere from 50 – 80 pounds). I liked the look of the tri-color puppy. I was guessing the more passive dog would be easier to train. I really had a tugging inside of me to bring both dogs home and my original intention and hope was to find a male and female puppy to raise together a-la Where the Red Fern Grows one of my favorite childhood books.
I was at edge about to take the tri-color, but decided deep down I was mainly going for looks and that I should probably take home the smaller black puppy with the white spot on his chest. Why didn’t I take home both? Well, I was always told that raising two puppies together would result with a strong bond between the two puppies and not as strong a bond between your puppy and you. I also heard that you should separate the two dogs from time to time to keep them from becoming too attached to each other. This attachment was confirmed when we went to puppy class with two Siberian Huskies who couldn’t even be separated by 20 feet in our training class before one would start whining.
After much debate we brought home the little black puppy with the white spot on his chest and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Here’s one of the first pictures we took of my new little puppy, Linus…
If you want to see more of Linus’s puppy pictures then check out the Cutest Puppy Ever!
That’s not all…you may know how to choose a puppy from a litter, but now what? The adventure is only beginning. We were not prepared to take our little Aussie Lab home yet and the shelter said they needed to microchip him before we left. This gave us a chance to run to the local Petsmart and get our first puppy supplies. So our next question was: What Are The Supplies I Will Need For A Puppy?
We’d love to hear about your puppy experiences. Did you temperament test your puppy before bringing him home? Leave us a message in the comment section below.