How To Choose A Puppy – Finding The Perfect Pup!

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How to choose a puppy” was the first question I asked when I decided I finally had the time, maturity, and was responsible enough to raise a puppy on my own.

Throughout my life, we’ve had family dogs and puppies.

My roommates and girlfriends also brought home puppies during my college years.

However, I always thought it was such a huge responsibility and commitment that I never brought home a puppy or dog of my own until five years ago.

How To Choose A Puppy?

Black Australian Shepherd Lab mix puppy
Our rescue puppy, Linus at around 3 months old.

As I mentioned when I finally decided I wanted a puppy of my own the first question I asked myself was “How should I go about choosing a puppy?”

Before I even considered bringing home a new member of the family I made sure I had three things:

  1. Time – for the first time in eight years I was not working a full-time job. In fact, I was on winter break after attending my first semester back at college. This was very important because a puppy requires a good portion of your time during those first few months.
  2. Maturity – was I responsible enough to take care of this little guy. I’ve given up a lot since adopting my first puppy. Although I do still go out and have fun some nights. Many a night I stay home with my dog rather than bar hop with friends. Also, during the early puppy stage, I spent practically 100% of my time taking care of my puppy.
  3. Money – initial expenses aren’t the only thing involved when bringing home a puppy (a purebred puppy can cost as much as $2,000+).  There are recurring monthly expenses, vet bills (these can be extensive depending on the health of your dog), toys, treats, grooming, and the list goes on and on.

QUICK TIP: Do you want to know how much a puppy costs? Check out this post on how much a labrador puppy costs.

Does A Puppy Make A Good Gift?

It all started out on my birthday a little over five years ago. The girlfriend knew I loved dogs and thought that a new puppy would make a great gift.

QUICK TIP: you might think twice about getting someone a puppy as a gift. Check out this article on whether or not a Christmas Puppy makes a good gift.

I digress…anyhow, lucky for me she went about it the smart way and made an appointment for us to meet with several Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever puppy litters.

I was very hesitant about getting a puppy for my birthday and thought I really needed to know more before choosing a puppy from a litter.

However, even though we did not choose a puppy on that first day of puppy shopping it was a lot of fun with much cooing and baby puppy talk.

Research Before You Choose A Puppy

After our fun day of puppy browsing, I decided I should find all I needed to know before choosing the perfect puppy for me.

After all, it’s a very personal decision and even though a puppy is cute and cuddly when it’s young it will most definitely grow up into a dog that may have habits or tendencies that you do not approve of.

What was my next step?

A trip to the bookstore, lots of research on the internet, and talking to friends and family about the different dogs they have had during their lives.

An absolutely invaluable tool for me at the time was picking up the Puppies For Dummies book and reading it from cover to cover, not once, not twice, but thrice!

Some of the most important things I learned in this book:

  • Choosing the correct breed for your lifestyle. I was looking at three different breeds based on my previous background, but I also made sure to research each breed to make sure that breed suited my lifestyle. The three breeds I chose were Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and Australian Shepherd. All of these breeds are highly intelligent, athletic, and need exercise to stay out of trouble. Don’t choose a breed strictly on their nice looks.  This is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t like exercising your dog then an athletic, high-energy dog is probably not for you.
  • Stay away from the pet stores. Hopefully, most of you already know that many pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills. Puppy mills are horrible places where people churn out puppies like a factory. The dogs and puppies are treated very poorly and often the breeding stock never has a chance to leave their tiny cages. It’s a horrible scene. If you want to learn more about puppy mills then check out the stop puppy mills website.
  • Backyard Breeders. People who breed dogs just for the sake of it or to make a little money. It’s not a good idea to pick up your puppy from a backyard breeder mainly because the backyard breeder does not consider possible faults, genetic defects, or whether their breeding stock are a good representative of the breed.

How To Find The Perfect Puppy

After reading through Puppies For Dummies we decided that even though there definitely are good breeders out there we’d rather rescue a puppy from a shelter or rescue.

At the time I didn’t really think about it, but the first step in raising a green dog (yep, we’re trying to be eco-friendly) is to get a recycled dog or puppy from your local pet shelter or rescue and a good way to find your perfect match is to search for your new puppy on Petfinder.com.

QUICK TIP: If you’re interested in purebred dogs, approximately 25% of the dogs at the shelter are purebreds. So, you might think about making a trip to your local shelter. Also, there are breed-specific rescues, you might also check to see if one of your local rescues has the perfect dog for you and your family.

After searching for Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers in the Petfinder.com database I found a litter of three (actually I think it was 5, but by the time we saw the update there were 3, then when we got to the shelter there were 2) Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mixed breed puppies:

  • A tri-colored female
  • A black male
  • A black male with a white spot on his chest

Now a new task was at hand…How to Choose A Puppy From A Litter?

We’d love to hear your experiences on how to choose a puppy? or how you chose your puppy?

Leave us a comment below.

We didn’t want to go too long with this article so check out part two at How to Choose A Puppy From A Litter.

Also if you want to check out one of my earlier recollections on picking up Linus from the shelter take a look at A Shelter Dog Named Linus.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Bones & Chews Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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13 Comments

  1. We appreciate your advice on picking a dog breed that fits your lifestyle. A playful dog is what my son wants. I’m thinking about getting a miniature Schnauzer because they’re intelligent and easy to train.

  2. I liked how you mentioned that you should look for a puppy breed that matches your family’s lifestyle. My wife and I are wanting to get a dog for our family and we were wondering what kind of animal we should get. I’ll be sure to look for a dog breed that matches our active lifestyle.

  3. I like how you mentioned that you should choose a dog breed that fits your lifestyle. My wife and I are wanting to get a new puppy and we were wondering what kind of dog we should get for our family. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should find a breed of dog that fits our family’s lifestyle.

  4. My friend was telling me that he might want to get a puppy, but we weren’t sure how to choose the right one. It’s interesting that you say to make sure that you research about the breed online. It would be nice to learn everything about the breed that you can before purchasing them.

  5. I am big fan of your blog and I am used to read your blog daily. We have one puppy at our home and for treating that puppy I read your all blogs. Now I want to buy second puppy. Thanks for sharing important and useful guide about how to choose puppy. I decide to buy pomskies puppy. Once again thank you so much.

    1. Early congratulations on your next puppy! Thank you for reading our blog! Best of luck raising and training your pomskies puppy!

  6. I agree that a puppy takes up more time than you think during the first few months. You also said that you need to have the maturity to take care of something other than yourself. I think it’s important to choose a puppy breeder that allows you to come and see your puppy before it’s ready to leave with you.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I totally agree that it’s important to go meet your puppy before it’s ready to leave with you. When we got our Labrador Retriever, Archer we saw him at 4 weeks, at 6 weeks we did temperament test with the litter, and brought home Archer at 8 weeks old.

  7. My wife and I have been considering buying a puppy. We were inspired because my sister just got two dogs and we were visiting them last weekend. We love dogs, but I am nervous about the financial aspect of it. Like you said, dog costs include more than just the initial purchase price, but all the daily/months costs as well. Thanks for the ideas!

    1. I’m glad you’re thinking about all the expenses of a puppy. Thanks for stopping by and good luck if you get a new puppy!

  8. This search result had nothing to do with my search. I have a 13 yr old AKC Boxer and a 5 yr old pound puppy. The search was about training a biting puppy (my mom’s new pup). This information was was most unuseful. What was the point of having it linked to this search. A waste of my time. I’m sure I’m not the only one. REALLY!!!???
    *** even more the idea that an email is required to leave a comment is even more wrong. Just send me some spam. Thanks

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