Some thoughts on choosing a puppy…
Since many people ask me for tips on how to choose a puppy, here are some thoughts on that topic, based on my experience with To's litter.
I think the most important thing when choosing a puppy is to choose a line you like - the way they move, the way they jump, the way they learn, the way they behave to other dogs and people... - it definitely transfers! Since my puppies are mixes, they all look very different in a way - but yet they look a lot alike when we come to the structure, the way they behave and definitely the way they learn. They all seem to possess long legs, great generalization skills and most obviously, an enormous wish to work!
So when looking for a puppy, I make sure that line moves and jumps the way I like, that they like to please and love to work. - And then, how to choose the best puppy from the litter???
Is there such a thing? I mean, I was watching my litter pretty much 24 hours a day and I follow them further in Puppy Class and I sincerely have no idea which one is best. I do know exactly which one I would keep though! 🙂
Why him? Well, because he was just so cute in trying to tell me he loves me very much - mostly by biting me and making me bleed ha ha - and he just wouldn't take no as an answer. Just as he didn't take no for an answer when he was 1 day old and I tried to let the smaller puppies drink - and he was the only one coming back again and again and again - he just wouldn't take no for not loving him back either 🙂 He was also always the first to try things out (first to bark, first to pee where they should pee, first to jump in my lap).
So do I think he was the best? No. I think he was first in so many thing because he was a bit restless and I think he will probably be the hardest to handle and live with as he certainly is a bit hyper and hysteric and hm, well, the loudest too 🙂 But I still think he would be the best match for ME.
His big brother Toko would be his opposite - quiet, relaxed, happy with anything, thoughtful, extremely focused on the task at hand (unlike Loki who was interested in million things at the time), always avoiding trouble (unlike Loki who's nick name was Trouble) and loving everybody (unlike Loki who was petty clear he only cares about me). - One just had to love his happy attitude! They all had something they were best at, so I could easily rationalize keeping each of them. But I know I would choose emotionally at the end!
I was privileged to watch those puppies for pretty much 24 hours a day since day 1, so that would make my choice super easy. Having people over for visits made me realize how little one can see in occasional short visit though... They all had bad days - or maybe one was just playing hard just before the visit and was then too tired to do much else as sleeping. Also, sometimes one would grow so much in a week that it would make him sleepier for that whole week - Blue had a couple of weeks when he would sleep only!
So in case you live close enough - visit the puppies OFTEN and spend A LOT of time with them to get more realistic picture. If you can only visit once or twice, it might be better to ask the breeder to take LOTS of videos and then watch those instead - unedited, long and boring (puppy cam would be best option) if you want to really see something!
If you watch long enough, you will see A LOT. I had NO idea how much you can see in puppies just a couple of days old! You can only see it if you watch long enough as not all that much is happening at that age 🙂 - but it's just AMAZING how much you can see if you take the time! It's not so much about who is the best puppy of the litter - but you can see many personality traits. Go for the traits you want in your future dog. But at the end, go for the one that steals your heart and tells you to take him home.
Watching back Le's litter videos and trying to be objective, I would say all other puppies were better. We had to choose really early, so I basically chose based on color and "which one looks like mine". Seeing the videos as they grew, I was actually getting worried that might have not been the best choice as others always played harder and longer in the videos and were just more present and active - so her breeder actually made a special video of just her to calm me down that she is pretty o.k. afterall 🙂 And well, she did turn out pretty o.k. afterall 🙂
So don't worry about getting the best puppy. Because trials are never won by the best dog. They're won by the best team.
Also see: Some thoughts on breeding a litter
Hehe yes this is so true, always hard to choose one puppy between them all. Eventually as you said follow your heart. In Onie’s case, she was the one staring the most at us and wanting to be with us the hardest. My girlfriend deffinately felt like Onie has chosen us 🙂
This was a really interresting read, especially since I have just been through the process of picking which puppy to get 🙂
I ended up with a puppy from a litter I sure didn’t think I would get a puppy from, just because my little Mio stole my heart! I think he just has the sweetest soul! His breeder wanted me to wait and see how the 4 weeks younger puppies in the litter I had planned to get a puppy from turned out before I made my choice, but after falling in love with Mio I wasn’t interrested in that litter at all anymore, ha ha 😀
He is only 3,5 months old now, but I must say that so far I’m 100% sure he is the right puppy for me 😀
Great article Sylvia ! Thanks for sharing your thoughts . Even though I’m not planning on getting a puppy soon , this will come in handy when I do !
Haha, sounds like Silvia would do well with a Malinois or working belgian puppy
They are just so funny!
I am getting a puppy soon, this is a great article 🙂 Sadly I cannot meet the puppies, but the breeder has picked the puppies out for each person, and she chose the puppy for me I liked the most from the videos and photos, so I am very happy!
Oh yes, I love Malinois 🙂 -- just a bit too big for me! And yes, I also decided for homes of my puppies, but tried to follow the wishes of their owners -- it was easy as everybody wanted another puppy -- what is also showing that there is no one best puppy, they are just either a good match -- or not!
I love this article! I liked the lines Kix was from, and the parents seemed awesome but really…I took her because I had dreamed before the mum was even pregnant that I would get a female with a black face. So, I took the female with the black face. Great decision making, huh? But in some way maybe this helped, because I didn’t prepare to get “best” puppy, but “MY” puppy <3 🙂
Ha ha, that sure narrows down the choices yes 🙂
Thanks Silvia :), Very handy indeed.. since I am in the process of choosing your next student…;) and yes.. Got that feeling of I dont know if I am choosing right… and I want to do all the researches and think with the head.. well.. we will see..
Awww, congratulations Eva!!! That’s a BIG litter to choose from!!!
Oh great article!!!! i only got to choose Spur and I chose him because he was so cute.
Bim was chosen for me and I guess she made the right choice, LOL!!! I sent her my “resume” to be on a future litter and, well, she decided the puppy she held back from finding a home for because he was “special” (?), would be perfect for me. I think she chose me for two reasons…….. 1 -- because here in the US he would not have to jump 26″. 2 -- because she knew I would keep him busy and had the space and time to give him the exercise and activity he needs. He needed someone with experience and ability to handle his intensity. I kept worrying he was too serious in the videos and pictures and he IS, but I have worked hard to be sure he just enjoys life and plays and has fun with other dogs and people. I trusted a breeder I had never met and I took a big chance, but looks like she made the right choice!!!! I do like certain colors and looks and wanted a red female. But, I also wanted a pup from Bims mum and as luck would have it, one was left and waiting just for me!!!!! And the Breeder had named him “Copy” because he is so much like his mum!!!! ❤️
I think you are right, though, it is all about the team we make!!!!! The breeder knew Bim and I would make a great team!!!! She took a chance, too, but I think she was RIGHT!!!!
Yes, I think it’s easiest for the breeder rather as owners to decide on best matches. I did try to listen to their wishes though, I can understand you can fall in love with that or another puppy also just through videos -- like I did with To!
This was very reassuring to read 🙂 I am currently on a waiting list for a puppy from a breeder that chooses a puppy for you. I will admit I am worried but after reading this article and Amy’s account, I am feeling a lot better. I was very lucky with Maia and her breeder; I was able to go and meet the litter and pick the one I wanted, although I am convinced that Maia chose me. Maia has been and continues to be a wonderful agility dog. I could not have asked for better, especially for a first time agility handler. I cannot wait to get a new puppy and start a new chapter and learn so much more. I LOVE your classes Silvia and cannot wait to start with the new puppy (hopefully this year sometime)!
Keeping fingers crossed for your puppy plans!!!