Choosing a Puppy and Taking it Home

Choosing a Puppy and Taking it Home
You have now set out what you want and where to buy it from. I would recommend you visit the puppies at the very least twice, at 4/5 weeks old and again when you pick up the pup. The best age to take the puppy home is 7 weeks. NEVER accept a puppy less than 7 weeks of age, as it is vitally important they are with their mother and siblings up to this age.

Check the appearance of the mother and puppies. Do they appear healthy; eyes clear and bright, free of any discharge? Are their coats shiny? If possible get confirmation of the eye and hip scores of both the mother and the father. If the breeder allows you always stroke and fuss the parents, check their temperament, look for and signs of aggression, fearfulness, nervousness, or neurotic symptoms such as chewing feet, tail, or skin damage, are the dogs pacing etc. This is especially important in the mother, as the puppies are in close contact with her.

It has been shown that, it is the mother that shapes the behavioural future of the offspring, genetics may load the gun but environment fires it.

Make sure you handle the puppies if they become distressed or shy away this could mean that they have not been properly socialised. If the puppies have been socialised correctly, then they will adapt and accept situations that are potentially stressful. You should then end up with a happy well-balanced dog in maturity.

Before bringing your new dog home, make sure your garden is safe and secure?

Purchase a collar, lead, bowls, and dog tag with name address and telephone (law max £5000 fine) bed, toys and treats etc. Check with the breeder what she is feeding the pups, a good breeder will supply you with some food and give you a feeding chart. Leave a small blanket or towel on your first visit, so that it gets the mother and the litter smell on it, this should provide some comfort in the first week or so at home. Check with other dog owners as to the best Vet in your area.

When you pick up the pup take a crate/indoor kennel or a cardboard box with you and line it with newspaper, take spare newspaper with you as the pup may be sick and will almost certainly urinate and defecate on the journey, especially if it is any distance.

When you get home place the bed or crate near somewhere warm if you are using a crate and I heartily endorse them cover the crate with a blanket or sheet to make it more den like introduce the puppy to the crate gradually and positively.

If you have a loud ticking clock put this near the bed or crate and have a radio on in another room, make sure it is tuned into talk not a music station. If the puppy continues to get stressed you can take it into your bedroom, though I would only normally advise this when using a crate/indoor kennel, as you can gradually move this away over a period of time once the puppy has settled in. You can also put in a hot water bottle; this will mimic the heat from the mother and siblings over the first few nights. Make sure it is well covered or you may get a very wet bed/crate.

Your new puppy will needs lots of sleep, just like a human baby so too much interference in this pattern will be detrimental, rough handling by children or adults could affect the behaviour and attitude of your new puppy, and could have a long lasting effect as the dog matures. However not enough contact and gentle handling will also have a negative effect on your dog, finding the right balance is of vital importance.

A puppy can be an absolute joy or an unmitigated nightmare, which one you get, can be affected by the effort you initially put into your research, decisions, training and ongoing socialisation. It is vitally important to book your puppy into a good socialisation class, make sure that they do not have more than 8/10 dogs in any one class and that the pups at the start of the course are not over 18 weeks old, and the trainers do not allow the puppies to just jump on one another at the start of the class, integration of the puppies in the class should be careful and slow to avoid problems and long term bad manners in later life.

Puppies need lots of time, care and patience. Follow the above guidelines and your efforts will be positively rewarded with what I truly believe is the world’s best companion — The Dog.


Before and after Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog Before and after Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog
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There is no single person on the face of the planet to whom dog trainers and owners (not to mention dogs) owe more Jean Donaldson - Authort of the "Culture Clash" In Before & After Getting Your Puppy, Dr. Ian Dunbar outlines everything you need to know to select the right puppy, as well as all the lessons a puppy must be taught during its impressionable early development . In clear steps, with helpful photos and sidebars, Dr. Dunbar presents a structured yet playful plan built around six critical development dealilnes:Completing your education about puppy educationEvaluating your prospective puppy's socialisation and trainingErrorless housetraining and chew-trainingSocialising with new people Learning bite inhibitionPreventing predictable adolescent problemsThe world's leading authority on puppy training and behaviour, DR. IAN DUNBAR is a veterinarian, animal behaviourist and writer. The original creator and populariser of off-leash puppy classes, he has led a doggy revolution in fun, reward based, dog-friendly dog training.


  • The Positive Approach to raising a happy, healthy and well-behaved dog (hardback)


I am a veterinary nurse with over 13 years experience in the field & I recommend this as the NUMBER ONE book for new puppy & dog owners!! Follow Dr Dunbars advice closely & you will be well on your way to a well behaved & cherished canine member of the family!!! His advice is practical, common sense & comes from decades of experience with dogs... A MUST HAVE for anyone considering or recently acquiring a puppy.

Anyone who is thinking of getting a puppy must read this brilliant book. It will tell you all you need to consider before making the decision, giving a no-nonsense, practical insight as to the responsibilities taking on a puppy entails. Even if you have previous experience of puppies, Ian Dunbar always has new and interesting insights into pup management. Excellent training advice with simple step by step instructions. Every puppy should come with this manual!

A friend told me about this book. I brought it a few weeks before bringing my puppy home and im glad i did. It gave me really useful tips on the first few days home with a new pup. What to buy before bringing the pup home was fantastic, like buying kong chew toys and how to use them with your new puppy. so far i have a well balanced puppy and i feel in control and able to be a better dog owner. its a must 10/10

Excellent book to have when you are awaiting the arrival of your dog. Not had a pup for 13 years having lost my last dog at almost 13 and you do forget many things. Its a great book to have to help you through the sad time of losing one and the waiting time when you prepare for the new puppy. Still refer to it and will keep it at the front of the dog cupbnoard to refer to as and when I need help. Ian Dunbar is a nice chap.

As I have not owned a puppy before I am finding this to be a useful book with things I had not thought of before.


© Stan Rawlinson, The Dog Listener. Dog Behaviourist & Obedience Trainer. Stan Rawlinson (Doglistener) is a Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer who has owned and worked dogs for over 25 years, starting with Gundogs then moving on to the behavioural and obedience side of Pet Dogs in 1996. He now has a successful practice covering London, Surrey and Middlesex you can visit his web site

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Submitted: 26 Aug, 2006 (Edited 29 Jan, 2010)
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