Once you have decided to get a puppy and determined where you will be getting your new puppy from, it is time to choose your puppy. Depending on where you decided to get your puppy, you should be able to have a say in which puppy becomes yours. If you are getting your puppy from a breeder you should be able to choose your puppy from the available litter, provided not all of them are already spoken for. It is also possible that the breeder may determine which puppy will be the best for each perspective owner and that is the puppy you will receive. This is not a very common scenario but one you should be aware of.
If you are getting your puppy from a pet store or shelter the process will be a little different. When adopting a dog from an animal shelter you will most likely have to fill out an application for the dog or puppy you want to adopt and the shelter will determine if you are able to adopt that dog. Some shelters run extensive checks to try to make sure every dog goes to a good and loving home. It can be a time consuming process but that is how they protect the animals they place. If you decide to get your new puppy from a pet store you should be able to choose from any of the available puppies. Pet stores typically do not do any background checking or have a waiting period like shelters do. Be sure to do your research as many well know Pet Stores get their dog from Puppy Mills.
If you do get to choose your puppy from a litter it is important to observe the puppies closely for a while to determine their personality and how they interact with each other. Each puppy will have their own distinct personality and characteristics. It is important to find one that will compliment you and your family nicely. You should also remember when observing the puppies that the most playful puppy at the time you visited may not be the most playful puppy all the time. It may be that he/she just woke up from a nap and is full of energy while the others are tired right now. It is important to discuss the puppies and what you are looking for in your puppy with the breeder, owner or shelter worker to determine the best puppy for you. The same thing is true if you are adopting an adult dog as they each have their own personality as well. You need to be sure they will fit into your family before you take them home.
While observing the litter, it is also important to take notice of the health of the puppies. A good, healthy puppy will have a well-fed appearance with a firm solid feel to them. The skin on the stomach should be pink, clean and free of signs of irritation or scratching. The coat should be clean and shiny. Their eyes should be bright and eyes. The puppy should not have any sign of nasal discharge as this can be a sign of a serious disease like distemper or parvovirus. In general, the puppy should have a clean and healthy overall appearance.
After observing the puppies for a while and narrowing your choice down to one or two of them, it is now time to hold and interact with your top choices. During your interaction pay close attention to how the puppy reacts to being taken away from his mother and siblings. The puppy should be playful when on the ground but calm and affectionate when in your arms. The puppy should have a curious and confident demeanor about him. These are good indicators if the puppy has been properly socialized or not. Try making a clapping noise to see how the puppy reacts. The puppy should look and move in the direction of the noise. This little test will show if the puppy is scared or curious about their surroundings and also if they can hear properly. You should be wary of puppies that look or act timid, cower or run away from people. This is an excellent indication that the puppy has not been properly socialized. Un or under socialized puppies can make wonderful loving pets but are usually harder to train and can have behavioral problems later in life. It is important to discuss your needs and concerns with the breeder or person responsible for the puppy.
If purchasing your puppy from a breeder it is a good idea to request to see the parents of the litter. You will be able to tell a lot from the health and appearance of the parents. It is also a good idea to ask the breeder for any pictures he or she may have of previous litters from these two parents. Most breeders will try to keep in touch with the owner of their previous puppies and should have some pictures to show you. This will give you a good indication of how your puppy will be when he/she matures.
While a puppy's color and sex may be important to you, don't let it be the deciding factor in choosing your new puppy. A puppy's temperament and characteristics are the most important factor in choosing a puppy that will fit into your family and be a wonderful long-term companion. Choosing a healthy and happy puppy will be an important step in ensuring you a long and loving relationship with your new companion.