Tips on Selecting your Puppy !

Once you have decided your breed, the next important thing is how to go about to get the best puppy of your choice. Most often, the source in India is from a friend of yours. But it may be noted that it if is bred by a pedigreed dog, many owners of the male will have the first choice instead of money for lending his dog for breeding. In such case, it will be the second best even if you are given the best choice. This factor may not matter much if the litter is large enough. Professional breeders advertise about their pups and many may breed only some specific breeds. Next best source is reference from a good pet shop. They often keep a register for list of people who want to sell their pups. They may not guarantee or assure about the quality of the pup unless they are sure about the owner or breeder. Your vet in the neighbourhood is also another source of information. Ensure that you are going to get the pup from a reliable source.

A visit to the kennel is also recommended since it will give you an idea about the attention that is given to their dogs. Temperament and health status of the dam also influence the pup when it grows up to a dog. The motive of a seller who refuses to show you the dam ascribing various reasons like 'evil eye' should be checked. Some unscrupulous breeders buy pup from various sources and keep along with the best looking dam; a common practice !

Once the source is located, your aim is to get the best pup of the lot. Request the owner to display all the pups of the litter and observe them from a distance without distracting their attention. Look for the brightest and most active of the group. Do not select the shy and inactive one. If you are a first timer, it is better to have a friend alongwith who is experienced or a vet. A vet may be able to identify defects, if any. Chose the rare colour among the breed as in the case of Labradores etc. Choice of sex is a matter of personal preference as mentioned earlier.

So, now you have selected a pup which is having:
1. a clean nose with no discharge.
2. bright, clear eyes and no signs of running or inflammation.
3. gum - firm and pink.
4. ears - with no odour and clean inside
5. skin - soft and supple and not dry with scales
6. pup is without diarrhoea and doesn't vomit and sneezes
7. it behaves properly, not nervous or irritable.

What age is the best to take a puppy home?
It depends on your future plans for the pup also. But in any case, you should not wean a pup unless he is at-least 10-14 days old. If you want to get a head-start and want it for the purpose of show don't take it away from the dam until he is about four months old. Before that it could be a gamble. But in our country where the breeders or owners want to get rid of the pups as early as possible, they may not keep the pup with the bitch for that long.

Also, if you request the breeder to keep that long it is likely that it is the last pup after everybody has taken their choice-pup out of the litter. Hence, try to select the pup and keep it with the dam as long as you can. It is also a practice to mark the pup if you are not taking it immediately. No matter what the breeder say, it is often impossible to predict how a very young pup will look like when it grows up. This is more so if the pup is not from a pedigreed dam and sire. Best age to wean in our condition is eight weeks, although, it is possible to rear pups successfully at six weeks also.

One question many people ask is - how much will it cost?
It is a million dollar question because, it depends. You may even get it for free. Factors like the availability, pedigree status, breeders' good-will, local breed preference, demand-supply and so on. Some people would like to adopt from a shelter in which case, get all the documents like, immunisation details, health certificate signed by a veterinarian and other documents.

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