Picking out your Pup

Important to your training process is finding a pup with the right personality for your family. There is no such thing as a bad dog, but there is such a thing as a bad fit. Be it breed or individual temperament, all dogs have characteristics that make them better suited to specific lifestyles. Since I picked up Nike this week, what better time to review the basics of getting a new puppy?

Should I buy or rescue a dog?

Absolutely rescue a dog – if it is the right fit for you. Here at athena+nike, we do not believe that you must adopt a dog from a shelter to feel justified in your choice. There is no shame in getting a puppy from a reputable breeder to make sure that it is the right match for your family.

I met Athena and Nike’s parents and interacted with them; Athena’s mom Piper is in the bottom right.

That being said, do not buy from puppy mills, pet stores, or backyard breeders. Ask to see the parents and the living conditions, make sure to get a health guarantee, and if the parents are supposed to be purebred, ask to see the registration. Reputable breeders will have all of this available to you.

If you discover a dangerous situation, please report it rather than buying a pup or even simply avoiding the facility. Several rescue organizations will take in all of the animals to give them their best chance; recently, one in my area rescued over 70 animals by answering a call. It may be tempting to adopt a pup out of a bad situation, but please report the facility to save them all.

If you are rescuing a dog from a shelter, you have less choice in what breed you get, so remember to research the breed before applying. Several owners get frustrated with their pups because they are following their natural instincts. Again, please rescue a dog if you can, but make sure it is the right fit for you!

Finding the Right Fit

Picking up Athena

Myself, I’m not a super active person and I have a large family with lots of kids. Not my kids, mind you, but I still have to consider them. So, I researched breeds to see if they would be good with children. Also, my mom is allergic to dogs, so I needed a hypoallergenic breed (article coming soon with more about what this means).

All of this information is easy to find for most breeds with a quick google search! I have also included a link below to the AKC’s full database of dog breeds.

I mentioned I’m not super active. What the heck am I doing getting a dog, a puppy no less?! Well, I found a pup to fit my lifestyle. Simply put, you need a pup with a similar energy level to you.

Here’s my advice for getting a good energy match. If you want a really active dog, pick up the puppies that jump all over you! If you want a more relaxed dog, see which ones lose interest first – or never even approach. Be warned, this may mean it’s more difficult to have their focus for training, but not always. In my case, I took that risk and it paid off with such a relaxed snugglebug.

Athena interacting with Nike

You should also make sure your puppy will fit in well with any other animals or family members! I was able to bring Athena with me to visit Nike several times, which made me more confident that he would be a good match for our lifestyle.

I think that finding a good personality is the best way to approach choosing a dog. But in case you’re wondering, here’s what little I’ve gleaned as far as gender is concerned: female dogs are more likely to get UTIs, but are considered to be easier to train. Female dogs can have just as much energy as male dogs, and can be just as stubborn, too. Personality is key, please find a dog that matches your energy!

Visiting your Puppy

I definitely recommend visiting your puppy a few times before they come home! This helps them get used to your scent, and in my case Athena’s scent as well. If you are able to leave a garment or blanket with the puppy that smells like you, do it! The more familiar they are with you before going home, the easier the transition will be.

Getting Ready to Go Home

Alright, so you’ve picked out the pup! Now what? If you are rescuing, ask if the pup has anything that smells familiar to bring home with you. In the case of a breeder, ask to rub a blanket or garment on the littermates. The familiar smells will help your dog adjust to the new environment.

And now, Fido’s coming home. I hope you found this article helpful! Please share with other prospective puppy parents and feel free to join the athena+nike group on Facebook for support in your dog training journey.

Athena and Nike hanging out at home together.

Learn more about hundreds of dog breeds at American Kennel Club.

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