After you have determined the type of dog you’re looking for, the next question you should ask is “Where do I go to get my dog?”
First and foremost, do not get your puppy from a pet shop. Often those puppies do not come from reputable breeders.
You don’t want to start your brand new relationship with your puppy having to deal with socialization issues and other kinds of trauma that puppies in sub-par facilities often experience.
You want your first days with your new dog to be joyful and fun. And most important of all… you want a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dog, not a sick or traumatized one.
Following are some tips for choosing between a breeder or a shelter…
Getting A Puppy From A Breeder
There are a lot of reputable breeders all around the country and you should be prepared to ask the breeder some questions.
A breeder who is unwilling to show you where their dogs are housed or who tries to avoid your questions (such as whether or not the puppy has been exposed to different people while growing up) might be a backyard breeder or a puppy mill. Please be aware that those puppies can be severely traumatized before you get them.
A reputable breeder will ask you questions that will reveal your willingness and ability to care for this dog. They should be quizzing you as much as you should be quizzing them! That shows that the breeder cares about their dogs. The more questions you ask about how the little puppy grew up, the better you will know what to expect.
There is no reason that a little puppy should not have been exposed to children and lots of different people early on. That will make a big difference for the socialization of your dog.
Also, be sure to meet the puppy’s mother too. Is she a confident, friendly dog? Her demeanor will be indicative of her puppies’ demeanor as they age.
Getting Your Puppy From A Shelter
If you do not care about having a purebred dog, then visit a shelter.
There are loads of dogs that end up in shelters every year that need a home. The puppies usually go fast, but you can still find puppies in the shelter!
I volunteer in the shelter quite a bit and I get to see many dogs that are a bit older and undesired simply because of their age.
If you are willing to give your heart to an older dog, you will have a great companion. Most of them are so grateful for just a little walk and the companionship, you could have a great match there!
Finding Your Puppy Online
There are lots of reputable Internet sites where you can find a dog, like PetFinder. There are lots of reputable breeders online as well. And of course, most shelters have websites too.
The most important thing here is that you don’t just look at the picture, look at the energy of the animal and ask, “Am I the right owner for you?”
You can ask energetically if the dog has behavior issues and if those issues are going to be a problem if the dog will be yours.
Don’t be afraid to look at dogs online. It is a great way to practice energetic communication!
Ask Important Questions
The most important thing here is to ask yourself some questions first, and then ask your potential dog a lot of questions.
Just the same, the one hiding from you does not have to be your least likely choice either. He might just be extra shy (or submissive) and quiet. Who knows, that might be just what you are looking for!
And it’s worth mentioning that the Pitbull Terrier might not be the breed you need to avoid after all. I have met great Pit Bulls that are super friendly and loyal, and the shelters are full of them.
What it all comes down to is this: Take the time to ask the dog and yourself if you are a match energetically. Also, try to approach all of this with ease and joy, rather than fearing that you might get it all wrong. There is the beauty of knowing, and I can almost guarantee you that you will know!
And in the end there is this beautiful truth about it all, which a lot of dog owners will tell you: In actuality your dog will pick you as the owner. You just have the illusion that you were the one to pick your dog!
Need some advice or training tips regarding your own dog? I would be happy to help you solve dog training and behavior issues right over the phone — just like I was able to help Jim and Lynnette with their dog who used to be anxious and nervous around people.
I travel worldwide to help facilitate the communication process between people and animals through workshops, courses, private consultation, and a popular radio show called Conversations With Dog.