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Choosing a Puppy

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There are so many ideas about how to choose the right puppy for your lifestyle and goals. With going on 40 years in dogs, I will say the best way is to first choose a good breeder who breeds for qualities you hope to have in your new puppy.   Have an in depth and honest conversation about your needs, experience, lifestyle and plans.  A good breeder will then help steer you to the right pup or pups in the litter, or rarely even tell you none may be a great fit.  A good breeder knows her puppies well as individuals as well as the lines and how they should mature.  

It's okay to have a sex and color preference but know that puppies are not cookie cutter in the litter - meaning they will all turn out exactly the same even if raised together. They are as individual as humans, and how we raise them can only make them be the best or worse versions of themselves.   Think of families with several or more human children, born to the same parents, raised in the same environment, yet look how each child is a unique individual.   Some are quite opposite of each other in some personality traits.   Pups are no different.  So while you may have a color preference, also wait for a puppy who seems to have a lot of the temperament traits that would be a good fit. 

I will also include a few short articles on other topics, such as whether to get a male or female pup, one or two, or even whether you may want to consider an older puppy.  

Will you choose a handsome baby boy, or a pretty baby girl?
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There are a lot of myths about the benefits of one sex of puppy over another.  In all my many years of living with dogs of both sexes, and for over 20 years with intact rather than spayed or neutered, I can't say there are THAT many differences, especially in spayed or neutered dogs. 

I will make a few generalizations here, but remember they are just that, and that each dog will be an individual.

I think males tend to be more happy go lucky, not taking life too seriously.  They love to play and tend to be puppy like for many years.  If neutered by 18 months of age, they tend not to have a lot of the male behaviors people may not want.  I find it's easier to keep a group of neutered males than females who are spayed or not.  I enjoy their happy outlook on life very much. 

Females may take life a bit more seriously, though some are pretty silly too.  Some tend to be a bit more "cunning" in that they will decide they want something and will do all they can to get it.   If you have several females, they may be more likely to have issues with each other than several boys do.  Bear in mind this is more true of intact girls rather than spayed ones though even spayed ones may be this way.  Intact girls sure can have mood swings!   But I also find one of the BIGGEST factors is how we set up our dogs' daily routine. If we set them up to minimize conflict and over stimulation, they get along better than if it's more of a free for all.

  I find if you have a dog of one sex already, getting the opposite for your second dog may be ideal.  The next best is two boys, and last is two girls, though it can work if the girls are not the more dominant types.  We always say boys fight for points, girls fight for keeps.  (That doesn't always mean a real fight, but you get the idea.)

  A lesser issue is size and coat.  Some boys will carry a bit more coat, especially around the neck and chest, than some girls.  It doesn't mean boys are harder to groom, but will have a handsome look to them. Boys tend to be bigger, though not always by a lot.  After they are spayed or neutered both sexes get a lot more coat, don't shed as normally, so either will take more grooming then.

   All in all, people tend to pick what they think is the "best" sex for them, but the purpose of this is to get them to think outside the box, and look at both sexes when choosing a new pup.

Should You Get One Puppy, Or Two?

Since I have had people ask me about the pros and cons of getting two puppies at once, I decided to write a little about the topic.


There are definitely various opinions about the whether it's a good idea to get two puppies at once.  Various "experts" will give various viewpoints and opinions. I thought I would give some of the pros and cons, based mostly on my own experiences with this breed.

 In favor of getting two pups at once, they will have a companion their own size and age to play with.  Dogs are social creatures, and nothing can beat them having a friendly canine companion, especially when their people are not able to be with them. It will ease the transition from the birth home to the new home, as they won't have to lose all their siblings at once.   They can use up some of the boundless puppy energy, and continue to develop good doggy social skills interacting with their friend. For a family that wants two dogs, getting both pups through the early stages of training at once can be a good thing. However, it can help if there are at least two people in the family who will be responsible for the actual puppy training, so each can work with one pup at a time.   I get a lot of joy watching puppies play together, almost more so than playing with them myself. 

On the downside, having two can mean a little extra work in some areas. They may want to focus on each other more than their people, though with Aussies this may not be as bad as in some breeds.   They may get into more trouble in the sense if one finds something, he has a partner in crime.  Care should be taken to give each puppy some one on one training and bonding time so it doesn't get too attached to the other dog.  There will be double the expense in the beginning, but you would have that anyway, should you decide to add the second puppy some time later. 

Some people who want two dogs will get one through the early stages of training and housebreaking with the first dog, and once that dog is closer to a year old, the second is added.  The nice thing about that is the older dog can teach the puppy some things, as puppies tend to follow the older dogs in the pack.  The puppy will be comforted knowing there is another dog in the house.  It can help with the basic house routine, but of course the new puppy will need plenty of training from the owners to reach full potential.  The drawback with this is it can take a little time for the younger puppy to reach a size where it is a good playmate for the older pup, but it is usually just a matter of months.

The next question is whether to get two litter mates, and what sexes.  I find that overall, if they are spayed or neutered, a same sex pair isn't too much more at risk of not getting along than an opposite sex pair. I do think overall boys get along better than some girls though.  And as far as getting litter mates, I can't say it is any worse than getting two unrelated but same or similar aged pups at the same time.  If you already know you like the bloodlines and parents of a litter, getting two just gives you two nice quality puppies. 
  So to sum it up, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of "should I get two at once?"  It has more to do with the lifestyle of the owners, and what expectations and goals they may have, how much time they can spend with each pup, their financial situation,and other factors specific to the situation. Just make sure to really talk about the decision before proceeding, and weigh the factors for your own situation. 

I will say that for me, the joy of having more than one dog far outweighs the extra work and expense.  One of the best things about having more than one dog is watching them play and interact with each other, and they have an automatic playmate at home.  It just is a matter of when to add that second, or third, or fourth dog!

Buying An Older Pup, or a "Leftover Pup"

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There are a lot of ideas about the "correct" age to buy a pup, or how to pick one.  Really, there are no hard and fast rules about this.  A lot of  the process of  picking a puppy has to do with individual taste and goals, and a chemistry between the pup and potential owner. One person's "pick" puppy may not be remotely desirable to another, and vice versa.  So just because there is only a pup or two left, it doesn't mean they are not going to be the "best" pup in the litter for you.  

   Also, while I tend to like to see puppies in their homes by 8 weeks of age, sometimes that is not possible.  As long as the pup is worked with daily, and introduced to all the things he may encounter in his future life, it is not bad to buy an older puppy.  You may find that he housebreaks faster since he has more control, and if he's been well socialized and trained by the breeder, it can save you time starting all these processes.  On the other hand, if the breeder just stuck him out in a kennel and didn't do much, you may have a harder time helping him adjust to life as a pet.  So take that into consideration and discuss that with the breeder.

   Some breeders, such as me,  keep a pup or two back to grow out, and decide which may best fit their goals, and offer the other one for sale at a later date.  These may be very nice pups but just not exactly what a breeder was hoping to add, and you have the benefit of getting a pup with some training.

   As far as pricing on an older puppy, some breeders may discount them somewhat, but others may not, as they will have more time and effort in the pup if they are working with it.  The pup will have had  his vaccination and deworming schedule continued, and the extra training may justify a higher price, especially if it is a lot older puppy or young adult.


"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:19


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