Top 13 Most Important Traits to Look For When Buying A Puppy

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All puppies are by default super-cute, so choosing the one that’s right for you may be a difficult task. But besides cuteness, there are other things that you should be taking into considering when you’re buying a puppy. Here are some guidelines and suggestions that should help you choose a perfect puppy for yourself.

1. Call The Puppy By Its Name

It may seem odd or insignificant, but it’s very important for a puppy to recognize its own name. First of all, a puppy should always be given one.

A puppy without a name is a sign of a suspicious breeder. Also, if a puppy has a name but doesn’t recognize it or respond to it, it’s another sign that the breeder or the previous owner hasn’t been taking very good care of it. Most professional and reputable breeders and caring families name their puppies and teach them their names from the start.

It’s important for a pup to know its name because it’s the very beginning and the basis of every successful training. Make sure to use his name in a consistent manner so he can learn when and what it is that you want from him.

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2. Look Closely At The Dog’s Eyes

Of course you want your dog to have good eye sight, so that’s one of the first things to look for when buying a puppy. It’s not just about eye diseases, like glaucoma, cataract or dry eye, which may impair vision or even lead to blindness –other, mostly genetic diseases can manifest themselves through eye or vision problems. The most common diseases are quite easy to recognize, especially cataract.

Other diseases and conditions may be of genetic or congenital origin, and may be a bit more difficult to spot. Still, every breeder is obligated to disclose any disease the dog may be suffering from.

Checking a puppy’s eyes is quite simple – the eyes should be clear and light and the puppy should be able to follow your finger with his eyes when you move it in front of him.

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3. Check His Hearing

Keen senses are vital for any dog, and that doesn’t just go for the sense of smell – good hearing is another sign of a healthy, strong and able dog. When buying a puppy, it’s recommended to check his hearing and it’s pretty simple to do.

Just snap your fingers a couple of times on both sides of his head, close to the ears. The puppy should be able to turn his head in the direction of the sound of fingers snapping. This test also shows whether the puppy has good reflexes.

Bear in mind that puppies are born deaf, as well as blind. They are unable to hear anything until they are approximately three weeks old. When their sense of hearing does develop fully, it becomes four times stronger than human’s and capable of hearing sounds that humans can’t.

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4. Does The Dog Let You Rub Her Stomach?

You can tell by many different signs whether a puppy has been bred well and taken good care of. If a puppy has been neglected or even abused, he will be shy, wary of people or even aggressive. A friendly puppy, on the other hand, is always a good sign.

But who do you tell a friendly puppy when all of them seem to wag their tails and squeak or bark in the same jolly manner? Rubbing the puppy’s belly is one way. A puppy that’s friendly by nature will always allow you to rub his belly and he will enjoy it.

He will roll around, make satisfied sounds and follow you around asking for more. Of course, some dogs enjoy having their bellies rubbed more than the others, and some don’t seem to enjoy it at all, but if a puppy evades your touch, it’s usually a bad sign.

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5. Test For Independence

If you want a dog who will be a loyal companion to you and your family, you should choose a puppy that does not exhibit signs of being overly independent. Just like cats dogs have their own character and while some are submissive and attached to their owners, others may be more independent or even stubborn.

Such dogs require more extensive training and therefore more time and patience. If that’s not something that works for you, then test your prospective puppy for independence before buying it.

You can test a puppy’s independence through a simple test. Stand several feet away from the pup with a squeaky toy or a similar item. If the puppy is able to come to you directly, with little or no distraction, then it’s safe to say he’s not an overly independent one.

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6. Does The Puppy Like  Its Owners?

Whether a puppy likes his owners or breeders or not is another sign of proper or improper care. Puppies that are afraid of their owners or simply don’t care for them are probably not being taken very good care of.

Now, you can choose to walk away from such puppy, since a traumatized or neglected dog always needs more care and attention and definitely needs more extensive training, or, as an animal lover that you probably are, you can choose to take him home and give him all the love and attention he needs and deserves.

Puppies that are shy and afraid of you when to approach them (of they, for example, tuck their tail between their legs or run away from you) may have a bit of a problematic temperament and that’s something to bear in mind before buying them.

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7. FEEL THE CHEST

Healthy lungs are fundamental for good overall health of a dog, so checking to see if the chest and the lungs are fine is one of the first things you want to do before buying a puppy. First of all, the chest shouldn’t be flat or limp – it may be a sign of an airway obstruction.

This is something that is commonly seen in brachycephalic dog breeds, such as Pekingese, Pugs and Boston Terriers. You also want to check for pneumonia. One of the sure signs of this disease is cough, along with lethargy, fever, rapid and shallow breathing and rapid pulse.

When feeling the chest of your potential puppy, check the heart too. If the heart seems particularly vibrant and the pulse feels irregular or too fast, it may be a sign of a congenital heart disease.

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8. A HEALTHY COAT IS BRIGHT AND SHINY

The coat is one of the first things we notice on a dog, especially if he’s a long-coated breed. Before buying a puppy, examine his coat and sin thoroughly and check for signs of parasites or skin conditions.

First of all, check if the color and markings are correct for the breed in question. Feel the hair and check if it’s smooth, fluffy and shiny enough. If there are areas of the skin that appear red or flaky, it may be a sign of fleas or mites. Puppies can suffer from parasites, mange and ringworm, and you can tell that by patches of shabby, thin hair and bald spots.

It’s important to take care of your dog’s hair. Regular grooming is a great way to bond with your pet and also an opportunity to examine the hair and the skin for signs of health issues.

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9. EXAMINE PUPPY FOR SOUNDNESS AND CORRECT STRUCTURE

There is a number of conditions and inherited bone and joint diseases that may affect a dog since the earliest age, so it’s recommended to check his legs and his overall composure before buying a puppy. The legs should be strong, well-formed and straight and he should be able to walk and run properly, of course.

Some of the faults that may be noticeable in puppies under four months of age include bowed legs (either in or out), flat feet with toes that are spread apart and weak pasterns. Some breeds are particularly prone to two bone and joint diseases – hip dysplasia and patella luxation. Both are somewhat difficult to detect in very young puppies so breeds that have the higher risk of these diseases should always come with a certificate of sire and dam.

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10. THE PUPPY’S GAIT SHOULD BE FREE AND SMOOTH

When you go to a breeder to buy a dog, ask to see the puppy’s gait. If there is a limp or something else seems a bit off when the puppy is walking or running, it may simply be a sign of a sprain or a similar injury, but it may also indicate something more serious.

If you suspect something is off when it comes to the puppy’s gait, ask an experienced breeder or a veterinarian to examine the puppy in order to rule out conditions like patella luxation and hip dysplasia. When it comes to movement, there are two types – symmetric and asymmetric.

Symmetric movement, such as walk, trot and pace, involves a symmetrical movement of the left and right limbs evenly spaced, in regular intervals. In asymmetric gaits like gallop, the movements do not repeat on both sides and are uneven.

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11. THE EARS SHOULD STAND CORRECTLY

Every breed has a different position of the ears, so before getting a puppy, learn about his breed and find out which is the correct position of the ears. This goes for most breeds, except for those, like German Shepherds, whose ears do not stand fully until the age of six months.

Check the ears for signs of parasites or infections. The tips of the ears should be hairy and strong. If thee are bald spots or crusts, it may be a sign of a skin condition like mange. Check the ear canals too.

They should smell sweet and appear clean. Ears with a lot of wax and a foul smell are probably infected. An ear infection can also manifest through frequent shaking of the head and tenderness or pain in the area around the ears.

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12. OBSERVE THE PUPPY’S TEMPERAMENT

One of the reasons why it’s recommended to get a puppy from a breeder instead from a pet shop is that, at the breeder’s, you can observe the puppy interacting with the others in his litter. Watch for personality traits and temperament and pick the puppy that works best for you and your needs.

Every puppy has his own character but there are some general guidelines that apply for most puppies. You want a dog who is a combination of sweetness, energy and good health. Ideally, a puppy should be playful and jolly, but not aggressive towards the others in his litter.

Most puppies enjoy a little roughhousing with each other, but if one puppy seems rougher than the others, he might grow up a biter. Avoid puppies that seem too shy or too aggressive.

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13. CHECK THE PUPPY FOR A CORRECT BITE

Before you buy a puppy, it’s highly recommended to check his teeth and gums. For most breeds, the ideal bite is the so-called scissors bite – where the upper incisors overlap the lower incisors just a little bit. An even bite, meaning the upper and the lower incisors meet at the same level, is also tolerable in most breeds.

As for the gums they should be strong, pink and healthy-looking. Pale gums may indicate anemia, which, in turn, may be a sign of an intestinal parasite. You also don’t want gums that are too brightly red or pink.

Puppies have 28 teeth before they start to transition to secondary or adult teeth – 42 of them. Problems may occur during the transition, resulting in an overbite or an underbite, so you may want to get a dog who already completed this process.

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