Feb
15th

Consider Character When Bringing A New Puppy Home

This is another article on bringing a new puppy home, this time inspired by Arwen’s reaction to a very usual item of clothing!

I had been for a walk with my partner.  We were on another visit to the Lock House (restaurant and coffee shop) with the dogs.  All the dogs were lying peacefully on the floor waiting for any bits of cake or bread roll on offer.

Then in came a family with some teenage children.  The eldest boy was carrying a Peruvian hat with a very thick fake fur trim.  Initially Arwen didn’t notice it.  But then she spied a bit of the fur trim poking out from the side of the chair which the boy was standing behind.  The poor girl could not decide if it was something to eat, or something to be friendly with.

The other two dogs, Kylah and Vinnie, didn’t pay any attention to the hat.  Vinnie’s too old to bother and Kylah’s brainy enough to know it was simply clothing.

This shows how important it is to be clear on what you need from a dog’s character before bringing a new puppy home (or bringing a new dog home if you go for an adult).

Notice I say ‘need’ not ‘want’.  Many people bring home a puppy which they think has the character they want, only to find it’s not a good choice for their home.  Let me explain more.

Pure breed dogs show a general character type which is fairly reliable.  For example, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a loyal, protective dog which was originally bred to herd bulls to market.  They have to be good with people but also strong minded and determined when necessary.

Staffies these days mostly have a reasonably relaxed and outgoing character.  However the ‘bullishness’ they needed to do their original job still remains in the breed.  You will get variation in the puppies, depending on the quality of the sire and dam (father and mother) used, and also how the genes fall when the puppies are formed in the womb.

This is why you can get a litter of Staffie puppies where some are outgoing and relaxed, and others are more aggressive and territorial.  There is a range of characters in any litter of puppies, no matter what breed (even mixed breeds).  No two puppies will be the same.

How does this affect you?

First, it’s important to bring home a puppy with a nice temperament.  I mean by that one which reflects the best of the breed you are choosing, if it is a pure breed.  But it’s not just about that.   To bring home a suitable puppy, you must be sure first that the overall character of the breed or type of dog you are choosing actually works for you!

So what kind of character do you need?  How would you feel about a guarding dog that will bark at every noise and visitor to the house?  Do you need a bubbly, energetic dog that is always into everything and likes to have fun?  Or is a quiet and undemanding dog more your style.

Generally speaking, the type of puppy you bring home should reflect the type of person YOU are.  If you’re bubbly and always on the go, and love exercise, then maybe a lively Springer Spaniel, Labrador or Standard Poodle would suit.  However if you are a quiet and calm type, these dogs could drive you nuts very quickly.

I know this because I’ve been immersed in dogs almost all my life.  Yet even I made some horrendous mistakes when I first got started.  Now I can always choose a new dog for myself successfully, and I can match you to a dog that suits you perfectly too.

So if you’re worrying about what to do, that’s a good thing.  It can be difficult to know how to choose the right breed of dog and then get a suitable character puppy for you. There’s so much to look for and consider.  That’s even more true when you are starting out for the first time, or if you have made a bad mistake with a puppy in the past.

If you’re thinking of bringing a new puppy home, get some expert help so you can get the puppy and character that suits you best.  Click here to claim your Free Guides

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2 Responses to “Consider Character When Bringing A New Puppy Home”

  • s s says:

    How do you determine the puppy’s character if you wouldn’t get a chance to bring it home before you actually get the dog?

  • Beverley says:

    Hi and thanks for the question!

    First, you will almost NEVER get the chance to bring home a puppy on trial before paying the breeder’s fee, or rescue centre donation. So you will need to start this way:

    The main point I was making here is – if you are thinking of getting a pure breed of dog, do A LOT of research into how that breed came about, and what it was bred for.

    Find out as much as you can about the older dog breeds that went into its make-up when the breed was created. What kind of character do they have?

    Then find out as much as you can about the breed now it is established. What was it bred for? Was it originally a hunting dog? A guard dog? A companion dog? What kind of general temperament does this breed have? Is it easy to train? Does it bark a lot? Does it hate strangers? Does it usually like or dislike other dogs? Will it jump fences or dig up your garden? Does it need a lot of exercise? Will it be able to live with your kids/cats/visitors/guinea pig?

    Look at every bit of information you can find and then decide what kind of character and exercise needs this dog breed will usually have. Then decide if it that overall package is going to suit you and your lifestyle.

    You can do the same for cross breeds. If the rescue centre tells you it is most probably a collie and terrier mix, look up the general temperament of collies and terriers and how much exercise they need. If you can live with something that has brains, agility, stamina, loves long walks and the outdoors, could be difficult to train, will round up sheep, will possibly chase/kill the neighbours cats and might be quite dominant and pushy, this could be the dog for you!

    The main cause of ‘problem dogs’ is not the dog. It’s the fact that owners choose a dog because it looks handsome or cute without any knowledge of how that dog is likely to behave.

    Trying to assess a puppy’s character on site without knowing anything about the breed or type of dog is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. You’re doing things the wrong way round. Millions of people make this mistake every year, which is why rescue centres are always overflowing.

    So what you must do first of all is make absolutely sure that this dog type will suit you, before going to see any puppies. And you do that mainly by having a good look at breed profiles and asking ethical breeders questions (by e-mail and over the phone) about character. Then go and see some adult dogs. Only when you’ve satisfied yourself that you and that dog are a good match should you get near any puppies.

    If you want to know how to cover those basics properly and find an ethical breeder, then claim the free guides available on this site. They will tell you more than 90% of people who choose a dog ever know.