Buying a Puppy? Top 3 Secrets to Choosing the Pick of the Litter

So you decided to buy a puppy. Congratulations. Buying a puppy is kind of like a wedding. The event is one of pure bliss. But once you start living together, the hard work begins.


And there’s no lack of hard work when it comes to raising a puppy. But to prevent surprises, the following is an easy guide to choosing the right puppy for you.

First of all, you need to have a general idea of what you want in a dog as well as what you’re not willing to tolerate.

Want a chilled out pooch? If that’s the case, a working breed like  a border collie probably isn’t for you. For a gentle giant, you may want to consider a more lazy breed like a French Mastiff.

If you’re very active and enjoy going on long runs and want a dog that matches your lifestyle, a British Bulldog might not be a good match. Instead, just about any herding or retriever breed would do just fine.

So when selecting a breed, try to do some homework first. Of course, each dog is unique and breed can only tell you so much about the dog’s disposition. And that is why when you do make the trip to the breeder, here’s an easy guide to picking the puppy that is best for you.

The Puppy Test

So you’re at the breeder’s kennel/house. The puppies are at least six weeks old (the recommended age minimum for evaluating temperament). You see a bunch of puppies running around and have no idea which one to choose. They’re all so cute and delicious…Stop!

What I’m about to say will affect your life for the next twelve to fifteen years .

This is where you begin the Puppy Test.

The first thing you need to do is to choose a puppy and take him into another room to isolate him. That way he’ll be less distracted from his litter mates for the puppy test.

The Prey Drive Test

Want a dog who’s a go-getter? One who is especially active? One who is highly motivated and is most likely to chase balls sticks and other stuff that moves?

Or do you prefer the more passive tempered dog?

Either way, you will know this after taking the Prey Drive test. here’s how:


  • Take a piece of paper
  • Crumple it up into a ball
  • Throw it to the side of the puppy

Does he chase it with a passion? If so,he’s a high focused, high intensity dog. He’ll be perfect as a running partner and for your hyperactive 14 year-old son, but probably less so for your 85 year old grandmother with arthritis.

Is he unimpressed? Then he’s probably a more passive neutral dog who won’t get excited easily and doesn’t have the best attention span. But this is good if you just want a calm companion rather than a little ball of dynamite.

The Trust Test

Does the dog trust you blindly or is he a little more suspicious of your intentions? You can find out by taking the Puppy Trust test.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Interlock your fingers and pick up the puppy from his belly up.
  • Hold him above the ground for ten seconds.

Does he resist?…If yes, he’s independent minded and will be less likely to come to you when called.

If no, he is very trusting and will trust you with his life (literally).

Another important test to see how he’ll respond to obedience training is the…

Sensitivity Test

This tests will let you know how well he’ll respond to your commands. The exam goes as follows..

  • Play with the puppy for a bit until he gets ‘bitey’
  • Let the puppy bite you.
  • As soon as you feel the bite, growl and bark at him like a real mamma dog would. Make sure it’s loud and quick.

Does he back off and look at you for permission to proceed? If yes, he will be easier to train than the others

If no, he will be stubborn and more difficult to train.

Those are just a few easy indications you can use when choosing a puppy that suits your lifestyle. Remember, it’s all relative to the performance of each puppy’s litter mates so every result should be marked down on a scale of 1-10 and weighed against the other puppies that you evaluated.

Was this post helpful? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below.

David Sidman is a certified professional K-9 trainer with a specialization in training military and Police working dogs. Sidman qualified as an I.D.F explosive detection dog handler and was certified in Police K-9 Training by the Eastern States Working dog Association (ESWDA)

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