Picking out a Puppy
Everyone loves a puppy. It is easy to get wrapped up in their toe beans and floof. Puppy breath is magical, and can sway even the strongest of people.
This is why having goals in mind for your puppy before you meet them is a great idea. This keeps the emotions at bay when you are looking for your next family member. Have a conversation about what you want in your next dog with your family and make sure everyone is on the same page before going to meet them.
Take a look at your lifestyle
How long has it been since you had a puppy? Did you have kids at home then? Is this your first puppy? Do you have other dogs at home?
All these scenarios affect how much “effort” you need to put in with your puppy. Were your kids at home 10 years ago? They were old enough to help with house training, and playtime. If you had other dogs at home when you got your last puppy, they helped raise that puppy even if you didn’t notice. If this lifestyle has changed, then your experience with this puppy will also be different.
Puppies in a litter are all going to be different just like you are different from your siblings. Because your other dogs were labs, does not mean that this one is going to be exactly the same. Take a look at all the pups in the litter and choose the one that will fit best with your family and lifestyle. At 6 to 8 weeks the pups genetic personality will show. If you have small children then the jumpy hyper pup may not be the best option for you. If you are an avid hiker, the sleepy, can’t be bothered pup might not be up for tagging along.
Genetics vs. training
I use a sliding scale analogy when talking about genetics vs. training. Imagine a scale of shy to bold. Genetics places you on a spot on the scale and training can slide you a little bit in either direction. If you want to take your pup to the brewery on weekends and go walking everywhere together. Training is not going to allow an overly shy pup to be able to handle those environments well. You may have to adjust your expectations for this puppy as they get older. If you are a homebody and are interested in a puppy that hangs out around the house, and plays with the kids, then a shy pup might be just the right fit! This is where finding a good breeder will help you choose a puppy that will be a perfect fit for you and your family.
What am I looking for in my puppy?
Malinois are crazy. The litter that I am looking at has 3 boys to choose from. I am choosing a boy because they tend to fit in better together, and tend to recover from spats better than girls. Since I have Cargo, I figured more boys are better than more girls. Cargo was a thoughtful puppy and I really liked that about her. She considered things before dismissing them. She wasn’t the first one to tackle something but once she thought about it she was not fearful of the obstacle. This is something that I will look for in the boys. Cargo had a lot to say when she was a puppy, and I am not about that sass again. She also was not one of the psycho, hang off your jacket at 6 weeks old puppies. (if you have not seen baby malinois, google it. That crap actually happens!)
I am also not afraid to walk away if this litter did not produce a puppy that will work out for me. With there only being 3 boys to choose from, there is a possibility that none of the pups will work for my lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to walk away. This is also especially important if you show up to get your puppy, and the breeder is not as qualified or as knowledgeable as you thought. “Rescuing” a puppy from these places just gives the breeder the okay to keep producing subpar puppies who will only create more grief for puppy buyers. There is always another puppy!