How to Pick a Puppy

Learning how to pick a puppy and deciding if she is a healthy puppy, requires that you do so with an objective mind.

Touching and cuddling a cute, little Golden Retriever puppy that is sweetly licking your face, tends to make you forget everything else!

©Photo courtesy of Susie Scribner

how to pick a puppy, 3 week old Golden Retriever puppies

When choosing a puppy, consider your home life, your prior experience with dogs, and whether you want a male or a female Golden Retriever.

Does your family have young children and not a lot of puppy experience? If so, then choose a puppy that has a more submissive personality.

Is your family always “on the go”, and off chasing new adventures and activities? Then a more dominant puppy may be just what you are looking for.

A quick way to find out the pup’s submissiveness is to do a few “holds” on the pup.

©Photo Courtesy of Andrea Spence

choosing a puppy, Golden Retriever puppy looking at a ball

Pick the puppy up into your arms and lay her on her back, just as if you were cradling a baby. A submissive pup will calmly lay in your arms. A more dominant pup will try to wiggle away.

Lay the puppy on the floor. Place her on her back and set the palm of your hand across her chest. A submissive pup will lay still, but a dominant one will squirm to get away.

Ask the breeder which pups are the more submissive, or the more dominant as she should know from working with them every day, but please be aware that this is a guideline only.

©Photo Courtesy of Mary Kepple

choosing a puppy, Golden Retriever puppy hiding in bushes

Shy pups can grow into confident dogs, and dominant pups can be toned down. It’s a matter of knowing your dog as she grows, and then training her according to her unique, individual personality.

I’ve obtained Golden pups that were shy when they were young, but are not shy any longer. And I’ve also had more dominant pups that are now sweet, obedient Golden adults.

Puppies tire very quickly, thus affecting your judgment on their personalities. I try to bring the puppies out to show about 10 minutes before the potential buyer arrives. This way, the pups have had time to potty, wake up, and be ready to show off their cute little selves!

If however, the buyer is much later than expected, sometimes they will walk into a room full of sleeping pups! They may be looking for a calmer, more submissive pup, but actually be considering a rowdy one, as they can’t believe that this snuggling, sleepy pup is capable of quite the antics!

©Photo Courtesy of Karima Selehdar

how to pick a puppy, chubby Golden Retriever puppy

This is another good reason to question the breeder about what she has observed as their normal behavior.

In deciding how to pick a puppy, I am constantly asked if the male or the female Golden Retriever has the better personality.

Personally, I find very little difference between the two. I own several of each sex, and am proud and confident with how they act within my home, with strangers, children, other animals, and out in public.

There are certain cycles and times that either sex will act a bit differently than normal. This generally revolves around the female heat cycles.

When a female Golden is in heat, she usually becomes a little clingy, wanting more affection and petting than usual.

©Photo Courtesy of Bonnie Matthews

choosing a puppy, older Golden Retriever puppy sitting by pond

If there is a female in heat around your stud dog, he will cry, whine, and may not eat much during this time. Sort of like a child begging for a toy that you have said no to!

My males are not neutered, and I have never had any of them “mark” in my house. And the female heat cycle is not as big of a mess that people assume it will be.

So in your decision of how to pick a puppy, rest assured you will be very satisfied with either sex.

Once you have narrowed down your choice of puppies, then you will move on to deciding if this is a healthy puppy.

Go from How to Pick a Puppy to Puppy Care 

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