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CHOOSING A PUPPY IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION

It is undeniable that virtually all puppies are cute, adorable, healthy, happy and irresistible. At that age, any one of them would be ideal for your family. Sadly, but realistically, you cannot and should not depend on an emotional reaction or your heartstrings to choose a puppy. The selection of a reputable, responsible and experienced breeder is the most important step you can take to assist you in finding a healthy, temperamentally sound puppy that will develop into an equally healthy and temperamentally sound adult dog that will be a part of your famiy for years to come

First and foremost you need to accept that the process of choosing a puppy is a gamble. The lack of indicators of future mental and physical health in a puppy is simply a fact. Even if you bring a veterinary specialist with you, the results of an examination will be meaningless. Diseases cannot be accurately diagnosed until the dog is much older. This is why it is so important to inquire about the parents of any puppy you are purchasing.

Despite the "surprise package" of traits that will awaken later in life, there are some general rules that can help guide your selection/choosing experience.



Basic Health


A critical aspect of puppy picking is the requirement that the sale is dependent on the results of a veterinary exam – both by the Breeder’s veterinarian and by your veterinarian. Normal puppies have clear eyes, glossy coats, and, at 9 weeks or over, flip between rocket-power and no-power. During a typical 20-minute visit, the puppies should remain attentive and alert to your presence.


Parental Health


In addition to the two veterinarian’s general examination, proof of health testing on the parents of the puppies for genetically transmitted health problems, furnished in writing, is a pre-requisite before you purchase your puppy.


The Environment


When examining the breeder's facility, your first thought should focus on cleanliness. To see how cleanliness affects behavior, consider this logical sequence:
  1. Puppies need to be handled.
  2. Puppies are messy.
  3. People don't cuddle poop-covered puppies.
  4. Litters that are confined in messy areas may be less likely to receive necessary interaction from people.

Ironically, the opposite of a messy environment may also invite behavioral problems. For example, breeders who are paranoid about perfect sanitation may also be limiting the litter's opportunities for proper socialization.


Interest in People


The most important aspect of a Cavalier's behavior is its desire to be with people - that's their primary purpose. However, a puppy’s reaction to people will differ depending on the age. Infant, baby puppies tend to do nothing but sleep and eat. Tired puppies just sleep, no matter what age. As they become better weaned and more active, they are more likely to interact with people.


Watch the Parents


If the breeder has the puppies' parents, take some casual observations of their behavior. For instance, if the breeder has the mother but won't let you near her, it may be a matter of an unreliable temperament. Most well-socialized Cavaliers allow people to handle their weaned puppies. The basic thought is that if the parents have behavioral traits that you consider questionable, you may want to find a different litter.


Plays Well With Others


The most desirable canine temperament is one that can coexist with other dogs, cats, birds, small children and guests. A passive but outgoing, happy (not shy) dog who can live comfortably with other species as well as their own is a blessing.


Watch the Breeder


While watching the behavior of the puppies is a critical part of your selection process, a neglected aspect of puppy selection is the behavior of the breeder. Good breeders have some things in common that let you know they are experienced, thoughtful, and responsible. For instance, good breeders will:
  • Have you agree to a spay/neuter contract for puppies that are not specifically intended for conformation dog shows.
  • Ask questions about prospective buyers to see if they are responsible pet owners.
  • Are concerned for the welfare of their puppies beyond the sale and make arrangements to keep in touch with their owners.

If the breeder is responsible, there are many questions you can ask to find out more about the care that went into planning the litter.


 


Related Topics:



How to Find a Responsible Breeder
Questions to Ask the Breeder
Stories from Other Pet Owners
Inherited Health Problems in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Expenses for Puppy’s First Year
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