How To Pick A Puppy For The Outdoors

All puppies are cute, but when you get a pup, you are investing in the future dog that will be your companion for the rest of its life.

By Philip Hunt
Explore Ambassador

Owning a dog is a long-term decision. The car ride home with a new pup is filled with puppy licks and dreams of great outdoor adventures. The little puppy you bring home will soon turn into a grown dog. All puppies are cute, but when you get a pup, you are investing in the future dog that will be your companion for the rest of its life.

If you want to rescue a dog, there are so many to pick from that are looking for a second chance, and you can provide that. Some families need a dog that will perform certain tasks predictably and choose to get a dog from a breeder. Personally, we need a dog that has a desire to retrieve and the physical stamina to hunt in a wide range of conditions. For our family, we find it valuable to know the whole story of the dog and being able to train them around our children and strangers early.

If you feel called to rescue a pup, that is wonderful and animal shelters offer extensive resources on helping you find your companion. But if you want to get a puppy from a breeder, here are seven simple tips to pick the right puppy to be your outdoor buddy.


Find A Responsible Breeder

Any good breeder will usually admit that they rarely make a profit off of breeding. Responsible breeders care about the breed they love and want the good traits to persist for as long as possible. When breeders start to breed for certain recessive traits (hair or eye color) instead of musculature and temperament, problems can arise. Many times, unwanted genetic issues can arise when limiting the gene pool based on nonfunctional preferences. Irresponsible breeding practices also lead to overpopulation and “puppy mills” where dogs must be removed from filthy, unhealthy conditions. You can find responsible breeders through your local humane society or the AKC website.


Be Ready For The Responsibility

Adding a furry member to your household is an exciting endeavor. Before you go to look at puppies, make sure you are prepared to take on the responsibility of owning the dog for the next decade or longer. Impulse purchases from breeders are the leading cause of shelter relinquishments putting a strain on local shelters.


Give Your Pup A Job

The best dogs have purpose and drive to fulfill a task. Understanding what you would like a dog to do around the house is important when picking the breed. That job could be as complicated as being a service dog or as simple as warming your lap on the couch.


Certain Breeds Like Certain Jobs

If you want a dog whose main job is to be a calm, companion dog around the house, don’t get a field trial line Labrador retriever. If your dog will be a long-distance hiking companion, don’t get a miniature dachshund. It is easy to fall in love with a breed, but all breeds thrive in certain environments. Expecting a German short-haired pointer to lay around all day and not get into mischief without exercise is wishful thinking.


Research Breeds And Litters

Once you have an idea of what job your dog will do in your household, narrow down the breeds that might fit the best. Internet searches are a good first step. Next, reach out to the breeders and ask for pedigrees and references. A good website does not always mean responsibly bred dogs.


Cost Is Not A Factor

Nobody buys a dog to save money. Expect to spend $500 to $2000 dollars on a responsibly bred dog. If you can’t afford the upfront cost, the upkeep cost will not be any easier on your wallet. Food, veterinarian visits, flea and tick medication and maybe even emergency veterinarian visits quickly add up to more than the price of the dog within a year or two. Your family is more important than your need for a puppy. If you are not financially ready for the potential costs, do not add that stress to your family by adding a furry money pit.


Get Advice From The Breeder

I know what you’re thinking, “I thought this piece was about how to pick a puppy? Now he tells me not to pick one?” If you have taken all the steps to make sure you are ready for a pup and have found a good breed with a responsible breeder, you can trust the breeder to pick the right puppy for you. Breeders spend a large amount of time with the puppies from birth to the day they leave. Certain character traits are easily seen by the ones who have cared for them every day for two months tirelessly. Let them know if you want a male or a female, what job your dog will have around the house and love whatever fluff ball they give you.

If you choose to go with a rescue pet, call your local shelter and schedule an appointment to meet the pups that are available. Communicate thoroughly with the shelter staff about which dog has shown traits and temperament that will adapt to your family.

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