Pet Expressway for Dogs

Tips on Selecting A Puppy From An Animal Shelter

Tips on Selecting A Puppy From An Animal Shelter

Does A Puppy Fit Your Lifestyle ?

How To Choose The Right Puppy From The Litter?

Depending on what region of the country you live in, animal shelters often have litters of puppies available for adoption.

Choosing to adopt a puppy can be a decision driven by emotion but you should try to use some non-emotional guidelines when deciding if a puppy is a good decision for your lifestyle.

If you reach the decision to adopt a new puppy then some knowledge on how to choose the puppy in the litter that is right for your lifestyle is essential. Remember, you will be potentially spending the next 15 years with this pooch so it is best to get off to the best possible start.

Also to be fair to the dog, if you decide purely on emotion and then have a dog that does not fit your lifestyle, the potential consequences would not be very fair to the dog. Whether it be a hindered lifestyle for him or perhaps even having to find a new home.

It is very important to really think about whether or not a puppy is right for you and your family.

An 8 to 12 week old puppy your may find at the shelter is essentially an infant. His needs can be unforgiving of your personal schedule. The pup will become your priority. Are you ready for this routine changing event?

Tips To Determine If A Puppy Is Right For Your Lifestyle

These tips form the acronym T.I.M.E


Do you and your family have time in your every day lives to properly deal with the needs of a puppy? So many times you hear people say, “we are going to pick up the pup on Friday after work so we an spend the whole weekend with him.”

What a shock it must be for he puppy to have all of this attention only to be alone once Monday morning comes around. You cannot be an ‘A #1’ puppy parent on the weekends and then go off to work from 9 to 5 leaving your best friend with improper care. Yes your intentions may be good but in this scenario, you do not have the time. Puppies need housebreaking, playing time, feeding, sleep time and nurturing time which is constantly disbursed 24 hours a day.


Do you have the desire to assess this dog’s wants and needs independent of your own? Even if you do and do not work the typical 9 to 5 job and are at home a lot, are you willing and do you understand that lifestyle sacrifices still need to be made?

Often it may be heard that a new puppy owner can no longer get all the errands done or make it to the gym because they did  not realize how much work a puppy would be.  You will need to maneuver your daily activities around the dog’s schedule . This reality must be understood in the beginning in order that resentment and frustration do not occur.


Puppies can be expensive. Since you are adopting, it is true that lots of animal shelters provide free and/or. low cost vaccinations and spay/ neutering but there will be continuing veterinary care, every few months in the first year and annually thereafter. Plus medical supplies such as tick & flea protection and heart-worm medication will be required monthly. These items are super expensive!!

Then there are dog training fees, which nowadays are a necessity.

Another consideration is the cost of dog grooming, nail trimming, teeth brushing supplies. Dog vitamins, toys, treats. etc.

Let us not forget the cost feeding the dog! Upscale, high priced dog foods are all the rage today. For some, dog day care and vacation care in the form of pet sitting and boarding can be a financial consideration as well. This lifestyle decision is simple. Can you fit this new expense into your disposable income budget. Are you willing to forego that facial for your new best friend?


This is a big consideration. The typical scenario you hear is as follows,

When my dog died at 12 years old, I went out and adopted a puppy. I don’t remember taking care of a puppy being this difficult. I’m exhausted all of the time, I cannot think straight. This puppy will be the death of me. Why is he so much more trouble than my last puppy.”

The answer is simple. The last time this person had a puppy, they were 12 years younger than they are now! You need to consider whether or not your current lifestyle including sleep patterns and physical activity level are proper for owning a puppy.

Time takes a toll on all of us. Plus we can easily forget the trouble that our 12 year old dog gave us during the first year and a half of his life as he went from puppy to child hood to adolescence to adulthood. It is a distant memory in comparison to that easy to care for 10, 11, 12 year old senior pet.

In contrast and with time, our memories fade on the day to day minutiae of puppy care Once again, you need to assess if you have the vitality and if you really want to ‘work that hard’ to ‘bring up puppy’ .

So  assess your T.I.M.E. This is your lifestyle quotient.

YouTube video


Ask Yourself  The Following Questions:

  • Do you have the time it takes spend with your puppy?
  • The initiative to fulfill all the the puppy’s need?
  • Do you have the money to supply all that is required for the puppy?
  • Do you have the energy to jump into the world of an infant who is dependent upon you for everything 24/7?

If the answer is ‘No’, then a puppy does not suit your lifestyle. Perhaps you can begin to think about adopting a teenage, adult or even senior dog.

If the answer is ‘Yes’ then a puppy does indeed fit into your lifestyle.

The next step is to determine which puppy in the liter is right for you. Here are some tips.

Tips To Choose The Right Puppy For You

Nature /Nurture

Dog Training and Behavior Shaping can help impact your dog’s disposition. But a puppy, even at the tender age of 8 to 12 weeks, already has a unique personality. Therefore it makes sense to look for personality traits inherent in the dog that suit your requirements.

For example, the pup in the liter who is the most outgoing, assertive will likely grow into a pushy , dominant adult dog. This may not be the best choice if you and your family are the passive types.

The pup in the liter who sticks to himself and does not interact may always have issues with being shy. This may not be the right fit if you have a large family.

The puppy in the liter who is attracted to people, but not overwhelming in activity or behavior would meet the needs of the average lifestyle. Theses observations are not a crystal ball into how a pup you have seen for only 5 minutes will behave for a lifetime. However, the point is to remind you to choose a puppy who has a personality that you can handle and will enjoy.

Breed Disposition

Know and understand the breed of puppy you are viewing at the shelter. Keep in mind, it may be a mixed breed. Take a moment to ‘Google’ the ‘Breed Disposition’ or genetic tendencies of the breed (s) of the liter. This way you can understand if the behaviors specific to this breed of dog are suitable for you, your family and your lifestyle.

For example, a Shetland Sheepdog (aka Sheltie) is a herding breed of dog. Expect this breed of dog to nip at the heels or your children as they run and bark excessively. It is important to rule out breeds of dogs that are not suitable for you from the start instead of trying to change them later on.

Puppy Testing

Though not foolproof, testing the liter of puppies to better see their personalities can help you make the best choice for your family. The goal would be to eliminate the most assertive and the most shy. Dogs who are less extreme will usually be the easiest to train and integrate into the family.

Dominant and Submissive dogs can be more work than well adjusted Followers. Submissive, hesitant dogs need to be exposed to the world in a more thoughtful, measured way.

Dominant , assertive dogs will always be pushing the boundaries and will therefore need more consistent training. For more information on actual types of Puppy Temperament Tests

Hopefully, these tips on deciding if a puppy is right for you and choosing the most appropriate puppy in the liter for your family will help you in your journey to find ‘Your’ perfect pooch. Remember not to base your decision solely on emotion and cuteness!

Assess your T.I.M.E and remember to explore nature, nurture, breed disposition and puppy temperament testing.

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Keith Byrne

Keith Byrne

From an early age Keith has been around dogs. He has been involved in dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting and dog showing as well as voluntary work in animal shelters. His aim is to help all dog owners especially newbies learn about dogs and care for them in a loving, caring and fun way.


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