Placing puppies in the right home.

                                                           No two are alike. 

I got to temperament test puppies again and out of all the things that I do with dogs, it has to be one of my favorite.  Of course, who wouldn't want to spend time with 7 week old puppies?  But it is not just their adorableness that I love about puppies; I am fascinated by how they react to each test.  You can take a whole litter of puppies that look very similar and each can be very different.  I have tested a lot of litters over the years and each and everyone has been different; just as different as each puppy is within the litter.

Many breeders don't see a reason to temperament test.  They feel like they know their puppies; but there is a big difference in how a puppy reacts to someone they see everyday versus how they react to a stranger.  Add to that, a strange environment and you get a very good read on a dog.  I am often asked if I've been able to see some of the puppies I've tested once they've grown up and yes I have.  Many are exactly as I read, some changed a bit; either for better or worse, depending on the life that they have had.  Ahhh, there in lies the big question; how much does their upbringing have to do with a dog? 

A dog's environment and daily interactions is huge as far as making a dog.  What we do when we temperament test is see where that puppy would best thrive.  Who would be the best match for this one individual puppy.  What one puppy can handle, another may not.  Do you want to place a high drive, super charged puppy with someone who just wants to cuddle on the couch?  No.  It's not a match.  Placing a puppy with an owner while wearing a blindfold, just doesn't make sense.  That is what a breeder does when they allow an owner to choose their puppy.  Why not sift through them all and find the one that would be the best match? 

There are breeders who place puppies as they come out, literally.  Others who have people choose at two weeks of age.  Some breeders just stand back and let the new prospective owner have at it.  But let me tell you that the majority of new owners have no idea what they are looking for.  They have no knowledge of choosing the best puppy for them and rely solely on "looks."  I remember looking at a beautiful litter of puppies a few years back.  There was definitely a standout in the litter, as far as energy goes.  One little puppy who was going to give their new owner a run for their money.  The breeder said she hoped that the owners were ready for this puppy.  She'd been chosen before anyone knew what she was like.  That is just sad, because someone who was interested in a puppy like this was going to miss out.  Plus the person who was now destined to get her, may regret the day she picked her out. 

One of the biggest reasons that dogs end up being turned over to a rescue is choosing the wrong breed or mix of breeds.  The next is because they chose the wrong dog.  Of course it can all work out and you can live happily ever after but why not do your best to get a dog that you will be able to live with easily?  You need to know yourself; know what you want to live with, what you want to have to deal with in your life.  There is nothing wrong with choosing a dog that will mesh with your life.  I see far too many, very unhappy people who struggle with their dogs on a daily basis.  Dogs who are frustrated being put into a life that is very difficult for them on a day to day basis. 

I have talked to many people who think that if you want a dog, you just take a dog.  Any dog, a dog is a dog.  Well, that statement makes about as much sense as saying a human is a human.  Why not try to find your best match?  Doing temperament testing gives the dog and the human a greater chance at happiness.  Why not do it? 


  1. We just "adopted" a Spoo puppy who was too much for tHeir owners (they had his brother too). We have been working through the issues that he has after spending 2 weeks in not the right place for him. He joined a 5 month old Spoo and a 10 year old Spoo who have been a great help in re-training him. His temperament test showed that he should be a good fit but only after we undo what was done by a well meaning family. Pick your dogs carefully and don't become blinded by the adorable balls of fluff!!!!

  2. Yes, when I purchased Blue, my breeder knew I wanted a hunting dog and competition dog. Ergo, I was looking for a dog with energy and drive. Now when I showed up, she said she had two puppies for me to choose from. I had taken a friend with me whose mother used to breed and raise Westen Terriers. Now I stood there, looking at these two balls of fluff, and I couldn't decide which one I wanted. Eventually I asked my friend Jordan, and he took a few moments to just watch them. We and the puppies were all in the breeders dog washing room, and a cat was in there as well. Suddenly Jordan said to me, "that one. You will want that one." At that point I was too much at a loss on what differences there would be in the puppies.... they were both so damn cute I just wanted to take them both home. Later as Jordan and I took our long drive home and I was sitting in the passenger seat with my tiny Blue in my lap, I asked him why he chose THIS puppy. He said both puppies were chasing after a cat, which had taken refuge behind the dog washing tub. The other puppy gave up right away. The one in my lap ran from one end of the tub, looking in the space between tub and wall where the cat was, then ran to the other side and looked in that end too, and then ran back. He told me since he knew I wanted a hunting dog, the fact that the puppy stuck with his cat chase and was working on puzzling out just how to get at the cat spoke of intelligence to him already. I had done a lot of research on which breed I wanted to buy for my hunting dog, and knew I was getting an intelligent, high energy breed that might fit my allergies better. But when faced with two nearly identical balls of fluff, I was at a loss on the difference between the individual pups. I just could tell one pup had less of a curly affro than the other! lol.

    It is also sad that I do see some people get certain breeds just because they think they are cool. I have a friend of mine who has a young malamute that is close to the same age as Blue, so under 2 years of age. They should have no business with a breed who is meant to do hard work. They are not much of an active family, and I know they struggle day in and day out with their dog because to them he has "training issues". Their answer to everything..."Oh, put the muzzle on him for a while." I so badly want to steal their dog from them. I have since helped them figure out how to walk their dog without the dog pulling like crazy on the leash, and it took me dropping my own money on a gentle leader and a two handled leash (the ones with the handle close to the collar as well) for them to get set up correctly. I also personally helped walk that dog and showed them what I felt would work. I am no dog training expert, but I could tell them I felt they were letting the dog get away with certain things and that had to stop. Their dog now walks pretty good, but a short walk around a city block a couple times a week is still not enough exercise for that breed.

    Sorry, had to vent, and share a few experiences on my end. This was an excellent article.


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