The first piece of advice I have is “DON’T” even think about it unless mom gives the go ahead. The pleas of children and husbands not withstanding, it is mom who always ends up signing the responsibility cheque. Now with 20 years under my belt I’m sure 90% of the calls placed for help with basic or problem behaviour are placed by women.
Women almost always are the bookers of vet appointments, fillers of food dishes and half naked chasers of dog escaping out the door while they were trying to have relaxing soak, etc. This isn’t a family vote situation, it’s mom – master of the family universe situation.If mom says yes, who should have the final say on breed? You guessed it – mom. Men are not always, but sometimes are prone to thinking a Ferrari might serve just as well as a mini van and can be inclined to select a dog that is more geared to high mental and physical needs. We have to remember that 50 years ago some of the breeds people buy now didn’t normally see the inside of the house but they were socialized and stimulated mentally and physically because they worked for a living. Put a border collie in a house with nothing to focus it’s mind on and exert it’s body on every time it sees a passing car is going to think, “Well it’s not a sheep but it will have to do.” and a short time later separating the owner’s (probably mom) arm from it’s socket.Let’s assume mom gives the go ahead. Here are the basics. Select the breeder carefully. Most don’t do biosensor stimulation during the limited window it would do the most good. They don’t provide the sound, sight and smell exposure to the degree that avoids fear aggression and anxiety problems later in life. They almost never followup with litters to learn what their strengths and weaknesses are so they can tweak their breeding program. They don’t properly start housetraining and they don’t begin crate training the latter in particular can have a profound effect on making the transition from one mom to another.Next to last you must prepare your pup for being alone. Gradually between the time you pick it up (no earlier or later then 7 ½ to 8 weeks of age – behaviour and temperament problems otherwise) and 12 weeks of age, start small and work up to 3 – 4 hours of totally alone time, otherwise separation anxiety could be a lasting problem down the road.
Lastly, (but there is oh so much more to be said) from the day of pick up until 12 weeks of age all of which are the latter part of critical socialization period get that dog out to experience every sound, sight and smell you can find until it is unflappable. Your vet will likely tell you not to because your dog’s inoculations will have not provided sufficient protection. I don’t agree. Far more dogs are put down for problems that trace back to poor socialization then are at risk from the viruses the inoculations protect them from. That doesn’t mean walk into risky environments. Carry the dog into the hockey arena, to the airport. Toss a blanket down and sit in a lawn chair with the leashed pup on the blanket. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Proper socialization (not puppy socialization classes) is a life time gift to your dog and your family.