Ready to choose your Aussie puppy? When faced with a litter of adorable puppies, it can be a daunting task to choose just one to go home with (or, sometimes, choose none because they don’t fit your long term goals – that can be even worse!).
Assuming you’ve screened your breeder (and vice-versa) and you’re satisfied with what they are offering in terms of the dog and long term relationship, it’s time to choose a puppy.
Always go back to the original purpose of what you’re looking for when you started looking. Do not be swayed by adorable puppy eyes and barks. Sometimes those puppies choose you even when you’re trying to select with a stone heart, but paying attention to puppies when they are young indicates a lot about them as they get older.
First, are they healthy?
Puppies should be clean, happy, and willing to meet you. No runny noses, no poopy butts, no injuries that are unaccounted for (puppies can bite each other pretty hard, so there is that). Turn the other direction if the litter isn’t robust and happy. It’s one thing to meet them if they are tired from playing, but if a puppy seems listless when the others are playing, ask questions of the breeder and be satisfied with those answers before you continue forward.
How do they meet you?
Aussies can be reserved with strangers, even at a young age. Take note of which puppies run straight to you and which hang back. You are, right now, a stranger and this may indicate how they interact with strangers in the future. If puppies hide or run away, this could be a sign that they haven’t been properly socialized by the breeder and you may have other issues. You can tell a lot from a puppy even when they are young – look with the adult dog in mind. Is that the dog you want when fully grown?
Test response to stimuli
If you have an idea of which puppies are in the running, it’s time to do some tests – some is just observance. Which ones are in the mess of trouble and which ones keep to themselves? Which ones are bullies and which submit? All of these little subtle signals tell you a lot about what is behind that puppy’s basic temperament.
Clap, make a big noise that surprises them. Which puppies recover quickly from the surprise and which slowly. Pick puppies whose response match what you expect in an adult dog.
Pull out a toy and try to engage the puppy with it. Which ones think that’s a great idea and which ignore you? A puppy quick to engage with your actions is likely to be a puppy that is both fun and easy to train and also going to be very dependent on you in his or her world – they will look to you for amusement. A puppy less interested may not be as interested in training but will also be good hanging around the house and not up in your business.
Many people say you can’t tell much about a puppy before they go home with you, so take all of the above with a grain of salt. Many pick puppies haven’t worked out where leftover puppies became stars.
The whole object, however, is doing the best you can to pick the puppy that’s most likely right for you.