How Do You Tell If a Puppy Has a Good Temperament?

Selecting the right puppy amongst a litter of captivating puppy faces can be a difficult task  You might be tempted to choose the first of a litter that enthusiastically runs up and licks your hand, but when you choose a puppy, you're committing to years of long nights, deep sleeps interrupted by barking episodes, mid-afternoon trips outside to use the bathroom, and daily/weekly walks around the neighborhood.

When you account for this time commitment, choosing a puppy best suited to your lifestyle and home environment isn't a decision that should be rushed, nor is it one that should be taken lightly. Temperament is one of the key factors that should concern a potential dog owner. By definition, temperament is similar to personality. It describes your pet's energy level, willingness to engage with strangers, anxiety levels, responsiveness to commands, etc.

Every dog is different, so familiarizing yourself with certain aspects of a puppy's temperament will help you make an informed decision regarding your new pet. Identifying a puppy's temperament early on is, undoubtedly, an investment, as it will help you raise your pup into a well-rounded, approachable, and well-behaved pet. To better understand your dog's temperament, keenly observe their responses to a variety of stimuli and consult this temperament guide from Snowy Pines White Labradors,

Watch how the puppy interacts with other puppies

The first and easiest step when choosing amongst a litter is observing how the puppies interact with each other. If, for example, you decide to sit and observe a litter of puppies, watch how this breed of pups play with one another.

Most people will look for a puppy that makes a bold impression, without being too aggressive or overly assertive. This confidence and strong personality not only will brighten your household but will help in future interactions with other dogs, whether you're out-and-about or introducing a new addition to the family. Shy, fearful dogs can certainly be trained. However, if you're in the market for a low-maintenance pup and the path of least resistance, you'll want a dog that displays a certain level of confidence and friendliness during your interactions.

Observe how the puppy acts around people

Again, your dog's confidence will inform their ability to greet and interact with passing strangers or fellow dogs at the dog park. Fearful dogs are unpredictable dogs. A scared dog may bite without much warning, or they may squirm enough to free themselves from their collars and flee, targeting unsuspecting pedestrians, park attendees, or fellow dogs.

If you want a puppy that you won't have to retrain out of a fearful mindset, pay close attention to how these puppies interact with you and other dogs upon that first meeting. Are their ears alert, but relaxed and is the tail ready to wag? Perked ears and wagging tails indicate that a puppy will be easy to socialize. For low-maintenance training, avoid the puppy cowering in a corner. A timid or reclusive puppy isn't the most ideal choice for inexperienced dog owners or those or looking for a puppy that is easily excitable, warm with strangers, or ready to be a companion.

Watch their behavior around children

Even if you don't have children, your puppy is bound to encounter young kids at some point in their lifetime, whether you're playing fetch at the park or hosting out-of-town guests.  A puppy that shows aggression toward youngsters shouldn't be ranked as a top choice.

Such early-rooted behaviors will be difficult to unearth and reform. Instead, as with adults, seek a puppy that is confident and friendly. The pup with good socialization skills is a dream to train and to further socialize. With a ready attitude, introducing puppies to children is easy.

Observe the puppy interacting with other animals

If you have other pets or livestock, you'll want to envision how your puppy might react around those types of animals. Early exposure is essential in forming good relationships with other animal species.  Breed definitely matters in this department. For example, sighthounds are incorrigible chasers, as herding breeds often instinctively try to round up other animals. A well-rounded puppy should be able to tackle new experiences and push aside their hesitations when interacting with other types of animals.

Note the puppy's attitude toward training

You'll gain greater insight into the puppy's attitude once you've made your selection and taken your puppy home. You won't be able to learn everything about a puppy's temperament on first or even third meeting. Keep this in mind as your puppy slowly acclimates to you, your home, your family, and your lifestyle.

To avoid bringing home a recluse, watch the puppy's innate personality. Is your pup resistant or stubborn in learning opportunities learning, or are they eager to please? Does your new companion learn best with toys or treats as incentives? Does the right reward motivate your pup to master commands? Once you've identified your new dog's attitude, adjust your training techniques to fit your pup's unique personality. Remember, training doesn't end with puppyhood. Old dogs can still learn new tricks, and a happy dog is one that is exercised intellectually, as well as physically.

Assessment forms

Some people test potential puppies with highly specific assessments to try to predict the dog's eventual nature and personality. Basic testing involves observing the puppy when recalled and in playing. The findings of science contradict this method. The fact of the matter is that a puppy is a malleable creature and will be molded into its future temperament on the road to adulthood, with the right training.

Final thoughts

Puppies can be an exciting addition to the family. They're playful, affectionate, relentlessly curious, and constantly learning from their surroundings. On the other hand, puppies can also be destructive regardless of temperament, so remember to take steps to protect your possessions.

To choose a puppy that seamlessly fits into your family unit, you should refer these guidelines in selecting the ideal temperament for your household and lifestyle needs. With the right research, you'll be able to enjoy lasting results and an unbreakable bond between you and your dog, with proper training and strong, well-established boundaries.

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