Now that you’ve found a breed and breeder you’re comfortable with, it’s time to get a pup! Which one? A boy, a girl, color, coat? So many variables but I can tell you this…. Sex does not determine disposition, loyalty, or intelligence. Just like in humans, boys can be just as sweet as girls or just as naughty. Same with most other traits. Typically, if the sire and dam have good temperaments, intelligence, etc., the litter will too. Boys will “mark” their territory with some ooh-stinky urine and girls will come into heat every six month-that’s a mess all its own! But if boys are neutered and girls are spayed, both problems are averted.
Color…well that’s your own choosing. It’s best not to care and get a healthy, well-bred pup but it’s understandable if you have a favorite or two, but be willing to wait! Same holds true for coat. I prefer the most popular (in Shar-pei) brush coat. Soft to the touch, doesn’t shed much, and easy to keep clean. Horse coat is extremely short and rather harsh. Many people, myself included, are either allergic or can get a rash on their skin. Bear coats are a recessive gene and a disqualifying trait in the AKC show ring so breeders tend to shy away from producing them. However, they ARE adorable but hard to find.
Whatever you choose, get ready! It’s like welcoming a baby home! Make your house puppy safe… Remove items at their level that can be chewed or cause accidents. Have your gear ready, if your crate training, buy an XL that they will use into adulthood. It should fit a good sized bed, training pad, and food and water bowls. If they will have free range of your house, try to quadrant off an area like the kitchen, with baby gates so he knows where to “go”, eat, and sleep. Eight week old puppies need to “go” every 2-3 hours so if you can be there, make sure there’s a pad or newspaper available! Take them out the same door every time and let them know it’s “out”. Same goes for encouraging them to do their business…something simple, “go”, “make pee-pee” (I know but it works!), or whatever you feel comfortable with. After a few times, they will know what’s expected!
Food bowls should be adult size and stainless steel (most hygienic). Having a lift for them is also smart for proper growth. I feed high quality puppy food until 14 months of age. Always have fresh, clean water available.
Collars are a bit difficult at younger ages so I suggest a harness for the first few months. Snap on the lead and let them pull it around a bit, pick up your end,and follow your pup around. Then try calling him/her,with a treat while gently tugging on the leash. They usually “get it” pretty quickly but try not to force it. My fav way of leash training is using an older trained dog in the lead and walking both simultaneously.
Toys should be plentiful but safe. Nothing with small pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed. I do give pigs ears and rawhide for chewing satisfaction but only if it’s made in American where it’s safer as a treat. Don’t overwhelm your new pup with dozens but give him a,few varieties…pull toy, plush, ball, and squeaker.
Lastly, check in with your vet….whether he needs his second shot (I do vaccines at 8,11,14, and 17 weeks for over 15 years now without incident) or you just want a health check. Get him familiar with visiting there, the groomers, or anywhere else. Socializing your new pup is extremely important. Kids, other dogs (although I wait until their second vaccine before venturing to dog parks etc.), and new situations need to be broached and made fun. In the long run, a well-adjusted dog is a happy dog!
Welcome to parenthood!