Ah, puppies. Who can resist those liquid eyes, those slurpy kisses, and those whole-body wags that make a pup shimmy and shake all over? Few among us, that’s who. Which is why millions of people each year chose to add one to their family. Are you considering adding a four-footed friend to your family? Here are some extremely important things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect puppy.

There are no Perfect Puppies

Yes, that’s right. Puppies are a mess in more ways than one. Now that that has been said, let’s delve further: puppies do not come equipped with a manual. They also do not arrive into this world knowing how to come, sit, stay or do their business outside. That part is entirely up to you. So when you have Milkbones in your eyes and are picturing a darling little guy bounding happily to greet you at the door, blink a couple of times and imagine your favorite shoes torn up because you forgot to put them out of reach.

Bottom line with this tip? Be realistic. Choosing a puppy requires far more than bringing one home. Do your homework, be prepared, and always expect the unexpected.

Research the Breeds

There are hundreds of breeds out there, and what you want to remember is that each breed evolved and was bred to specific standards and traits.

Can’t stand the idea of your prized azaleas ripped up at the roots and trotted around the yard? Don’t seek out a terrier. They were bred to dig. Still want one of these entertaining, intelligent clowns? Provide a place for your terrier to do the job nature intended; you.ll be a much happier owner.

Don’t want to spend hours brushing? Might want to stay away from Golden Retrievers, who are notorious for shedding and require regular grooming. On the flip side, they are absolutely wonderful family dogs who must be with their .people. at all times. They are definitely NOT outside or independent dogs.

Bottom line? Inherited traits are.inherited. You can absolutely cut down on unwanted behaviors (a dog who is supervised won’t dig without you noticing) but you should keep in mind that every breed has universal traits.

Only Fools Rush In

Take your time in choosing a puppy. Remember that this is a huge responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. You very well may live with this furry creature for upwards of fifteen, sixteen, even seventeen years. Are you committed to this undertaking? Are the other members of your family all on board as well?

Bottom line? While it’s often difficult to ignore your heart, you really should let your head lead this one.

Where to Begin

Assuming you want a purebred and you’ve researched the breed you want, confident that it will fit into your family, home and lifestyle, start talking. Talk to friends who have this breed. Attend dog shows, where you are more likely to find a reputable breeder. Ask questions. A reputable breeder will also ask questions of you. Be prepared to fill out an application and sign a contract in regards to health care and spay/neuter procedures as well as being open to having the breeder chose a puppy for you, based on their knowledge of personality types.

Really good breeders want complete assurance that their dogs are only going to good, loving, responsible homes. In exchange, you.ll be more likely to obtain a well-bred dog of good health and temperament. These breeders will also have first-hand knowledge of .rescue. dogs in need of new homes. Breed rescues often have the exact type of pup you are looking for.in need of a second chance for numerous reasons. Ask about genetic testing, temperament, health clearances and titles.