dam's personalities, temperaments, and their field experience. What measures are taken to insure the health of their puppies, if any? Are the puppies immunized and de-wormed? Are their tails docked to a suitable field length and their dewclaws removed, if allowed by law? Be an informed buyer. Ask questions.
Consider how much time you have available to devote to a young puppy. Be realistic. Spaniels are energetic and they do need daily exercise. The old adage of "a tired pup is a good pup" is true. Can you see to the young dog's exercise requirements, even during extended periods of inclement weather? Do you have a fenced in yard or secure place for a puppy to run and play while under supervision? Don't depend on invisible fence systems. Although your spaniel may learn to stay within it's boundaries, this won't prevent thieves from snatching him.
Speaking of lifestyles... keep in mind that spaniels do not do well living their lives as couch potatoes. Inactivity tends to result in an unhealthy, overweight dog with a shortened life expectancy.
Are there young children in the household? If you intend for your pup to become a hunting companion or participate in field events, do not allow anyone to play "tug-of-war" or "chase" with your pup. Such activities can - and do - cause retrieve problems. Too much "fetch" can cause even a natural retriever to become bored and for some, unwilling to retrieve. Never yank a retrieved item from the dog's mouth. Do not scold the pup for retrieving any object - be it a child's favorite toy, your spouse's expensive shoe, a dishtowel, the television remote control... or even a dead mouse. Each and every retrieve should be met with praise for a job well done. Children need to be instructed as to what the rules are with a young dog and their play interaction with it should be supervised.
Will the pup live indoors, outside - or a combination of both? Will it be left alone for long periods while people are at work or school? A young pup should not be loose and unsupervised in your home. A home contains many hazards. Most puppies love to chew. Electrical cords, houseplants, ink pens, pencils, cleaning supplies, rugs and household garbage are just a few of the many dangerous - or even deadly - items that come to mind. Prevent accidents. Providing a plastic kennel crate is strongly recommended. A secure, outdoor kennel run can insure your dog's safety and allow for some exercise and fresh air. Confining the young dog to the kennel crate whenever you are gone, are unable to supervise it, and at night is in its best interest. The pup will view the crate as being "its own space" and may voluntarily retire there for a nap - or whenever it wishes to be alone.
If you do decide that a spaniel will fit your needs, make sure that you do get the "right" one. Advoid impulse buying. Be wary of puppies offered in newspaper advertisements. Seek out reputable breeders.
Far too often many potential puppy buyers are only concerned with the pup's color, markings, attractiveness, and it's sex. Contrary to popular belief, females do not necessarily make the "best" indoors dogs. Oftentimes, unless she is spayed, the female's cycle can disrupt the hunting season. Choosing a pup based on its looks is not the way to go. Selecting a pup whose personality and temperament will best suit your individual situation is much wiser.
Most litters will include one or two "high-spirited" pups, some that are "laid back", and the remainder will fall somewhere in between. By the time the litter is seven weeks old, personality traits such as: a tendency towards being dominate, an easy-going attitude, nervousness, meekness, independence, aloofness, confidence, inquizitiveness, cautiousness, and other characteristics often will be emerging. They may be quite obvious to spot - or subtle differences. It can be quite difficult to judge these traits based on one, brief visit to view a litter. Perhaps the bully of the litter is tired, sitting in the corner, all drowsy-eyed. He could easily be
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