How To Find Your Perfect Puppy Match

It might mean loving them no matter what ❤️🐶

how to find the right puppy

When adopting a puppy, you might be worried about whether or not you’ll be a good fit for each other.

Since puppies are adopted so young, you might be wondering if your new BFF will still be the perfect match for you, even as he gets older.

The Dodo spoke with Mikayla Park, director of adoptions and education at Wags & Walks in Los Angeles, who explained that (spoiler) the puppy you pick can definitely be your perfect match, even if it takes a little adjusting.  

The truth about picking a puppy

“There is not necessarily one bulletproof way to ‘choose’ a puppy,” Park told The Dodo. “There is no magical formula for puppies except for the fact that puppies are a commitment.”

You might have an idea in your head about what kind of personality you want your puppy to have, but since puppies are so young, their personalities aren’t fully developed.

That means there’s no real way to predict if a puppy will grow into a chill couch potato, or a dog who needs to go to new places and do new things.

So when you pick a puppy, you have to be willing to roll with the punches and tweak your lifestyle, if necessary — and as long as you love them no matter what, they’ll be your perfect dog.

“I adopted a scrawny, scared pit/boxer mix as a puppy, and he grew up to be an athlete who needs adventure and exercise,” Park said. “As a pretty lazy homebody, I have had to make adjustments in my life to become the dog mom that he needs me to be. We get off our butts and go on hikes, we go to the beach, and the dog park.”

When it comes to puppies, you have to anticipate some curveballs. But even if your puppy doesn’t turn out exactly how you pictured him, loving him will be so worth it.

“Is [my dog] a dog I would have adopted fully grown? Probably [not],” Park explained. “Do I love him unconditionally, and appreciate everything he brings to my life, both expected and unexpected? Absolutely. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.”

(That also means that if you’re absolutely dead-set on a certain dog personality, you should consider adopting an older dog since you’ll know exactly what you’re getting!) 

Things to consider when adopting a puppy

The absolute first thing you need to consider — and honestly, keep reminding yourself — is that adopting a puppy is a massive commitment.

“Puppyhood is a grind,” Park said. “Expect not to sleep regularly for the first month.”

If your sleep schedule returns to normal sooner than that, it’ll be a pleasant surprise. But if not, at least you were prepared!

Another thing to think about when adopting a puppy is that new challenges will continue to pop up as your puppy gets older.

“Expect that every time you feel like you've finally turned a corner or hit a developmental milestone, there will be another one to conquer,” Park explained. “Puppies go through phases, much like kids.”

Basically, your puppy might be curious and friendly one minute, but skittish and barking the next.

If that happens, don’t get too frustrated! It’s just a part of your puppy growing up and getting used to the world around him.

“As they grow, just like us, they will change and evolve, and it is your job as their human to adapt and provide support in whatever way they need,” Park said.

Since puppies are so unpredictable, adopting one can feel like a lot to take on. But you don’t have to do it on your own.

It’s definitely beneficial — for you and your new puppy — to work with a trainer or enroll in puppy class.

And according to Park, the most important thing to consider is that you have to be ready for anything, and “expect the unexpected.”

“You are adopting and committing to a living, breathing being whose happiness and well-being depends solely on you,” she said. “Be prepared, be flexible, reach out for help when you need it and approach everything with a healthy dose of humor!”

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