The short list of applicants. Who looks best?

Puppy litter

Third in a series

Have you chosen your own spouse or life partner? How about your friends? Me too. These relationships are imperfect but, gee, I would still never allow someone else to assign my friends to me. Don’t let anybody ask questions about your life and personality and then tell you which puppy should be your best friend. Just say, “Thank you. Have a nice day.” And then move on to a puppy source that will stand back and stay out of your way.

You will be more than your dog’s reliable friend; you will be its leader. This species is hard-wired to earn life-giving resources like food, physical affection, access to the wide world outside the territory, everything. Whatever their age they absolutely must recognize us not as the big dog but as Superman or Superwoman. There are boundaries that should be respected but please don’t believe that your job is to dominate, alpha roll, or pin a dog. Dominance orders exist in canine social groups but you will always be your dog’s human leader. Don’t beat your chest; the genetics of your puppy’s brain, along with your self-assured nature, will make the relationship clear: You are your dog’s best friend – who is always right.

When puppy picking, you’ll gather important information on personality differences by simply hanging back (sit or squat at least 10 feet away) and watching. Who is the pushy one? There is always somebody who throws his/her weight around. This isn’t necessarily a bad puppy but how hard do you want to work? There is often one who sits back and avoids social contact with its siblings. This baby may be afraid, anxious, or simply less social. I’ve never picked this puppy because dogs who like other dogs are easier to manage. Each kid in the middle of the group should then enjoy a one-on-one interview with you. Have a look at my video to learn how it’s done. Go to You Tube and search: Choosing the Greatest Puppy for Your Life.
Next week: Heading Home
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Post pet behavioral or physical questions on or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.