This trainer's two tips are a game changer when it comes to choosing a puppy

Cocker Spaniel puppy sitting on the grass
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Getting a puppy can be a really exciting time, particularly if being a dog owner is something you've always wanted. But the realization of that dream can bring with it some serious drawbacks if you end up choosing a puppy who, through no fault of their own, ends up causing you a great deal of stress and anxiety.

While most of us spend a lot of time researching the best puppy toys and food to fill our homes with in anticipation of our little one's arrival, what we may forget to consider is where our new fur friend is coming from. 

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that puppies are a clean slate," explains certified professional dog trainer and behavioural specialist, Amelia Steele (opens in new tab). "If we get a puppy we can train them and a puppy is a puppy right? It doesn't matter where we get them from. But what if I told you this couldn't be further from the truth?"

In an informative video shared to Instagram (opens in new tab), Steele wants prospective pet parents to understand that where you get your puppy from and the breeder that you choose is so important when it comes to the kind of life you and your dog will share together.

While a lot of people believe that how an adult dog behaves is all about how you raised them as a puppy, Steele's video suggests this is far too simplistic a view and instead, we'd do well to consider her two tips to help ensure we get the right dog for our family. 

1. What happens before you adopt your puppy matters...a lot

"The first eight weeks of a dog's life are absolutely vital to their development," advises Steele. "So what the breeder does with them in the first eight weeks could be the difference between lifelong aggression issues versus a dog that is super friendly and sociable. There's so much a breeder can be doing in those first eight weeks to set a puppy up for success, so you always want to be going with a breeder that goes above and beyond to make sure that puppy is ready to go home with you."

2. Genetics play a huge role

"Genetics play a huge role in dog development. Look at the parents, see if you can find out what other puppies or previous litters are like from that breeder," Steele suggests. "We've all heard the saying that it's all in how you raise them, but it's not the case as I see so many dogs where the person has done absolutely everything right, but because of the dog's genetics or breeding, something causes a behavioral issues to develop.

If you go to visit a puppy and the mother is nervous or aggressive or you can't say hi to her because she's scared of people, that is a first red flag."

Bringing home a puppy for the first time is likely to be a big adjustment both for you and your new fur friend and so it's important to be patient and consistent when it comes to training your puppy in what's expected of them. 

That being said, if you find your little one is displaying issues that seem to fall outside of normal puppy behavior, we recommend speaking to a professional trainer, who will be able to offer you advice and support that's tailored to your specific situation.

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.