Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Healthy Dogs

Font Size
A
A
A

Puppy Personality

Young puppies should be alert, playful, and full of vitality. Personalities vary with breed type, but a sweet disposition is essential to all. An unfriendly puppy certainly has no place as a family companion, especially with children. The unfriendly puppy may struggle and bite to get loose, or growl when picked up or petted. This puppy will require considerable discipline and training.

A puppy who shrinks back when spoken to or runs away and hides is shy. The puppy may possibly overcome this later, but taking a chance is hardly worthwhile. This puppy will not be easily socialized.

Recommended Related to Dogs

Enriching Your Dog's Life

   Boredom and excess energy are two common reasons for behavior problems in dogs. This makes sense because they’re meant to lead active lives. Wild dogs spend about 80% of their waking hours hunting and scavenging for food. Domestic dogs have been helping and working alongside us for thousands of years, and most are bred for a specific purpose, such as hunting, farming or protection. For example, retrievers and pointers were bred to locate and fetch game and water birds. Scent hounds, like...

Read the Enriching Your Dog's Life article > >

The ideal puppy for a family pet holds his tail high, follows you about, accepts petting, struggles when picked up, but then relaxes and licks your hand.

Most breeders use some version of the puppy aptitude test developed by well-known dog trainers Jack and Wendy Volhard. Ask if the breeder did puppy testing and if so, what the results are. Realize that a puppy may have an “off” day and the breeder can fill you in on his or her perspective of the individual personalities of each pup, as well as give you the test results.

Because good health and good disposition so often go hand in hand, it is perhaps wise, in making the final selection, to pick the individual who appears to be really bursting with vitality and self-confidence. The largest, most rambunctious puppy may be more of a handful than the average family can handle, though, especially if this is a male puppy. The pup with a middle-of-the-road temperament often makes the best family companion.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

Today on WebMD

boxer dog
Slideshow
dog on couch
Evaluator
 
bad dog
Slideshow
Sad dog and guacamole
Slideshow
 
Pit bull looking up
Article
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Slideshow
 
Dog scratching behind ear
Slideshow
dog catching frisbee
Slideshow
 
Dog Breed RMQ
Quiz
puppy eating
Slideshow
 
pooldle
Slideshow
puppy eating from bowl
Slideshow