By Madeleine Kates

Summer is the perfect opportunity to add a furry friend to the household, and finding a puppy with the right temperament is key to a successful adoption. Russ Benzin, a Western New Yorker who is experienced as a military canine handler and trainer, shares some tips:

Confidence is key. According to Benzin, when meeting puppies for adoption, it is important to pay attention to how they carry themselves. A confident puppy, especially one with its tail up, and that pays attention to the adoptive family, is a good sign. A puppy that is less confident than some might be best paired with a family that provides the extra attention needed to bring out their character.

Shadowing. Another positive sign of a puppy’s comfort with you is if they follow closely and focus their attention on you, which may seem as though they are often under foot. Shadowing is a sign that the puppy is paying attention to you and your cues, which means that the relationship is off to a good start. This also may help with training and assimilating into your family.

Social skills. Socialization is important for all puppies. Picking a confident pup makes the socialization process and road to adulthood much easier.

“Adding a puppy to the family is exciting and rewarding for all,” says Benzin. Each puppy is as unique as each family. While all puppies are adorable, think about their size as an adult so you know what to expect. Big dogs need space, and active breeds need room to zoom!

Madeleine Kates is a 2022 graduate of Niagara University with Majors in Life Sciences, Psychology, and Environmental Science.