Camelot Pugs
 
Juergen "Jay" Ernst
659 Penn High Park Road
Jeannette, PA 15644
 
juergen_ernst@comcast.net
 
724 309 4317
Home of top quality, family raised AKC champion line and champion sired Pug and Havanese puppies
How To Pick The Right Puppy
 
Many of our puppies are adopted by families in NJ, NY, or CT which is a good ways from here and not all new parents can make a 10 or 14 hour roundtrip twice or even three times to meet the parents, pick the puppy and finally bring the puppy home when the time comes. In those cases the pups are often picked by a series of pictures and I can send as many pictures as necessary. Nobody has ever not been completely thrilled and satisfied with their choice.
 
I have of course many clients who prefer to pick their puppy by its perceived personality and not only by its appearance. Many years of experience have tought me however, that this is an almost impossible endeavour at a young age of 8, 10 or even 12 weeks when there is not much of an individual personality at all, at least not a final one.
There is absolutely no reliable way at this age to determine a puppy's personality although a lot of folks like to think so. The pups all go through stages and take on a different role on a daily, if not an hourly basis.
 
As long as they are all socialized well and none of them had a traumatizing experience, the temperament is determined by the breed, the genes of the parents, the early socialization and MOSTLY, to a very large extend, by the ongoing conditionning at the new home. In other words: you, the new owner, has the largest influence on the temperament AS LONG AS nothing had gone wrong up to the point when you receive your puppy. A look at the parents and the breeder will tell you what "raw material" you will get to work with.
 
I can guarantee an outgoing, friendly and inquisitive puppy as much as I can guarantee that he or she will be a handful at times. If you visit your pup to inspect and observe the personality of the pups you may see different puppies behaving slightly different. Puppies have moods just like people do. They are not equally sleepy or well rested either. A pup that seems to be disinterested and sleepy will probably be the one jumping all over the place two hours later, and the one that did jump around before, now had a good meal, appears sleepy and is disinterested. This is what I observe constantly and it is important to keep in mind that it is absolutely normal, as long as nothing had gone wrong in the first few weeks.
 
We have an early socialization program which includes exposure not only to the breeder and main care taker, but also family members, including children, their friends (once the pups are 6 weeks or older) and even some of my wife's special clients who get their hair done at our home and love to hold a pup while they are being beautified. Our goal is to expose a pup to at least 10 different people before they leave for their new homes. This exposure teaches them to handle uncomfortable situations and gain confidence in dealing with strangers. Something I had a hard time with as a child, because I did not leave my mother's side and missed almost all of preschool while my friends were already learning how to interact with others during play or in conflict situations.  
 
If you do pick a pup from a questionable place on the other hand, you definitely want to go for the active puppy, as in this situation a sleepy, lethargic or shy puppy may indicate underlying condititons or diseases or improper socialization.
 
If a puppy was traumatized or neglected, it will show clear signs of untypical behavior but if a puppy shows untypical behavior during the short time of your visit, it is not necessarily and indicator for the puppy's temperament.
 
Ultimately it boils down to being able to trust your breeder. Puppies who are put on a plane and shipped around the world, end up in a pet store for weeks without real bonding or are taken too young from their mothers do come with baggage even if they don't display any obvious signs.
 
Tests in piglets have shown that early stress (the piglets were removed from the mother at 5 weeks) causes behavioral issues and also has a significant impact on the development of the brain and the level of intelligence. The piglets in the test showed poor stress management and problem solving skills in a test maze and a pool with a submerged resting base. They swam around randomly, even running into the platform and could only figure out where the safe place was after a significant amount of time. In comparison, the other piglets swam systematically in circles, finding the platform quickly and got up on it within seconds. In a second test the same piglets were brought back in the pool and the stressed piglets went through the whole spiel again, whereas the other ones swam straight to the safe place. 
 
If you get a puppy from a good home however, this will not happen because the breeder has given all puppies the basic tools to be friendly, social, outgoing, playful and inquisitive but ultimately, the new family molds this rawling into the dog they will own.
 
It is therefore always my advice to pick a pup by your gender and color preference, possibly by your size preference as much as this factor is predictable, and what else is known to the breeder and can be expected, such as coat type, or foreseeable color changes. What temperament you have observed during your relatively short visit mirrors your puppy - at times - as well as all the other ones' in the litter. The puppy that walks straight up to you and "picks" you, may be the last to come around next time.
 
As far as gender: both, males and females of this breed are about the same size and neither one displays gender typical behavior, provided they are spayed or neutered. Intact males have a tendency to mark their territory slightly more frequently than intact females, but marking is per se not a gender typical behavior. Unlike many other small breeds, adult Havanese, even intact specimen, do not display the often feared male behaviors such as lifting their leg or humping dinner guests under the table. They are just much smarter than your average miniture poodle who apparently often can't tell a leg from a mate....
 
Both, males and females are equally trainable and equally affectionate. If you do have a gender preference and don't even know why, I will not try to convince you of a different choice, however, if you have a gender preference based on old myths and hearsay, I would make the case that you will not know the difference between a boy or a girl unless you look very closely...