Dear Dr. Kay: My family is ready now to adopt a dog. We are interested primarily in a puppy or a full-grown small dog (like a Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier or a Shih Tzu) that is calm, does not shed a lot of hair, does not bark unnecessarily and will grow up to 8 to 10 lbs in weight. Our local shelter has two Maltese puppies and also a rescued one-year-old Shih Tsu-Poodle mix. The Shih Tsu-Poodle mix is very friendly and appears to be healthy. Which of these two best meets our criteria? — Patty
DEAR PATTY: Oh what fun! Congratulations to you as you embark upon puppy parenthood! My recommendation is that you adopt the pup whose personality is the best fit for you and your family. If the shelter has someone on staff that evaluates the pet’s behavior, ask this person to meet with your family and the pups and help you make a decision. If there is no such person on staff, I strongly encourage you to bring along a savvy trainer who can readily identify the personality that will best jive with what your family is looking for.
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