So you have decided to get a puppy! You have considered all the pros and cons and decided on the breed you want. Now you have to work out just where this puppy is going to come from and how to make sure it has had a ‘good’ upbringing in the first weeks of its life. To find your perfect dog takes time and you need to know that the puppy is coming from a reputable breeder.

Good Dogs come from Good Breeders

It is important that these first weeks of a dog’s life are safe, secure and healthy and that he and his mother are well cared for. This will give the best possible start for your puppy and make your relationship with him and his future training much easier.

The best dog breeders do not need to advertise, their puppies are in such demand that there is usually a waiting list. Ask around – your vet, friends and neighbours – as word of mouth is the best way to contact the good dog breeders. Although dog breeders are often pretty ‘quirky’ and totally focussed on their breed and the dog world, they are usually very dedicated to the care of their animals.

Once you have a source for a breeder, then contact them and arrange a visit. This is the first test of a good breeder. If they are not happy for you to see their operation, then walk away. What is it that they don’t want you to see?

When you go to visit a breeder there are things you need to check out. Obviously, clean hygienic conditions are a must, but if you have come from a ‘dog-free’ home, be prepared for ‘doggy’ smells! This is not due to a lack of cleanliness but simply a lot of dogs and puppies about the place.

You can expect a good breeder to start checking you out as soon as you arrive to choose your puppy. They will want to be certain that their puppies are going to good homes so be prepared to answer lots of questions – they will expect questions from you too so don’t hold back. The type of questions you should ask are: –

How long have you been breeding? The longer the better!

Are there any particular problems with this breed? They should be honest with you and tell you about any issues.

May I see the father? This may be a stud dog, but they should be able to show a photo and tell you the name of the stud/owner.

Where does the mother live when not breeding, and how often do you breed from her? In the home is the best answer as this produces happier more socialized dogs. Good breeders restrict the breeding to the recommended 4 litters in a lifetime.

Can I return the puppy if there is a problem? Most breeders would actually demand this and you may find it is a condition of sale with good breeders.

Can I speak to others who have your puppies? The breeder should be happy and confident about his breeding success and this should not be a problem.

Breeders who are really ‘into’ their dogs usually have lots of tell-tale signs about the place – look for ornaments of their breed on a shelf, blankets over sofas for their own dogs to get comfy, show certificates, ribbons and photos on the walls. These show the sort of dedication and dog obsession, which makes a good breeder – doing it for love, not profit.

If you are thinking of buying a pedigree, then check with your vet beforehand which types of screening for inherited diseases should be done – then ask the breeder about it. They should be happy to provide all the information you need and be ready to give you help and advice.

Of course you should have a good look at any puppies and their mothers. Are the puppies happy, inquisitive and interested in their surroundings? If they are dull and quiet and reserved, then you should be suspicious. The mother should look healthy and well cared for if she looks haggard and is not interested in the puppies take this as a warning.

Breeders to Avoid

Always avoid dogs from commercial ‘puppy farms’ or ‘mills’ where the pups are raised in appalling emotional and physical conditions. These places are run solely as a commercial venture to make money and the welfare of the puppies and their mother are a low priority. Also avoid pet shops as these overwhelmingly obtain their stock from puppy farms. Avoid the internet too, although invaluable for general information it is very easy for ‘farms’ to dress up their operations on these sites to look like caring, conscientious breeders. Be especially suspicious if a breeders offers to deliver a puppy to you so you don’t go to their place – these are almost certainly puppy farmers. Newspaper ads or notices in shop windows are also dubious. Good breeders usually have homes for their pups even before they are born so would never sell them in this way. If they did need a home for a puppy it would always be done through the vet – not in a shop window!

Taking on an Adult Dog

If you are happy to take on an adult dog, rather than a puppy, then make sure you choose carefully. Adult dogs may have behavior issues and you need to investigate thoroughly to make sure you know what you are taking on. Of course, the dog may need re-homing simply because of changes of circumstance – a death, illness or house moves are the most common reasons.

Well run dog shelters are a good source of adult dogs, as well as puppies, and you can find a whole range of pure breeds and cross-breeds. These places often have excellent websites describing the dogs currently in their care and any problems associated with them such as barking. Some may suit particular homes – with or without children, quiet, busy – so look carefully at the dogs requirements.

Make sure you have a clear idea of what you are looking for before you set foot in a dog shelter – and stick to it. All those appealing eyes looking between the bars can stir the strongest will! Make sure your head rules your heart when you go to find your perfect dog.

The staff at the shelter will question you closely before they allow you to home a dog. Often there are questionnaires to complete and a visit to your home, before they will even consider you. They have to make sure that the dogs go to the right home for them, so be honest and open with them about your lifestyle and requirements. Remember, these dogs have already lost one owner so the staff do not want the dogs to go through the distress again.

By yanam49

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