Welcome Home Series Conclusion:
If a new puppy from a breeder is in your future, there are several things you need to do before you even visit the puppies!
FIRST: You must get to know the breed (or mix of breeds) that you are drawn to. Be sure you know the physical description of the puppy and the adult. Also, be sure to research and know the typical temperament and health issues that may appear in your choice of pup. (Terriers and sporting dogs tend to need a lot of exercise. Working and herding dogs tend to bond very closely with one person. Toy dogs tend to want to be near people. Hounds tend to be very focused on other animals.) Some of the many things you should think about:
--size of the adult --grooming needs
--coat type --level of 'entertainment the dog will need
--energy/exercise level --common health concerns for the breed/s
--ability to get along with other dogs --desire to interact with of people
SECOND: You should get to know several breeders of the puppies that you have chosen. Interview each of them on the phone! Ask lots and lots of questions....
- How often do they have puppies? (More than 2 times a year can raise red flags!)
- How many different types of dogs do they breed? (Most reputable breeders will focus on and become experts on only 1 or 2 breeds.)
- What health clearances have BOTH parents had? (Check that with your research into the issues you found above!) Ask to see documentation of health clearances.
- Where are the pups born? Where are they living NOW? (If you want a family pet, you want to look at puppies that are born AND living in a home as part of a family.)
- If the puppies are pure-bred, does the breeder provide AKC registration papers?
- Will the breeder accept the puppy back if you can no longer care for it? (Even 12 years later? Better yet, does the breeder REQUIRE return of the pup?)
- What can the breeder tell you about the pup's parents' health and temperament? Can you meet either or both of the pup's parents?
- How many people and what types of experiences have the pups been introduced to? (The more, the better!)
- Does the breeder choose the puppy or do you choose the puppy? If the breeder has been living with the pup in their home for 8 weeks and has done their job getting to know you, the breeder will have a better handle on matching individual puppy personalities to YOUR family.
- How often can you visit the pups before they are ready to come home with you?
LAST: Go and visit the puppies and the breeder. If you will have any input into choosing your pup, watch them carefully. (The most out-going puppy will likely be the one with the most energy and drive. The puppy that hangs back may well be shy or fearful.) Make sure that the pups are clean and well cared for. Look for a puppy that is drawn to people as well as other puppies. Do NOT be afraid to go home without committing to a puppy!
Most of all, remember that you are committing to adding a living, breathing dog to your family and life for the next 12 or more years. Give more thought to this choice than you would to the choice of your next car! Do your homework, choose carefully, and prepare to set out on a wonderful relationship with your new, best friend!
P.S. If you missed Parts 1 and 2--Planning for a New Pup & Finding a Reputable Rescue, check out our January, 2018 & March 2018 newsletters