There are many factors that go into getting an excellent dog to join your family. First, you need to take stock of your life and determine the type of dog that’s a perfect fit for you. Next, you need to figure out where to get a charming dog that will be a total joy to own. The quality of the dog you bring in can only be as good as the breeder you get it from. Which begs the question, what are the characteristics of a responsible dog breeder and where do you find one?
In this article, we break down the process and show you the red flags to avoid.
But first things first:
Distinguishing between a puppy mill and a breeder
A puppy mill is a dog breeder of some sort. But the danger is that it’s into the business to maximize profit with little regard to the health, safety and general wellbeing of the dogs. They raise the puppies in pathetic and deplorable conditions.
It’s common to find the dogs malnourished, as food and water is usually a problem. It’s very unlikely that a puppy mill will give priority to the veterinary needs of their dogs, meaning that most of the dogs will be infested with diseases and infections.
Inbreeding is another common feature of puppy mills. This further contributes to the poor health of the dogs which end up being weak throughout their entire lifetime. That can only mean one thing; hefty veterinary bills.
When you see any of the following red flags, please run:
The biggest red flags for puppy mills is that they don’t have individual profiles for each of the dogs. They cannot tell you the dog’s personality, activity level, temperaments, preferred toys, relationship with children, etc.
Here are some more:
- Low standards of hygiene; dirty environment and dogs looking like they’ve never had a birt
- Tiny cages crisscrossed with wires on the floor – these really hurt the dogs’ feet
- The owner can’t let you see where the dogs are kept
- They aren’t showing any interest in getting to know you, your home and pet history. They just want to close the sale and pocket the cash.
- The seller deals in almost every kind of dog breed under the sun – not a bit of specialization
- Many of the pets are separated from their mothers way before they’re 6 months old – so that the mother can go back to giving birth to more.
- The tiny cages are cramped up on top of each other
- They’re ready to let you make a purchase without any form of screening
- “Goods” once sold cannot be returned under any circumstances – that’s their unwritten policy.
Ways to finding a dog a reputable dog breeder
Nearly everyone can raise a dog. But that’s not the kind of dog you should be looking for, or is it? In this section, we look at simple steps you can take to ensure that you buy a puppy from a trusted source.
1. Ask around for referrals
Chances are, the solution to your predicament of finding a trustworthy source of an excellent dog lies around you. The following categories of people should be able to point you in the right direction:
- Local breed clubs
- Dog trainers
- Family, friends and neighbours who own good dogs or know someone with one
- Attend pet events, shows and be sure to start a conversation with the participants
While at it, find out the experience of the people with the breeder. Ideally, you should draw a list of what you’re looking for and cross-check it with the feedback that you receive from the people you’re seeking the information from.
If you end up with a big list, arrange the names of the breeders in order of priority depending on what you’re looking for. For instance, you could find that from the list, there is only a handful who specialize in the kind of breed you’re interested in. In that case, those should make the top of your list and then arrange to visit them in that order.
2. Visit the breeder’s facility
Now that you’ve your list of breeders, it’s time to pay them a visit and see what’s happening on the ground. It pays a great deal to find out the kind of environment the dog you intend to buy was born and raised.
While on the visit, there are things that you ought to find out. Some you’ll need to observe while others you’ll need to strike a conversation so as to find out.
Here’s what to observe:
- Is the premises clean?
- Does the breeder have a deep passion for what he does or it’s just for the money?
- Does s/he take time to explain things in a manner that makes sense to you?
- Is s/he patient with the many questions you have?
- What’s the condition of the dogs? Are they well-fed?
- Do they look like they’re hiding something? Maybe they don’t want you to venture into specific areas of the premises?
Ask ask and ask some more
Getting an opportunity face-to-face with the breeder is a great opportunity that you should explore to the fullest. It’s your only shot at ensuring you’re getting the right deal. When you come visiting, you need to have a ready list of questions that you’ll use to gauge the suitability of the breeder.
There’s no question that’s too small, silly or dumb to ask. If it comes to your mind, it’s definitely worth asking.
A responsible breeder is one who takes pride in ensuring that their dog ends up in the right hands. Consequently, they’ll also have questions of their own that they’ll want you to answer. Most of these questions will be geared towards ensuring your dog ends up in the right hands. Furthermore, the right breeder is the one that’s eager to share with you all the necessary information that they consider important to helping you give the best care to the dog.
Request for the medical history of your preferred dog
One of the pains that make owning a dog a big burden is endless trips to the vet. It’s not only tiring but also drain your finances leaving you feeling frustrated. That’s not the kind of experience you’re looking for, right?
To avoid that, request the breeder to make available the full medical history of your prefered dog. The breed needs to show you the previous vet screenings, medical certificates and other relevant documentation that can help you determine the state of the dog’s health.
You should also ask the breeder if the dog has any underlying medical conditions that you should aware of. Such details will form the basis of whether or not you’ll settle for the dog.
Ask to be shown the puppy’s parents
You’ll want to see how the pup will look like when it’s all grown, right? The best way to do that is for you to see the parents of the puppy you intend to bring home with you.
It’s an opportunity for you to get a rough idea of the dog’s size, temperaments and appearance. Plus, after seeing the parent, something important that you had overlooked may come to mind and help you make a more informed decision.
Patience is key
It might not be entirely possible to visit the breeder and take the puppy home with you that same day. For instance, the pup might be too young and the breeder may want to keep it with the mother for 2-3 months so as to socialize and mature it.
Don’t also take the puppy home with you if you’ve not put the necessary preparations in place. Other family members need to be prepared and ready to welcome a new furry companion into their home. You also need to ensure that your home is safe and has all the necessary supplies required to welcome the puppy.
Get documentation before bringing the puppy home
It’s important that you don’t take this as an off the books kind of deal. Work with the breeder to ensure that you’ve all the necessary documentation that shows the transfer of the puppy under your care.
A good breeder will usually arrange to have this completed without asking you to incur extra costs. One who isn’t willing to give you papers, or appears to suggest that s/he will send them to you later isn’t a genuine dealer; run.
If you follow these steps and the advice given herein, it shouldn’t be hard for you to end up with the dog of your dream. The key is to have a clear picture of what you’re looking for and work with a breeder that seems to be pointing you in that same direction. If you have any more questions, we would be more than happy to answer, so drop them in the comments section. Also, what’s your reason for wanting to work with a dog breeder?