When you decide to buy a puppy, there are many websites now available to help you find the right breeder of your puppy. One thing to remember is none of these websites check or vet these breeders, that is down to you!
You must make sure you carry out at, the very least, some basic checks
….to ensure your puppy is healthy and the temperament fits in with you expectations. The Puppies-UK website was the first dog breeder website that started in 1997 and is still going to this day. There are now hundreds of puppy and dog breeder websites now, with some sites having thousands of adverts for puppies. You will find that many of the breeders will advertise with six or seven of these sites so you will be seeing duplicate adverts on your search.
The key to finding the right puppy from the right breeder is to do your research BEFORE going to see any puppies. Before you visit any of the sites, do your research on the breed of dog you think you would like. Believe me, going to a breeders with cute amazing little puppies, it becomes very tempting to purchase there and then. Only later do you realise that you made a snap decision and that the puppy is now to demanding and does not fit in with you families lifestyle and other commitments.
Another common mistake that people make when looking for a puppy, they start looking for the perfect puppy. “Perfect puppy” remember like you and me dogs are living things, do you know of the perfect looking person with a perfect temperament, no they don’t exist! So it’s the same for puppies.
I know you may be spending many hundreds of pounds for your puppy and you want as near perfection as possible
……but you will need to compromise. We believe the most important thing NOT to compromise on is the temperament of the puppy, this is why it is so crucial to see the mother (and father if possible). See how the puppy interacts with the rest of the litter. Is it the most dominant (Alpha) terrorising the rest of the litter, this may look funny at the time but may be harder work with later. The puppy that is timid and is alway sleeping at the bottom of the litter may well be more nervous and scared when older but maybe this fits okay with your lifestyle as you will be with the puppy all day because you are retired for example.
When you arrive at the breeders house, look around you.
Are there other puppies form other litters or breeds? Is the environment clean and does not smell of smoke? Is the breeder asking questions about you to ensure their puppies are going to a good home? Apply common sense and do not be rushed into buying even if they do offer a “special offer” if you buy there and then.
The whole process may be time consuming and you may need to travel many miles but taking the time now will ensure many happy years with your new puppy.
What Should I ask a Puppy Breeder:
Could I meet the litter’s parents if at all possible? It is always a good idea to take a good look at what the parents of the puppy or puppies we are interested in actually look like. Do they look in a good condition?
How have you been socialising the pups so far? A question only relevant if the puppies are more than a couple of weeks old or so.
Can I ask if the parents of the puppies are certified? This question will help specifically with matters concerning potentially inherited health problems from the parents such as hip conditions.
How big and heavy are the parents of the pups? This question could help us gauge just how big our puppy or puppies could grow to.
What vaccines has the puppy had? We should find out exactly how many shots the pup has already had and when it is due for its next injection.
Have any of the puppies in this litter become ill up until now? Another good way to work out the likelihood of your puppy or puppies being of good health.
Can you provide me with any recommendations from previous customers please? A good way to establish the integrity and reputation of the breeder.
What are you currently feeding the puppies? It is wise to learn this important aspect as it is often ideal to continue with the diet at least for the first few days or so.
Do you offer a guarantee with the sale of the puppies? If so, it might be a good idea to have a contract drawn up if one does not exist already and get it witnessed at singing.
Do you belong to a dog breeding club? This is always a useful question as it often provides us with evidence of how professional the breeder actually is.
You’ve decided to take the plunge and make contact. Here are some questions to ask the breeder before arranging your first visit. It may be worth having a pen and paper handy to make notes, so you can think over their answers.
1. Did you breed the puppy that is advertised?
This may seem an odd question to start off with, but it is always worth checking. It’s better to buy directly from the breeder, because you will want to see the puppy with its mother in the place where it was bred.
2. Are the puppies available to see and handle where they were bred?
Insist on seeing puppies where they were born and bred. Hopefully this should be in a clean, warm and loving environment.
3. How big was the litter and how many puppies are left for sale?
If you are making the trip to meet the breeder, check that there is choice of puppies. Repeat the question when you visit, you should get the same answer as you did on the phone/email. If you don’t, there might be a problem such as illness. Puppies are vulnerable to disease and other complications at this early stage of life and you want to buy a healthy puppy from a strong litter.
4. Has the mother or puppies suffered any illness or had other problems?
Honesty is always the best policy. If there has been illness you should expect to be told. As long as treatment has been effective this shouldn’t be a concern.
5. Have the puppies been treated for parasites such as worms and what about vaccinations?
Generally puppies should have already started worming treatments before your first visit, the same goes for first vaccinations.
6. Have the puppies’ parents been screened for inherited diseases?
Some breeds of dog can be affected by inherited conditions. Tests for these are now widely available, with schemes run by both the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association. There are also DNA tests for certain breeds.
Happy with the answers – then it’s time to arrange the first visit. Just confirm that you will be seeing the mother with the puppies. You’ll want to see for yourself that they are interacting well together.
It’s important that you prepare the house well in advance of the arrival of your puppy.
Getting a good night’s sleep will be vital to both of you as you settle down to living together. Therefore it makes sense to set aside sleeping space in the house, somewhere where your puppy can relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of family life.
There’s a wide variety of beds available, so it’s down to personal preference. Owners of small dogs may be attracted to igloo-style beds that provide maximum privacy. However, be careful with your money, it may make sense to buy a cheaper bed to start with and then move on to something more substantial for your dog’s adult years. Whatever you decide on, make sure that your dog can stretch out fully when asleep.
Specialist dog bedding is recommended as a base for hard plastic baskets
….but old towels and blankets will do just as well. Beds should be placed in a warm draught proof part of the house. One tip that many breeders give, is to take a piece of cloth with you when you go and collect your puppy from his mother. Rub the cloth over the mother to pick up her scent and then place it into your puppy’s bed when you get back home. He will be comforted by her presence.
Feeding bowls come in all shapes and sizes, from very basic plastic ones to novelty ceramic artworks. Whatever you choose, make sure there are separate dishes for food and water. The water bowl should always be available and don’t forget to place it out of the way so it isn’t continually being tripped over by the rest of the household!
When you bring a new puppy home, there’s nothing you want to do more than shower her with affection. But the little ball of energy is more vulnerable to illness than vaccinated dogs with mature immune systems. As a new dog owner or a pet sitter, you may not yet know the signs that you have a sick puppy on your hands. However, there are about seven common puppy illnesses to look out for, including: intestinal parasites, Parvovirus, Coccidia, Canine Distemper, Heartworm Disease, Kennel Cough and Hypoglycemia.
Many puppies get intestinal parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms, early in life. Symptoms include loose stool and an upset stomach. The vet can offer an oral drug to paralyse the worms and enable your puppy to pass them in his poop.
The virus is highly contagious and can be caught from direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces. Look for bloody diarrhea, vomiting and a loss of appetite. If you notice those symptoms, offer comfort care and get antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.
This parasite, which is usually found in standing water, can infest your puppy’s gastrointestinal tract and the cells inside. Symptoms include diarrhea, blood in the stool or dehydration. The vet can offer a drug to kill the parasite. Looking to avoid this illness altogether? Keep your puppy’s water and environment sanitary and squeaky clean.
If a pesky mosquito bites a dog with heartworm several houses down, it can pass the worm on to your pet if the bug then bites your dog. It takes up to six or seven months before your puppy shows signs of illness. Heartworms can cause heart failure and lung disease and are potentially deadly.
Your dog will have a persistent dry, honking cough. See your veterinarian for an antibiotic, offer supportive care (no stress or junk food for your little guy!) and keep your sick dog away from his puppy friends until he’s better. A vaccination is available.
Small dogs can end up with low blood sugar if they don’t eat enough. If your dog has hypoglycemia, she may show signs of lethargy and possibly have seizures. When caring for your suffering dog, offer a proper diet and possibly diabetes medication provided by a vet.
Toys don’t have to cost a great deal – in fact there are probably items already lying around your home that are suitable for a puppy to play with. A soft plastic lid will do, or perhaps a visit to a local charity shop will yield unwanted soft toys. Just be sure they are clean and safe; supervise him for the first few times to avoid accidents.
Squeaky toys can become annoying in time, but most puppies love them. You’ll find a huge variety on offer; some are hard, others are made of soft chewable materials. Terriers in particular seem to love chasing squeaky balls from one room to another.
Raggers – made from strips of different fabric woven together – offer the chance of a good tug-of-war contest. Some are even flavoured for additional interest.
Balls are a perennial favourite and a great way of exercising while having fun. Border Collies and other ‘herding’ dogs enjoy pushing a ball around a field. Go for something soft that doesn’t puncture and is big enough so it can’t be accidentally swallowed.
Chews come in all shapes and sizes. They are either made from plastic, rawhide or hard biscuit. Keep them handy particularly when your puppy is teething. They’ll provide a useful distraction and stop him chewing things you’d rather he left alone, like your slippers.
Most puppies will enjoy meeting new people, and most people will enjoy meeting a puppy!
However, it’s important that your puppy is not overwhelmed, so ask people to crouch down to meet them. It’s much better for your puppy if they are able to approach a new person, rather than the other way round – this way you can be sure that they are feeling confident enough to meet somebody unfamiliar.
It’s tempting for people to pick up puppies and hug them, but it might frighten your puppy (especially if they are shy), so best avoided until you know that your puppy enjoys this sort of interaction.
If you live in a household without children, try and make sure that your puppy gets to meet a variety of sensible children of different ages
Observe your puppy constantly for signs of anxiety or being overwhelmed and, if things get too much, remove them from the situation or give your dog more space and freedom to approach. Remember young puppies tire easily, so keep encounters short with enough time in between for resting. During all encounters, protect your puppy from bad experiences.
Young puppies are inexperienced and get themselves into trouble easily, so think ahead and try to prevent any unpleasant events from occurring.
• Never pick up your puppy and pass them to someone or pull your puppy towards them. Puppies should always be able to make an approach in their own time and retreat if they want to. • An anxious puppy will try to look smaller, avoid eye contact, hold their tail low, put their ears back and keep away. They may also lick their lips or yawn. Make sure you pay attention to these signs and take action as soon as possible, usually by taking your puppy away from whatever is causing them to be worried. • A happy, relaxed puppy will stand up straight with their tail (or whole body) wagging and be keen to investigate • Avoid using food when introducing your puppy to strangers as this may teach them that all people carry food on them, which is not ideal. You’ll want your puppy to approach people because they want to say hello politely, not to receive treats!