How to Select and Purchase a Puppy...
Your life is about to change for the next decade or more! Exciting, and yet challenging at times. Read carefully, this decision deserves your time to research and plan...it's worth it!
These are the basic ingredients for purchasing a pup:
1. With careful research decide upon the breed that suits your family:
The AKC website has all the information you could need about breeds and their suitability for your family. There are genetic defects in certain breeds as there are in human families. You must be aware of these and prepared for them.
2. Study the generational lines of the breed:
For the enthusiast, you can join the AKC and examine many generations that your prospective new pup has come from. Champions beget champions and tall dogs beget tall dogs. It is not so hard and can be a lot of fun.
3. Find a reputable breeder:
Once again, the AKC lists breeders in length. You can also look online under the breed name and your location: for example Toy Poodle San Francisco CA Most breeders have a website. Do not judge the breeder on the website. Many animal lovers have no time for the computer...and that can be a good thing! However, there should be accurate information about their dogs and litter. Use your common sense. You are the best person to decide which breeder is right for you.
If their prices seem inflated, ask: why? Don't accept that they simply have "great" dogs. Ask specifically what makes their dogs better than...the next breeder down the road.
Some things to consider:
- When you first talk on the phone do you feel comfortable?
- Can you imagine having further conversations with them answering your questions in the future?
- Are they friendly? Do they take time with you?
- Do they treat you like a complete fool or respect your opinion?
- Are they pushy?
- Do you feel they are honest?
NEVER meet a breeder in town. Always go to their place. You can learn a lot from their location and meeting the Sire and the Dam (Dad and Mom).
When you first go to the breeder's facility, look around check it out. Is it clean and tidy? There should not be any feces lying around or debris carrying disease and posing a threat that could harm the dogs. Does it look as if the dogs have been cared for properly? Are they healthy?
Don't be afraid to leave right away if things are disgusting! You don't want a pup from there. You may even need to report abuse if you see it. You would not believe how badly some people can keep animals. Don't go onto a neglected property. You don't know what your children may see or be exposed to.
Meet the breeder. Do they look frazzled and eager to "dump" the dogs? You must not be pushed into a sale. You should be allowed to spend a lot of time with your selection process, but don't stay all day and ask for dinner! If the breeder is in a hurry, come back another day.
4. Spend time selecting your pup.
Resist the temptation to run over to the first pup and take it home. They are all gorgeous and cute, make a wise selection.
Play with the pups. Do not base your choice on looks, (unless you are going to show your dog.) Choose your pup on personality. Looks don't help you when the dog is restless all day and won't settle.
Pups are usually a little different at first. Quiet ones will get rowdier in a few days and lively ones will get more lively....see the trend? (It's "lively"!) Is your pup the big bully of the litter? Or is she the timid, nervous one? Either end of the spectrum is not great. Quiet, shy dogs don't usually stay that way!
Be prepared to ask questions. Write them down.
The pups should be at least 8 weeks old. Up to 12 weeks is better. Pups that stay a bit longer with their siblings learn to socialize easier. Besides that, a 12-week old pup makes It 4 weeks less poop scooping for you! Some pups will not potty train until they are at least 12 weeks old.
Scrutinize the paperwork. The breeder should have records of the parents available to give you. Examine the past generations for Champion dogs or accomplishments. You should also examine shot records; an 8-week old pup should have had their second set of puppy shots and been wormed. You will have papers to fill out if the dog is registered.
5. Get to know the parents of the litter, also known as Sire and Dam.
Most families will surprise themselves when they realize how much they can instinctively pick up, even as a novice. The personality of the parents will be your first clue about the litter's personalities.
Questions to ask yourself about the parents of the pups:
- Do you like the parent dogs? That's easy!
- Are they friendly? Smart?
- Do they look healthy and energetic?
- If they are a large dog breed, how are their hips and eyes?
- Do their colors match the breed requirements?
- For example: Do they have a solid black nose and black paw pads, if that is the color of the breed?
- Does their body shape fall in line with the breed standard?
- Are they barkers? (Very genetic)
- Are they diggers? (Bored)
- Are they wearing choke chains or shock collars? (Hard to train)
- Are they treated well by the breeders?
These are basic guidelines. Canine websites will have some more in-depth help -and books are always great for the kids to read before you make a decision.
In fact, have the children read a book about the breed you would like to select and include them in your choice of pup. Kids will bond more if they are included. And even little ones can share in the responsibilities. (Bonded kids pick up more poop!)
Remember, don't do this if you don't have the time. If you work full time and have a busy personal schedule just don't take on a pup. The joy of a pup will pass very quickly into frustration and anger when you are up too much at night and don't have the right amount of time to potty train. Too many dogs are already in shelters. Just wait. It's not fun if you're busy. It's a good 18 months of puppy love!
A pup is a companion for life...make a sensible choice.
EXERCISE SELF CONTROL!! DO NOT BUY A DOG BECAUSE YOU JUST HAVE TO GO HOME WITH A PUP TODAY. THIS IS A LIFETIME DECISION. WAIT UNTIL YOU FIND THE RIGHT PUP FROM THE RIGHT BREEDER. THIS IS NOT A CAR - THIS PUP IS GOING TO REALLY CAUSE TROUBLE IF YOU GET THE WRONG DOG! NO IMPULSE BUYING ALLOWED! BE PREPARED TO WALK AWAY. LET THE CHILDREN KNOW THAT YOU MAY NOT COME HOME WITH A DOG TODAY. BE PATIENT.
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Animal Poison Control
In an emergency, call the number offered here. They will charge you $65.00, about half of what an emergency visit to the vet will charge, and they can give immediate help. Bring the item eaten to the phone, read the label or contents to the representative. Most poisoned animals can survive if they are helped immediately.
Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
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