Getting a puppy is an exciting and joyous time for any family and the decision of where to obtain said puppy can be a difficult one. More and more people are seeing puppy breeding as a profitable opportunity at the cost of the welfare of the dogs. I’m sure you have seen the various posts across social media showing the conditions some of these ‘puppy farms’ are kept in. The health and mental wellbeing of these farmed pups are poor and can lead to chronic illness and behavioural problems. The government are in the process of cracking down on these unscrupulous breeders but there are always those that escape the cracks.
So how can a family in want of a puppy ensure that they are coming from a reputable source? Below I have listed a few pointers for you to keep in mind when on the hunt for that new family addition.
- Be careful of any breeder or seller who can sell you multiple breeds of puppy at the same time. The ability to provide you with anything you ask for at any time is a classic sign of a puppy farmed animal.
- As is the sellers refusal to let you see their home and the conditions the mum and pups are in, they usually ask to meet you to and exchange the puppy in a public place. Service stations are very common drop off points for dodgy breeders to use.
- A good breeder will require you to sign a contract that should include an agreement that states you must return the puppy to the breeder if you can no longer look after it or want to give it up.
- Puppies should stay with their mothers for a minimum of 8 weeks before leaving. The first weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial for learning and socialisation from their parents and littermates.
- All puppies when ready to go to their new homes should be already chipped (this is a law requirement), wormed and had their first vaccinations.
- A good breeder should be able to provide all the relevant health checks and genetic testing of the breeding parents to ensure a healthy litter. Some breeds are prone to genetic defects and diseases that you can research once you’ve selected the breed you want.
- A good breeder will let you come and view the litter, and at least the mother, several times before taking the your chosen pup home. They will be starting the puppies toilet training and socialising them in preparation for living at home.
- The condition the puppies and mum are living in are clean and well maintained with access to water.
- Going with your gut is also a good indicator if something seems off. If the people you are dealing with dodge questions or make you seem like you are being ‘too anal’ then back away.
You don’t have to get your puppy from a breeder, you can also find puppies at many rescue centres and charities. These are usually the result of puppy farms or abandoned by people who cannot afford to look after or be bothered by a pregnant bitch. You don’t get the so called ‘pedigree’ of a dog from a breeder but these pups are looked after and health checked by a vet. A good charity will also require you to sign a contract when adopting a pup that will state the dog cannot be used to work and should be returned to the charity if you no longer want it. They will often have a clause in the contract that state you need to take the puppy to puppy and/or socialisation classes.
The charity you choose should also follow the general guidelines I have laid out for breeders. They will require you have a home check and will assess your suitability for the puppy you are wanting to adopt. If you are unsure about the charity you are adopting from then make sure they have a registered charity number and don’t be afraid to ask around and research them online.
I hope this helps you to choose wisely when it comes to selecting where and from whom you get your new family member. You can also seek advice from dog trainers and behaviourists should you still be unsure. Many offer puppy matchmaking and consultations to help you decide on the best course of action for you and your family when it comes to picking a puppy.