Before you buy a puppy
Right so you have decided that you now want to purchase a puppy to join you, what next. Most people decide on the breed they would like, based on other dogs they know, or what they have seen online, not realising how different two dogs of the same breed can be.
It’s very important when choosing a puppy that you consider the breed, size and energy levels of the dog you are looking for. There is such a huge variety of dog breeds out there, which have, over the years, been bred for various jobs, and in more recent years for their looks. The breed of dog will not determine the personality of the dog, no 2 dogs are the same, but it can determine the amount of time, training and exercise they need.
When you are watching Crufts or other such dog shows, you will see the highly trained and very impressive dogs, however a lot of these dogs have had, and need a lot more training than other dogs. For example, the border collie often struggles in a home environment with a family. Working Collies are bred to react to movement, and for some being in a busy home, traffic and day to day life can be too much for them.
Really think about what breed will suit you, join breed specific Facebook pages to see the struggles people may be having (however the training advice on these pages is often outdated). Google isn’t a reliable source when it comes to reading about breeds. With all breeds, you will get confident dogs, fearful dogs, anxious dogs, stressed dogs, happy dogs, chilled out dogs, etc. so as well as the breed the personality also plays a part.
Then the hard bit comes, where to get a puppy from. If you are at home and able to offer a great home, there are puppies in rescue centres that will make amazing pets, don’t be put off by other people’s stories etc. Be careful, however if you rescue a puppy from abroad. Rescuing a puppy is extremely rewarding but you must be prepared to put the work in, often puppies from abroad have missed out on vital socialisation periods, and therefore find the world a scary place. You have to be willing to help them grow in confidence, but also to be aware that you may not be able to go in every pub, take your puppy everywhere with you etc.
Often people believe that it doesn’t matter what puppy they get, or where they get them from, as they are led to believe (from the media, google and TV) that it is them that will influence the behaviour and that any puppy can be changed depending on their owner, which simply isn’t true. The saying ‘There is no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner’ is absolute nonsense. A lot of dogs are genetically fearful and anxious, sadly puppy farmed puppies are born into a whole world of sadness and stress, with shut down mothers used as breeding machines for one purpose of making money. Some of the best owners, have what you would say are the ‘Bad Dogs’, these owners know and understand their dogs more than most as they have had too, these are awesome owners that do the best for their dogs.
Sadly, in recent years’ dogs have gone from being bred for a working purpose, to being bred for their looks, with some of the unhealthiest dogs being in the most demand.
What you need to consider when getting a puppy –
Where the puppy comes from DOES matter.
The wellbeing of any puppy is influenced by the mother in utero, therefore if the mother is stressed, shut down (puppy farm) fearful, anxious etc. then these stress hormones will be passed to the puppies and effect their behaviour. The first few weeks also have a huge impact on the rest of their life. If you purchase from a puppy farm you are sadly getting a puppy that has only ever known a shutdown mother, seen the same 4 walls, haven’t had positive interactions with humans or other dogs. You can help these dogs, and they can live loving lives but you have to put more work in.
Socialising peeks at about 8-9 weeks depending on breed, therefore by the time you pick up puppy a lot of the socialising window has already gone, and yes there is a lot you can do to help socialise, those previous weeks will also have an impact.
The puppy trade is huge, and the puppy farms are very clever at convincing you that they have been loving caring families for these puppies.
They have been known to rent homes to meet potential buyers there to look like the puppies are from a loving home.
You can search for a particular breed, and the puppies will be sold to you as that breed, when they are not that breed at all. This is common with Poodle X breeds, due to the breeds all looking very similar.
Sadly, a lot of puppy farms do have a licence, so again you cannot rely on this as an indicator of a good breeder.
In order to make sure you are getting your puppy from a decent place, if you are going to a breeder I would make sure –
You ask to see videos of all the puppies with their mother, watch how the mother interacts with the puppies, she may not be the mother.
Ask to see videos of the puppies growing up, going out exploring and being fed.
Never pay cash, as there is no trail to follow.
KC papers are easily created, and sadly mean very little these days.
Make sure the puppies have had their vaccinations and are chipped, this is a legal requirement.
Ask where the puppies sleep, ask to see photos and videos of them sleeping.
Make sure you know the markings etc. of the puppy you are going to get, often you will be given another from the one you have been looking at.
If it doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right and listen to your gut, these people also reply on people not being able to leave the puppy once they arrive.
Make sure they are interested in you, they should be asking you lots of questions to see if you are suitable for the puppies, if they don’t then I would stay away.
Ensure that they will take your puppy back if your circumstances change.
Then once you have made your decision time to prepare for your new arrival…………………………….