How To Find A Good Dog Breeder

15 January 2013

Whether you buy your puppy from a registered breeder or from a hobby breeder from the Internet there are a few common sense guidelines to observe.

The first few weeks of your puppy’s life can really have an influence on how they turn out as adults so it is always a good idea to approach this with a level head. All puppies look cute so don’t let your heart rule your head until you have done your home work It is a two way process and a breeder who has the dog’s best interest at heart will also be making sure you will be a suitable owner.

A good breeder isn’t always some one who shows their dogs and is Kennel Club Registered although that is a good start. I have found that talking to the breed club secretary is a good start. They will give you lots of useful advice and will point you in the direction of a good breeder. If you are buying a designer mixed breed it will be a case of talking to a few breeders and going with the one that sounds and feels right. A lot of these mixed breeds are a great money-spinner to the unscrupulous breeder.

They should be open and willing to talk about their breed and be able to let you meet the mother of the pups. The mother dog should have a good temperament and be happy to have you around her puppies. If she is overprotective or nervous these traits can be passed onto the puppies either genetically or as learnt behaviour.

The litter should be kept in clean well-managed surroundings. Ideally indoors especially if you are looking for a family pet. In some ways a noisy chaotic household will stress immunise your puppy to enable them to cope with family life. Puppies brought up outside or in a rural setting with no visitors or human contact will most likely find it difficult to adjust to a new home and may find it stressful adjusting if they are not used to it.

The age you bring your puppy home is also important. Too young and they won’t have spent enough time with their mother and littermates, which is essential to teach them what it is to be a dog. I have occasionally heard from new owners that the mother rejected the puppies, which is why they were rehomed at 5 or 6 weeks. Most bitches around this age will appear to reject their puppies. Most of the time they are just weaning them off the teat, which is an important time for the young puppies to learn how to deal with frustration! Puppies that are hand reared can sometimes develop behavioural problems as they are so used to being fed on demand when young, that when they mature their lack of impulse control can develop into problems with aggression.

Likewise it isn’t always easier to bring an older puppy home. They can find it harder to adjust to being an only dog if they have been used to being in a multi dog household. The exception would be if the breeder has done all the things you would do with your 8-week-old puppy. That is get them immunised and out and about to socialise and taking them to lots of new places. Taking them to a good puppy class to learn social skills and to start training and have got them housetrained. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen so you end up with a dog with poor social skills who will also find life stressful. It can be turned around with patience but not always.

The optimum age for most breeds is between 8/9 weeks old. Research shows it is the best age for puppies in terms of adjusting to a new home. So do your homework. Expect your breeder to vet you as likewise you will be vetting them. This is a long-term commitment get it right and owning a dog is great. Much better to wait for a great litter than to buy on impulse.

© Karen England2013

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