- WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO GET A PUPPY?
The most important time is when you have time. Puppies will take time to settle into the household, become house trained and socialized. It is certainly more comfortable to be outside in warm weather waiting for your puppy to urinate or defecate so you can praise it. NEVER EVER GET A PUPPY FOR CHRISTMAS! The holiday season is generally chaotic and it is hard to get a routine established at that time of year.
- WHERE SHOULD I GET MY PUPPY?
You will want to do some research to decide what breed or breed mix may be best for you and your lifestyle. If you are getting a purebred puppy, you will want to visit the breeder and see at least one parent, often the mother of the litter. If no parents are present, an explication should be given. You will want to establish a relationship with the breeder and you will need to completely understand what the contract will entail. Each breed should have Health Clearances for either the litter or the parents.
Most breeders have a cooling off period – when you can return the puppy. Take your new pet to your veterinarian to ensure there are no health issues. While most contracts will allow you to return the puppy – this rarely happens as it is very difficult to give back your puppy once you have had it for a very short time.
Beware of places that breed multiple breeds (i.e. 3 or more should be a warning sign). You always want to see where the dogs are kept and how they live. If the “breeder” is unwilling, walk away.
If you are getting a rescue puppy or adult then get as much history as possible. Make sure you spend time with the dog in question. Some rescue dogs will have had bad experiences and you must commit to re-training or re-socialization and be prepared for some health issues.
- HOW DO I CHOOSE A VETERINARIAN?
I would suggest visiting the clinics that are in your area. Go into the clinic and see the atmosphere. If you have time, sit in the reception area and observe. Are the reception staff friendly and helpful? Book an appointment to speak to the veterinarian. Referrals from friends and family are also helpful. Go with your instinct.
- HOW DO I CHOOSE A BREED?
There are several websites that offer a questionnaire to match you and a breed. Here are some links.
Many of the pertinent questions you should consider are: what are my expectations of my dog. How active am I – therefore how active do I want the dog to be? Someone I can hike with, throw the Frisbee for or someone to curl up on the couch with? Do I mind walking the dog twice a day? What is my tolerance for need to groom? Do I mind lots of hair in the house? If that answer is yes then some long haired breeds such as the Golden retriever won’t be a good choice. Is anyone in the family allergic? What appeals to me physically? How much time am I home? Consider avoiding breeds prone to separation anxiety – they are prone to damaging property and teeth if left alone. Some have high anxiety when crated – and will chew crates resulting in damage to their teeth.
If you are getting a puppy or adult dog (retired breeder) from a breeder – talk to the breeder about personality of the dogs. Breeders want their puppies placed into appropriate homes and will be very frank about the characteristics of the breed and their specific breeding lines.
If you are getting a rescue ask very pointed questions about any behavioural traits they have noticed. Also how long has that individual been in the shelter / rescue organization?
Are there children in the family? Some breeds are not good with children.
Are there cats in the house? Some breeds are not particularly good with cats. Breeds with high prey drive or strong chase reflexes (Greyhounds) may equate cats with bunnies. Are there rabbits or pocket pets in the home?
Certain breeds originally bred for guarding (Akita, Rottweiler) will require more care and training than the more relaxed breeds. They are wonderful pets in the right homes.
Unfortunately, some breeds have been banned in certain areas, for example Pit bulls have been banned in Ontario, Canada. It is invariably owners who do not understand the breed and do not train or control them that are the problem. The Dog Legislation Council of Canada has helpful information.
Many breeds still exhibit the skills they were bred for such as Border Collies – these are the kinds of dogs that should have jobs! Laying on the couch isn’t necessarily in their playbook.
- HOW DO I CHOOSE A GROOMER?
It is a good idea to visit a groomer. Like selecting any professional, see how you feel about the environment, how the groomer relates to the dogs under their care. Groomers are often happy to answer questions and will ask you questions about your puppy. Ask your veterinarian , friends and family for referrals.
- WHAT ARE THE GROOMING FREQUENCIES FOR BREEDS THAT REQUIRE GROOMING?
Any breed can visit the groomer. Some breeds will require more frequent grooming than others. A good groomer and you breeder can advise you.
- HOW DO I HOUSETRAIN MY PUPPY?
Patience is the key. Some breeds are harder to house train than others e.g. Italian greyhounds. Taking the puppy outside immediately after waking up and eating are good times to catch an impulse to eliminate. Positive re-enforcement is very important so the puppy understands it is doing the correct thing. Some people advocate paper training and gradually moving the paper outside. Regardless of the method, consistency, patience and positive reward are essential.
- SHOULD MY PUPPY GO TO PUPPY TRAINING OR OBEDIENCE?
Yes. Socialization is always a good thing. The high energy dog e.g. Border collie is always better when working. Obedience classes are a first step to Agility, Fly ball, Lure coursing, Dock diving and other activities that dogs love.
- WHY SHOULD I PURCHASE MY DOG THROUGH A BREEDER IF I ONLY WANT A PET – NOT A SHOW DOG?
The vast majority of puppies that a breeder will have, are meant for lifetime homes. A good breeder wants to breed puppies that are healthy, well socialized, excellent examples of the best of the breed. The breeder will support you through the life of your puppy. If you wish it, you become part of that larger family of the breeder. Many families will return to the same breeder for their next dog.
- WHAT ABOUT HYBRID VIGOR?
A cross between two dog breeds doesn’t necessarily mean consistency in appearance, size, health or temperament. Sometimes we get the worst problems from both breeds combining. Ideally people trying to mix these breeds should be undergoing Health Clearances for the problems in both breeds.
- WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK I HAVE COME ACROSS A PUPPY MILL?
If you have had a bad experience with a breeder on PuppyViewer then please contact us immediately and the PuppyViewer team will investigate.
If you have come across a puppy mill outside of puppyviewer.com please contact your local SPCA or Humane Society.
- WHAT IS DOG FLIPPING?
I have recently been advised about a practice called “DOG FLIPPING”. From what I understand, people buy puppies cheaply from puppy mills or people randomly breeding. They then feed them and have them groomed so they look better, then sell them for a greatly inflated price as registered purebred dogs. Of course the parents of the puppies are absent as are any registration papers.
Of course this completely perpetuates the puppy mill horror. When these puppies are purchased it is money in the pocket of these people so of course they will continue. The “dog flipper” profits from this process and certainly will not provide any support to an owner.
On a humane level, I wonder what these puppies may have gone through before they end up in a home.
IF you suspect an individual(s) to be flipping dogs and/or running or working with a puppy mill, please contact us here at PuppyViewer to look into.
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