Getting a Puppy? What to Ask The Breeder

Getting a Puppy? What to Ask The Breeder

Puppy Behaviour Experiences Begin At The Breeder

So you have decide to get a new puppy and are prepared for the challenges of early and adolescent years, initial sleepless nights and the dedicated time to your dog for; care, housetraining, exercise, teaching appropriate good manners, life skills, play, and training etc.

Research your chosen dog breed. Decide which is right for your family and circumstances. Consider what your chosen breed was bred to do. Different breeds will have a predisposition for particular traits e.g. herding, guarding, hunting deer or small animals, alert barking, digging out rats, flushing or retrieving prey, or as a companion. So this is just one of the things that may affect its behaviour. E.g. your dog may be inclined to dig, chase small animals, or need lots of exercise. Your puppy’s personality and dog behaviour will develop from the puppy you first picked up and it is influenced by on-going experiences. Experiences begin at the breeder. Selecting a good breeder for the puppy’s best start in life and asking the right questions are important.

A Good Breeder

You must decide for yourself if it is a good breeder. A good breeder is experienced and knowledgeable. S/he will know about the breed of dog you are buying. They will be aware of health and temperament concerns. Show you the mother with puppies. Raise the litter in a home environment and start to socialise and habituate the puppies to the world. S/he should ask you questions to find out if you will be a suitable owner and be concerned about the puppy’s future. S/he will be happy to provide aftercare advice. They will provide relevant paper work, e.g. pedigree, test results, hip score, proof of worming vaccinations etc. 

  • Enquire about the dam and sire and their temperament and health. 
  • Was it a planned litter and what experience does the breeder have?
  • What happens if your vet finds a major health concern after purchase?

What to avoid

  • Any breeder that makes excused that you can’t see the dam.
  • Anyone who offers to meet you somewhere with a puppy.
  • Breeders who breed several breeds, especially in quantity, perhaps in a kennel or farm environment.
  • Kennel reared puppies with no socialisation at all, or initial experiences to begin habituation to things it will encounter in life. 
  • Dogs reared in a poor environment.
  • Evasive answers or promises of paperwork that doesn’t appear.
  • Dogs in poor health.
  • A breeder that has only brought the puppy to the home, from the kennel for you to meet it.

There are other observations, or questions you could ask the breeder, to help select the right puppy for you.

What is Important (dog behavioural point of view)

  • Look for clear eyes and ears, no odour or obvious lumps or bumps; the puppy should be alert and active. Always take the puppy to a veterinarian for a health check subject to purchase, or as soon as possible.
  • Always see the puppy with its mother.
  • What is the dam’s health like and how does she appear to get along with the puppies? Choose carefully to avoid inherited health concerns. Have the parents been screened for health concerns?
  • Ask to see the mother (dam). What is her temperament like? Is she friendly, or avoiding, is she aggressive towards people, or animals? Is she afraid, or unsure of anything? Is she timid, boisterous, independent, nervous, calm, unsettled, or reserved?
    • Has the puppy been with its mother for the first 8 weeks?
    • Has the puppy met and been handled by a variety of people?
    • What other animals has the puppy been socialised with?
    • Too much contact, rough contact, or not enough handling will affect the dogs’ behaviour.
    • Has the puppy begun to experience the sights and sounds of a normal home environment?

Managing Your Puppy and Preventing Dog Behaviour Problems

So you have found the best breeder and puppy. Learning, experiences and good manners are now governed by you. From the time the puppy comes to live with you there will be a lot of essential things that your puppy needs to learn and owners often have many questions on dealing with various normal puppy behaviours and how to prevent dog behaviour issues.

A puppy consultation with Canine Whispers, helps you to teach your puppy good manners and desired behaviour, to prevent dog behaviour problems developing, manage puppy behaviour concerns and it gives you information, or advice that you might need.

Got a new puppy in lockdown? A virtual puppy consult may be just what you need.