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Puppy Season: 5 Things To Look for In Your New Puppy’s Breeder.

Two adult dogs with their litter of 7 puppies.

Spring and Summer are optimal times for families looking to adopt a new four-legged friend into their homes. The weather is warming up, kids are out of school, and adults are more inclined to take vacation days, which all allows for more time to get the new puppy acclimated.

However, due to recent events with the ongoing COVID-19, people are finding that they have even more time on their hands with less available distractions that might otherwise keep them from properly training their new pup, which encourages the puppy buying season even more.

We have been strongly advised to stay home during this time and that is advice that we should all take very seriously, but if you find that this is the one perfect chance for you to bring a fur-baby home we want to help ensure that you are well prepared.

How To Begin Looking for a Breeder.

Looking for a breeder can be overwhelming since there are a lot out there. To help narrow down your search you will need to do your research on the many different dog breeds first.

This will require you to do research on the different breeds size, fur type - if you need hypoallergenic-, personality, energy level, and grooming needs to help you to decide which fits the lifestyle and needs of the family they are being adopted into. 

Meet the Breeder

  • Ask to meet, which may have to be by conference call.
    • Observe the parents of the liter
    • The facility
    • How the breeders are caring for the animals (are the facilities clean, dogs well fed, how do the breeders interact with the dogs and vice versa)
  • Ask them how long they have been breeding dogs.
  • If they have social media, check and see who has adopted their dogs and if they are happy with the pups/ if they ever had any issues with them
  • Ask any questions that you feel necessary to ask!

Meet the Pups Parents

  • Again this may have to be done through video call, but you will want them to do a thorough look over of the parents of the liter. You will want to make sure you look at their size, build, walk/run, and temperament tends to be a big one.
    • However, keep in mind that they are recent parents, so if you see the parents acting a tad anxious being separated from the liter don’t take that into account to harshly. 

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Get the Medical History 

  • Many breeders that have been breeding for a while will have a very good relationship with a veterinarian that is also just as informed on breed-specific information to be mindful of. 
  • You will want to check to see if the breeder has had the litter and the parents of the litter screened for diseases that occur commonly with the breed.
  • OFA’s and CERF certificates are two health documents that you could ask the breeder for. Those are the most common reports that good breeders will typically have. 

Who Do They Sell Their Puppies To?

A brown haired boy holding a golden retriever.
  • Most legitimate breeders will handle the adoption process themselves. They will not sell to puppy stores or blindly on the internet.
  • Breeders do not always screen the families that are interested in taking one of their puppies home. If they don’t it doesn’t mean that they are any worse than the breeders that do. However, puppies are a huge responsibility and sometimes prospective pet parents get blinded with the cute puppy faces and forget that puppies are not for a season, they are for life. Some breeders will want to make sure that the soon to be pet parents are aware of the time, responsibility, and commitment that goes into having a pet.
  • In order to make sure those looking for puppies are serious and have the resources to continue taking care of them will probably make the price fairly high on the puppy, they could include a questionnaire, possibly even ask questions on employment status and so on. These questions are not to make you uncomfortable it is to show how much they care about the puppies they have taken so much time to raise, and they want to know you will be taking just as much care and love as you take them home.

When Are They Making The Puppies Available to leave? 

  • The most common suggested time to allow puppies to go home with their new families is 7-8 weeks. Before the puppies reach this age they should have been properly socialized and possibly even given basic training before they are offered to be taken away from their litter.
  • Dr. Sally Foote and long-time sheltie breeder Claire Apple give their opinion on why this time period is so important and what it does to ensure a well-adjusted puppy.
  • Dr. Sally Foote suggests the 7-8 weeks. Foote suggests this because the 6-12 week age is the socialization period, which is believed to be a great time for a puppy to become familiar with their new surroundings.
  • Claire Apple prefers keeping her dogs in her care until the ‘fear stage’ is over. She wants her puppies to be able to perform basic commands, be leash trained, and accustomed to car rides during this time.

These two professionals share two different opinions, the standard is the 7-8 week period, most breeders follow this timeline. There are those that might like to follow Apple’s example and give the puppies future pet parents a head start on training if that is something that you are interested in you may have to do more research on breeders to see what guidelines they like to follow.

If you wish to do your own training and socialization, it would be beneficial to do your research on the stages of mental and physical growth a puppy goes into so that you are aware of what you need to be prepared for.

Having a puppy to grow with is a wonderful time, especially when it feels as though you have all the time in the world with the way life is going right now. Again, do what you can to minimize in-person interaction with the breeder.

This would require a lot of communication prior and preparation on your part because a lot of this process might have to be over the phone and on video calls.

If you and the breeder do decide it is safe to interact in person, at least for the exchange, take the necessary protocols that health professionals have suggested to stay safe during the current epidemic.

Take these tips and apply them to your search for your new forever friend, you do not have to be ready today for a puppy or even within the next couple months.

Preparation is key and you need to be able to give yourself all the time to be ready to take on the responsibility financially as well as for what goes into raising and keeping them.

These tips will help to get you started on finding the right breeder for whenever you decide that you are ready. Good luck!

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Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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