Finding the Right Dog for Your Family
The two main ways to acquire a new pet are by either buying a dog or rescuing a dog or puppy.
The first thing that should be done is do plenty of research. While doing this, keep in mind that the breeders of the breed you are researching are often the authors of the research you are reading. Many of these breeders won’t have negative things to say about their breed of choice. Every breed has both positive and negative aspects.
I suggest that you start by asking yourself the easy questions. What size dog will fit your lifestyle? How much of shedding hair will become bothersome? How long are you likely to be away from home during your day? Are you willing to pay a groomer every 4 to 8 weeks for many breeds? Will you be able to afford the medical bills should your dog become ill or get injured?
The Pros and Cons of Rescuing a Dog
To rescue a dog or pup can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. There are many great dogs that are ready for you to love them. Many of these dogs are potty trained, in great health and very loving. Some of these dogs have already been obedience trained. Rescuing a dog should cost between, $100.00 and $250.00. I recommend that you have about $1000.00 put aside for your new dogs needs. Your dog will need to see a good vet ASAP (bring a stool sample). You should have the proper sized crate waiting for you when you get home with your new dog. The items you will need on hand for your new dog are dishes, toys, food, a leash and collar. Your new dog will not likely be perfect. You may need to hire a professional Dog Trainer. Most of the less then perfect dogs can be easily turned into great dogs in a matter of days with some guidance. In the long run it may cost more money to rescue than it will to buy a puppy from a Breeder. When people ask me should they rescue or buy, I always ask the person, are you rescuing to save money or are you rescuing to save an unwanted dog? If your answer is the later then I will encourage you to rescue. Becoming a dog owner is a huge commitment and should be taken seriously. If your dog becomes a problem, seek help before you consider putting your dog in an animal shelter. Animal Shelters should not be used as dumping grounds for our pets.
Buying a Puppy from a Puppy Mill
Finding the right puppy for your family should start with research and lots of questions. All puppies are cute and many of them come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are largely responsible for the over crowed animal shelters and many of the sick dogs that need health care. Most puppies that are found in pet stores (for sale) are mill dogs. I am reaching out to everyone I can to ask that you don’t shop in a store that sells dogs, ever. The store should be held accountable for supporting puppy mills, let's stay out these pet stores. Buying a puppy mill dog will cost between $400.00 and $2000.00 this cost is just for the puppy. Never breed a puppy mill dog. Many of these puppies have been mishandled, under fed and taken from their Mother too soon. Mishandling and so on can result in many poor behavior traits later in life, even if the owner of the pup treats the pup very well. Often you will be told that the pup is a pure bred but you will find later he/she is not. Many of these puppies will be very sick. These pups almost always come from out of state for a reason. If we simply stop buying them the mills will soon be out of business. If you have purchased a Puppy Mill dog and are experiencing behavior issues, you are not alone and there is plenty of help. We specialize in this type of dog. Please know that behavior issues are more than fixable. We can help you turn a troublesome dog into a wonderful family pet.
Finding a Reputable Breeder
Finding a good breeder is fairly easy. I will walk you through the process. Find a breeder that you are willing to visit before you choose the puppy. This is important. Many breeders will ship a pup to you. This is never a good idea. A good Breeder will need to meet you and your family. A good Breeder cares deeply about all the pups and will be careful as to who he/she sells the pups to. Good Breeders breed only one type of breed, the breeder should be an expert on the breed and have several years of breeding to back his/her line up. Never buy a pup if there is not at least one parent on the property. The more relatives in the home the better. Most good breeders have a room set aside, inside of the home. Beware of pups in a garage, shed or backyard. The Mother Dog should not be locked into the pups living area. Next follow your nose, does the home smell like puppies, or does it smell like an animal shelter? Look at the general condition of all the dogs not just the puppies. A good Breeder will breed a female dog only one time a year. Over breeding a female can result in poor health in the Mother and the pups. A Stud dog will be happy to be bred several times a year with no ill effect on him or the resulting pups. The Dam and Sire (Mother and Father) should have zero family relation to each other.
A few of the red flags to look for are: Pups are not inside the home. Pups have more than a small amount of poop and pee in their quarters. If you are shown just one puppy and the puppy looks to have just had a bath. The pups shy away from strangers. Older relatives of the dogs live in cages. If you see or smell anything questionable grab your breaking heart and run!
What you Should Expect from a Good Breeder
A lengthy phone conversation, (he/she is interviewing you before he/she shows his/her beloved dogs to you). He/she should be happy to share his/her knowledge and answer any questions about the breed. A good Breeder will show you the adult dogs that are related to the pups before he/she shows you the pups. A good Breeder will assist you in picking the right puppy for your family. The Breeder will have a full understanding of the different temperaments of each pup in the litter. Good Breeders will only feed their dogs high quality dog food and give the pups plenty of food. Pups that only get enough food to sustain them will likely come to their new home with poor food behaviors and good Breeders understand this. A good Breeder will show you how to properly hold a young pup and watch you closely as you handle the youngster. A good Breeder will be happy to hold your new pup an extra few days if you are going on vacation or need to be out of town. A good Breeder will refuse the sale of a pup if the pup is to be a gift to a person that has not asked for a puppy. The Breeder will likely want to meet the entire family before the pup is transferred to the new home. The Breeder will have all of his/her AKC paperwork in order by the time the pups are 4 weeks old. AKC has clear rules about buying pups before the registration is completed, the rules don’t protect the buyer.
www.akc.org has a classified section that can direct you to local breeders that have pups. This can be a good place to start. The Breeders listed on this site are not all reputable but many are. Understand that the AKC organization does not check on Breeders in person.
Good luck in finding for the right dog for your family. If we at Marx’s Dog Training can assist you in any way please feel free to call.
Written by Gwenevere Marx