Buying A Puppy?

Don't get ripped off!

I know their dirty tricks!
Conclusions

 

Recommendations For A Great Buying Decision

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Never buy a puppy from a Pet Shop!

If you buy a puppy from a Pet Store, you have missed the entire point of this site. You don't get to see the parents, you learn nothing about the conditions of the kennels, and you don't get to question the breeders. In short, you are supporting the Puppy Mill industry. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!

Don't be afraid to walk away from a deal at any point.

You are going to have this puppy for many years (hopefully.) If you detect any of the warning signs I mentioned, walk away. Don't worry about how far you drove, how many times you talked to the breeder, how much your kids LOVE the puppy (they will love the right one when you find it, long after this one is forgotten), etc. Kids are generally the LEAST objective puppy buyers anywhere. Breeders LOVE to get them attached and begging you to buy a puppy. Leave them it home if possible, especially if they are young. This makes objectivity MUCH easier. Avoid deposits on site-unseen puppies for breeders you have not met and gotten to know. This limits your ability to walk away.

When you visit a breeder, ask a lot of questions.

Ask question, after question, after question. If you don't ask questions well, take someone along who does. The questions should educate you about the breed of dog, this breeder's experience and knowledge, and important health issues concerning this breeder's dogs. In addition to learning about breeding and health issues, many questions improve your chances of catching a dishonest breeder in a lie. He wants your money, he will answer questions as long as your continue to ask. If he's uncomfortable, he may be hiding something.

Consider other breeds in the same group.

You will increase you opportunity of finding a dog that's perfect for you if you expand your search to other similar breeds. Even though a particular dog may seem perfect for you, a different breed in the same group will have some different characteristics that may match you even better. If you are interested in a Pekingese, you may also want to consider a Maltese, a Lhasa Apso or a Shih Tzu. If you are interested in a Irish Setter, you may also consider other Setter, Pointers or Retrievers. They will be similar, will give you more choices of puppies to buy and may also save you some money.

Don't buy around Christmas or Easter.

Many people buy puppies for their spouses or children for Christmas or Easter. More people will chase the supply of puppies and less good puppies from reputable breeders will be available. Demand varies over the year, while supply is basically constant. Buying when demand is low will give you the best opportunity to find the right puppy. Spring and Fall are great times to buy. Who needs a new puppy when the kids are busy in school?

Learn the breed standards for the breed you have chosen.

You may not be looking for a champion show dog, but you want it to look like right. This means you need to know the breed standards. Have a copy of them when you go shopping for a puppy. Compare the parents to this standard. You will be an educated shopper if you know what you are looking for. Your decision will come out much better.

See both parents of the puppy.

If the breeders make any excuse for why you can't see both parents, walk away. One of the parents died, ran away, is sick, or is visiting his cousins in Albuquerque…..whatever excuse they make. There are way too many wonderful breeders out there for every breed. You don't have to deal with one where you can't see the parents. See the parents, hold the parents, and play with the parents. If you don't like the parents, you won't like your puppy when he grows up. The appearance of the parents, the alignment of their teeth, their fur consistency, how much they shed, how playful they are, and their energy level are all important things to notice in the parents.

Sometimes a breeder will breed her female with a male from another kennel. You won't have direct access to this male. You should ask to see pictures or video of this male. Often "stud" males will have a web page. Find out why that male was chosen. What are his traits?

Attend or watch a dog show.

It's easy to find a dog show to watch. The internet, cable, PBS, and even a video store will have a show you can watch. You could also attend a local show in person. A dog show will help you understand, before you get a dog, how dogs are judged. You will see how breed standards are considered, how important attitude is. It will also give you a great exposure to many different groups and breeds. You will make a better decision about what dog is right for you after you see all the breeds and listen to the discussions concerning those breeds. Even if you are sure of the breed you want, a look at different groups and breeds may change your mind or convince you that you're right.

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Get and read a book about your chosen breed before you buy a puppy.

After you are reasonably certain about the breed you want, you need to read a guidebook specifically about that breed. Almost any pet store, large bookstore or library will have a book about most popular breeds. You will live with dog for the next ten years or so, invest an hour or so now to help choose a better dog. Most of the book will be relatively generic, discussing puppy care, grooming, general health issues and such things. Two important chapters will discuss breed standards and health issues for the particular breed. These are important for you when you go shopping for a puppy. You will judge the parents based on the standards and question the breeder concerning his experience with the health issues. Take the book with you. The breeder's attitude will change when he know you can't be easily fooled.

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