I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries lately about new puppies. So here are a few tips I‘d like to pass along that can make a huge difference in adding a new pet into your family.
The first option I always suggest in adoption. There are far too many pets out there looking for homes. If you can make room in your life for one of these, please do. Adoption isn’t for everyone, but where it is an option, it can save a life.
If you decide to purchase a puppy from a breeder, Do Your Research. First, decide what type of dog you and your family want. There are a number of "Choose a Puppy" websites that can walk you through the different needs each breed entails. Every type of dog has different activity levels, need for exercise, grooming requirements, even the size that they get can affect your ability to care for your new puppy. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask our staff for a little guidance.
Once you've chosen a breed, choose a breeder. A quality breeder is very easy to discover, there are many ways to locate one. Breed journals, dog shows, even searching the internet. Rarely will you find a quality breeder advertising on Kijiji or in the newspaper. A quality breeder may charge a little more than a backyard breeder advertising in the newspaper, but its worth it.
The purchase price of a puppy is the smallest part of the cost of a dog. Over the life of the dog, you will spend thousands of dollars, a few hundred more at the start to get a quality pet is worth it, and can actually save you thousands. I remember a guy telling me about the great deal he got on his ShihTzu, only $200, because it has a bad underbite. In further conversation, he revealed that the dog can only eat canned food, its jaw is too messed up to eat dry. So, he's going to spend literally thousands of dollars more on food over the life of the dog. To save a few hundred up front.
When you choose a puppy, you have to visit the breeders facility, See where the dog comes from. See the parents (the Mom at least). See how the puppies are treated, and how they interact with the family that is raising them. Make sure that these puppies were born there, that they weren't just dropped off there recently to be sold. If the Mom isn't there, that is a big red flag. "She's just at the vet" is an even bigger one. This is a tell tale that this is a puppy mill setup. If they want to deliver the puppy, that is another red flag. It sounds like they are doing you a favour, when in reality, mos of the time it is to prevent you from seeing the conditions they are raised in.
Puppy mills used to have pet stores to use to sell their dogs. Now, thanks to free advertising through the internet and Kijiji, they can quickly sell a litter of puppies at twice what they would have gotten from a petshop, making this a much more lucrative business.
The way they do this is they have a place out in the country where no one will bother them where they breed the animals. Conditions can be deplorable, and the animals mistreated, but no one ever sees that. Then, when a litter is ready to go, they bring them into the city to a friends house to sell the puppies for them. It can be pretty obvious that the dogs don't belong there, but the puppies are sooo cute, and sooo cheap, and the people such good salesmen, that these puppies usually get sold really quick. I don't care how cute the puppies are, if you suspect they are from a puppy mill, leave. Don't reward people who abuse animals by giving them your hard earned money. As long as people buy the dogs, they will continue to mistreat and abuse dogs to produce more.
Many end up being good pets, but some don't. Congenital defects from inbreeding, infectious disease and parasites, poor socialization and behavioral problems caused by neglect and abuse can be in store for someone who purchases from one of these disreputable “breeders”.
A little time and effort invested before you purchase a puppy can have huge benefits down the road. We’re talking up to 15 years or more they will be with you, putting a little extra effort into making the decision on the right fit is worth it.