The Do’s and Don’ts of Meeting and Evaluating Puppies for Sale

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Visiting the breeder’s home is an essential part of the puppy-buying process. Almost every breeder requires a questionnaire, interview, or background check before allowing you to meet the pups.

Experienced breeders are all very familiar with red flags when meeting potential buyers. They will ask about your family, children, and how you plan to raise your new dog.

Do Your Research

Reputable breeders will not sell their puppies to pet stores, so if you see one advertised there, the puppy likely comes from a mill. This is a major red flag, and you should walk away immediately.

Ask to see the mother – this can give you important clues about her health and temperament. Puppies tend to mirror their mothers’ behavior, so if hers is nervous or aggressive, it may be a sign that something is wrong with the pups.

When you meet the puppies, notice whether they are playful and curious about the people around them. Also note how they interact with each other – a healthy, well-bred puppy should be interested in playing with people and other dogs.

Finally, please pay attention to how the puppies behave when rolled over on their back for belly rubs. Puppies in this position are generally easygoing, while those who creep on their bellies are more timid and will need time to develop self-confidence. These puppies will likely do best in a home with adults or single owners with plenty of time to spend on training and play.

Do Your Homework

So what should you do, and where to find puppies for sale? The best way to determine if a breeder is reputable is to visit their facility, meet the mother, and view the entire litter. Ask the breeder about their breeding practices and observe the puppies’ health, size, personalities, energy levels, and socialization. They can also answer any other questions about the breed and offer some training tips they’ve found to work well.

If the puppies are not yet eight weeks old, be sure to bring a friend so that you can evaluate them without the influence of cuteness. The pups should be active and interacting with their mother, siblings, and you. They should not be afraid of people or flinch when you gently touch them.

If they show signs of fear, such as arching their backs or running away, they will need positive encouragement and patience to become comfortable in their environment. They would be better suited for a single person with lots of time to dedicate to their development or a family with an older dog who could mentor the puppy.

Don’t Be Pressured

Having a pet is a serious commitment, and evaluating whether it’s really what you want is essential. The last thing you want to do is get a puppy that ends up being the wrong match for your lifestyle and then regret it.

This is a red flag if the breeder pushes you to decide quickly. Puppies have a lot of personality traits that may not be clear from just looking at them, and they need time to develop.

A top breeder will not pressure you or try to rush the process. They will want to discuss your lifestyle and what type of pup you want. They will also ask questions about your home, family, and lifestyle to ensure the dog will be well-suited for you.

A good breeder should be able to provide you with up-to-date health records for the mother and puppies, including certifications of vaccinations, a two-year genetic disease guarantee, and an honest sales contract that outlines what is expected of you as a dog owner.

Don’t Overpay

When you’re spending $500 to $5,000 on a puppy who will spend the rest of their life with you, it’s worth putting in some thought and research before buying. This will help you find the perfect pup for your family and prevent getting ripped off.

Responsible breeders are concerned about the puppies finding loving homes and not making the most money possible. They will take the time to interview and evaluate potential buyers, do background checks, and provide home visits. They will also discuss the cost of caring for a dog, including veterinary care, food, and general start-up costs.

Be careful when purchasing from a breeder who needs to follow best practices. They may sell your puppies for less, but you’ll pay more for veterinary care and possible genetic health issues in the long run. It’s also important to ask to meet the parents and see where they are kept, as many of a puppy’s personality and characteristics are inherited from their parents. In addition, seeing the mother can indicate the puppy’s eventual size and appearance.

Don’t Get a Puppy from a Puppy Mill

Purchasing from puppy mills and pet stores is an easy way to contribute to this cruel industry. Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding facilities that exist solely to make money by selling puppies and kittens. Buying a puppy from a pet store or a newspaper advertisement is not only a bad idea for the health of your new family pet, but it also helps keep these unregulated, often abusive facilities in business.

When looking for a reputable breeder, ask to visit the facility where the puppies are born and raised. Many reputable breeders will welcome this opportunity to educate prospective puppy buyers. Consider this a red flag if a breeder refuses or makes excuses, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or it being too cold.

Reputable breeders are usually part of national breed clubs. They will require thorough applications, references, and multiple meet and greets before allowing someone to take home one of their precious puppies. These responsible breeders are concerned with the overall quality of life for their puppies and will not sell their puppies to just anyone.