Selecting your breeder can be a daunting task. After all, you are seeking a new family member who will be spending many years as part of your family unit. It is very easy to fall in love with a puppy – any puppy, and once that sweet little bundle has entered your home and you have gazed into adoring eyes and cuddled a sweet little waggly bundle, there is no way you will want to give it up, whether it was the right choice for you or not!
Dog breeders are not required by law to pass any examinations, nor are they required by law to study veterinary practices, nor participate in any courses designed to qualify them for the important and complex procedures that dedicated and conscientious breeders willingly apply to their chosen hobby or profession.
Once you have decided on the right breed for you and your family, the internet is the most commonly used resource in this day and age for those seeking out a breeder of their chosen dog breed. Although there are laws against improper advertising, unless ‘someone’ actually puts in a complaint, websites may or may not represent themselves factually, and may get away with misrepresentation for years. Words are cheap!
We have put together some guidelines which we hope will assist you in choosing your breeder wisely. OK, you have decided that a Labradoodle is for you. What next?
Make a List! Think of the things that are important to you and your family. Your needs are unique to you, and it is good to be absolutely clear about what is important in your household when it comes to the family dog. For instance is shedding an issue? Allergies? Would an active dog suit you, or a couch potato? Do you feel confident that the breeder is experienced enough to guide you on these important issues? Your list could go something like this:
Is the breeder a member of an organization which requires the adherence to a Code of Ethics? If not, why not?
How does the breeder socialize their puppies? This has a lot of bearing on the future personality and behavior of your new dog. Is the breeder willing to provide you with some referrals to others who have their puppies? If not, why not?
What does the breeder feed their dogs and puppies? Is it nutritious? What age are the puppies weaned? … leave for their new homes? (should never be earlier than eight weeks of age at the very least). Is written information provided re medical history, vaccinations and diet details? Ask the breeder about their worming schedule (should be started at two weeks and be carried out each two weeks until departure) Pedigree? Some form of identification which matches the pedigree? e.g. tattoo or microchip or DNA profile of the parents?
Have the parents been health tested? For what? Is written documentation available to substantiate the claim? What is the breeder’s policy on hereditary diseases if your dog is unfortunate enough to develop one in spite of parent testing and clearance – is a written guarantee available?
How much do the puppies cost? Price can be an indicator of the amount spent by the breeder on maintaining the health of their dogs and puppies. If the price is considerably less than other comparable breeders, proceed with caution. Some breeders desex their puppies before they leave. Take this into account when assessing price differences.
At what age was the puppy vaccinated for the first time? (most vaccines take fourteen days to become fully effective).
How do you feel when corresponding with the breeder? Do you feel that there is a genuine relationship being developed? If there is a problem do you feel confident that the breeder will work with you? Help you to re-home the dog if it becomes necessary? Or do you feel that you are being SOLD to.
These are just a few tips to help you with your research. You also should realize that conscientious breeders are assessing you as carefully as you are them. It is your responsibility to thoroughly think through your decision to add a puppy to your family. Ask yourself these questions:
Am I truly ready to add a new baby to my family at this time? Am I prepared to lose sleep, clean up messes, supervise the kids when they’re playing with the puppy, go outside in the cold and dark to potty the puppy, arrange meals two or three times daily for several weeks?
Do I have the time to devote to daily training sessions? Weekly puppy classes? Is there someone at home during the day to spend time with the puppy?
Am I prepared to sit down and thoroughly read and digest the information the breeder supplies? Am I willing to listen to their advice?
Am I absolutely certain that I am ready? Are the kids ready? Are both husband and wife ready?
Ever heard that we can choose our friends, but not our relatives? That may be true……. But you CAN choose your doggy family member. So be wise, be careful, and enjoy many happy years with the world’s greatest dog… the Labradoodle!