What to Expect From a Responsible Breeder

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Reputable Breeder Expectations

Responsible breeders want the best for their puppies. Their pets are part of their family, and the new puppies are their little babies. They will not hand their babies over to just anyone. And they are willing to spend a lot of time interviewing potential adopters. So exactly what should you expect from a responsible breeder?

The breeder will want to know about your current living arrangement. Do you live in a house or apartment? Do you rent or own? Do you have a fenced yard? Will this be an inside or outside dog?

From this series of questions, the breeder will be able to tell if the breed will fit into your housing situation. Many dogs do well in small houses or apartments, including some bigger dogs. Others, even smaller dogs, must have room to run, wander, and stretch out. If you rent, the breeder will want to see proof of approval from your landlord. If you have a yard, a fenced yard is best. No dog is happy tied to a stake all day, and a responsible breeder will not sell a puppy to someone who has such plans. An electric fence, well suited to contain some breeds, is not acceptable for guardian breeds or those known to be aggressive towards strangers. While although the fence should keep the dog in, it will do nothing to keep out strange animals or neighborhood children, who may be harmed by a territorial dog.

Many breeders will not sell to people who intend on keeping the dog solely as an outside pet. Dogs are pack animals – even work dogs – and will not be happy without human interaction.

Next the breeder will ask you about yourself, your family, and your habits. He’ll want to know if you’re married; and if so, what sort of relationship you and your spouse have. His personal questions regarding your relationship are an attempt to establish if the puppy is entering a solid family. He may want to know who will keep the dog in the event of a divorce. He will also want to know if you have children; and if so, how many and their ages. Some dogs do not do well with children at all, while others enjoy their company. A number of breeds have a tendency to herd young children, and certain dogs do not respond well to rough play. Some dogs, such as the toy varieties, can be hurt if not handled properly. The breeder will help you determine if his breed is a good match for your children.

The breeder will also ask about your hobbies and exercise habits. While some dogs can occasionally self-exercise and some need nothing more than a game of fetch, most dogs need supervised daily exercise to keep them physically healthy and mentally alert. If locked up in the house or yard without adequate daily exercise, your dog may turn destructive. He may dig up your flower beds, jump over or crawl under the fence, or resort to chewing on anything in reach. A breeder will want to make sure that your activity level and availability match the dog’s needs.

The breeder will want to know about any pets you currently own. Your son’s snake, the family hamster, the stray cat that drinks milk from a saucer on your front porch, and so on. Some breeds get along well with animals, while others demand complete attention, fighting with any pets that interfere with their affection.

The breeder will also want to know about any dogs you currently own to determine if they are compatible with a new puppy. What breed is it? How old is it? He’ll want to make sure that you understand how a new puppy will affect your family – pets and all. He’ll also ask about any pets you’ve previously owned. He’ll want to know how long you owned it and why you no longer have it. Do not expect to acquire a dog from a reputable breeder if your last dog got hit by a car and the one before that was put in a shelter because of obedience issues. A breeder wants to ensure that his puppy is going to be safe, happy, and loved. You need to be responsible yourself in order to buy from a responsible breeder. If you’ve never owned a dog before, the breeder will want to make sure that you understand the responsibilities. He may decide that his breed is not right for a first-time owner.

Additionally, the breeder will question you about your expectations for a new dog and what, if anything, you know about the breed. You can’t make a choice that will affect you for the next decade based solely on what is currently popular. If you are prone to bouts of laziness or disappear on week-long business trips, maybe a dog is not the best thing to add to your life right now. Most dogs require daily exercise. Some dogs require daily grooming. You should expect to spend time obedience training your dog, playing with it, and including it in your activities. So maybe that mastiff is not the best choice of running partner. Neither is a Pomeranian. A breeder will help you determine if their breed is good for your lifestyle. There is enough information online, at the library, and elsewhere for you to know ahead of time which breeds are a good match for you.

A breeder may also ask you about local leash or confinement laws in your community. You will want to make sure that you know and follow all laws to protect your new puppy and your neighbors.

He will ask about your plans for obedience training. This is particularly important in guardian dogs that tend to become aggressive if not properly trained. Every dog needs some training in order to develop a healthy relationship with its owner.

Remember that a breeder will want to know your future plans regarding showing your dog or breeding it. If you plan on showing your new pet, the breeder will be an endless source of advice and assistance. If you plan on breeding it, you will be required to follow very strict standards to ensure that you are producing the best possible examples of the breed. If you do not agree to the standards, you will need to sign a spay or neuter contract to prevent unplanned puppies.

Finally, the breeder will go over with you all of the important points of dog ownership. Are you aware of the costs for veterinary care? This includes shots, spaying or neutering, and other medical needs. What do you plan on feeding your new puppy? The breeder will let you know what brand of food he is currently feeding the puppy and require that you continue on it for a set time before switching, usually over a one- to two-week span. He may give you a bag of food to take home with your pup. You may also consider homemade dog food for its added health benefits. Read our article on the ingredients in commercial dog food before you feed your puppy anything (/dog-food.asp). You will be told about other expenses such as a dog license, bedding, a crate, boarding if you go on vacation, toys, leashes, collars, grooming, and so on.

Keep in mind that a good breeder is only looking out for his puppy – YOUR puppy! What may feel like an interrogation stems from love of dogs, love of the breed, and love of that furry little pup that you want to take home. The breeder will evaluate you, and you should inspect him. Both of you have the same goals. You are both trying to match dog to family. And with a little work and a lot of preparation, you will discover that locating a reputable breeder will enable you to find a dog that fits in perfectly with your family.