Puppy Adoption Tips

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Here's some simple puppy adoption tips pointers to help you find the right dog, one that naturally starts as a healthy, well-adjusted puppy.

To find websites with listings of available puppies Google “dogs and puppies for sale”, or check general trading websites. You  could also look on the website of your state kennel club for advertising  breeders (note, these lists of breeders are not exhaustive and only  feature breeders who have paid for ads).

Regarding price, expect to pay anywhere between $500 and up for a puppy. More expensive does not necessarily mean higher quality, healthier or a better pet for you either!

Some breeders are now selling puppies they have sterilised at only 8 weeks of age.  I strongly recommend that you AVOID getting a puppy like this, as dogs sterilised at a very young age have been shown to suffer increased risk of serious and expensive health issues such as cancer and  orthopedic problems (e.g cruciate ligament rupture), as well being  predisposed to developing incontinence. Healthwise, the best time  to sterilise a male or female dog is now known to be between their first  and second birthdays.

OF HIGH IMPORTANCE

* To dramatically reduce your puppy's chance of inheriting serious,  heartbreaking and expensive genetic defects, its parents should NOT be  related nor have ANY ancestors in common. You can check this by asking  to see both parents' pedigree papers and compare them to each other -  you should not see the same dog(s) in both parents' ancestry.  More info on how to check for inbreeding here.

If the  breeder won't or can't provide this information to you, RUN A MILE.  Every week I hear of a purebred dog suffering a life cut short by  genetic illness. There is no way a breeder can breed out "bad genes" at  the moment based on testing as tests do not exist yet for most inherited diseases. However, what will dramatically reduce your next  dog's chance of suffering from ANY inherited disorder is to make sure it  is not inbred. Unfortunately many breeders regularly mate closely related dogs (they call it line breeding) without regard to the damage they  are potentially doing to their puppies' future health. Inbreeding  increases the chance a puppy will inherit a lot of bad genes, or a lot  of good genes... like Russian Roulette. For some breeders, it's simple ignorance, but for others its all  about winning at shows and "improving the breed" but their rejects end up as people's pets :(  And no better are the "backyard breeders" who buy dogs without papers and mate them without having a clue if they are inbreeding or not.

* Talk to the vet who did the first vaccination of your puppy for the  breeder - and/or have it checked by your own vet - to check that it has  a healthy heart, and is in overall good health. It is standard that you  should have the option to return the puppy within the first 72 hours if  it is found to have a serious health issue.

* Puppy should be raised as part of a family, not in a kennel down the  back of a large dog establishment (e.g. backyard breeders are often the  best); this way your puppy has had a good start to its socialization. 

* The breeder should have reared the pups in a manner that facilitates their natural instinct to toilet outside.  This will make it heaps easier for you to successfully potty train your puppy when you get it home.  Properly reared puppies have a distinct bed and food area at one end of their enclosure, and a toilet area at the other comprising a suitable toileting surface such as gravel, grass, paving or sand.

HIGHLY DESIRABLE:

* Puppy should have been wormed at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age. Note:  Pups that have not been effectively wormed to this schedule present a serious health risk to young children.

* Breeder should not allow their puppy to go to its new home until it is  8 weeks of age. This is so it starts to develop proper socialization  with other dogs.

* Breeder should give you information to help you raise your new puppy.

* Though this is no guarantee a puppy will be free of the problem, its  parents should have been tested for the genetic diseases common in the  breed. You can find lists of these  here.

* Breeder should offer a money back health guarantee against the  development of serious genetic disorders of at least a year.  The more confident the breeder is, the longer the guarantee and the more confident you can be. 

* Puppy should be microchipped for you by the breeder.

* Puppy should ideally be temperament tested as likely to be suitable  for your family.

HOW TO AVOID GETTING SCAMMED

Some online ads are fake - the puppy doesn't exist and the seller disappears after you have paid. Some puppies are not physically sound  and you could be buying yourself an expensive health issue. You also want to protect yourself from buying a puppy with a heart  problem or other health issue. So DO ensure the pup is vet checked  before you commit! This should have been done by the seller when it was vaccinated at 6 to  8 weeks old anyway, so ask them to give their veterinarian permission to  discuss the results of this standard clinical examination with you, and ask for confirmation that no obvious issues such as hernias, bad mouths and most importantly, heart murmers, were evident.  Talking to the vet will also prove the pup exists, whether it looks  purebred as claimed, and often confirm a breeder is genuine.

Buying from a registered breeder is usually safest - ask for their  kennel name and check with their state kennel club that they actually  exist before committing to buy.

PET SHOP AND PUPPY MILL WARNING

Research has shown that pups sourced from pet shops/puppy mills are much more likely to develop problem behaviours as adults. Check out the university study report here. 

If you are shopping for a puppy and the breeder refuses to allow you to  see where they keep the adult dogs, walk away. You should at least be able  to see the mother in person to evaluate her environment, health, condition and  disposition. If the breeder will not let you view either the mother or their kennels,ask yourself “What are they trying to hide?”

Chances are, such breeders are running a puppy mill. Puppy mills are commercial kennels where the adult dogs are kept caged, sometimes for their whole breeding lives in filthy conditions. They are denied healthy social interaction with other dogs and humans and may not receive proper veterinary care. The people  running these puppy mills almost never allow anyone to see where they house their adult dogs.  They may avoid this by selling to pet shops or shipping to buyers from online ads. As long as you purchase puppies from puppy mills, dogs will suffer in  cages without proper care and you risk buying a psychologically damaged dog.

Best of luck finding your perfect puppy!

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