Are you thinking of buying a puppy? If you’re reading this, chances are your mind is already set on the matter. Choosing to get a puppy may not be an easy decision, but it will turn out to be one of your best decisions. Puppies are one of life’s greatest gifts and will change your life forever… for the better of course! Although, much like bringing home a new baby it is not only the most exciting day of your life, but also the most daunting… where do you even begin?
Taking all the experiences, advice and unspoken rules of the puppy parents who have come before you, this guide to buying a puppy provides you with all the wisdom and advice for bringing home your new friend…let’s get into it!
Buying a puppy checklist: everything you need to know before you buy
Buying a puppy is not like getting a cup of coffee: it means a serious commitment, both in terms of lifestyle and financially, and a decision on what breed you will buy, but especially from who you will buy it. It’s of the utmost importance that you know what to look for when buying a puppy, and that you set off with a clear set of questions to ask the breeder when choosing your furry friend. Since we all know walking away from a puppy once they set their cut eyes on you is a near-impossible task, it’s better to have some questions ready for the breeder BEFORE your first visit.
What questions to ask the breeder before your first trip
With an increasing amount of people buying a puppy to bring a spark to their lives, it’s only expected that the quality of the various breeders can differ, from a puppy farm that puts profit before puppy welfare to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. Even though getting a puppy from the former can be a noble action, it’s important to make sure you don’t make these people profit from their ill practices, and always buy from the real breeder.
- Are they the puppy’s actual breeder and were the puppies born at home?
- Can you see the littermates? How many other puppies were in the litter?
- Will you be able to see the mother?
- Will the visit take place at the location where the puppies were born?
- Are they aware of possible hereditary conditions? Was the parents’ health duly monitored?
- Has the mother a good or bad temperament?
- Has the mother had any health problems?
Convincing answers to the questions above will guarantee you are dealing with a genuine breeder that owns the mum and cares about their puppies’ health and well-being.
What to look for when buying a puppy
So you’re buying a puppy, and you’re convinced you are dealing with a legitimate breeder. However, a bit of extra caution won’t hurt: make sure you have this brief checklist at hand to help you make the best decision when bringing a little dog home.
When visiting the breeder, you should always ask if the puppies have had health conditions, if they’ve been regularly wormed, and at what age the breeder will let you take your new puppy home.
Other useful information includes:
- whether the puppy will receive its first vaccination before it goes home.
- if the breeder has a socialisation plan for the puppies and what activities have they involved the puppies in. It’s important for your new puppy to be used to be around people.
- what brand of food are the puppies currently eating? Is that brand is working well for the dogs?
Always ask if the puppies are microchipped and to be shown microchip documentation. This guarantees you are dealing with the first keeper on a database and will provide you with a microchip number, allowing you to establish the breeder’s compliance with the relative legislation.
Even though you might be dealing with a good, vetted breeder, they will not always be fully transparent to you and might leave some information out on purpose. When buying a puppy, you have to know everything about them, and paying some attention to their environment can go a long way in helping you get a detailed picture.
When visiting your future puppy, always ask yourself:
- Do the puppies and the mother look happy and healthy?
- Are puppies around several litters of puppies from different breeds? This could signal that the breeder is puppy farming.
- Is the breeder concerned about sending the puppies to the right home? Do they know them individually?
- Is the environment the puppies are in suitable, clean, and safe?
- Are the puppies stimulated? Do they have enough to play with?
- Are the puppies happy to be handled by strangers?
- Are the puppies being housetrained to go to the toilet?
If most of the answers to the above questions are positive, this means you’re dealing with a good-hearted, caring breeder that will go out of their way to make sure their puppies reach a great house. If you feel like you’re dealing with a dodgy breeder, report your concerns to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 404 0506 and check if any incidents have been reported with the local authority.
Top 5 tips you absolutely need to know when buying a puppy
After all the time you spent thinking, you finally ended up buying a puppy. Congratulations! Here are five tips you absolutely should know when bringing home your new puppy!
When it comes to putting your new furry friend into a crate, it can seem almost cruel, although when used properly, a crate can become your puppies safe place and your saving grace in making your puppy feel comfortable. Although, perhaps a crate in itself is almost like a doggy prison cell, so take this opportunity to decorate your puppies’ crate, making it a space that they can recognise as their own safe haven. Soft Pads, cosy toys and a fluffy blanket are some common favourites that can help to transform a crate into a mini home. Trust us on this, not only does a crate provide you with some peace of mind if you need to pop out or can’t keep an eye on what they’re up to, but it also gives your puppy a space to go if they are ever feeling nervous or unsure; a great way to show them that being in your home is a safe place for them.
RoutineMuch like us, dogs are their best selves when they have a routine and schedule throughout their day. Providing your puppy with an idea of when they can expect certain things to happen, whether it be a morning walk followed by breakfast, or dinner following by an evening walk, this sense of structure in their day will establish a relationship of comfort and trust between you and your puppy. Lucky for us, puppies and dogs are relatively easy-going which means routine and structure doesn’t mean strict timetables and daily itinerary’s but simply a little consistency to the daily life of your puppy. Consistency will give your new dog peace of mind that walkies are coming, food is coming, and treats are coming… giving you and your puppy a peaceful life.
SleepingWhen it comes to sleeping arrangements for your new puppy, new parents often find the whole process a little daunting and confusing… ‘what’s the right thing to do and how should I do it?’. Many dog parents don’t want their new furry friend sleeping in their bedroom and are worried that allowing it at all will mean bad sleeping habits begin to form, although this isn’t necessarily the case. Moving into a new and unfamiliar home is a scary one, especially for a new puppy who has only ever known life in a litter, in which case, setting up their crate in your bedroom for the first few nights allows your puppy to know you are close by and to be comforted if they need it… because yes, bedtime whimpering is common amongst these doggy babies.
As your new puppy becomes comfortable and adapts to your home, you’ll find that moving your puppy to what will be ‘their space’ is easily done… another benefit of the crate life, as the crate is the space they will trust, and you can move this pretty much anywhere until it’s time for a dog bed.
Catching Bad HabitsThat new puppy smell, those big puppy eyes and that soft puppy fur makes saying no a more than challenging task when your new furry friend is welcomed home… but letting the small things go early on will only create big issues for you later down the line. Paying attention to the kind of behaviours your puppy carries out and recognising if they will still be cute a year down the line when they’re double the size, will allow you to nip bad behaviours in the bud before they become adulthood habits that are nearly impossible to break. Introducing your puppy to guidelines and soft rules will help to build an easy and mutually agreed lifestyle between you and your puppy.
Perhaps one of the easiest tips for new puppy parents; show as much affection, love and cuddles as you can to your new furry friend. A loved puppy is a happy dog, and a happy dog is often the calmest and relaxed amongst their doggy peers. Introducing your puppy to affection from the get-go will reflect throughout their adulthood and make vet trips, groom time and introducing them to new people and new dogs a much easier process. Touching your dog while they’re eating is key in avoiding food aggression and showing affection during bath time will show them there’s nothing scary about bubbles and water.
Welcoming a new puppy into your home can be daunting, and like all new parents, you will want to do it right. These 5 top tips condense all the key information you won’t want to miss and will hopefully give you an idea of the route to follow.
Although, let’s not forget that although structure, routine, habits and sleep are significantly important, puppies are simple in one sense particularly… they want to love and be loved in return.
Good luck with your new furry friend!