PUPPY BUYING 101
Puppy Search Recommendations by Judy Segedi, Devanley Labradors
There are ways to ensure that your search for a new puppy will ensure you bring home a happy, healthy companion.
Observation: At some point, you will visit the kennel. You do not necessarily have to visit before you commit to buying a puppy, in today's digital age -- photographs and/or work just as well. A simple visit or receipt of photographs is all it takes to see if the living conditions of the dogs are adequate. A tour of the facility which very often is the breeder's home may or may not be feasible in order to protect new puppies as well as all their dogs from disease/viruses carried in unknowingly by visitors that could be detrimental to the litter. Please take appropriate precautions as directed by the breeder when visiting their property. If you have questions, please ask and it is not unreasonable to request photographs.
Interview: A reputable breeder will expect you to ask questions. A reputable breeder will also expect you to answer questions. Be prepared to be asked such things as: what is your work schedule? Who lives in the house with you? What is your yard layout like, do you have a fence, if so, what kind? Do you rent or own your home? Although these may seem like personal questions, a breeder who cares about their puppy wants to ensure that it is placed in the best possible home. A breeder who does not ask questions is probably just looking for a sale and won't be able to offer you the same quality of puppies as a reputable breeder.
Health Clearances: Ask to see the actual Health Clearance Certificates for each parent or, if the parents were cleared through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, conduct a search on their website to verify the clearances www.ofa.org. If the sire and dam have passed their clearances they will be listed on this site, if they are not listed they either did not pass clearances or exams/x-rays were never submitted. Different breeds require different clearances, search for a specialty breed club website or AKC Breed Parent Club, the recommended clearances are often listed. Bait and switch tactics have been used by less than reputable breeders. They may show you certificates for another set of parents, take the time to write down the name of the dam and sire of your future puppy. In some cases, health clearances may have been obtained through a foreign registry (SV) or another U.S. registry (such as Penn-Hip) without an open data base; in those instances you will need to see the actual certificate.
Expect Photos: As you wait for your puppy to grow old enough to come home with you, expect to be sent photographs or see photographs on the breeder's website as they develop.
Contract: What is said within the context of that document is what sets apart the reputable breeder. Read it word for word and understand it fully, never sign it without reading it and understanding it. Do not be tempted to sign such a document at the last minute without reading it first. Please ask a breeder to email you a copy of their contract prior to your puppy going home with you. The areas covered in contract include hip & elbow guarantee, mandatory spay/neuter time frame, commitment to the well being of the puppy by its new owner for his/her lifetime as well as a right to have that puppy returned if the situation were to occur that you could no longer keep your puppy.
Bill of Sale: AKC requires that new owners are given a bill of sale as the time of purchase. A bill of sale will be provided to you which includes purchase price, any deposits received as well as the amount of sales tax which the State of Wisconsin requires be collected on the sale of all puppies/dogs in Wisconsin.
References: You should ask for references from past puppy buyers as well as from the breeder's veterinarian.
Reputable breeders will be able to help you find the puppy that is right for you and will be happy to give you tips on raising and caring for your new family member. They will be available to you for the life of the dog. As long as you find a reputable breeder, finding the right puppy is as easy as 1-2-3!
Click here for a Checklist of Potential Questions to Ask Breeders