Make sure you are getting your puppy from a reputable breeder.

10 Questions to ask your breeder

There are many people selling puppies. Make sure you are getting your puppy from a reputable breeder, and not a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Ask these important questions before putting money down for your new family member.

1. Can I meet the whole litter?

Getting to meet the whole litter of puppies can allow you to see how the puppies interact with each other in a natural setting for them. It also allows you to see what conditions the puppies are being kept in. If your breeder is not local, ask for lots of videos. Still pictures don’t tell the whole story, and neither does one video.

2. Can I meet the parents?

When you meet the parents of your future puppy, you can see what they’ll look like when they grow up, and what kind of temperament they might have. It’s a good indicator of what to expect from your own puppy.

3. How much do the parents weigh?

You can use the parents’ weights as a gauge to predict how large your puppy will grow. However, there is never a guarantee your puppy will stay between their parent’s weights. Often, they can be a bit smaller or larger, depending on their genetic makeup.

4. Ask your breeder if they do health testing?

Typically, breeders should have a complete medical checkup done to ensure both parents are healthy before breeding them. Breeders should also be aware of any common health issues for the specific breed. This way, you can be prepared to take care of your puppy for life.

5. When can I bring my puppy home?

Puppies should stay with their litters until they are about 8-12 weeks old. During this time, they are maturing and socializing with their mother and other puppies in the litter.

6. What kind of work have you done to socialize the puppies?

Socialization is extremely important, especially during the first few months of a puppy’s life. The puppies should be comfortable in new settings and around new people. Socialization in the early stages is key to a well-adjusted full-grown dog.

7. Have any puppies been sick?

It is important to receive any medical records your puppy may have had. Illness this early on could be an indicator for long-term medical issues. Speak to a trusted veterinarian if you have any concerns. Breeders should also provide proof of vaccination upon picking up your puppy.

8. What are you currently feeding the puppies?

Knowing what food the puppies are eating will help, even if you plan on feeding them something new. When switching to a new food, be sure to introduce it in small increments while waning off the old food. This way, your puppy’s stomach will have proper time to adjust to the new diet, and you’ll avoid messy accidents around the house.

  9. Are the puppies potty trained?

Speaking of accidents, sometimes breeders will begin training puppies to use a pee pad during the first few weeks. Other breeders will get their litters used to going on more natural surfaces such as grass and gravel. If your breeder has started crate training the puppies, this will help potty train your puppy in the long run.

10. Do you work with/recommend a force-free trainer in the area?

Finding the right trainer for your puppy can be daunting. The breeder may have a trainer they recommend in the area. Just be sure your trainer has your pet’s welfare as a top priority, and seek fear-free training when you begin your search.