You finally decided to take a dog: what questions you should ask a breeder or an owner of the dog shelter?
With the exception for designer dogs, mixed breed dogs are much easier to find; unlike purebred dogs, they are more accessible. Let's define where to start searching for the future pet.
Once you finally decide where you are going to take a dog, you should know what questions to ask and how to determine if a specific dog is right for you. First, arm yourself with the list of questions to find out if the dog will be a good fit in your home.
So many places, so little time. Pedigree dogs are everywhere! You will find them in a special section of your local newspaper, on ads posted in the pet stores, shelters for animals. If you prefer to search online, you will find dog breeders much faster.
The best way to expand your knowledge about the breeds and look at them closely - to visit an exhibition of dogs or dog show. Out there you can meet the representatives of almost every known breed, as well as to meet the specialists on their breeding. At the exhibition you will have the opportunity to talk to several breeders at once for better understanding what kind of dog you really want.
Dog breeders – are the best source of information for you, because they have devoted their entire lives to dogs’ breeding, and will be able to describe you in detail all the advantages and disadvantages of the particular breed. Also, these people will help you to understand whether the breed you dream on, will really suit you.
If you are searching for a purebred puppy, to find a breeder is the best option. The surest way to locate a breeder - either through classified ads section in your local newspaper or on the Internet.
Based on my own observations, casual breeders (people who did not intend to breed dogs), will most likely to advertise in the newspaper, while the true dog breeders tend to have own Websites. This is only a general rule, though, as with any rule, there are exceptions, and for this reason you need to know on what exactly to focus your attention in any breeder, no matter where you found him.
Regardless of whether you are dealing with the a true dog breeder, or an accidental breeder, here is a list of questions you need to ask:
Was this litter planned?
If so, it is more likely that your puppy will be healthy, because the breeder aims at producing good quality puppies.
For how long have you been breeding dogs?
If the breeder confessed that the breeding was not planned, it is likely that his dog got loose and was bred by local Casanova. If the breeder imparted to you that he has been breeding for several years, there’s a good chance that he is a pro in this process.
If the litter was planned, how did you pick up the parent dogs (or dog partner) for this litter?
The breeder should refer to the good genetic background of the parentage pedigree (eg, good health and personality, winning in dog shows or sporting events).
And if the litter was planned, whether the parent dogs underwent veterinary examination or health tests and which of these tests in particular?
A responsible breeder will for sure check the parent dogs’ hips, eyes, and heart for abnormalities. Genetic predisposition of the breed to certain diseases should also be investigated.
Do the puppy’s parents currently present here? If so, is it possible to look at them?
You should also learn about the littermate brothers and sisters.
This way you will have a notion of how your puppy will look like as an adult dog.
In case of a mixed breed, you will see whose traits, size and temperament your pet will inherit in future. You should look at the littermate puppies in case if someone of them will catch you more than the puppy you have been already offered.
Can you give me the names and contact information of people who have bought puppies from you in the past?
A good breeder will be proud of his puppies’ owners and their placements. References should not be a problem.
What do you expect from a potential puppy purchaser?
A concerned breeder wishes the best owners and a home for his offspring.
Can you give me a copy of puppy’s medical records?
All puppies should get their first worming treatment at 5 weeks, another on the 7th week, and their first vaccination should take place after 7 weeks.
Has the litter been registered? If so, is it possible to take away a certificate of puppy’s registration?
Such documents should be made available. At the negative answer you should be careful, this means, that breeder has some obstacles to normal registration.
What are the puppies being fed?
If they get a quality food, the breeder cares about how to give the puppies a good start.
When you actually visit the house of the breeder, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the smell in the room mostly unpleasant, tolerable, or nonexistent?
You want your puppy came to you from the clean, tidy place, then, the less stifling the smell, the better.
Where are the puppies currently being contained?
If they are inside the breeder’s home, they are likely to get enough of early socialization, which is extremely important for their further personal development.
If they are outside in a kennel, or by their mother, who is on a leash outside, the puppies, most likely, never received proper treatment or care.
How big is the breeder’s farm? Is the dog breeding his profession or just a hobby?
If he is successful in this profession, the kennel for dogs may be large, but should not contain too many puppies, or in the case of mixed breeding - a litter of two different types of hybrid mixes simultaneously.
Did you notice any external parasites (such as fleas, flea eggs, ticks and mange) on the pups’ coats?
If puppies are kept outdoors in unsanitary conditions, they will probably have one or more external parasites along with some internal ones.
With the income that breeders have from the sale of purebred puppies, most of them never have a proper care for them and rarely check the parents’ pedigree thoroughly, merely stamping puppies without any regard to the animals’ welfare.
Animal shelters (including the Humane Society) are the great places to choose a mixed breed dogs. If you get a dog from a shelter, you are helping in many ways. You are saving a dog’s life. In addition, adoption fees, made by you, will be used to help other homeless animals.
Adoption a dog from a shelter does have some risk - you can bring home a dog who is sick. However, the receiving benefits outweigh these risks.
When you have found a dog you are interested in, your work has only begun. You should ask questions first (either the breeder or shelter workers or guardians of the rescue groups), for to make most rational and correct decision in the end, not the one, based only on the exterior of the dog.
Here is a list of questions to begin with:
Which breeds were in the dog’s lineage (true for mixed breeds)?
The breeds that are part of the dog’s pedigree will give you a better idea of what to expect with regard to personality, size, and other attributes of the dog. So the guardian may not be able to recognize all the breeds, but he might be able to give you an educated guess.
- Which vaccinations have been done to a dog?
- Has the dog been neutered or spayed?
- Had the dog any prophylaxis against worms and fleas?
Some shelters, especially in rural areas, do not have the means to cope with these problems, while most rescue groups will give you a guarantee that these measures were taken immediately upon accepting of dogs into their group.
- What is the dog's temperament?
- How about his social skills?
- Did the dog demonstrate aggressive, anti-social behavior?
- Has the animal ever been abused?
If the dog you are interested in, had a home for a while, the current guardian must be aware of the dog’s main behavior patterns and events that had occurred to him before.
- How much exercise does the dog currently receive?
- Is this enough to meet his needs?
- How does the dog behave when he is inside the house?
- Does he live in a harmony with other pets?
- How does he do while walking on a leash?
- Whether the dog performs some obedience commands? If so, which are they?
Be sure to ask how to execute these commands properly with him, if you have decided to adopt this dog.
What does the dog eat? Does he like the food?
The best way to check this is to ask whether the dog feces solid (as they should be); make sure the dog’s weight is normal; and he has bright eyes and a healthy coat.
Is there a schedule of feeding and resting for a dog? Where the dog’s place for comfortable sleeping? In the crate? In the basin? In the bedroom? Somewhere else?
You should find out as much as possible about this dog, so do not be afraid to ask questions. In fact, the current guardians of the dog will be more likely to accept you as a new dog’s guardian, if you ask the right questions with a genuine interest to receive the true answers.
On the city streets you have frequently encountered the stray dogs, wandering lonely along the roadsides, or attacking the nearest landfill with a small band. A lot of them dwell in the residential areas and on the outskirts of the administrative centers - in the most densely populated areas.
And it, for sure, happened many times that some sickly little dog tagged along with you, begging food or simply cherishing hope you would take her away. However, the majority of us drove such dogs off in disgust, without even sharing piece of bread, never being ready for more actions.
Street dogs have already "evolved", attacking the small livestock, grocery stores, shops, supermarkets, like wild animals.
Dog shelters and services for dogs catching are not available in all localities. Dogs are left by themselves. And complete destruction of animals – as shooting or euthanasia is often triggered in cases of the occurred frequent aggression toward people or escalation of certain infections with street animals as major carriers.
We see ourselves as members of a developed society, preferring to talk about the humane treatment of animals, but contemptuously turn away from the first stray dog. But that was us, who once left them to the mercy of their fate, and we had plenty of reasons for that, often quite ridiculous. In fact, we are, in the end, the one who responsible for their lives. Of course, in modern times it’s almost impossible to make an ordinary busy person to bring a street dog in the house and make him a full-grown pet, as well as to donate money for the shelter arrangement. In our days, preference is given mainly to material values.
However, if you've decided to get a dog, let's start with a careful, thoughtful selection. For your future pet would always live with you side by side, being fed, well-groomed, and with the strong confidence that someone will always look after him, for he will never be left on the street, among the stray dogs, or in the animal shelter.