Dog breeders can make a world of difference! Both responsible dog breeders and puppy mills will influence the final product of the pet: either good or bad.
Dog breeders shouldn’t be breeding for money! The love of money will convince a breeder to let things “slide,” either in the selection of the breeding stock, the amount of time spent with the puppy, or otherwise. Breeding should never be about money! Good breeders deserve to be rewarded for their hard work in producing good dogs. But, as any experienced breeder will tell you, you’re not going to get rich over it!
Good breeders begin with good parents. Only breed animals that reflect the values and standards of the breed. This includes both the mental condition (temperament) as well as the physical conformation and health. Temperament will affect the everyday life of the dog as well as his/her future owners. It’s huge! Good breeders don’t skimp here. Your pup will acquire the characteristics of the parents.
Good breeders do not breed shy or aggressive animals. Fearfulness is easily transferred from one generation to another; a dominant trait. Fearful dogs are the main cause of fear bites, dog fights, stress at the vet’s office, and many other negative experiences. Aggressive dogs are just as dangerous. Puppies are either genetically hard-wired to these unwanted behaviors and/or can easily learn these traits from their parents, especially the mother.
No reputable breeder will release the puppies until they are at least eight weeks old. Puppies need this time with their littermates to develop socially with other dogs and with people. Without this foundation, puppies get started “on the wrong foot.” Ignorant breeders can come up with some convincing stories as to why they are releasing the pups before eight weeks of age. But if the truth be known, it’s usually because they are unwilling to feed the pups until that age – it cuts into their “profits.” Stay away from this type of breeder!
Good breeders will spend a huge amount of time socializing the puppies. This will include getting them around other pups/dogs, people, noises, slippery floors, outdoor power tools such as mowers, trimmers, even sweepers, etc. This socialization will need to be continued by the new owner, but breeders can definitely get things moving in the right direction.
Responsible dog breeders will have a written, signed sales agreement detailing the pup, the health guarantee, pricing, and more. Included in this agreement should be a statement that welcomes back the pup (no matter how old he is) should the owner find reason to release him (moving, etc).
Lawful breeders will charge sales tax on the puppy. In Indiana, at least, it is state law to do so. No sales tax is a sign of an illegal operation. Nobody wants to talk taxes in the happy moments of acquiring a puppy, but make sure to support a lawful breeder.
Responsible dog breeders are harder to find, in spite of laws purported to aid this quest. But if you will do your research about the breed, ask lots of questions, visit the breeder, and interact with the parents, you can save yourself much headache. Getting a puppy should be a happy time. But it will take some work on your part – and on the part of the breeder – to make this a lifelong happiness.