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Dog Owners - please can you share your personal experiences/advice about buying a puppy

(20 Posts)
Earlybird Fri 22-Aug-08 19:17:18

Starting to think about getting a dog, and would like to hear personal experiences/advice on following:

1. Where do you purchase your dog? Good or bad experience, and would you recommend?

2. Have looked at lists of professionally 'certified' breeders (not very many of them for breeds we're considering), but see many other (presumably reputable?) breeders advertise on pet websites. Pros/cons? How to judge a 'good' breeder, and what do you ask them? Did you visit them upfront, or simply when you were ready to buy/collect?

3. How did you choose your puppy from the litter, and what should I look for?

4. Did you know upfront if you wanted a male or female, and if so, why did you want that gender?

Any other thoughts and advice would be valuable. Thank you!

hercules1 Fri 22-Aug-08 19:35:01

We have 3 dogs and spent a lot of time choosing breeds and breeder. We researched on the net different breeds using champdogs and petplanets to read about breeds and spent al lot of time talking to different breeders in order to find out suitable breeds, tips etc.

We found that most breeders were very happy to talk at length about their breed and were honest about whether they thought it would be suitable for us and our lifestyle kids etc as well as gender of dogs. We did find different breeders of the same type had different ideas and beliefs about the same dogs!

Once we had narrowed down to a few breeds we then asked if we could visit breeders. THis was not to see puppies but to see grown up dogs. Most breeders were very happy and put themselves on these websites to offer advice and help like this.

Once we decided we then got word of mouth recommendations mainly about people who had puppies and were considered to be good breeders.

We got 2 of our dogs from breed club main members and probably paid over the odds but I was a bit paranoid as we had a 2 year old dd at the time and wanted to be sure of good temperament especially as one of our dogs is a cocker and can be aggressive.

THe next time we get a dog as our dd will be much older I'll just get a rescue one tbh and not go through all that faff again.

hercules1 Fri 22-Aug-08 19:36:26

SOrry I meant we didnt go to see breeders but asked to visit those people who had put themselves up on the particular dog club website as willing to be visited and give advice about the breed of dogs.

Earlybird Fri 22-Aug-08 19:50:25

Thanks for that hercules1. I think we are similar - I might consider a rescue dog once dd is older. But rescue dogs probably haven't had a good start in life, so don't feel I can take the chance atm.

Will check out the websites you suggested, and continue with reasearch.

Glad your research has given good results, and you've got dogs you love/enjoy.

Earlybird Sat 23-Aug-08 04:41:16

Bumping for morning readers...

pucca Sat 23-Aug-08 05:31:57

The only thing i can say from experience, is don't buy a puppy from the paper (Loot, local paper) and visit the puppies a couple of times, and don't pick the "shy" one.

We bought our puppy (stupidly) from the paper, she is fine now, but there was problems to begin with, she had blood in her stools and ended up with mange (passed from the mother).

It is worth paying that bit extra for a reputable breeder.

Earlybird Sat 23-Aug-08 15:25:40

Pucca - that doesn't sound a good situation at all, but am glad that your dog is fine now.

I am a slightly nervous first time puppy buyer, so wouldn't look to a newspaper ad or a pet store as a place to buy. I want the 'reassurance' of a breeder, as somehow feel I'm likely to have a better experience - hope that is true.

Other experiences/advice from anyone else?

newpup Sat 23-Aug-08 15:54:28

If possible go with a recommendation. otherwise, instinct is good. Is it clean, are the puppies used to being handled. How many litters has the mum had before? You must ALWAYS see the mum with the puppies.

Is the mother good natured?

If you google 'how to choose a puppy' there are some good websites that we found helpful.

Marne Sat 23-Aug-08 16:20:41

We have a 7 month old Staffy bull terier, we bought her from a add in our local paper, payed alot of money for her but came from a good home, we saw the mother and older brother and we were offered to see her dad who lived a few doors away.

This was the breeders 2nd litter from and the mother was a very laid back family pet.

I did'nt realy have a choice of puppies as Lily was the last bitch from the litter (she came from a litter of 8), she was a very full of beens puppy and still is. I would say don't pick the quite one but dont pick the hyper one either try and find a pup which seems bright and alert.

Lily took a while to settle in and hated being on her own, we bought her a cage to sleep in at night so she did'nt end up in our bed.

She's now house trained, still full of beens, very cheeky but very loving and my dd2 who has Autism has a special bond with her, she's now one of the family.

All i can say is be very careful who you buy from, make sure the puppy is healthy, wormed and make sure you see the pup with its mother, if you are worried get a vet to check the pup out before handing over any money.

Check your local dog rehomming centre, they may have pups looking for homes.

LittleB Sat 23-Aug-08 16:37:42

We had rescue dogs in the past, but like you wanted a puppy with our dd, now 3. We did research on websites, breed forums, breed clubs etc and went to visit a few breeders, to meet them and see their adult dogs before we made a choice.
We got a male pup, partly because I already had an older female who got on better with males, but we were also told that the males of our breed were more laid back and trainable. But I know this can vary from breed to breed.
I only had a choice of 2 males, and chose my dog purely because the other was the runt - he was much smaller. They all looked healthy and were wormed etc, met both parents and all pupppies an other siblings. Our breeder let us meet the puppies on a weekly basis from the age of 3wks, so it was lovely to see them growing up, we didn't choose until they were 6wks and took him home at 8wks.
He's 18mths now and gets on very well with my dd, and is a lovely dog.
I'd recommend crate training too, easier to house train them and gives them somewhere out of the dd's reach and also away from their toys!

woodstock3 Sat 23-Aug-08 17:03:21

what breed do you want? that's probably the most important choice you'll make especially with young dcs
we got our lab (highly recommended with kids, he is utterly bombproof and puts up with all sorts) from a breeder we found through personal recommendation. i wouldn't have been worried about getting from a breeder - our dog when i was a kid came from local paper - but dh insisted becuase of temperament and i have to admit now grudgingly it worked.
she was a small scale breeder using her own family dog and we went for that rather than really big operation. see the dog with mother and if possible any other relative - we saw our puppy's mother and grandmother - ask about the father too.
went for dog rather than bitch to avoid hassle of coming into heat etc (with kids definitely get dog neutered, helps with temperament too). was determined to follow the advice to pick the 'middling' dog of the litter, ie not the shyest but not the most forward - we promptly ignored all of this and got the one that came bouncing straight up to us, he has definitely turned out energetic but he is friendly and sociable and loves people. ask everything you can about dog's breeding line and find out what they were bred for if possible - dont go for a show dog bred from show lines as temperament often comes second to looks. if you want a dog from a working breed eg labs, spaniels etc, go for one bred from gundog lines - they are bred for intelligence and ease of training which is what you want.
choosing the right dog is only half the story: be really careful about training if you have young dcs, come down really hard on any biting or unsociable play and concentrate on absolute reliability. also from an early age make the dog's place in pecking order v clear - you eat first, it gets fed after humans; it doesn't sit on sofas etc but your dc can; it goes through doors etc after you and after the dcs; it isnt fed from the table. this establishes its status as lower than your dcs which is vital insurance - it means it won't consider itself entitled to bite or play roughly with your dcs as a dog that thought it was above them in the pecking order might.

falcon Sat 23-Aug-08 17:16:12

Contact the Kennel Club for breeder recommendations.

www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/436

Alambil Sat 23-Aug-08 19:49:25

THE most important question is "Do you line-breed or not"

Find out if the puppy's parents are related in ANY way or not - if not, go ahead and delve deeper - if they are; STEP AWAY.

Earlybird Sun 24-Aug-08 01:11:40

Oooh - lots of useful information here, and so much to think about.

I'm considering a Lakeland Terrier, and early indications are that it would suit our family/living situation/routine. It also sounds a breed whose general temperament we would enjoy. But, am only starting to research....so, we'll see.

A big issue is that there are no breeders anywhere near us - at least none I have located 'til now. So, an exploratory visit to a breeder would be a weekend trip, and we would have to be prepared to come away empty-handed, which could be heartbreaking for dd. Most breeders websites do say that they will ship, but I really wouldn't be comfortable getting a dog I've never seen from a breeder I don't know/have never visited.

LewisFan - what is line breeding?

Earlybird Mon 25-Aug-08 12:27:29

Anyone else?

Alambil Mon 25-Aug-08 14:43:55

line breeding is a posh name for inbreeding; it's what's causing the breeds to have the problems again that have been bred out from careful planning... for eg: labradors and hip dysplacia (basically not having hip joints) - was virtually bred out before the popularity increased and people bred pups from the same litter/family to get the numbers up....

if the bitch and stud aren't related, the risk is far, far less for problems - like humans really (sleep with ya brother and ya in genetic trouble...)!

twoluvlykids Mon 25-Aug-08 14:55:25

We paid £100 for a English Springer from a farm, chose the biggest & bravest, saw the mother & a picture she said was the father. He's dim but lovely with kids,would highly recommend the breed,tons of energy, easy to train (with food),allegedly comes from gun stock but we've never taken him to a shoot.

We also paid £100 for a Border Collie from a work colleague, he was bright, but they don't really make good pets, they're too clever & need to be out at work. Sadly he developed epilepsy (Very common in collies) & I had him put to sleep.

If you get a puppy, follow the good advice from earlier regards feeding, banning the sofa, and not going into bedrooms, and be consistent. Also, I recommend a puppy crate/cage - invaluable for bedtimes.

Flier Mon 25-Aug-08 15:00:05

we went to a dog show to get a look at the breed of dog we wanted, we also got to talk to some breeders there and got some contacts for some who had pups due.

newpup Mon 25-Aug-08 17:32:02

We have a 13 week old lab puppy. It is early days yet but she is wonderful in that she has been a dream to house train and teach basic commands to. She is from gun dog stock and so bred for fitness and ability to train rather that looks.

She will require loads of exercise when she is an adult but I hope she will be obedient and loyal in return!

My parents have had labs since I was tiny and I would totally recommend them as a breed. They are great with children and make lovely family pets.

My parents dogs have always been well trained as they are very strict with them. Basically, you get what you put in!! As previous posters have said, you must enforce basic rules from the start. The dog is bottom of the chain, they should never get on furniture or beds and must know their place. Never allow them to be boisterous, you are in charge of them!

We are totally in love with our puppy, although she is hard work! We have had her for 4 weeks now and can not imagine life without her!

Earlybird Fri 29-Aug-08 01:56:05

Thanks for all constructive advice and encouragement. Will continue researching, and hope someday soon to put thoughts here to use. Will revisit the thread if/when we take the plunge!

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