Puppy advice(17 Posts)
So after a huge amount of thought we’ve decided to get another dog. Have been looking for a while as initially thought we would get a rescue but after visiting several (and indeed exploring overseas options) we’ve decided the unknown history and the fact we’ve a child and cats make this big right. In fact the 3 local rescues won’t Home to anyone with a child under 8 years.
So we have been looking and puppies and decided to go for a show cocker puppy and here I need your advice! We’ve been in conversations with myltiple breeders and have come down to two who we are meeting after lots of conversations. Aim would to be bring dog home on a couple of weeks when we have almost 3 weeks off work to help settle them. As such we are seeing a puppy from each of them on Thursday.
Clearly preference may become apparent when we see them. One would be 8 weeks when we can bring Home and is a hobby breeder called hollymow. Experienced breeder of cockers and cockerpoos. The other will be 16 weeks by then and bred by a farmer who has a couple of litters a year. The latter clearly more house trained and fully vaccinated. Has been separated from Mum as last of the litter. Farmer would be prepared to keep a few more weeks and would start some basic lead walks with them.
Both pups mums are family pets. The farmers puppy is from a stud with full health check and testing but obviously can only meet the mum. The younger puppy has both parents on site to meet and have been health tested.
Would you decide based on age if everything else was equal and if so is older better or is it the other way round?! As we’ve not had a puppy before I can’t decide if the blank canvas is better or if the slightly older dog may adjust better as already apart from Mum?
You could give puppy profiling a go;
It might be interesting to compare the two to see which might suit you best given your circumstances, but the age difference might be a bit misleading.
Do those 'three weeks off' include Christmas?
Because that could be a nightmare.
Puppies adjust very easily to new homes. The key for me would be whether or not the farmer was socialising the puppies before 16 weeks. I suspect not because farming is not a part time job but socialising a puppy right, is.
Get the dog at 16 weeks and you have missed the socialisation window so are stuck with whatever has been done. I also don't understand why it will have been separated from mum at 16 weeks? Mum is (presumably) a show cocker so does he work her or not own her?
Hobbyists make me nervous and why would a farmer breed show cockers? Breeding dogs is a round the clock activity so how does he find the time? However, you know far more about these breeders than we do.
The big concern for me is picking up a puppy at Christmastime. That just seems like such a chaotic time with too much opportunity for trouble and upset. Toilet training is hard when everyone is distracted and a bit drunk. Food is everywhere and lots of it is toxic to a puppy. Puppies need quiet to settle into a new home and thrive on routine. All of that is especially true of 8 week old puppies. Neither is in plentiful supply at Chrimbo.
To be honest I'd be somewhat wary of any breeder who happens to have puppies already on the ground and ready not long before Christmas who haven't already been spoken for. Christmas is also a far from ideal time to get a puppy unless yours is quiet and preferably adults only. Puppies are very hard work at the best of times, never mind on top of a hectic festive season. Things like toys and decorations will need to be completely out of reach at all times (or they'll get destroyed/ingested which would results in upset children and emergency vet bills) and lots of things around at Christmas can be dangerous/toxic for dogs.
Exactly what health tests have been done on the parents of bother litters? As an absolute minimum all those recommended by the breed club should have been done but ideally the breeder should be utilising all the tests listed here. As well as the conditions that can be tested for the breed can be affected by a number of heritable conditions which can't be tested for. The breeder should have thoroughly researched (and be happy to talk to you about) the lines they're using to be as sure as they can be that they're free from these conditions. Also check out the inbreeding coefficient of the litters, this article explains why this is so important.
I wouldn't even consider the 16 week old unless you have absolute confidence that the farmer has been training and walking all the puppies they still have separately and has also been doing all the adequate socialisation. The socialisation window for puppies closes at around that age and a lack of socialisation can cause real issues later on. This site has a good list of what is really the minimum that should be done with puppies during each stage of their development.
In terms of choosing a puppy the breeder should want some level of input rather than just letting you have free reign to choose whichever you want. This can be choosing for you, giving you a shortlist to pick from, steering you towards one particular puppy, etc. They will have a much better idea of each puppy's individual temperament than you can glean from brief visits.
There are some excellent links on this thread which are well worth reading if you're considering buying a puppy.
I've just had a look into the breeder you mention by name and I would be extremely wary. They have a licence from their local council which might sound like a good thing however their local authority only requires a breeder to have one if they are producing five or more litters a year or they're breeding as part of a business. No decent breeder will be producing puppies at such volumes and the only way to reliably make any kind of living from breeding is either breeding at very high volumes (which inevitably has an impact upon both the breeding dogs and the puppies) or by cutting corners somewhere. Or both.
I see they also breed crosses as well as pedigrees. This is something else worth digging into more deeply as it's a common tactic by unscrupulous breeders to get around the KC's limit on how many litters can be registered from a single bitch or how often they can be registered. Iffy breeders will either alternate pedigree and cross litters (so breeding on back to back seasons, not allowing the bitch a proper break inbetween litters) or they will get as many pedigree litters out of a bitch as they can (the current maximum the KC will register from a single bitch is four) then just swap to crosses.
It's always worth looking up the parents, especially the mother, using their registered names and finding out how many times they've been used for breeding. You can also verify some of the health test results by inputting the dog's name here on the KC site.
Yes the window includes Christmas but we don’t actually celebrate Christmas so no drunkenness or decorations here. Both breeders have done the tests as outlined above and have been happy to discuss.
I guess the older puppy had been anticipated to have been gone by now so isn’t “ready at Christmas” the younger one is. The older one has apparently been overlooked because of colour but yes I agree lots to ask about living circumstances and socialisation and missing that window was my concern. He does own the Mum and I get the impression it’s his wife who breeds them but it’s my husband who has spoken to him. Rest of the litter has gone.
Younger puppy has become available as someone pulled out - we were on a waiting list for a later litter.
Thanks that’s helpful. I did ask about numbers of litters and was told each bitch has max of 3 in their life. I think based on their website it is a business though.
It’s trally tough to decide what is right and I’m very aware I want right for our family but I really want to be sure it’s right for the dog too.
Both breeders have done the tests as outlined above and have been happy to discuss.
Do make sure you verify health test results.
A few minutes on the KC site and I've found plenty of Hollymow litters, none of which are from properly health tested (i.e. following the breed club advice as a minimum) parents.
You can ask for dogs KC name and check all health test results via this link:
Good luck, puppy buying is a minefield!
I also want to warn you not to visit multiple litters - especially on the same day. You can carry diseases from one litter to the next... which can have catastrophic consequences.
ThNks ylva. We aren’t doing multiple. I’m doing one and do the other.
It's all too easy to get so excited at the idea of puppy buying and seeing their little puppy faces that all the planning and caution you had decided on, goes out the window.
Do have a good dig around the Kennel Club website for information as linked above. Be wary of breeders who claim to breed purebred but are not in the "assured breeder" scheme. Having KC registration doesn't mean you're an assured breeder either. I'm sure there are good breeders outside of that group, but an epic ton of dodgy ones too.
For parent's health checks you want to see the paperwork. Although, be aware there are increasing reports of even this paperwork being falsified for puppy sales. Basically it's really hard to trust anything!
How old are your children? Are they "puppy trained"? Something people can forget, especially for young children, is that it's not just the puppy that needs training, but the kids too ;) especially very young children who may not understand they can't feed their dinner to the dog, or can't pull toys or food out the dogs mouth, or can't crawl into the dog's bed while the dog is asleep in it. Some dogs are saints, but puppies especially can and will nip if they're getting pulled about. That's why rescues are so cautious (although I know plenty that will rehome to young families IF the dog is right for them, but child friendly dogs are usually adopted in the blink of an eye).
Daughter is 5.5. Is dog friendly. Had a dog until she was 3 and has had cats since so does get it.
We are being very cautious. Haven’t committed to anything yet.
The main things to be looking out for with the breeder you've named (aside from the inadequate health testing) are:
How are the bitches kept? Not just when they have litters but all the time. Do they live as family pets or are they in outbuildings? If so are they out there all the time or brought inside when they have a litter? If the breeder has as a large number of bitches (as allowed by their licence) how are their needs met in terms of play, training, walks, one to one attention, etc.?
What happens to the bitches when they're no longer having litters? Does the breeder keep them (and if so, how are they kept?) or do they sell them on?
How and where are the puppies raised? Are they in the home from birth, outside until they're eyes are open/they've started weaning, outside all the time? What level of input has the breeder had? Do they start toilet training? Crate training? Do the puppies each get individual time away from the bitch and each other? What sights, sounds, and experiences are they introduced to?
Raising a litter is so much more than just letting the bitch get on with it alone until the puppies get interesting. This is an example of the lengths a good breeder will go to in order to give their puppies the best possible start in life. The Puppy Plan website I linked in my previous post covers the minimum any breeder should be doing with their litters.
Hi! I wonder if you can advise us if you followed through on a puppy from Hollymow? We have a reserve on a Cockapoo there after trailing the internet! Like yourself very concerned about getting it right. Visited Hollymow, appeared ok but would appreciate another view?
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