As a dog trainer, I meet people every day who if given the following information would have made a drastically different decision before choosing the puppy they chose. The following is a list of things to know before you pick your next puppy.

The 5 weekers
Every day this week I had lovely people come in completely overwhelmed, and the vast majority of the time their puppy was adopted or purchased at less than 8 weeks. As dog trainers, we have a term for these dogs. The 5 weekers. The 5 weekers are always out of control and have not learned proper bite inhibition. Some things only a mother and litter can teach. Always avoid rescues, shelters, and breeders who let puppies go at any age less than 8 weeks.

So you go to meet the litter and the father is mysteriously absent. When asked if you could meet the father, you were told he was out on a walk with the (breeders) husband, “He won't be back for about 3 hours, he likes long walks.” Maybe a long walk is a code for something, code for them not wanting you to meet the father of the litter. Meet the father, you might be glad you did. If they can't give you access to the father, you should require them to send you a video of the father with other dogs, people, kids, etc. If they refuse, avoid that litter. Like it or not, breeding aggressive dogs is something people will do to make a quick buck, and it will seriously increase the likelihood of your puppy developing the same issues.

The trembling mess
I know you felt so sorry for him. Sitting in the corner when all the other puppies were running around playing with the other puppies and the people visiting the puppies. He looked so sad as he squirmed away from you when you tried to pick him up. Yes, my friends, that's the trembling mess puppy. A puppy with nervous genes passed down from parents or grandparents. Unless you want to spend the next 14 years building this dog's confidence, do what you can to get a puppy with more confidence.

The overpriced puppy
Find out what the average price is for the breed that you desire. Then avoid all breeders That are on the low end and all the breeders who are on the seriously high end. Approach the breeders who are just under the seriously high end. All breeds have a few breeders who think their puppies are worth far more than they are. Avoid those breeders. The breeders just under the seriously high end tend to be of the best temperament, health and you don't have to pay extra for the prestige. In almost all breeds you can find puppies from $250-$5000 or more. I've found that the sweet spot is usually around $1400-$2000 for most breeds.

Don't be cheap
It will cost you more in the long run. If you are paying for a puppy from a breeder, you might want to reconsider price shopping for a puppy. I often meet clients who had the option between several breeders, and more often than not the clients who paid less money had far more medical and behavioral issues than the clients who adopted a mixed breed from a shelter or rescue. If you are going to buy from a breeder, do months of research, be willing to travel to find the right breeder, and don't be too thrifty. This is a long term commitment, a little more money on the front end can save you thousands on the back end in many cases.

-Great breeders have a waiting list. and rarely allow families to pick the puppy.
-Getting two puppies from the same litter is almost always catastrophic. Avoid at all costs.
-Meet both parents to the litter.
-Get a confident puppy.

If you take a puppy home because you feel bad about the living conditions they were living in, you are enabling and supporting bad breeders to continue to make money selling puppies.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Want to know more? Check out these articles