This is the follow up to the “Before You Choose A Breeder” blog. Now that you’ve chosen a handful of breeders you’re interested in, it is time to contact them. There are several steps to this process if you want to find just the right breeder so that you have just the right puppy.

The first step is to call them and talk about their breeding practices. Let them do the talking. You know how you can just get a feel for a person from a first conversation? You may really like them or get a bad vibe. Go with that feeling! It doesn’t mean they are the right breeder for you, but this is the first step in a long process. If they are short with you or can’t answer some of your questions, go on to the next one on your list.

If you get a good vibe, there are up-front questions you need to ask before you ever visit their home and puppies.

  1. Are their puppies raised inside their home and socialized with people, other pets, etc. If the puppies are still very young, they may not have been handled by many people, but what about past litters? It’s important that puppies are socialized at a young age.
  2. Does the breeder start early with basic obedience training? Is the breeder using the Puppy Culture training program which most reputable breeders use. This program includes early neurological stimulation, early resiliency exercises, safe early socialization, developmental and fear periods, and many more activities prior to the puppy leaving the breeder, but also continued training once the puppy goes into it’s new home. For a video on this amazing program, check out a short YouTube video here: The right breeder will have ample information and most likely material for you on continuing this program.
  3. Have the puppies been exposed to loud noises and unfamiliar surroundings?
  4. Do they crate train?
  5. Be sure to ask about the parents. Do they own both parents? If not, you’ll want information about the one they don’t own.

Once you get the answers you are comfortable with, then you need to set up a time with the breeder to visit. If a breeder makes it difficult to visit, or makes excuses, or reschedules more than once, it’s a good idea to mark that one off your list. An ethical breeder shouldn’t have anything to hide and should not make it complicated to visit puppies.

Now that you’ve chosen a short-list of breeders to visit, this is the time to use your critical eyes and ears during a very important visit. Here are things to look for when you visit the puppies:

  1. Do the puppies have their own area to pee/poop that is separate from the sleep and play area?
  2. Do the puppies play well together? Are they aggressive with each other or playful?
  3. Do the puppies have a large play area for romping and playing? Is there a safe outdoor area for them to play as well as an indoor area during bad weather?
  4. Do the puppies have plenty of toys and puppy-safe objects to keep them busy?
  5. Are you able to meet the mother and father of the puppies?
  6. What do the puppies do if you restrain them? Do they get upset or acquiesce?
  7. Are the puppies “part of the family” and pets in the household?
  8. Is the puppy area clean and is there clean water bowls (and multiple bowls)?
  9. Is the breeder relaxed and gives you plenty of puppy time, or do you feel rushed?
  10. Does the breeder give you clear and honest answers to all your questions.
  11. Are you able to schedule another visit soon?

These are all important things to consider when choosing the right breeder as they play a direct role in the type of puppy personality you’ll be getting. You want a puppy that has been socialized, has been somewhat potty trained and obedience trained, crate-trained, and part of the breeder’s family so that it easily can become part of yours.

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