Many people have seen lockdown as the perfect time to get a dog. There has been an increase in demand & prices of puppies which has encouraged the increase of dog theft & the incredibly sad exploitation of dogs by some uncaring breeders. This is bad for those dogs & bad for new puppy owners because if a mother dog is stressed, the puppies’ behaviour may be affected long term, making them more of a challenge to live with, & it may make training them that bit harder. In addition, you may be sold an unhealthy dog & it may not even be the breed they are claiming it to be. Something small & fluffy might look like a Cockapoo at a few weeks old but it might turn out to be a Labradoodle! It is important to get a dog that is suitable for you, your home, your budget & your lifestyle, So, how do you avoid being duped & stop unscrupulous breeders?
· See the pups at home with their mum on more than one occasion. If current Covid restrictions prevent you visiting the breeder in person, ask to see them regularly by live via video call such as Zoom or FaceTime. Do the conditions look good, do the pups look healthy, does the mother seem calm & happy? If you have concerns, report the breeder to the RSPCA. You may not be able to see as well via camera, so consider delaying your search until after lockdown.
· Expect a contract of sale to outline what is expected of both breeder & buyer.
· Ask for written details of worming treatments & vaccinations.
· Get written evidence if the breeder is selling a pedigree dog.
· Have the puppies’ parents been health tested & screened for conditions that are common in the breed?
There are puppies & dogs in existence looking for good homes, so consider re-homing a dog from a rescue charity. A charity can assess the dog & give you guidance as to whether the dog will be suitable for you, whereas some individuals looking to re-home a dog may be economical with the truth about why they are parting company with their dog. Puppies are extremely hard work, so a dog that is a little older is worth considering.
Finally, remember you are making a decision to share your life with an animal that needs social contact for life, not just for lockdown. They will hopefully be with you for the next 1 to 2 decades, so take your time to make a good choice.
Further details about choosing a puppy can be found at https://puppycontract.org.uk/