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How to Add a New Pet Sibling to Your Household

 

Adding a new dog or cat to your household can take time but if you do it right then they will live together much more peacefully than if you rush the process. Today we discuss how to know what is a good fit for your household: a dog, cat, kitten or puppy. We also discuss how best to introduce your new family member to your home so that all of your pets can get along. Spoiler: the key is not to rush the process!
CLICK HERE to download our checklist for bringing home a new dog
CLICK HERE to download our checklist for bringing home a new cat

What to Know When Puppy Sitting

 

If you are going to be puppy sitting, or a looking for a puppy sitter, there are many details you should know to make sure the puppy gets the best care. Puppies take a bit more work (actually a lot more work) than adult dogs so it is important that everyone be on the same page.

Puppies Need to Go Out Often

A good rule of thumb is that puppies can only last an hour per year of age, so a 2 month old puppy will need to go out every 2 hours, a 3 month old every 3 hours and so on. This can vary quite a bit by the individual puppy based on breed, personality, etc. The more consistent the house training, the better she will do.

When no one is home the puppy should be contained to a small spot, like a crate, so she learns to hold it. When puppy sitting, the puppy needs to go out often and be supervised when out loose to make sure she does not have accidents in the house. This requires a puppy sitter that is vigilant and attentive.

Take a look at suggested schedules for puppy sitting when owners are on vacation and for day walks.

Puppies Need Training

Puppies do not magically understand us like Lassie. They need lots of positive training in order to understand what we want from them. Where we want them to go potty, how we want them to play, what they can chew on, and more! When someone is puppy sitting they need to have a good idea of basic training skills and know how to enforce them. These should be the same methods you use, although a good puppy sitter will be able to offer suggestions from experience.

Puppies Need Consistency

Humans and puppies speak a different language so interactions need to be consistent in order to ensure the puppy can figure out what is going on. Imagine if you were trying to learn a new language and someone gestured at an apple and said “pomme”, but the next time gestured at the apple and said “rouge”. Well which one is it? Plus a puppy is a baby. A biting, wriggling, barking baby, but a baby none-the-less. Everything a puppy learns is new and every impression is important. If the puppy is spending time trying to figure out if you mean “pomme” or “rouge”, she will not be able to get the lesson quickly and will get confused. Everyone who interacts with the puppy should be clear and know the rules.

Puppies Need Positive Reinforcement

Yelling at a puppy or scaring her is not a helpful part of the training process. Positive reinforcement means your puppy learns our human language without fear. When a puppy is afraid, all she learns is to be scared of you. A puppy brain (or any brain really, the human studies on fear and the brain are really interesting) cannot learn when in a state of fear. Positive reinforcement means she can learn in a way that keeps her fear-free and learning all the time. The best way to be able to stay positive is to set the puppy up for success. If you know she will have accidents still, then do not leave her unsupervised in the house, especially when she might be needing a potty break. Then when she goes potty in the correct place, use lots of positive reinforcement so she wants to do it again and again.

Puppies Need Socialization

Puppies need to see a wide variety of people, other animals and environments to grow up to be well-rounded adult dogs. That is why puppy sitting is so helpful! It allows the puppy to meet new people in a positive and safe way. Learn more about the Benefits of Walks for Puppies. Puppy sitters should learn to interact with the puppy the same way as the owners and follow the rules the puppy has so they can be properly encouraged.

Puppy sitting cute puppy

Puppies Need Playtime

Play is necessary for the health and happiness of puppies. When puppy sitting, puppies need to have a lot of time in their schedule set aside for play, ideally with other puppies, with humans and alone. Puppies learn a lot from playtime with other puppies including how to moderate their bite pressure, how to not be too rough and how to read dog body language. And playtime is also a good outlet for excess energy. A tired puppy is a good puppy!

Puppies Need Lots of Meals

Puppies are burning a lot of energy and they need a lot of food to keep them going. Meals need to be at a set time every day and puppies always need to go out for a potty break afterwards. When puppy sitting, visits have to be long enough to provide time for playtime, feeding and potty breaks. Most puppies will eat 3-5 times a day.

Puppy Sitting Plan

When we provide puppy sitting we look at how a visit should be structured. Most often a puppy sitting visit will look like this:

Out of crate –> Potty time –> Playtime –> Meal –> Potty time –> Playtime –> Potty time –> Back in crate

If the weather is nice we often sit outside when puppy sitting so puppies can go potty and have playtime as needed. This cuts down on accidents. We are only there for a specific amount of time so the less time spent cleaning up accidents, the more time spent on playtime!

If you are interested in learning more about our puppy sitting visits take a look at the Benefits of Walks for Puppies and Pet Sitting Visits for Puppies. We would love to set up puppy sitting that is perfect for you and your puppy!

If you are interested in becoming a puppy sitter, we are often looking for new team members! Look at our open positions.

What to Do NOW to Prepare for the Christmas Puppy

 

Adding a new puppy to the family is exciting and fun, but can also be overwhelming, no matter what time of year. If you are thinking of combining the crazy of the holidays with a new puppy, you need to start getting ready now! There are many steps you can (and should) take months in advance to ensure this is a smooth process. Thankfully we are here to help!

1. Choose Your Breed of Dog

There is huge difference between a Cocker Spaniel and a Border Collie, so before you look at cute puppy pictures you want to have an idea of what is a good fit for your lifestyle. It is easy to get swept up in the cute puppy face only to realize a month later that this puppy has WAY more energy than you are up for.  Some factors to consider:

  • Do you have young children?
  • How much time to do you have to train a dog?
  • How much exercise do you get regularly?
  • How large is your yard?
  • What breeds are you allowed to have? (look at your state and city laws, HOA restrictions and talk to your landlord)

The American Kennel Club has a fast and easy quiz that gives you some breed recommendations. I took this quiz and found some of my favorite breeds on my suggestions. Even if you are looking to get a rescue mutt or mixed breed, it is still good to have an idea of the types of dog what would suit your lifestyle. Also consider contacting a local dog trainer for recommendations and they often know local breeders and rescues (Step 2).

2. Look For a Rescue or Breeder

Finding a good rescue or breeder is invaluable! These people can be a resource for you throughout the lifetime of your dog, offering advice and tips on pet care, trainers and more. Take your time and get to know them online and in person. Ask for referrals and do your research. There are a few different types of groups you can go to and they all work a bit differently.

  • General Dog Shelters and Rescues: Rescues often have puppies year round, but it is good to connect with them in advance to find out their requirements for adoption. You can usually fill out paperwork ahead of time and maybe get on a wait list for the type of dog you are interested in. Plus you want time to screen the rescue and make sure they are responsible and take good care of their dogs. Unfortunately there are shelters that operate for profit and have sketchy business practices.
  • Dog Breed Specific Rescues: These are groups that work specifically with a breed, or a group of breeds. They tend to be located in specific areas and often operate out of foster homes,  so you cannot just swing by, but they are an amazing resource. Since they focus on just one type of dog, they know a lot about that breed and every dog they work with. The dogs are often in foster homes so the foster parents can tell you a lot about the puppy’s personality and how they have been socialized. They will often also have adult dogs you can go and meet, in case you are still debating if the breed is a good match for you. To find breed rescues near you just search the breed and your area.
  • Dog Breeders: If you know the exact breed of dog and have the money to spend, you may consider going directly to a dog breeder. Ask for referrals and follow up with previous puppy purchasers. You should be able to meet dogs from their kennel and puppies they have bred in the past. Read up on How to Find a Good Dog Breeder.
  • NO Pet Shops: You have the time to prepare, so do not jump the gun and get a puppy from a pet shop. Puppies in pet shops are cute but they come from puppy mills, one of the cruelest animal practices found in the United States. Some states are making it illegal to sell puppies in pet shops, and in addition to it being a bad practice, dogs from puppy mills often have lingering health and behavior problems.

Take your time and do your research. That is why you are starting early, right?

3. Find Your Local Team

Puppies require a team of people to keep them happy and healthy. If you do not currently have a dog then you will want to take your time choosing the best group of professionals for you. Here are some of the people you may need in your life:

  • Veterinarian: Every new puppy will need to make checked out by a veterinarian within a few days of coming home. You are going to want a vet that your like personally, is near your home and has a similar outlook on pet care as you do. Read up on our 5 Tips to Pick a Veterinarian You Love.
  • Dog Trainer: All puppies need to get out to socialize! A puppy class is a great way to do this and also the best way to brush up on your puppy raising skills, even if you have had a puppy before. Puppy classes fill up very quickly after the holidays so you want to make sure to get on the schedule as soon as you are sure you are getting a puppy to make sure you get a good spot.
  • Puppy Sitter and Walker: If you work away from home, like to take day trips, or travel for work or fun, you are going to need a puppy sitter. Keep in mind that young puppies need a potty break every 2-3 hours (they can typically last an hour per month of age, but it varies by breed), so if you are not going to be home all day then you will need help. A good puppy sitter can be a lifesaver and help socialize your pup in your own home. Learn about our Puppy Walking Services and what Puppy Visits we recommend for vacation. We even have some clients that are home during the day, but we come in to give them a break so they can get some work done or run errands.
  • Poop Scooper: If you do not like cleaning up your own yard, or just do not have time, then consider getting someone else to do it for you. Poop Scoopers have become all the rage lately and can save you time and effort. Most come in once a week for a very reasonable rate and keep your yard shining. If you have a dog walker they might also be willing to scoop your yard for an extra fee like we do.
  • Dog Groomer: Is your pup going to need regular cuts and clips? She may not need one right away, but ideally you will want to drop by with her a few times to let her get used to the place before her first grooming.

If you live in the Fort Collins or Loveland areas, check out all of our local recommendations! Once you have chosen your team, set up as many appointments as you can. Spaces fill up after the holidays and it is so much easier to have it set and ready to go before the holiday craziness is underway.

4. Get Your Puppy Supplies

Everyone is shopping right before the holidays and since you know exactly what you need, you might as well get it in advance! You will also be able to find deals or used items if you give yourself pretty of time to search. Thankfully we prepared a full checklist of items you will need, as well as steps to take for getting a new dog.

Download the Complete Preparing for a New Dog  Checklist

 

 

5. Have Fun With the Process!

It can feel overwhelming to go through all these steps, but thankfully you are on the ball! Take your time and go through the steps one by one and when Christmas hits, you will feel on top of the world (and a little frazzled with the cute furball chewing on everything).

Let us know at Wet Noses Pet Sitting if there is anything we can do to help with your new pup!

What Pet Sitting Visits Do I Need for My Puppy?

Are you going out of town but are worried about your puppy? Puppies require a lot of care but sometimes you have to leave town when they are young. A family emergency comes up, or maybe you got the puppy unexpectedly and already had a trip planned. We can help! Visits and schedules are going to vary dramatically based on the age of the puppy and where she is at with house training.

A good rule of thumb is: a puppy can hold it for 1 hour per month of age

This means a 2 month old puppy can last for 2 hours, 3 month old puppy for 3 hours, etc. Your puppy also needs to go outside if she has been playing, eating, drinking, or just woke up. We need to set up visits based on the age of your puppy and how long she can go without outside trips. In addition, some breeds tire faster than others, which will change how much exercise your puppy needs.

 

Puppy Option #1

This is an ideal schedule for very young puppies that need out every two hours.

 

30 Minute Visits – Every 2 hours starting 2 hours after you leave 

Your sitter will arrive and take your pup out first thing. We want to use whatever reward system you have been using for consistency. Then your sitter can give your pup a snack and have playtime, followed by more potty time and settling in for the next nap. If you pup uses pee pads or a similar set up then your sitter will change those out and clean up your pup if needed.

12 Hour Extended Overnight Stay 

Your sitter will arrive in the early evening (around 7 pm) and let your pup out first thing. Then comes feeding and playtime. Puppies need some time with ongoing interaction, rather that the sitter being in and out. These evening times allow your pup to be out in the areas of the house that you allow. Your sitter sends you a picture with an update so you can rest easy knowing your pup has company. Right before bed, your pup goes out for the last potty break and then settles down for the evening. With young puppies you may want the pup taken out at specific times during the night, which your sitter can follow through with. Your sitter sends you a picture with an update so you can rest easy knowing your pup has company. In the morning there is time for playtime and feeding, as well as other pet chores.

Example with times:

Extended Overnight – Sitter stays until 7am

9am – 30 Minute Visit

11:30am – 30 Minute Visit

2pm – 30 Minute Visit

4:30pm – 30 Minute Visit

7pm – Sitter arrives for Extended Overnight Stay

These visits can be adjusted based on how long your pup can be home alone in between visits without a potty break.

 

Puppy Option #2

This is a good schedule for puppies who can go a little longer between visits but need to play.

 

30 Minute Mid-Morning Visit

Your sitter will arrive and take your pup out first thing. We want to use whatever reward system you have been using for consistency. Then your sitter can give your pup a snack and have playtime, followed by more potty time and settling in for the next nap. If you pup uses pee pads or a similar set up then your sitter will change those out and clean up your pup if needed.

1 Hour Early Afternoon Visit

This is the perfect visit for your pup to get some extra exercise and get worn out for the afternoon. This is a great time for your sitter to take care of any extra chores and make sure sure everything is taken care of. The longer visit will let your pup play for awhile and have a more normal routine like when you are home.

12 Hour Extended Overnight Stay 

Your sitter will arrive in the early evening (around 7 pm) and let your pup out first thing. Then comes feeding and playtime. Puppies need some time with ongoing interaction, rather that the sitter being in and out. These evening times allow your pup to be out in the areas of the house that you allow. Your sitter sends you a picture with an update so you can rest easy knowing your pup has company. Right before bed, your pup goes out for the last potty break and then settles down for the evening. With young puppies you may want the pup taken out at specific times during the night, which your sitter can follow through with. Your sitter sends you a picture with an update so you can rest easy knowing your pup has company. In the morning there is time for playtime and feeding, as well as other pet chores.

Example with times:

Extended Overnight – Sitter stays until 7am

10am – 30 Minute Visit

2pm – 1 Hour Visit

7pm – Sitter arrives for Extended Overnight Stay

These visits can be adjusted based on how long your pup can be home alone in between visits without a potty break.

 

Puppy Option #3

This is a good schedule for puppies that can last 4-5 hours during the day but have a lot of energy.

 

1-2 Hour Mid-Day Visit

Your sitter will arrive and take your pup out first thing. We want to use whatever reward system you have been using for consistency. Then your sitter can give your pup a snack and have playtime, followed by more potty time and settling in for the afternoon. A long visit can really wear out even the most energetic puppy, which is great for puppies that are 5+ months old. They need less frequent visits but to burn a lot of energy.

12 Hour Extended Overnight Stay 

Your sitter will arrive in the early evening (around 7 pm) and let your pup out first thing. Then comes feeding and playtime. Puppies need some time with ongoing interaction, rather that the sitter being in and out. These evening times allow your pup to be out in the areas of the house that you allow. Your sitter sends you a picture with an update so you can rest easy knowing your pup has company. Right before bed, your pup goes out for the last potty break and then settles down for the evening. With young puppies you may want the pup taken out at specific times during the night, which your sitter can follow through with. Your sitter sends you a picture with an update so you can rest easy knowing your pup has company. In the morning there is time for playtime and feeding, as well as other pet chores.

 

Our Considerations for Puppies

For puppies, there are a few factors we like to consider when setting a schedule:

  • How long have you been leaving your pup home alone so far?
  • Is your pup sleeping through the night?
  • How long does your puppy take to tire out during playtime? If you pup get tired quickly then you may be able to alternate a few 15 minute visits. Alternatively, if you have a high energy pup that is a litter older you may want a couple longer visits.
  • Young puppies usually just have playtimes instead of going for walks. We check with you to see your preference on activities.
  • Do you need regular clean ups? If you are using puppy pads or if you pup is making messy blankets, then we need to include time for cleaning.
  • For you – are you more comfortable having someone active around the house to make it look lived-in? If so, then you want an Extended Overnight.

Time to Customize!

We want to work with you to set up the best possible schedule for your dog, so you are all happy during your trip. We also know that each home is different, and a lot of people have more than just one dog!

After you have the basic idea of your schedule we sit down to figure out the nitty-gritty:

  • Are there any other pets in the home that need feeding, medication, etc? We make sure your visit has enough time to get everything done.
  • We like to allow enough time for feeding, changing water, walks and some cuddles (if your dog is so inclined).
  • There needs to be enough time to clean out food and water bowls, clean up any messes, toys, etc.
  • Many people who love animals, also love plants! Normal visits have time for a small bit of plant watering. If you have beautiful summer gardens, then we need to see how long they take to the water and add that on to your normal visits.
  • On your normal schedule, we can complete household tasks like bringing in the newspaper, collecting the mail, turning lights off and on and taking out the trash.
  • Do you want updates every visit? Many clients do, just keep in mind that your sitter will take 5+ minutes to send an update and that is time during your visit not focused on your pets.
  • It will take a sitter a bit longer to get the work done then it takes you, especially if you have extensive routines for your pets and home. You have had years to perfect your system! We always try to make sure your pet sitter will have enough time for everything so she will not feel stressed and your pets will receive the focus they deserve.

Work With Us to Keep Your Puppy Happy While You are Gone!

Does My Dog Lick Excessively?

 

Do you ever catch your pooch in the act of licking his feet, forearms, or other extremity so ferociously you think to yourself, “wow, that must really feel good”? While his licking may seem a non-issue, and one that provides him joy, that doesn’t mean it might not be his response to an underlying issue if they lick excessively.

Canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD) – also known as lick granulomas – is a lesion to the skin caused by chronic licking, resulting in skin inflammation. Over time, the skin thickens and the area can’t heal because they lick excessively. The licking and the inflammation cause itching, which causes your dog to lick even more, creating a vicious cycle of itching, licking, inflammation, and the inability to heal.

ALD can also result in secondary issues including bacterial infection, ruptured hair follicles and ruptured sweat glands. These issues just add fuel to the cycle, making the itching even worse which increases your dog’s need to lick.

The most common location for ALD is on the front side of a front leg between the elbow joint and paw, though they are often found on the ankle and between the toes. The condition is most often seen in middle-aged, large-breed dogs. Many veterinarians believe itchy skin triggers the excessive licking, although it is thought it can also be set off by a painful condition, such as trauma to the leg, a fracture, post-surgical discomfort, arthritis, or nerve damage. A fungal or bacterial infection, as well as skin mites, can also trigger itching in your pooch.

Not only is ALD rooted in health conditions, incessant licking is also a common obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs – yes, dogs can have OCD, too! Rover’s licking may trigger the release of endorphins (a chemical in the brain that leads to feelings of happiness) and once he learns licking brings about a pleasant feeling, he’ll likely continue to do it. As well, psychological factors such as boredom, stress and separation anxiety can result in excessive licking. To best determine how to treat the issue, it is important to determine the cause.

If you suspect your pooch has an ALD lesion, there will typically be a raised area of ulceration, hair loss, and thickened skin around the lesion. Your veterinarian should first rule out any potential allergies first, as a dog with recurrent skin or ear infections, hot spots, or itching in other areas may have an allergic condition that needs treatment. Several tests are needed to diagnose ALD, including skin scrapings and fungal cultures, and to look for infection.

If it is determined that your pooch is indeed suffering from ALD, once treated effectively, you’ll likely need to address any psychological or emotional factors that may have contributed to your pet’s obsessive licking. Try to refocus his energy with frequent walks, playtime, and other methods of physical activity. Make sure you and everyone in your family pays extra attention to Rover, stimulating his brain and keeping him happy and secure.

The best way to prevent ALD is to talk to your vet as soon as you notice you dog start to lick excessively. Make a habit of running your hands over Rover regularly to check for damp fur or sensitivity. If you notice him licking a particular spot but there’s no injury to the skin, wrap the area with an Ace bandage to discourage further licking. Anything you can do to prevent Rover from self-injury will be extremely beneficial.

While we associate licking with a dog’s natural instinct, sometimes it can serve as a sign of an underlying issue and, when done excessively, should never be ignored.

3 Things to Do With A New Puppy

 

Getting a new puppy is a very exciting time. There are so many things to do, like puppy proofing and potty training, that you know will be good for your puppy in the long run. But what other things can you do to make living with your puppy easier and more fun in the future.

The following is a list of three things, that you may not think of, that will make life with your grown up puppy so much easier.

1.Go to the vet

This may seem simple but go to the vet as soon as possible (ideally within the first ten days) when you get a new puppy. This is important because it gives your vet a baseline to compare to if your puppy gets sick.

Additionally, most breeders and shelters will give you a list of vaccinations that your puppy has gotten and the dates. Make a copy of this and give your vet a copy. This will help your vet schedule vaccinations correctly so that your puppy is protected.

Also talk to your vet about the ideal age to spay or neuter your new puppy. In almost all cases, getting your dog fixed is best for his or her health later in life.

2.Poke, prod and pet

This may seem like a weird idea but it will really pay off in the long run. Puppies are much more amiable to being handled than most adult dogs, so take the opportunity to get your puppy used to it.

Practice common, but potentially stressful tasks like clipping bits of your dog’s nails, brushing teeth, and brushing fur.Also practice giving your dog exams. Run your hands over your dog’s body, check inside his ears, open his mouth, pick up his paws. Letting your puppy get used to this now will make vet exams much easier when your puppy grows into a potentially 50 pound dog.

If you have children, or your dog could be around children, the poke part is important. Even the most well behaved and dog savvy kids ( or their friends) may poke or prod your adult dog. Get your puppy used to this and it will minimize the chance of someone getting bitten.

This includes touching your dog while he eats, taking food, bones and toys out of his mouth, moving the bowl and touching his tail. Every time your puppy does not react to these things, positively reinforce this behavior.

3.Train 

Most people who have dealt with puppies know they have very short attention spans, but you can still train them starting at 8 weeks. Just be sure to use short training sessions and be accepting of the fact that your puppy may have forgotten the last session.During early training find the positive reinforcement method you would like to use, such as treats,a clicker, rubs, or toys.

Some important things to teach your puppy:

-Come: I think this is the single most important command your dog will know.If your dog runs away or gets away from you, a well learned come command makes a big difference.

-How to walk on a leash properly: Teach your puppy how to walk by your side and not to pull.It is much easier to teach a 10 pound puppy this than a 50 pound adult dog.

-Not to eat food off the ground:This may sound like an odd one but this means that you teach your puppy to only eat out of people’s hands and bowls.This is really important because it reduces the chance that your puppy (or adult dog) will eat something harmful off the ground.

There are lots of online resources for training puppies, but it is always good to seek out the help of an experienced dog trainer.

Getting a new puppy is a fun time, full of learning for your puppy and you. These tips should help turn your puppy into a well behaved and easy to handle adult do.

5 Tips to Train Your New Puppy!

He is just the cutest little ball of fur you have ever seen and it was love at first sight for the both of you! In addition to being cute and lovable, he is also a ball of energy that loves to chew, scratch, bark, pee and poop. You are the proud owner of that new pup and it’s up to you to train your new puppy to become the dog you want him to be. Positive reinforcement training is the quickest method to get rid of the undesirable behavior and instill good behavior in your new four-legged companion.

1. Set Boundaries

Decide what will be acceptable behavior and what will not be tolerated before you begin training your new pup. Changing the rules during training will set the puppy back to square one on the training scale. Decide if you want your dog on the couch, chair or bed for the next 15 years and train accordingly. Good behavior patterns are easier to establish during the puppy stage than trying to break old habits when the pup reaches adulthood.

2. Be Consistent

Give the same command for each thing you want your pup to do and be consistent with rewards and consequences. If you tell your dog to ‘sit’ sometimes, while telling him ‘down boy’ at other times, the commands will be confusing and difficult to learn. Rewards for an obeyed command should always be given immediately as part of positive training and negative consequences for a disobeyed command should be very limited. A puppy/dog will learn quicker using a positive reward system and will shy away from training sessions that may end with a scolding or time out.

3. Non-Food Treats

Most dog owners feel that by giving their puppies and dogs food treats that they are showing their beloved pet how much they love them. Too many food treats can actually harm your dog by eventually leading to health issues like diabetes, joint pain and other health problems. Give your dog positive reinforcement with non-food treats for a job well done. Dogs respond very favorably to words of praise and a brisk rub behind the ear.

4. Keep Him Busy

A busy dog is a happy dog. Start regular playtime and exercise time as soon as you bring the new puppy home. It creates a time of bonding and training, plus the positive activities will keep your puppy away from the negative activities like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes. Learn about the advantages of regular dog walks and keep an eye out for our upcoming blog on how to exercise your puppy.

5. Have Fun!

That’s why you got a puppy in the first place! Have a good time and enjoy your pup. The more you interact with your pup at a young age the better he will understand how he fits into your life. Dogs specialize at adapting to their surroundings and he wants nothing more than to be with you all the time and be your best friend so enjoy!

6. Hire a Dog Walker

A good dog walker is a wonderful part of your puppy team and can help you with socialization. Learn about Benefits of Walks for Puppies!

Steps for Finding a Good Dog Breeder

 

If you’re in the market for a purebred dog, you’ll need to find a good dog breeder from which to purchase the animal. This can often be as easy as opening the classified advertising section of your local newspaper, but you’ll want to be sure that the breeder you’ve chosen is reputable. There are several ways to help ensure that the breeder you’ve found knows his stuff and is reliable, professional, and trustworthy.

Ask for References

Any good breeder will be able to provide you references of clients he has worked with in the past. These will be people who have purchased a puppy or utilized stud services and will be happy to share their experiences with you. Choosing a breeder that was used by someone you know is a good choice as well.  If your friend or family member was happy with the service and treatment he or she received from the breeder, the odds are good that you will be as well.

Prepare to Answer Questions

A good dog breeder will have as many questions for you as you have for him, perhaps more.  Good breeders work to ensure that the dogs they breed are placed with the correct people.  They may ask whether you have children, what size home or yard you have, and numerous other questions to help them let you know whether the dog you’re seeking is right for you and your family.  A breeder that doesn’t ask these types of questions may be looking just for the money from the sale of the dog and is probably not the sort of breeder you want to do business with.  A good breeder always has the best interest of both the dog and the clients in mind.

Guarantees

A good dog breeder will have had the puppies checked for potential health risks before ever selling the animal.  Some problems, however, simply are not detectable until later in life. If you purchase a golden retriever pup, for example, and six months later discover that it has hip dysplasia (a genetic defect in the animals hip joints, it is often nearly undetectable until the animal is several months old), a good breeder will issue a refund to you, no questions asked. Genetic defects like this are avoided by the use of selective breeding (hip dysplasia in dogs has between a 25% and 85% chance that it is genetic in origin), but sometimes a pup will display the disorder even if there is no trace of it in either parent’s history.

Health Checks

Each breed of dog has genetic disorders that are more common that others, such as cataracts or hip dysplasia. In the case these disorders can be screened for in the parents, that should be done before the breeding happens. For this reason, dogs should not be bred before 2 years of age as that is the youngest age many health checks can be performed. Hip dysplasia is a good example of this as hip x-rays can be taken at 2 years old and sent for certification. This does not guarantee against health problems but definitely helps to encourage good breeding.

Whenever possible you should be able to meet both parents of the litter. Often the sire of the litter will belong to a different owner and will not be on site, but should you wish to meet the father the owners should be able to arrange this. If the owners are hesitant to allow this then that should raise red flags.

Sources for Finding a Good Dog Breeder

Aside from looking in the newspaper or on the internet for a dog breeder, breeders can be found through veterinarian’s offices, pet supply stores, and at dog shows.  Dog shows are a very good choice since the breeders that attend these events are often showing one of their dogs or are there to see the performance of one that they bred and sold in the past.  These days you can also join the nation breed club or join social media groups for the breed. You will get to know quite a bit about the breed as well as become familiar with breeders across the country. They often make announcements when they have a litter on the way!

The moral of the story is that you are adding a new member to your family. Don’t rush the process and do lots of research before acquiring a puppy. Then you can enjoy your new best friend knowing you made a great decision!