Before Puppy Arrives

    Puppy sat in a box



    I have so many clients that fell in love with their puppy and didn’t think about potential problems. You have a lot to think about.


    There are so many breeds we invite into our homes to take care of as our family pet.


    Ask yourself these questions:

    What to look for when choosing a puppy:

    Choose the breed wisely. You have to take into consideration your lifestyle and where you live. Great Danes don’t do very well in one-bedroom 6th floor flats! Nor does any breed when their owner is out at work all day. Dogs don’t need space they need time. Your puppy needs to be taught how to live with the humans in their life. He will grow into an adult dog and may be with you for up to 17yrs, so you need to make sure your dog is the one for you!


    It is so important that you see both the parents and where the puppies are living, and the breeders set up. This will give you an idea of the adult dog you are inviting to live with you and your family. Be aware of the breeder that meets you half way if you have to travel a distance to choose your puppy, no matter how nice they sound. Are they trying to hide something?

    This is especially important if you are to trust your dog with your children. Pet shops are now starting to sell puppies. This is a major concern for animal rescue groups all over Ireland. These puppies quite often will be supplied by Puppy Farms. Breeding dogs are kept in horrific conditions, quite often in barns without access to the open air or sunshine.

    Is the breeder selling lots of puppies and breeds? Do they have the parent dogs on site? If so this may be the sign of a puppy farm if so WALK AWAY. Puppy farms are illegal in the UK and for good reason. Breeders churn out litter after litter from their brood bitches without a thought about the dogs, puppies, environment, health or behaviour. These puppies and their Mothers are usually kept in barns or sheds without social human contact so they are usually fearful and shy around people.

    Some puppies remain nervous all their life and many become aggressive and will bite. DON’T FEEL SORRY FOR THE PUPPY AND TAKE IT HOME you are putting your children at risk. This is also how these places can exist. The people who sell puppies this way rely on your emotions and they survive to supply pet shops and other retail outlets. You may have expensive Vets bills if something is wrong with the puppy, is the breeder willing to help? Some of the better breeder who really care about their puppies will ask to visit your home to check the puppy is ok up to 6 months after you have taken him/her home!

    Labrador puppy sat on the grass

    The puppies are taken from their Mothers at a very young age without any thought about socialisation with people or children. These puppies are often quite and fearful, they can be aggressive ass they have not been taught about the outside world. Your puppy will have to be safe around your children. Behavioural issues and not infections are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3yrs of age.

    Dog pounds and rescue groups are full of dogs that have been given up on by their owners because of aggression and other behavioural problems. Do you research, talk to your Vet, or local rescue group or even someone who has a nice dog, ask them where they got theirs. They will be able to put you in touch with a reputable breeder if it is a pure bred you are buying or they can find you a dog that would fit into your lifestyle and family. Rescue groups and reputable breeders will provide support and help if you need it and will take the dog back if things break down. Pet shops probably wont and many dogs don’t get a second chance if they end up in the pound.

    Make sure the puppies are all clean and happy, a home environment is best, as the puppies will be used to all the noise and smells that may also be in your own home. Socialisation and habituation is very important not just for the puppy but also for the safety of the family. Remember buyer beware.

    Think about how you will treat your new puppy and does the breeder treat them as you would?

    Take your puppy home between 7 to 8 weeks old. Dogs are open to learning about their surroundings and positive exposure to their environment at this age. After 12 weeks your puppy is less open to learning about the environment. In some breeds this is longer than in others, Labradors are usually laid back and happy till around 18weeks but terriers and the guarding breeds need as much positive socialisation up until 10 or 11 weeks.

    Make sure you have a vaccination certificate signed by a Vet. This shows that your puppy has been Vet checked and has been passed healthy enough to be vaccinated. The letters MRCVS and/or MVB and also the practice stamp should follow the Vets signature.

    Puppy laying down.

    Check with the Irish Kennel club for a list of pure breeds, but be aware that the Kennel Club DO NOT visit breeders to check on the standard of care and socialisation of the dogs and puppies, they only register puppies from whomever decides to pay them to register. Some of the best dogs I have worked with have been mix breeds and certainly don’t have the inbreeding genetic problems that pure breeds may have.

    Check all paperwork and if in doubt do not sign anything. Would you part with your money for a car without having a test-drive? Or letting your mechanic check it out?

    Be aware of a breeder that won’t let you neuter or spay your dog and that wants the first litter.
    Puppy farmers are in the business to make money, as much money as possible; they rarely spend it on Vets fees, flea and worming treatment and think very little of any physical or genetic problems they will be passing onto the puppies.

    Make sure you see the parents and if not find out *exactly* why you cannot.

    If there is a problem with your puppy any good breeder will be prepared to help.

    A puppy bought from a good breeder will come from a friendly, caring, healthy background and make a much better pet.

    Take along a qualified professional behaviourist or trainer if you have any reservations.

    Puppy farmed puppies may have mental health and behavioural issues, as well as physical health problems. You should be prepared for heartbreak and large Vets bills.

    All of these basic rules apply to any species kittens, rabbits, reptiles and birds. Pet shops may be supplied with animals from rabbit and guinea pig farms and may have health problems that you will end up paying for. You probably know some one who has bought a rabbit or guinea pig from a pet shop only to find out it is pregnant! It is better to get a pet from a welfare group or private owner.
    Think carefully about the behaviour and size of the breed you have chosen ESPECIALLY if there are children around.

    When you do find your dog there is nothing like the unconditional companionship a pet gives. It is well documented in medical papers that stroking a well-socialised friendly pet lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Walking your dog keeps you fit, and attending training classes is a great way to meet like-minded people. A good pet can also teach children life lessons. Pets teach them to cope with the responsibilities of care, bereavement and of course love. Many children benefit from having a dog to care for.

    ‘A nations greatness and moral progress is shown by the way it treats its animals’ – Mahatma Ghandi.

    Bev Truss CABT (COAPE)