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What You Should Know About Buying A Puppy

Milk MaidYou’ve made the decision to let a puppy share your life. This was not made lightly. The bouncing, bundle of fluff, will grow up &
with a normal life can be with you 15 years or more. It will be a family member with wants & needs all its own.

No matter what breed you like, keep in mind your lifestyle when choosing a puppy. All breeds have their own qualities, good & bad. Take into consideration what the breed was bred to do, working livestock, hunting, guarding, or just being cute and adorable on your lap. The internet can give you all the information about any breed you like.

You start looking through the paper in the PETS column. Finding the breed that suits you, write down the phone number and whatever information is given. Before you start calling & spending your money there are some things you should be asking the breeder about the pups. Plus, good breeders don’t breed their dogs to make money. They should be concerned about the people that want to buy a puppy of their breed, so they should be asking you questions also. Keep away from any breeder that will let a pup leave it’s siblings before 8 weeks old. Twelve weeks is much better for the pup as they learn social skills from their mom and siblings.

Here is a bit of background on what a litter goes through in the first 8 weeks of life and for the breeder it goes by very fast. When a
litter is born they are totally helpless. The eyes, as well as their ears, are closed. Their main purpose is to find the milk supply. Mom takes care of all the pups needs.

Snow with her 1st litter, 1/31/12, all 11 of them. GP/Annitol cross.

 Snow with first litter 1 31 12 

In the second week they become a little mobile, crawling & whimpering. The first worming should be done in the second week of life. Pups are born with worms and a fat pup that looks healthy can die quickly from an infestation of hook worms. The eyes & ears start to open and life takes on a new meaning and they sound like Chimpanzees.   

With the third and forth weeks, two more wormings & if they have fleas they should be wormed for tape worms also which is a separate wormer. With their eyes and ears open movement is a joy & the muscles get very strong. Walking & playing occupies their lives now. Baby teeth are in with the third week & are needle sharp. Puppy food is also introduced and with this, the mom has stopped cleaning up after them, what a joy for the breeder. It’s amazing how a pup likes to be clean. They won’t relieve themselves where they eat or sleep. Being little it only takes a few minutes after eating before they need to relieve themselves. Keep this in mind when house breaking comes into play. Some breeders will have already worked on house breaking. My pups were always trained before they left. Not every breeder will do this though. My thinking is the younger, the better, and the do learn very fast at this age about where to “go”.

In the fifth and sixth weeks come major changes. The pups are running everywhere and are weaned off their mother. The sixth week brings a fourth worming and some basic obedience can start. This is up to the breeder’s discretion. “NO BITE” are good first words to learn. Some will have learned they have a “voice” & use it well. At this point a pecking order may develop. The feisty one usually is the smallest. To dispel a myth, the “runt” isn’t the one that can’t get enough to eat. It happens to be the last pup to be conceived.

Nitro at 7 weeks. Red, Welsh Corgi.

 Nitro 7 weeks 

By the seventh week the first shot should have been given. Plus, the word “come” can be used. Week eight brings all kinds of excitement for a puppy. The fifth worming should have been given before the pup goes to its new home.

With the first eight weeks in mind, here are some questions you should ask the breeder:

1)  How old are the pups?  

2)  Have they been wormed and if so, how many times and what wormer? (I always use Nemex 2 as its fine to use on dogs that are pregnant also.) Remember that for tape worms, this is a different drug and is in pill form. Ask if the litter was wormed for tape worms as well.  

3)  Has the first shot been given and do you get a record of the wormings, shot dates and names of the drugs used so your vet can start a record? ( I always gave the vile that the shot came in, put them in a zip lock bag for each pup with the date given and gave it to each new owner)

4)  What are the temperaments(personalities) of the pups?  

5)  Do they know any obedience words?   “Come & No Bite” are the most common at this age. Sit, down and off will come later when the pup has more of an attention span.  

6)  Somebreeders crate train puppies to house break them at night. A very good idea! Ask if the pups have been introduced to a crate.  

7)  A very important question that most buyers don’t know about is, has the mother had a litter before this one? If so, how long ago? Dogs should NOT have two litters in a row. Only one a year is best. Puppies from a second litter born six months after a previous one won’t have the calcium the first litter did. Never mind the health risk to the mother. It takes a year for her to build the
calcium back up in her system after a litter.  

8)  Ask if the pup gets a blanket to take home. This may sound too babyish but remember your pup is going from the safety of its pack & everything it knows to a strange place. A blanket that has its mothers and siblings scent on it will be a bit easier the first few days in the new home. Bring one with you so the breeder can rub it over the mom and other pups if need be.

 Buddy 

Buddy at 10 weeks, my current Border Collie. Red/white with blue eyes.  

As for the breeder, they most likely will tell you everything they’ve done with the litter before you ask. If the breeder says they have a spay/neuter contract for you to sign, don’t be put off by this. If you’re not a breeder, sign it and get your pup fixed. We all know the stories about unwanted dogs being put to sleep. Be a responsible owner. You have no idea what it takes to have a healthy litter. In all my years of breeding, there was hardly any profit. The reason most breeders do it, is so they can produce pups as good as or better than the parents. It’s not the money making venture that most people think it is.

The questions the breeder should ask you should be related to your lifestyle to see if their breed is right for you also. If you want a
Border Collie as a pet & plan on letting it run loose it will chase cars. It will be killed! A breeder represents its breed & does a pup an injustice if they sell it to just anyone.

The litter above at 9 weeks. Yetti is not in the photo.  

 Feed us now 

A few last words of advice, for the puppies sake don’t bring it home for a Christmas present. Yes, it’s nice, but for who? Not the scared puppy that just left its first home. If you have to, bring it home about 4 weeks before so it knows that this is now home and is comfortable with all the family members before the hustle and bustle of the season.

By three months old the pup can start a Kindergarten Puppy Obedience Class. Ask your vet, feed store or Pet Smart if they know someone that does these classes. A trained puppy grows up to be a wonderful dog for the family and gives you something you never expected out of it. I can’t tell you what that is, you have to learn it for yourself.

Suzy has been breeding dogs for over 19 years, only one breed at a time. 

They included Labs, Border Collies, Welsh Corgi’s and Great Pyrenees.

www.milkmaidranch.com 

milk maid
11/27/2012 5:18:30 PM

I have to say Dave that my best dog was a mix and a rescue. At the moment we have a mouse problem in the house and I was at the HS looking to get an adult female cat. Over the years I've helped the local HS with fostering pups as well. There's nothing like a good dog and the breed means nothing when it comes to that. Be safe and if you are in a part of the US that gets that white stuff that falls from the sky, be careful.


nebraska dave
11/26/2012 9:44:30 PM

Suzy, lots of good advice. Unfortunately, all of our family dogs came from the Humane Society and had none of the records you talk about. We had a little bit of an idea about what kind of breeds they were but they always were mixed. My wife would spend hours in the pens playing with each one. She was after temperament and said you can't judge that in just a couple of minutes. Sometimes it would take several days to get just the right one picked out. They were always a great pet for the family. Now the fish, gerbils, rabbits, and guinea pigs were another story. They were usually just run of the mill pick it out because of the color markings. I would not let any reptiles in the house as pets. Auck, why does anyone want pet snake or lizard. They aren't even cuddly. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving