Decided you are going to get a puppy


Never buy from a Puppy Farm as these puppies will not have been handled by and socialised to people, other animals or family home and therefore unlikely to be able to adapt to life in a family home, cope with sights and sounds it will encounter or accept people or other animals, situations or environments. Due to the early stress and trauma of being born into such circumstances they are likely to have behavioural problems and temperament disturbances.  They may have disease e.g. parvo-virus and other long-term physical health problems, as the parents are unlikely to be health tested or vaccinated prior to breeding.

Never buy from a Pet Store as you have no idea of their history and are likely to have come from a puppy farm.

Never buy Online or Newspaper Advert as you know nothing of the puppies history.


Selecting a Breeder

  • Always use a reputable breeder as they will have health tested their breeding stock and started the vital puppy socialisation process. Search Find an Assured Breeder or contact your local breed club of the breed you have decided to get. However, these sources do not guarantee that these breeders are definitely reputable breeders and you still need to vet these breeders. Ask other dog owners or your local vet whether they know of any reputable breeders.
  • A good breeder will not likely have more than three litters from a bitch in its lifetime and will not have bred from her before she is 2yrs.  They will not have so many dogs that they cannot give them individual attention.
  • No good breeder will have more than one litter from a bitch in any 12mth period.
  • You should be wary of any breeder breeding from many different breeds of dog.
  • Always go to see where the puppies are housed and make sure that you see them with there mother. Be very suspicious if the breeder makes excuses as to why it is not possible to see the puppies with mum - walk away immediately.
  • Never buy from a breeder that offers to deliver puppy to your home or insists on meeting halfway 'to save you a long journey.'
  • If puppies are not living in the family home, where there is lots of human contact , vital for appropriate behavioural development and to being able to cope with the environment that you are going to bring them home to - walk away immediately.
  • What is mum like - is she friendly because temperament can be inherited? If she shows fear, nervousness or hostility to strangers (you) the puppy is likely to have inherited these traits or learned them from seeing mum portray them at this early stage in the development and show them as they mature. If the latter is true of mum it is probably best advised to walk away, if you are considering training your puppy as your 'Guide for the Mind Assistance Dog'.
  • Is there a waiting list to purchase puppies from this breeder? Good breeders' puppies are always in demand and it's a good sign if people are prepared to wait in line for their puppies.
  • Is the breeder undertaking the all important role of beginning early puppy socialisation, vital to the puppy becoming a well adjusted adult?
  • Has the breeder starting toilet training and some basic obedience training?
  • Ask about how often the puppies are handled and how many people from outside the family they have been introduced to. The more people they meet in this early stage the better.
  • Ask to see the results of all the relevant breed health screenings carried out prior to breeding.
  • A good breeder offers lifetime support to their puppy buyers.  They will answer your questions confidently and provide you with written information sheets on caring for your puppy. 
  • Most reputable breeders will take a puppy back at any time over its life-time if you find yourself unable to care for it.
  • Never take puppy before it is 7-8 weeks old as it needs to be with its mum and siblings for this time to get the nourishment and learn the skills required to develop into a well adjusted adult.
  • Be wary of puppies that have been with the litter too long, as they are likely to be more content in the presence of other dogs and less competent with humans and possibly a poor companion dog e.g. possibly showing nervous aggression towards unfamiliar humans. Don't take a pup older than 8wks unless you are sure they have already been well socialised with humans and have many varied experiences and individual attention.
  • Puppy Registration Papers should be provided outlining the pedigree, whelping date, vaccination record and other details of your puppy.
  • Have the puppies been wormed? - All puppies have worms at birth. Worming should start with the breeder at about 2wks old, be repeated every 2wks and be continued by you.
  • Have the puppies had any vaccinations? If so, when is the next dose due? - Puppies should be vaccinated at 6-9 wks and repeated at 10-12 wks. They become fully protected 2 wks after the 2nd vaccination. You will need to do this if the breeder has not.


Selecting a Puppy

  • Observe the litter without disturbing them - how do they interact with each other? An active, playful puppy is desirable but not one than is dominant/overbearing with its litter-mates.
  • Look closely at each pups eyes, ears, gums, teeth and rear end. Healthy pups have bright eyes, a shiny clean coat, no sign of any discharge or debris.
  • Be wary of a shy and fearful pup. Pups at the 7-8 weeks shouldn't show signs of these undesirable traits - many people select a puppy such as this because they feel sorry for them. Don't fall into this trap - it is not a good reason for picking out a puppy and especially not if you are considering training your puppy as a 'Guides for the Mind Assistance Dog'!
  • It's important that the puppy you  choose has energy levels compatible with you and your family's lifestyle. These energy levels will vary a great deal even in the one litter. After spending some time with the puppies you can make a judgment yourself, or the breeder will give you some insight.
  • Choose a pup that approaches you with a confident posture and a wagging tail. Avoid puppies that flatten as they approach or try to avoid you.
  • Pick puppy up, hug him and cradle him. This is a bit of a test, if he reacts by squealing and wriggling and doesn't settle down, this is not a good sign. You may experience problems with a puppy such as this. A little struggle is ok, followed by quickly settling down.
  • Touch the puppies all over their bodies including paws, mouth and ears. A puppy who has been handled from an early age won't have any problem with you doing this and this is what you want.
  • Check the Vet records of your puppy including vaccination and worming record.
  • Once you've decided on a puppy it is advisable to have your Vet do a thorough examination of the puppy, having an agreement with the breeder that you return the puppy if  it is not healthy.