12 Tips on "Red Flags" when Looking at Dog Breeders
1. Puppies that have not been socialized.
Puppies that are very skittish and try to hide, freak out when you try to pick them up.
Socialized pups should be inquisitive, want to crawl over top of you, and want to interact with you. Socialized pups will be used to being held, petted, feet touched etc. and totally be comfortable climbing up on you lap to sleep!
2. Puppies that have not seen a veterinarian.
Obvious signs: runny eyes or nose, coughing, bloated bellies.
Even pups that have seen a vet may have these signs. When you visit the pups look at their coats, they should be soft and shinny, they should be in good weight even plump at this age, absolutely NO ribs should be able to be felt. The pups should be energetic when awake. Their little nails should have been trimmed.
3. Breeders that are reluctant to give you references.
If they don't want to give you a reference, look elsewhere period!
Good breeders will not only be willing to give you references they are going to want references from you too - I require a vet reference and 2 personal references.
4. Breeders that breed more than one breed of dog.
I don't agree with this, there are many good breeders that breed 2 different breeds, i.e. Dobes and Pugs, or French Bull Dogs and Bostons. But more than 2 breeds and more than a litter or 2 of each breed a year is a definite red flag. there are many commercial breeders that have only 1 breed House of Hoyt comes immediately to mind. I would look more for how many pups they are producing a year.
5. Breeders that won't allow you to see their breeding facility or environment.
The "I'll meet you at the nearest exit" with the pup doesn't cut it.
I agree with the Meet you some where else as a red flag, but I disagree with the rest, most good breeders breed and raise their pups in their homes - private residences - they are not going to walk you out back to the nice kennel building. Good Breeders will allow you to come to their home, by appointment after you have been screened. The incidence of attacks and thefts are on the rise and that includes breeders who allow strangers to come to their home, under the guise of meeting the parents of a litter, and then attacking the breeder and stealing as many pups and dogs as they can fit in their vehicle. So Good breeders will usually not allow prospective buyers to "just drop by" without having been checked out.
Also when ever company comes to visit me, they leave their shoes outside, wear surgicle booties and hospital gowns and wipe down with disenfectant wipes. VISTORS can bring diseases into our homes easily. I encourge people to come and visit up to 1 week prior to pups being born, but after that, I don't want my girl stressed out in any fashion, so I won't allow visits from then until the pups are 6 weeks old. I have read too many horror stories of Parvo, brucellosis, kennel cough and one time distemper being walked into a breeders home by the visitors shoes.
And during visitation, you visit in my living room, I bring the dogs out to you. NO one is allowed in my whelping room, because its my bedroom and its private.
You want to look for dogs in good weight, shinny coats, clean, nails done, eyes bright, and well trained and behaved.
6. Breeder facilities that look like puppy mills.
This one has me puzzled. To me if you get to a breeder and they have a separate building to keep all the dogs - this might be a yellow flag, but I personally know some really good GSD and Dobe breeders that keep a dozen or more dogs and they have a small 6 or 10 run Kennel that the show dogs are kept in, or even the pups after a certain age. If they are housing more than 15-20 dogs that would be a red flag to me. Again you have to look for cleanliness, smell, of facilities and dogs.
7. Puppies that appear dirty or smell/living in poor conditions.
Smell, poo stuck to coat, dull coats, flaky skin.
8. Breeders that don't work with a veterinarian providing good quality prenatal care to the *****.
This is going to be hard for most visitors to determine - but certainly when you do your interviewing of a breeder, you should has for THEIR veterinarian as a reference, and call to see that the dogs have received the normal maintenance medical care
9. Breeders that don't take the puppies to their veterinarian in for general "wellness care" and health certificates.
Most good breeders will release any and all pertainent information documenting the puppies medical record and send it home with the buyer.
Pups should be vaccinated prior to being placed and have a State Health Certificate from a licensed vet.
Different breeds have different vaccination protocol, I agree that vacs should be started, but most probably won't be finished before being placed. My pups get their first vaccination at 9 weeks, then 12 weeks, then the last shot in the series is given at 16 weeks - I also wait until 5 or 6 months for the Rabies vaccination to be given, but that is what is recommended for dobes
10. Breeders that won't give you a guarantee.
You even have to be careful when a guarantee is given - the biggest red flag is if for any reason you have to return your puppy in order for the breeder to honor the guarantee - those breeders are counting on you being so attached to your precious sick puppy that they will forgo the breeder honoring the gurantee if it means sending back their pup.
11. Breeders that don't want to you meet the pups parents.
Always meet the sire & dam. Sometimes the sire might not be available due to being an outside stud.
Many times Good Breeders will only have the Dam for you to meet as they used a sire who lives in another state, or in todays world sometimes another country.
12. Breeders that sell to pet stores.
I don't think many would admit to this, but if you ask and they are truthful enough to tell you "yes", then......run.
agreed, you can also ask the breeder to let you have the contact information for other buyers in your pups litter so you can keep in touch - Most breeders who screen prior to placing you on a reservation list are more concerned with where and with whom their pups are being placed. You can be assured a breeder who screens is not selling their pups to pets stores or to brokers.
Hope you don't mind the extra advice from a good breeder.
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Valuable training articles posted by Victoria and other Positively members.
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