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How Do You Go About Buying a Puppy? Follow These Crucial Steps

If you are thinking about adding a furry member to your family, but simply have no idea where to start, then this post is for you!

Buying a Puppy: Step 1 - Talk with Family

The first step is to have a conversation with all family members to make sure everyone is on the same page about getting a puppy. If you’ve never had a puppy, spend some time reading books or training articles to get a feel for what the first few months will be like.

Puppies require a lot of time and patience before they are a reliably trained member of the family. Who will take the puppy out in the middle of the night for a potty break? What is your plan for the puppy when you have to go to work? Are you prepared to meet your puppy’s exercise needs?

It is also important to consider the ongoing costs of a puppy. It is also important to check with your landlord if you do not own your own home. There are often stipulations on breeds or weight limits if you live in an apartment. Beyond the initial purchase price, your puppy will need ongoing vet care, food, flea and heartworm preventative, and in the case of a doodle, he will need to be groomed roughly every 6-8 weeks.

Buying a Puppy: Step 2 - Research Different Breeds

If you have planned and budgeted for adding a puppy to your family, it is now time to decide on which breed fits your lifestyle, or whether you are open to a variety of breeds/temperaments. Not all breeds are created equal.

Perhaps you saw your neighbor walking an adorable Sheepadoodle pup and want one that look just like him! But did you know Sheepadoodles have lots of energy?

Before you get carried away, carefully research your breed of choice, their personalities and different doodle generations, like F1 vs F1b. And if you're wondering what gender doodle will work best for your family, we answer that question here.

We often get applications from people wanting “any kind of doodle.” They want a cute, non-shedding pup, but may not realize the huge differences between doodle breeds (or breeds of any kind, for that matter).

A recent study out of Harvard University was able to show physical variations in a dog’s brain based on breed. While every dog has its own unique, individual personality, there are also clear breed distinctions. For example, some breeds were bred for hunting, others for herding, others were bred simply for companionship.

So, you can expect that a Border Collie and a Pug will have a different reaction to a fast-moving cyclist coming down the street. Similarly, a German Shepherd and a Beagle are going to excel at different things. While all dogs are truly wonderful, you will certainly have a preference of different breeds if you are looking for a dog to perform a specific task such as herding cattle, protecting your house or being a therapy dog at a nursing home.

When it comes to doodle breeds, all doodles share the commonality of being part Poodle. Poodles are known for being highly trainable, people-oriented, and sensitive dogs. They are moderately active and extremely devoted companions. This is not a dog breed who does well being left alone for huge periods of time.

Additionally, it is important for you to research the “other half” of your preferred doodle breed to make sure his breed background is a good fit for your lifestyle. As an example, Aussiedoodles tend to be high energy dogs who need a large amount of physical and mental stimulation to be happy and non-destructive.

This breed would be a great choice for someone looking for an adventurous companion who can excel in agility or other athletic endeavors. A Bernedoodle would be a better choice for someone wanting a more laid back (albeit goofy) companion.

Once you have decided on a breed that works best for your family, it is time to move on to the next step of who you will purchase your puppy from. You may consider whether or not you are a good candidate to rescue a dog or puppy from a shelter or other dog rescue group.

The obvious benefit to rescuing is helping a dog who has had some bad luck in life to have a loving family. In some cases, rescue or shelter dogs may be adult dogs which can have benefits of being past some of the difficulties of the puppy stage as well as having some training under their belts already. Shelter or rescue dogs are typically less expensive than buying a purebred pup and are likely already spayed or neutered.

Rescue Adoptions Are Another Way of Getting a Puppy

The potential disadvantage to rescuing a puppy is the relative uncertainty regarding their health, temperament, etc. While many, many rescue dogs have great and stable temperaments, there is always some level of risk when adopting a pup from an unknown background.

A puppy who was under-socialized in his critical early weeks or who was from parents with significant aggression/behavioral issues may develop significant behavioral issues despite its owner’s best training efforts. Genetics play a large role in a dog’s temperament as well as physical health.

Families with past dog experience, confidence in handling a dog with difficult behaviors, and families who are flexible when it comes to specifics such as size, weight breed, etc. should certainly consider rescuing a dog.

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Families who need a dog to perform a specific task or desire a specific temperament, size, etc. are a good candidate to adopt from a reputable breeder. Families with young children typically prefer the temperament stability of a well-bred dog as well as families where allergies are a concern and need a hypoallergenic breed.

Buying a Puppy Step 3: Research & Find Reputable Breeders

Once you have decided which camp you land in, it is time to do some serious research. Unfortunately, there are many people posing as breeders who are attempting to scam inexperienced families without ever delivering a puppy. Even when it comes to rescuing a puppy, there are plenty of illegitimate rescues out there.

If you do not have a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source, you may start your search on Google or a social media source such as Facebook or Instagram. No matter how cute a picture of a puppy looks, it is important to ask lots of questions first.

Most reputable breeders and rescues have a waitlist or at least an application process that involves multiple interactions back and forth. Scammers are typically trying to sell an available puppy now. They prey on buyers’ impulse and often avoid questions. They are typically not interested in getting to know their potential buyers. On the other hand, a reputable breeder should show that they care where their puppies end up and want to ensure a good fit.

Once you have decided on particular breeder or rescue, stick with it and be willing to wait for the right fit. As mentioned previously, it may take time. Most reputable breeders know their puppies’ personalities well and will want to get to know you and won’t send home the first available puppy they have if they don’t feel it is a good match.

Before Buying, Meet the Puppies Parents & Put Down a Deposit

We never recommend buying a puppy based on pictures alone. It is important that whoever you are working with is able to tell you about the puppy’s personality. Similarly, we caution anyone from buying a puppy from a pet store or mass puppy listing sites as these sources often draw from puppy mills. If you cannot meet a puppies’ parents or see where/how they are raised, this is a big red flag.

You will likely have to wait longer for the right puppy, but the wait is well worth it to avoid a sickly puppy or a puppy who is simply not a good match for your lifestyle. For example, no matter how cute the puppy is, you will experience training difficulty (and likely some destruction of your home!) if there is a significant mismatch in energy levels!

Finally, there is a good chance you will be asked to put down a deposit to reserve a puppy prior to 8 weeks or to reserve your spot on a waitlist. This is a fairly standard procedure among breeders to ensure a firm commitment to their puppies, so do not be alarmed. But just make sure you have done your research and are satisfied with the level of communication from your breeder before sending over any money.

We also highly recommend asking for references! Good breeders and rescues also typically have contracts to legitimize the purchase. These contracts may include spay/neuter clauses, health guarantees, and rules for returning or rehoming a puppy.

If you do have to wait for the right puppy, use this time to continue researching training methods and puppy developmental stages. You can use this time to further plan and puppy proof your home and yard before bringing home your pup. If you are itching with excitement, you can start to purchase supplies for your pup ahead of time.

Puppies thrive on a variety of toys, not to mention they need other supplies, too, such as a crate, leash, food bowls, etc. In the end, your time spent researching, carefully selecting your breed, and where you will purchase your puppy from will pay off. A puppy who has the right temperament for your family’s needs will pay off in the long run as he develops into your faithful companion for the rest of his doggy life!

Jenna and the JLDD Team

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