So you've decided to add a new member to your family! Before picking out your new family member, one of the biggest decisions to make is whether or not you want to go with a breeder or a rescue. Personally, I have had dogs from both breeders and rescues, and I would highly recommend discussing both options with family, or whoever will be largely involved with the pup’s life before making a decision.
Getting a puppy from a Breeder
Beauceron puppy Kiwi, my first dog from a breeder
1. Addressing specific needs/tasks. If you are getting a dog for a specific reason (ie you want to do herding, try bitework, search and rescue, service dog) or you have a specific need, such as a fur allergy, getting a puppy from a breeder is a better option. You can pick out a specific breed with the drive or characteristics that you need from your dog.
2. Health testing. A good breeder health tests their dogs to make sure that they are generally in good health. A lot of breeds have health issues they are predisposed to, and a good breeder is in it to preserve the breed, and health testing helps determine whether or not a particular dog will be used for breedings. A good breeder does not want to pass these genes on to the next generation. The breeder that I went with refuses to sell dogs with genetic issues, and instead, keeps them, fixes them to ensure they do not reproduce, and they get to llive long happy lives with her, or gives them to her friends who understand their needs.
3. Meet the Parents. An important part of any relationship is meeting the parents. With meeting the parents of your puppy, you can see what their personalities are like, their size, and their disposition. For example, when I met Kiwi’s parents, we were at a dog show. There were lots of other dogs there, along with loud sounds, vendors, and large objects. The dogs were able to sleep and were relaxed while all this was happening, giving me a good idea of how the puppy’s temperament would be.
4. Temperament testing. This, along, with number 3, is a great way to determine how solid a puppy’s temperament will be. Although this is not a for sure thing, especially if the dog isn’t thoroughly worked with and socialized as a puppy, it gives you a better shot.
5. Socialization and training. Although it is not a guarantee that your puppy will come fully crate trained and be socialized, a good breeder usually gives you a head start. They often have certain programs, such as Puppy Culture, which exposes the puppies to loud noises, other animals, other dogs, giving you a leg up (it is up to the new family/owner to do the rest) to raising a well-rounded family member.
6. Resource for life. A good breeder cares about their dogs. Breeding is not just a means to make money, and a good breeder is there for you and your pup for life. They are available to answer multiple questions, and are interested in the progress you and your pup make throughout your lives together.
Getting a dog from a Rescue
Kiwi and my ever patient rescued Labrador Retriever, Temo
1. Older dogs are a great addition to your family! A lot of people approach me telling me that they want to add a puppy into their family. When I ask them how much time they can dedicate to a puppy and if they’re prepared to be waking up every 2 hours to relieve the pup, they usually tell me only a few hours a day and don’t understand that the pup needs constant attention, that they want to keep the puppy locked outside, or in the washroom. They want a cute puppy, but they do not necessarily want the work that comes with it. What they really wanted was a calmer, older dog. A dog who was already potty trained and had a good amount of house manners.
2. Breed specific rescues. Breed specific rescues exist nowadays, and are a great way to find the dog you want, while still supporting a rescue. So even if you are looking for say, a hypoallergenic dog, such as a poodle, you can find one through breed specific rescues.
3. Temperaments. When you adopt an older dog from the shelter, you will know what their temperament is like, whether it is solid, or there will be issues to work on. This way, there are no surprises. However, when putting any dog into a new environment, , you may have to work on certain behavioral issues that later arise. This comes with putting any being into a new situation, we all must adapt to our new surroundings.
4. Saving a life! You get to save a life of a dog or a puppy, and this allows the rescue to open up space for another dog, and your funds also go to providing food and vet care for another dog in need.
Whichever choice you are leaning towards, be sure to review all the pros and cons, and I highly recommend talking to people who you know have owned a dog from the same breeder, or the same rescue, and even joining Facebook groups before making a decision. Enjoy your new family member!