HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD DOG BREEDER?
Here at Fenrir, we are committed to helping you find the perfect dog breed. But this is only the beginning! The next step is to find the perfect breeder. Choosing a good kennel can take time, but this time is well-spent: By buying your puppy from a reputable breeder, you ensure that you are getting a healthy, happy dog. At the same time, you secure the breeder’s backup and assistance for the duration of your dog’s life. And this article is dedicated to helping you find the perfect kennel for your pedigree puppy.
HOW TO FIND REPUTABLE DOG BREEDERS
Depending on the breed you have chosen and on the country you live in, there may not be many kennels around. If you have selected a very popular breed, on the other hand, there will be many breeders to choose from. But how can you tell which kennels are the best?
Just like breed selection, picking the right breeder is an important project. After all, your new dog will be with you for the next 10 years or more. A good first step is to make a list with 3 - 5 reputable breeders in your approximate area. To find good breeders, reach out to other owners, and ask them where they bought their own dog. Also ask them what their experiences were with the breeder. Another way to find responsible breeders is by consulting your vet. Most vets personally know breeders they can recommend.
If you have the opportunity to visit a dog show, do so: This is an excellent opportunity to speak to various breeders in person. And not only that: These shows allow you to see and interact with the dogs produced by the different kennels. No amount of research on the internet can compare with such first-hand experience.
Once you have collected the names of a few kennels that have sparked your interest, it is time for a deep-dive: Go to your computer, and check these kennels’ websites, their social media presence – and customer reviews. Then, write to these breeders, or call them on the phone. Tell them why you are interested in one of their dogs, and ask them any questions you might have.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD YOUR ASK A BREEDER?
Which health tests do you perform in your kennel?
Depending on the breed you have chosen, different types of health evaluations may be recommended by the kennel club. Some of the most common ones include: DNA testing, tests for heart- thyroid and eye-conditions, hearing evaluations, elbow testing and hip scoring.
Ask your breeder to see the results of these evaluations. Expert breeders will be proud to show you the test results of their dogs. They will also give you a health guarantee for your new puppy. This is particularly important if the breed of your choice is prone to certain diseases such as eye conditions, heart problems, or dysplasia.
What temperament are you breeding for?
We all love good-looking dogs. And it can be hard to move on from a kennel that produces beautiful offspring. But we have to consider that temperament is even more important than appearance. If you want a good family dog, for example, that dog has to be obedient, well-mannered and sociable. To be safe around children and visitors, a family pet must have an excellent, well-balanced temperament. Let’s assume your breed of choice is the Labrador. As Labradors are generally friendly, mellow dogs, most people would agree that you have made the right decision. But what if you chose a puppy from a dedicated working line? Such dogs are very active and need lots of exercise to stay balanced. They also have a high prey drive, which can lead to problems with other pets, or livestock. Maybe such a Labrador puppy is perfect for you. But unless you are an outdoor-enthusiast, a hunter, dog trainer or an avid hiker, an energetic dog like a working line Labrador can become a veritable nightmare.
It is very understandable to want a puppy whose parents are impressive-looking dogs. But ask the breeder whether or not their dogs are a good match for your situation. Always remember that you will have to literally “live with” your choice of puppy for a decade or more. If you want a calm family dog, we advise to filter out kennels that breed working line dogs right from the beginning. Instead, select breeders who focus producing even-tempered companion dogs and stable family pets.
Other questions you can ask any breeder include:
✓ Can I visit your facilities?
✓ May I see both parents of the (present or planned) litter?
✓ Can I perform temperament testing on the puppies?
✓ Are you involved in breed clubs?
✓ Can I speak to people who bought puppies from you before?
✓ How do you socialise your puppies?
✓ At what age can I take my puppy home? (The recommended age is 8 weeks)
✓ Do you provide health certificates / health guarantees along with the purchase contract and pedigree?
✓ What happens if, for any reason, I cannot keep my dog? Will you take them back? (Good breeders will insist you return the dog to them.)
✓ Can I contact you with any questions about my dog in the future?
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD YOUR BREEDER ASK YOU?
Excellent breeders will be happy to answer any questions you might have. And in return, they will also “interview” you, to see whether or not you meet their criteria. A breeder’s questions for potential buyers can appear fairly personal: Excellent breeders will not give their puppies to anyone who pays the purchase price: They want to ensure that each and every one of their dogs moves into an ideal forever-home – and has owners that are committed to fulfilling their needs. Good breeders may not have puppies available in the near future, but they will put your name on their waiting list for future litters.
Here are some questions a breeder may ask you:
✓ Can you financially afford the dog?
✓ Do you have pet insurance in place, or money set aside, for unexpected vet bills?
✓ How big is your house and yard?
✓ Do you lead an active lifestyle?
✓ How much time can you dedicate to your dog on a daily basis?
✓ Where will the dog be when you leave the house?
✓ Are you working full time away from home?
✓ For how many hours a day will the dog be alone?
✓ Have you owned dogs before – and if so, which breeds?
✓ Do you have children, and if so, how old are they?
✓ Do you have other pets?
✓ Where will your dog live – in the house, or outside?
PUPPY TRAINING TIPS
Once you have chosen your breeder, and selected your puppy from one of their litters, the most exciting part of your journey begins. And that is raising and training this puppy to become your perfect canine companion. Young dogs have lots of energy. They are very excitable, and most of them are given to chewing, play-biting, whining, and going to the toilet indoors.
HOUSEBREAKING YOUR PUPPY
Crate training is one of the best methods to toilet train puppies, and to prevent separation anxiety. To condition your new dog to love their crate, we recommend placing mental stimulation toys in there – such as our Fenrir Hammer for puppies. Filled with meat paste or peanut butter and then frozen, the Hammer keeps dogs occupied for a long time. You can put the Hammer inside the crate right before leaving the house. In this way, your puppy understands that you leaving is something to look forward to, and not something to fear. The Fenrir Hammer is virtually indestructible, versatile, user-friendly and easy to clean.
Another helpful tool for raising and toilet training puppies is the Ragnar Collar. Young dogs are prone to having toilet accidents whenever allowed to move around in the home without supervision. This comfortable, lightweight collar allows you to quickly intervene, and prevent the dog from soiling your floors. With its soft padded interior, this collar is ideal for puppies. You can easily attach a light training leash or long line to the Ragnar Collar. Let the leash trail behind the puppy anytime they are not crated. Working with a collar and leash inside the home is an excellent way to set up your puppy for toilet training success.
Raising well-mannered, obedient puppies is not easy – but it is not rocket science either. Tools like toys, crates, leashes and collars make this process easier and more fun. And selecting the perfect breeder ensures that you get a healthy, even-tempered dog to work with. But ultimately, YOU are the most important factor in your new dog’s life: By being their loving leader, you teach them how to safely navigate the exciting world we live in. And before you know it, you will have a wonderful canine companion that looks up to you for guidance and direction – no matter what is going on around you.