When to get a puppy and when NOT to get a puppy?
Because of Covid-19 more and more people are working from home, on furlough or sadly have lost their jobs. This has resulted in unprecedented demand for puppies.
However, just as dogs are not for Christmas, dogs are not for Covid-19 either. People still must think very carefully before getting a puppy. They must be sure the dog will fit into their life “after Covid-19”, i.e. once life goes back to normal, whatever the “new normal” will be.
We can expect (hope) that most people are only temporarily spending so much time at home. Which means you must take into account what will happen to the puppy once everyone has to go back to work / school. Dogs are pack animals and cannot be left home alone for extended period. Which means people that work full time plus commute do not have the lifestyle that dogs need and deserve.
So don’t get a puppy now unless you know for sure that your future lifestyle is suitable for having a dog for the duration of his life.
If you are lucky enough to be able to offer a puppy a good forever home then there are few things that you should have in mind when looking for your new best friend.
What to avoid when choosing a new puppy?
When you are looking for a family pet, then you want to choose physically and mentally healthy puppy.
Good physical health has a lot to do with the genes, as well as lifestyle. The latter is up to you as the dog owner, i.e. to provide good balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, etc. But good genes come from the parents so avoid puppies from unhealthy parents and those with inherited health problems.
Good mental health has also lot to do with the genes, but also with the puppy's early experiences. This is another reason why you should only buy from a reputable breeder. The breeder's role in your puppy's first few weeks is fundamental for his future health and wellbeing.
So avoid puppies with hereditary conditions and from puppy mills or similar deplorable places.
What to ask the breeder to minimize the risk of the puppy having any inherited conditions?
If the puppy is from kennel club assured breeder then both parents should have been screened for the most common hereditary conditions. They should have been screened for hip dysplasia, elbow grading, had eye testing and BAER hearing test, as well as DNA testing.
You also can (and should) ask to see both parents as their health and temperament can tell you a lot what you can expect from your new puppy.
If you are buying cross-bred then you may not have access to the parent’s health records, but screening checks can still be done.
Why should you insist on meeting the puppy’s parents?
Because the parents health and temperament tells you what you can expect from your new puppy.
Parents in good physical health and free of hereditary health problems will pass on their good genes to your new puppy. And your puppy is also likely to inherit and be influenced by their temperament. So look for the personality traits that you want from your new puppy in the parents.
It is not always possible to meet the father as he may live elsewhere, even quiet far away. You should still ask about his health and ask to see photos and even videos (to access his personality traits). Under all circumstances should you meet the mother.