Puppies are flat out adorable. Doesn't matter what breed, they're just so danged cute! That cute face is what makes most people lose their mind and impulsively pick up that pup. And once you've held an eight-week old grunting and wiggling puppy, I dare you to put him back down and say "No, thanks."
So, before you even think about getting a puppy, take a moment to read this short (I promise) entry. Don't make the mistake too many of my clients make - impulse buy. You'll pay for it later, and perhaps, even the pup, too, will pay later.
Don't buy a puppy from a store, online, or from an ad in the paper. Where, you ask, am I supposed to get a puppy, then, if not from those sources.
If you've got your heart set on a purebred puppy go to the AKC website and find the parent club of the breed you're interested. (Sorry, puggles, labradoodles, and goldendoodles aren't purebred, no
matter what the "breeder" tells you -- they're good ol' American Mutts.) Contact the parent club to find a few reputable breeders in your area. Interview those breeders and make an educated decision on which one is right for you.
If you're looking for a designer dog (those puggles, labradoodles and goldendoodles) look no further than your local shelter or rescue. They are chock full of mixed breed dogs - good, healthy dogs (and pups!) you can get for a fraction of the cost the "breeders" charge. And you're saving a life!
If you're not particular about what breed or mix of breeds your dog is, the shelter or rescue groups are a good place for you to look as well.
Don't forget Petfinder.com - this is a great resource that makes it easier for you to check multiple shelters and rescues -- even those that aren't in your state! They have both purebred and mixed breed dogs listed on their site.
I've purposely excluded newspaper listings, internet listings, and pet stores. And there's a good reason for that. Too many people and companies only want to move merchandise. And puppies are merchandise. They aren't interested in finding the best home, they're interested in moving inventory. The dogs are mere commodities. The people and their companies are getting rich at the expense of the life of the dog.
Puppy mills exist. And if you buy your pup from a store (either online or in person), you are most likely supporting that puppy mill. And as long as people buy the pups, the horrendous treatment will continue. You can stop it - don't buy from a pet store or from an internet store!
An easy way to tell if you've found a good source for your dog is to ask this question - are they interviewing you as hard as you're interviewing them? Or do they simply care if you have the right amount of money? If they're interviewing you, they're worth spending some time with. Ethical breeders care about their pups and aren't shy about finding out what kind of home you'll provide for their pup.