Understanding Your Dog For Dummies
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If you go the breeder route, don’t stop with just “How much?” Money should not be the most important consideration when choosing a dog. Health and the breeder’s support and ethics should be high priorities. Ask the following questions of any breeder you’re considering working with — the answers you get should make you feel confident, and if any leaves you scratching your head, consider another breeder:

  • How long have you been involved with the breed?

  • Why do you love this breed?

  • Why do you breed dogs?

  • How often do you breed? When do you expect your next litter?

  • May I see the dam (mom) and photos of the sire (dad) and other relatives?

  • May I see where you raise the pups?

  • What is the lifespan and what health issues occur in this breed? Have you produced any of these? If so, how many? (A low percentage is good. Any breeder of more than two litters is bound to have had some problems.)

  • Are the parents certified to be healthy? (Ask to see certifications.)

  • Do you belong to any clubs? (Clubs often have codes of ethics.)

  • May I see the pedigree? (Look for titles within the first two generations— a sign of soundness and dedication.)

  • Do you pick the puppy or do I? (Breeders will want to match personalities.)

  • What is the medical history of the pups? (Usually the pups will have had one or two inoculations, a fecal examination, and possible deworming.)

  • What does the health guarantee cover? (Ask to see the contract.)

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Stanley Coren is best known to the public for his popular books on dogs and general psychological issues. However, within the scientific world, he's also a highly respected scientist, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Many professional associations have recognized Coren's work with service dogs, and he's received awards from several major police dog organizations, including the California Canine Narcotic Dog Association and the British Columbia Police Canine Association. He's also been featured in publications and on TV shows, including Oprah, Good Morning America, and the Today show. Sarah Hodgson is a dog and puppy behavior expert and the author of many bestselling books on dog training. Her positive techniques help dogs become well-behaved family members. She is a behavior consultant and education facilitator at the Adopt-A-Dog shelter in Armonk, New York, where she holds training and socialization programs, conditioning each of the dogs within a fully decorated home environment before their formal adoption. Hodgson writes for the Huffington Post, and collaborates on articles for Parenthood, Prevention, and Country Living magazines, as well as The New York Times. Hodgson is frequently featured as a dog training specialist on television, including on NBC, CBS, and Animal Planet. She has worked with the dogs of many famous people, including Katie Couric, and Richard Gere.

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