Website design By BotEap.comAs a lifelong dog owner and breeder for several years, I have found a great need to educate people on the process of buying a puppy online. There are so many breeders with so many options that it can all become overwhelming in a short amount of time. I support local shelters, but realize there are many families who want a healthy puppy that was raised with children to add to their family. If you have decided that a puppy like this is what you want for your family, then you are in for an adventure in finding the right one for you. Once you have decided which breed is right for your family, you need to find a breeder. You can email your prospective breeder initially, but MAKE SURE you talk to them soon after you start communication. You can tell a lot from the person’s attitude, and you’ll soon find out if they’re knowledgeable and experienced in what they’re doing by asking a few questions. Here is a list of questions to ask before anything else: Website design By BotEap.com1. Are you state licensed? -If a person does not have a state license, then he is breeding dogs as a hobby or illegally. You want to find a puppy that has had research and planning in its breeding, not just two dogs mixed together to produce a puppy. If they are not state licensed, do not consider them. Many states have or are in the process of greatly improving their dog laws, making it impossible in many states to operate a puppy mill and obtain a license. Website design By BotEap.com2. Is this your full time business? There are many breeders who have OTHER full time jobs besides their kennel. This makes it nearly impossible to properly focus on your dogs and puppies. In our kennel, we have my husband and I working full time, as well as two part time employees. Chances are, if her breeder has another job, her kennel isn’t the top priority and her satisfaction isn’t the top priority either. Website design By BotEap.com3. Do you only sell puppies raised by you? There are many, many people advertising on the internet for other people and you never get to see where your pup was raised and raised. If you can’t physically see your puppy’s parents, don’t buy it. This is especially important when purchasing a designer (mixed) breed, as many people think they can breed anything and then add a designer name to it. You also don’t want to support a puppy mill by unknowingly buying a puppy from a dealer. Many times the reason people don’t sell their own puppies is because they have something to hide in their own place or because they don’t want to be responsible for any future problems. A good breeder will stand behind their puppies and offer a decent guarantee. If there is no guarantee with your future puppy, stay away! Website design By BotEap.com4. Do you sell your puppies wholesale? There are quite a few puppy mills that retail just a few of their puppies and then ship the rest to pet stores, sometimes all over the country. A good breeder will meet, or at least talk to each new puppy owner. Responsible breeders care about their puppies and where they are going. A good breeder will also offer to take the puppy back for life instead of having the puppy or dog go to a shelter due to an inability to care for the puppy. Website design By BotEap.com5. Are your puppies AND adults checked regularly? I am appalled at the number of breeders who do not have their puppies or adults checked by a vet. This is the most important step to take to ensure a healthy puppy is produced. Even breeders who check their puppies don’t bother to check their breeding dogs. EVER. In order to offer puppies of the best quality, healthy parents are ESSENTIAL. Ask for proof of the parents’ veterinary reports. You may not think you need to ask, but make sure the puppies are fully vaccinated and dewormed and ask for tests. Website design By BotEap.com6. May I see the place where you keep your dogs? An irresponsible breeder will tell you no. You may not necessarily be allowed into a kennel for various reasons, including biosecurity and health, but you should at least be able to see the adult dogs. Website design By BotEap.com7. Do you have references from previous clients? This is a very important step. Don’t overlook it! Website design By BotEap.comThere are many more questions to ask your potential breeder. If your breeders show signs of good communication and willingness to help you in your search and try to work with you, you have found something special. Quick responses mean that they care about you and would like to help you. If email or phone calls aren’t returned, it probably means you won’t get answers to your questions after the sale either. Don’t expect immediate responses because responsible kennel owners are very busy, but 24 hours is a reasonable expectation. Website design By BotEap.comStay away from dealers and websites with 800 numbers. They are advertising who knows who and are probably putting a huge markup on the puppies. Also beware of websites that offer 10-year warranties. This sounds too good to be true, and it usually is. Read the fine print and see their outrageous requirements for this guarantee to be in place. Pet stores are out of the question. As cute as the pup may seem, steer clear because you could be signing up for a lifetime of heartache and vet bills. Chances are you’re supporting puppy mills by shopping at a pet store anyway. Website design By BotEap.comWhen you go to the kennel to meet the puppy and the breeder, if you have a feeling that it’s not good when you arrive AND when you leave, stick with it. Website design By BotEap.comDespite all the risks and heartache that buying a puppy online can entail, there are plenty of good, responsible breeders who offer quality puppies and lifetime support. Don’t be afraid to shop online, be smart!