Why should you meet the mother dog and see where and how she lives before you buy a puppy.
The reasons are twofold. For the same reason that it is dangerous to buy a puppy based on a picture, you don’t want your new puppy to come from a puppy mill. Unlike responsible breeders, who breed to improve and produce the healthiest puppies possible. Puppy mill breeders produce litter after litter of poorly bred puppies with hereditary defects and health issues.
These genetic and health issues may not surface for weeks, months or years after the puppy’s purchase. Heart murmurs, epilepsy, deafness, anxiety, luxating patella’s, blindness are just a few of the health issues common in dogs bred in puppy mills.
In addition, puppy mill puppies are often delivered with intestinal parasites, giardia, respiratory infections and pneumonia.
You want to buy your puppy from a responsible dog breeder who treats his breeding dogs well, provides them proper vet care, does not breed his females every heat cycle and allows their bodies to rest between litters.
Second, you absolutely don’t want to support animal cruelty by purchasing from a puppy miller. No one likes puppy mills but, no one thinks their breeder runs a puppy mill. Sadly however, most breeders selling puppies online run puppy mills.
Any breeder can be a puppy mill and there is only one way to find out for sure. Visit in person.
There is only one way to find out how the breeder you are talking to, and texting with, treats his breeding dogs, by meeting the mother dog and seeing where and how she and all of the breeders dogs live.
When you meet the mother dog, you can see firsthand what her mental and physical conditions are. You should also ask to see where and how she and all the breeder’s dogs live. Look at the kennel and how the breeder interacts with the mom and all of the dogs.
Look at how the dogs and puppies communicate with their body language. Do they cower, do they avoid eye contact, do they run up to you or stay away from you?
How do they hold their head and ears; the position of their tails; their body posture; and their mouths can reveal how a dog is feeling emotionally and physically. Seeing the dogs in person allows you to read the dog’s body language.
Ask yourself if you would let this breeder take care of your dog if you had to go on vacation.
There is no way to know the mental or physical health or temperament of a dog or puppy based on looking at a picture.
Photos, video chats or videos are no substitute for seeing in person. If the breeder has excuses as to why you can’t meet the mother dog and see where she and all of his dogs live, walk away.
What to Look For When You Meet The Mother Dog
• Coat: Is the mother dog’s coat clean? Does her skin look healthy? Is the fur stained on her feet or around her eyes? Are her eyes and ears clean and free of discharge? Dirty coats and yellow/brown stains on the paws or under the eyes may indicate that the dog is sick or has not been kept clean and/or has been living in a dirty environment.
• Body Condition: Does the mother dog look healthy overall? Is she overweight or skinny? Can you see her ribs or back bone? What about her nails and feet? Are the nails clipped? Does she have sores on her feet? Does she have any open sores or wounds?
• Personality: Does the mother dog run up to you or does she cower or stiffen when you get near her? Will she let you hold her? Does she look happy and well adjusted? Does she hold her head up? Are her ears perky and her posture upright?
Dogs that hang their heads low can be signs of a shy or fearful dog. Cowering dogs that are hunched downward could be a sign of stress, anxiety and or fear.
• Eye Contact: Does the mother dog look you in the eye or does she look away or avoid eye contact? Dogs that avoid eye contact can be afraid or stressed. Avoiding eye contact is their way of hiding from you. It is possible the dog is anxious or overwhelmed, this could be a sign of submissiveness, or it may be uncomfortable physically or emotionally.
• Mental Health: Does the dog look overall healthy and happy? Are her eyes bright and are they clear? Is she alert or does she look sad? Dull or distant eyes or eyes/noses with discharge may indicate health issues, anxiety or depression. Is her body language happy? Listen to your gut. Ask yourself-Is this a happy dog?
Interaction with breeder: How do the dogs interact with the breeder? Do they cower away from him or shake? Are their tails between their legs? Do they seem submissive or frightened near the breeder? These are signs that should not be ignored.
• Kennel and Surroundings: How are the dogs living? Would you let this breeder take care of your dog if you were to go on vacation? If the answer is “no”-walk away! Is the kennel clean? Are the food and water bowls clean and do the dogs have access to fresh clean water?
Do they have plenty of space inside and outside to exercise? Do the dogs live and stand on raised, all-wire kennels? Are the grounds surrounding the kennel dirty or cluttered? The living conditions of the mother dog affects her overall temperament and health, as well as, her offspring’s health and temperament.
Listen to your gut. Don’t buy the puppy because you feel badly for it. That is not rescuing. That will only keep the breeder in business and the suffering of the breeding dogs will continue.
Meet the mother dog before you buy a puppy. Avoid puppy mills.
When buying a puppy, you want to make sure it was born in a loving clean environment. Don’t order a puppy based off a picture. Always meet your new puppy in person before you buy it. The puppy should have an overall healthy look to him and should a happy well adjusted puppy.
Make sure his eyes are bright, he is clean and happy. Look at his body language make sure his tail is up and wagging. Is his posture good? Does he hold his head up, is he curious? Does he run up to you or is he afraid to approach you? Is the kennel where he lives clean? Is the breeders house and property clean. Listen to your gut.
There are many many risks to buying a puppy online. Since your puppy will live for 10-15 years, it is important to see firsthand where it was born. Just because two purebred dogs are crossed does not mean they best traits of both breeds are seen in the offspring. Make sure the breeder is not a puppy mill.
Pick your puppy up in person, meet the mother dog, see her mental and physical condition. She should be clean, happy and well adjusted. If you don’t see the kennel in person and meet the mother dog you are taking a big risk and could get an unhealthy and poorly bred puppy that may have mental and physical or genetic health issues.
It is not safe to buy puppies online. It is not safe to have a puppy shipped to you by airplane, nanny service or even meeting the breeder halfway or in a parking lot. If you are not able to pick up the puppy in person, meet the mother dog and where she and all of the breeder’s dogs live, you might be supporting a puppy mill. These deliver methods are tactics to keep you from seeing the property.
Over 1 million puppy mill puppies are sold online each year and it is in your best interest to make sure your new puppy is not coming from one of these breeders. There is no excuse for a breeder that won’t let you see where the dogs live.
It takes time to find a new puppy. Your puppy will be a part of your family for 12-15 years so it’s important to find a healthy well-bred puppy. Do your research online but never take a breeder’s word for it even if they send you photos and videos. Don’t order a puppy based off a picture.
It’s important to go to the breeders home in person and see where the dogs live and how he treats them. Responsible breeders should have no problem with that.
Always meet the mother dog, see her mental and physical condition and where she lives before you buy a puppy. See where and how she and all of the breeding dogs live.
A puppy mill is a dog breeder that puts profit over the health and well-being of the breeding dogs and puppies produced. These breeders vary in size from small breeders — ten to twenty dogs — to very large breeders that have hundreds of breeding dogs. Puppy mills are legal. Here are photos of legal USDA commercial dog breeders, the ones that sell and direct ship puppies.
Puppy mills keep the mother and father dogs pregnant and sell the puppies. The breeding dogs are forced to breed twice a year or at every heat cycle and they are usually kept in wire cages, many times stacked.
The breeding dogs are not groomed, they are not given opportunity to exercise nor do they know the touch of a loving hand. They are denied veterinary care and most are living and breeding with painful conditions such as urinary tract infections, ear infections, rotten teeth, infected eyes, tumors, infected mammary glands and sore feet from standing on wire cage floors — that never get addressed.
It is important to know that any breeder or website can be a puppy mill. It’s hard to imagine the breeder you are talking or texting with could be a puppy mill. If the breeder has excuses why they won’t let you see where they keep the breeding dogs or you are not able to meet the mother dog in person, we suggest you find another breeder.