I got a text from a client last week that started me thinking. This client wanted me to find them a new puppy, from a good breeder, that would be available in a reasonable timeframe. I like these kinds of gigs. I’ve done many searches for puppies over the years and have always found them challenging. I thought this time around though, I would lead readers through the process with me. Let everyone see what happens when I do the searches and what they should look out for themselves if you are going to search for a puppy yourself. Enjoy the ride.
Finding a new puppy is SO EXCITING! Easy right, you just get online, type in what you’re looking for, Benradoodle, Cockapoo, Wirehair Griff…whatever your heart desires, and up pops a list of breeder websites for you to look over. The websites in most cases are full of cute puppy pictures and your heartbeat quickens as you get to the page that you fill out to send your deposit. Most people find the website with the best pictures of puppies and that’s the breeder they email and plunk down a deposit for a puppy. That’s how most people that aren’t in the dog business do it, but that’s not how we professionals find a puppy at all, oh no, we spend a LOT more effort when it comes to a puppy search.
Professionally searching for puppies is something I’ve been doing for over 20 years for my clients. It’s one of my favorite jobs actually, and it’s one that I pride myself in doing well over the years. I continue to get calls from prior clients regularly requesting help finding a new puppy. For me, it’s a chance to catch up, see where clients are in their lives now, and to hear how the last dog I found for them did and what their lives looked like together.
It’s never been what I would call easy to wade into this world of dog breeders and puppy selection. Breeder world can often be very shady, and the coded language breeders use can be opaque to those that don’t live and work in that world. My job, when clients hire me to assist, is to protect them from the shady side of the business and to find them a puppy that is the best possible fit for their family and lifestyle.
COVID has created a huge demand for dogs in the past year. 2020 made the dog world…how shall we say it…fraught when it comes to finding and purchasing a puppy or even getting one from a rescue organization or shelter. With everyone wanting a pandemic puppy and paying whatever breeders ask for pricing, there have been some less than scrupulous breeders entering the fray and trying to make money while it’s flowing. These breeders can often look legitimate, sound legitimate, but not be. Make sure you do your homework before you sign the paperwork and transfer money to these people.
I hate to say it but in the dog breeding world, I’ve run across more than a few unscrupulous dog breeders in my years of looking for puppies. Most of these shady breeders are producing dogs with nothing but an eye toward a sale, and many of them don’t care how they accomplish this. Figuring out if the breeder you’ve decided to look at in more detail is a quality one can sometimes be difficult. Many of these people are very good at masking their presence, giving themselves a legitimate-looking front, and creating an online presence that looks good. Most will have a decent-looking website, they will have manufactured references, and they’ll have lots of pictures of cute puppies. It’s far too easy for them to create these presences online and since people are desperate for the puppies they make sales.
During my years of doing this professionally, I’ve seen breeders completely change their presence if they begin to get too many negative reviews about their dogs or their service. They just change the name of their company, get a new email address, build a new website, and away they go again selling puppies.
Navigating this murky world of puppies is where I come into the picture. My clients are pretty discriminating people. If they have decided to work with me on finding a puppy, then they know what they are doing and they know the value that I provide. They know what they are looking for and they know that when they buy a dog they are going to want to buy one from a reputable breeder, a breeder that is reliable, professional, and has the dog front and center in what they are focusing on. These breeders have the skill, and experience with dogs, know how to breed healthy puppies, and work to eliminate unwanted traits from their breeding lines be they physical or behavior. They don’t want puppies that have behavior issues going out to a customer, and they won’t sell their puppies to just anyone. They want to know that the people they place puppies with are responsible and will care for them, train them, work with them, and love them.
Over the years, I’ve spent a fair amount of my life searching for dogs for clients. Most of the time clients will call me and say something like “I’m looking for a French Brittany” or something totally generic like that. This is where I come in and start to ask them questions about their life, how they live, how active they are, what they like to do with their dogs and a ton of other questions that start me on the path of looking for a dog that will have the traits necessary to fit in as well as possible to the client’s lifestyle.
Sometimes clients want hunting dogs that are bred to be in the field chasing birds and other game. Other clients want a dog that has the personality to travel with them a lot and can adapt easily to different environments on a daily basis (at least when COVID isn’t an issue that is.) And other clients want a dog that is just going to be their companion dog and hang out with them in the neighborhood and around the house. Every client wants something different and I do my best to try to find them the breeder and puppy that will be the closest fit to what they are looking for.
Once I collect all of that information from my clients, I’ll start the search. There’s a process to it that I’ve honed over the years and I’ll let you in on it as I work through the next couple of posts.