Finding Your New Puppy




Congratulations! You are thinking of inviting a puppy into your home as part of your family. A dog can bring much happiness and companionship for many years, and the choice of a dog is an important one.
Petland has the benefit of over 40 years of experience finding puppies and kittens in a responsible and ethical manner. We developed this tip sheet to help you in selecting a puppy that will suit you and your family. After all, there are many things to consider when looking for a new puppy. Do you want a male or a female? One puppy or two? Do you want a small or large dog? Like people, puppies come in a variety of personalities and sizes. Your own disposition, your personal taste and your living arrangements will determine what sort of dog is best for you. Then there is the matter of where to find a puppy? What do you look for? What questions do you ask?
The first thing you must ask yourself is whether or not a dog will fit your lifestyle. Dogs must have close, personal relationships with their “pack,” which, in your case, is yourself and the other people and pets you live with. Puppies are like children and require your consistent love, attention and direction in order to thrive as adults. If you believe that you and your entire family are prepared to offer all of this, the following information will help you match the right puppy with your family.
Your Dog’s Environment
As much as you may like the look of a specific breed, be sure the environment he will be living in is comfortable. Consider your own accommodations. Do you live in an apartment, condo or house? Is the living area large or small? Is your yard fenced? Do you live in the country or an urban area? Where will you exercise your dog? All puppies grow up. Take that into consideration when selecting the breed of dog who will become your new family member.
Are There Children In Your Family?
Sometimes people may purchase a puppy for the kids. Be sure the match between the dog and your children is right. Parents need to assume the responsibility of watching and redirecting bad behaviour while encouraging positive behaviours. Have you decided who will exercise the dog? How about feeding and grooming? Who is prepared to clean up after the dog? These decisions need to be thought through before you bring your puppy home. Remember, if children are involved, although they should have some responsibility in caring for the new puppy, the majority of the care usually will fall on one responsible primary caregiver.
Prepare A Budget
There is no doubt that owning a pet costs money. There are regular visits to the vet and licensing, there may be grooming visits and obedience training (see our Petland Basic Obedience For Dogs tip sheet). There are also the products required to help him live a happy, healthy life, which will fulfill his four basic needs, such as behavioural items (e.g. soft, medium and hard toys), environmental items (e.g. bed, kennel, exercise pen), maintenance items (e.g. brushes, dog shampoo, toothbrush, nail clippers) and nutritional items (e.g. feeding a quality premium food). Although the amount is not astronomical, be prepared for the additional expense in your household budget.
When Is The Best Time To Bring A Puppy Home?
The best time to bring a puppy into your home is when the whole family can set aside other activities to bond and teach the new pet the house rules. It is important that all members of the family engage in this activity, so that the training is consistent. Dogs need to know who is the “alpha dog” in their new “pack”; who is the leader and who are the followers. A weekend is usually enough time to establish the ground rules for your new family member.
Should I Buy My Puppy, Or Any Pet, Online?
Although there are numerous websites to choose from, you have no way of knowing which are legitimate breeders, or if they are reputable, unless you go and visit them directly. You should always visit, or have someone you trust visit the kennel or home where your puppy has been living. You want to make sure that the breeder you buy from is reputable, responsible and caring.
If you have already seen puppies at your local humane organization(s) or rescues and haven’t found your right match, there are other places you can look. Start with your local veterinarian, dog clubs and kennel clubs; local obedience training clubs, groomers and boarding kennel operators also may offer promising leads.
If you are visiting a breeder, here are some guidelines to adhere to from PIJAC Canada and Petland Canada.
Assessment of The Environment: A clean and sanitary environment fosters healthy dogs!
  • Have you been allowed access to the facilities (or breeder’s home) where the dogs are housed? If no, ask them why not. This is a red flag!
  • Is the facility (home) clean?
  • Are food and water available in the dogs’ environment?
  • Are references supplied upon request?
  • Have you been asked pertinent questions to ensure the compatibility of you (the buyer) and the dog?
  • In the case of a breeding establishment, is the mother (dam) on the premises and available for you to see?
Health Issues And Physical Appearance Of The New Puppy: Healthy, well-socialized puppies have an active, open and friendly disposition. Avoid puppies that are overly shy and fearful.
  • Do all of the dogs in the facility (or home) have good dispositions?
  • Do the dogs appear to be in good health? Some of the symptoms that may be of concern are: thin body condition, pot-belly, lethargy, diarrhea or stained hair around the anus, cough, discharge from the eyes or nose.
  • Are copies of health, vaccination certificates and documentation of the puppy’s last visit to the veterinarian available for you to see? In addition, when dealing with a breeder, is documentation available confirming formal health clearances for both parents? Such information is required to reduce the likelihood of transmissible diseases and genetic disorders.
Buyer beware! Proper documentation protects you and your dog.
  • Will you be provided with a bill of sale, listing the date of purchase? Names of the buyer and seller? Description of the dog? Purchase price?
  • Will you be provided with a written warranty that lists specific details of pet return or compensation.
  • Arrangements in the event of a health problem/illness and any time frames that apply?
  • What is expected of the buyer (e.g. exam by a veterinarian within certain time frames)?
  • In the case of a purebred dog, will you receive:
  • A bill of sale stating that the dog is a purebred and naming the breed?
  • Confirmation the dog has been uniquely identified by a microchip or tattoo?
  • Confirmation of a valid certificate of registration of the parents, litter (when applicable) and dog that you are acquiring?
  • The total purchase price of the dog?
What Health Information Should I Get With A Puppy?
Your puppy should be examined by a licensed veterinarian and certified healthy before you take him home. Health certification should confirm that the puppy is free from parasites, congenital defects, be in general good health, has vaccinations up to date, and most importantly this should be given to you as a written document signed by the veterinarian. Of course, your puppy will need to see your veterinarian within a week once he is home, since vaccinations and his lifetime vet-care relationship starts from the time you bring him home.
Should I Receive Any Kind Of Warranty With My New Pet?
Yes. Any reputable breeder will stand behind their puppies with a health warranty that encompasses hereditary or congenital disorders that may interfere with your puppy’s ability to lead a normal life. Many breeders will want to give you a health guarantee with no refund. They will only give you a puppy from a future litter. Of course, no one wants to give up their puppy even when he may have a health problem. We recommend that you have a warranty contract that states how health problems will be handled. It is also reasonable to expect a contract stating that should the puppy have a condition that is covered in the warranty, the breeder will pay veterinary expenses up to the original purchase price of the puppy.
What Should I Do Before I Bring My Puppy Home?
Visit us here at Petland! We have the experience to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of your new pet. We will review all of your puppy’s needs and show you a variety of products to start your puppy out right! We can suggest veterinarians to visit in your area and dog grooming and obedience options to suit your puppy’s needs. We’re almost as excited as you are to be a part of your new adventure in dog ownership! And before you bring your puppy home, make sure to pick up our tip sheets, Safety Tips & Household Hazards and What To Expect Dog Tips!, which provide helpful insights in welcoming your new family member to your home.
A special thank you to the National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC) and to the Pets Canada for their written contributions.