PUPPIES ARE NOT PRODUCTS, PERIOD.
A REPUTABLE BREEDER'S INVESTMENT
A reputable breeder is not a pet store, indiscriminately selling pets to just anyone who wanders through a check-out line. Reputable breeders invest their time and their money into their programs, but more than this, they invest their hearts and every waking moment into their animals.
They pour their "all" into little lives - lives which need constant love, devotion, fresh food and water, training, cleaning, grooming and occasional medical attention - sometimes at a moment's notice. It goes far beyond tending and basic care, however. Hundreds, even thousands, of hours are put into researching their given breeds, nutrition, training, acute and chronic illnesses, genetic testing and more. They become experts in everything "canine"!
Health testing (genetic as well as exams), feeding, play, potty training, imprinting, socialization... There's more! Not only does a reputable breeder provide all the important "firsts" for their sweet babies, they must also consider carefully what the next 12-17 years will hold for every little life produced under their watchful gaze... After all, the point of their hard work is to match their little loves with the right families!
The end-goal of most businesses is simply to sell their product to whatever Customer has the cash or credit to make a purchase. Aside from basic warranties, the Seller gleefully tidies up the sale and wishes the Buyer well. For a reputable breeder, it is not nearly so simple!
Done right, placement of each puppy requires a huge amount of consideration for a breeder. What type of families are a good match for their particular breed? What types of families are a good match for each of their puppies?
While a breed should be fairly consistent in temperament, instinct and drive, there will always be subtle variations, making every puppy unique in temperament. Reputable breeders take responsibility for placements, investing considerable time to get to know prospective owners. They educate potential matches regarding breed standards, nutrition, health, temperament, training and more. Not only does the prospect need to be "on board" with the breeder's unique program, they must be able to provide the time, exercise requirements and space needed to raise a happy, healthy dog - taking into consideration the breed as well as the individual puppy. No one knows this more than the reputable breeder.
Am I beating these points to death?? Maybe so, but if you are serious about finding the right puppy, there is no better resource than the insight of a solid breeder. If you are not the right match, they will refuse your money and help you find the right puppy, even if it means they refer you elsewhere.
WHAT DOES A REPUTABLE BREEDER OFFER?
IF all is considered and a prospective owner is, in every way, a good match for a puppy, the next step is a written contract. A reputable breeder will protect the Buyer's interests by providing a well-written, detailed contract noting "spay/neuter" or "breed prospect" expectations as well as solid health guarantees (covering both communicable disease as well genetic conditions), breeder support and clear stipulations; they will do so while also keeping the puppy's well-being in mind, noting expectations for a life-long commitment to providing adequate nutrition, medical care, and an "always home" policy if unexpected rehoming were to become necessary.
Exploring the "always home" policy a little deeper. Even with the best screening and the most wonderful owners, there are instances which may require a dog to need rehoming. A reputable breeder will have an "always home" policy, meaning the breeder will either assist with rehoming or welcome their babe home, no matter the age. *This means their contract specifies the animal will never be placed in a shelter or rescue. Period.
Breeders come from many backgrounds and have all had different "mentoring" and experiences. It should be expected they will have slightly (or vastly) different policies. This does not mean a breeder with different policies is "unethical"... It just means they may not have as much experience in a given area, or have not yet faced a particular situation. We are all at different stages in our journeys... and as long as a breeder is putting in the time and effort to care for their animals as well as their puppy owners, this is great!
In the search for the "right" breeder though, the things above really are important. If a breeder isn't taking the time to educate or providing true support; if they are all about the money; if they don't grill you about your home and your intentions for life-long care; if they don't have a back-up plan for their pups who will need rehomed... these are warning signs.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR WHEN INTERVIEWING PROSPECTIVE HOMES
When we select families for our puppies, we look for families truly committed to providing a "forever" home and all the love, companionship, training, exercise, play and care that comes with it... Families seeking a companion they will consider a "family-member", but not families who have lost touch with the fact their new companion is an animal... with many needs different than our own.
Animal ownership isn't just about OUR emotions and how a darling, fuzzy puppy makes US feel. Animal ownership is about the symbiotic relationship between human and beast. The love and devotion they give us must be reciprocated... but in a way that meets their needs.
It is our responsibility to provide our puppies homes which understand their physical and "emotional" needs. We owe it to them to pass by a dozen or more prospective homes who are not the right matches... even if that means we are holding a puppy back for weeks or even months until just the right family comes along.
Is that inconvenient? Sometimes it really, truly is. But finding that right match isn't about who thinks a puppy is "cute" or who waves a handful of green... Finding that perfect match - a lifetime of love and companionship for both the owner as well as the puppy - there are few things more rewarding than this.
Jaque, RunAmok Farm, Canines Naturally
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Over 60 years combined experience raising happy, healthy canines. Most would consider us to have reached "expert level" when it comes to everything canine, but the truth is, there will always be more to learn.
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