we are brandnew here and this is actually our first post. We want to get a Lab Puppy and are aware of all the responsibilities and joys, which will come into our lives. We are a family of 3 and live in a single home with a decent sized fenced in yard in the suburbs. We feel, like we can give a great home to a dog and are looking forward so much. Now, with doing a lot of research, we are getting more confused and unsure of how to find the right breeder and more, how we can trust to find the "right one". By looking through the ads here, there are multiple breeders offering at totally different prices. Besides this, we are getting really unsure, of how we can truly determine that we would deal with/buy from a reliable dealer. Every dealer mentions all what you want to hear, but especially on the health guarantees and the background it seems like this is the hardest to be "on the safe side". Also, the prices are quite confusing. We live in Central NJ/PA area, and the prices range from 300 up to 800 $. I do not know, if it is like, what you get is what you pay for ?? We talked to a breeder tonight, which actually looked OK on here, but told us then that she would only advertise for her brother's litter, and that it would have been his first litter after some years. So, my red flags already went up, but I am not sure, if there is something wrong with it, or if we are already overreacting. We just want to be sure and not buy from a mill, or an unreliable breeder, but feel, like this is so hard to make out.
Can some of you pros let us know any hints and info, on how we can easily rest assured, or even give us recommandations on breeders in our area ??
Thanks a lot for your help to put our minds at ease a little bit.
You are right to be cautious, especially with the puppy mill situation in PA. You will find people running ads, saying the pups are raised in a home, underfoot, and in reality they are from puppy mills, and these people are essentially selling them on consignment. Be sure to be able to see the momma dog. Take a close look at her to be sure she really just weaned pups,sometimes there is an adult female on site just for show, she's not really the mother. I had a friend who was strapped or cash and got sucked into that. One day the person who delivered the puppies got sick, and she ended up going to pick them up. When she realized what she was doing, and how the dogs were kept, she got right out of it. I know a good breeder down here in MD, but I don't think she's planning another litter until next fall. Do you know people with labs you can ask for a referral? If not, maybe you could find an agility class or obedience class to drop in on, and make some new "dog people" friends, and find a referral that way. Check the AKC website, and see whats going on in your area. The AKC classes in my area have an open door policy for people to come and observe, I'm betting most of them are the same. Health clearances are, of course, a good thing, but it's also of the utmost importance that the dog was raised properly before it came to you. It needs a clean healthy environment, where it is exposed to people and animals regularly, so that is well socialized. It's also good if it has been exposed to household noises and activities already. The temprament of the mother also has a huge impact on the personality of the pup. Interestingly, how she weans the pups can have a big impact on how trainable they are later. Since they will probably already be weaned when you get there, you may want to talk to the breeder about how the weaning process was handled. Good luck!