Labrador puppies are some of the cutest and most lovable pets in the world, and they make great companions for families, active people, and anyone who needs a furry friend.
Adding a Labrador puppy to your family is an incredibly exciting decision. But it can be a little bit daunting. Before you rush to the nearest breeder and pick out your new pup, there are some things you should watch out for when looking for a breeder of Labrador puppies.
Here are some tips on how to find a reputable breeder and avoid the pitfalls of buying a Labrador puppy.
Do your research
Before you contact any breeders, you should do some homework on the breed itself. Learn about the history, temperament, health issues, and grooming needs of Labradors. This will help you know what to expect from your future dog and what questions to ask the breeder. We’ve written a comprehensive guide about Labradors here.
You should also look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers of the breeders you’re interested in. Check their websites, social media pages, and online forums for feedback and ratings. If possible, ask for references and contact them directly to hear about their experiences.
Visit the breeder in person
One of the best ways to judge a breeder’s quality and professionalism is to see their facilities and meet their dogs in person. Ask the breeder about their breeding goals. A reputable breeder will be breeding for health and temperament. They should also be able to provide you with information on the lineage of the puppy.
You also should be able to see where the puppies are born and raised, how they are socialised and cared for, and how clean and spacious their environment is. You should also be able to meet the parents of your potential puppy and observe their behaviour and health. The pups spend a lot of time with their mum in the first few weeks so pay special attention to her temperament and wellbeing. A good breeder will be happy to show you around and answer all your questions. A bad breeder will be reluctant, secretive, or defensive.
Ask for proof of health testing
Labradors are prone to certain genetic diseases, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye problems, and heart conditions. To reduce the risk of passing these diseases on to their puppies, reputable breeders will perform health tests on their breeding dogs and provide proof of the results. They will also offer a health guarantee for their puppies, which means they will cover the costs of any veterinary care or treatment if your puppy develops a genetic disease within a certain period of time. A bad breeder will not have any health records or guarantees for their dogs.
The first eight weeks
It’s not recommended to pick up a puppy before eight weeks old. During the first eight weeks of a puppy’s life, they learn important socialisation skills and behaviour from their mother and littermates which will shape their personalities and temperament into adulthood. Separating a puppy from its mother and littermates before this critical period is complete can have negative effects on their development and behaviour.
- Socialisation: Puppies are born blind and deaf, and they rely on their sense of touch and smell to navigate their environment. During the first few weeks of life, they learn to recognize their mother and littermates and develop important socialisation skills through play and interaction with their siblings.
- Immunisation: Puppies receive important antibodies from their mother’s milk during the first few weeks of life. Separating a puppy from its mother before this period is complete can leave them vulnerable to disease and illness.
- Weaning: Puppies typically begin the weaning process at around 3-4 weeks of age. This process involves transitioning from their mother’s milk to solid food. Removing a puppy from its mother before this process is complete can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health problems.
- Exposure to new experiences: As puppies grow and become more mobile, they begin to explore their environment and interact with people and other animals. This exposure to new experiences helps to build their confidence and adaptability, which is important for their future behaviour.
- Learning bite inhibition: Puppies learn bite inhibition during play with their littermates. They learn how to use their teeth gently and to control the force of their bites. This skill is important for interacting with people and other animals in a safe and appropriate manner.
- Imprinting: Puppies go through a critical period of imprinting during the first few weeks of life. This is when they develop preferences for certain types of people, animals, and environments. A lack of exposure to certain stimuli during this period can lead to fear or anxiety later in life.
A good breeder will be available to provide support and guidance throughout the life of the puppy. They should be willing to answer any questions you have and provide advice on training, health, and nutrition.
Avoid red flags
There are some signs that indicate a breeder is not trustworthy or ethical. These include:
– Selling puppies before they are 8 weeks old
– Selling puppies without papers or registration
– Selling puppies at a very low or high price
– Selling puppies online or through pet stores
– Not allowing you to visit their premises or meet their dogs
– Not providing any information or support after the sale
– Breeding too many dogs or too frequently
– Breeding dogs with poor temperament or health
– Breeding dogs that are not purebred Labradors
If you encounter any of these red flags, walk away and look for another breeder.
Trust your instincts
Buying a Labrador puppy from a breeder is a big decision, costly and a long-term commitment. You want to make sure you’re getting a healthy, happy, and well-bred dog that will fit your lifestyle and personality. Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. If something feels off or wrong about a breeder or a puppy, trust your gut and move on. There are plenty of good breeders out there who will treat you and your dog with respect and care.
I hope this post has been helpful and informative for you. Buying a Labrador puppy from a breeder can be a wonderful experience if you do it right. Remember to do your research, visit the breeder in person, ask for proof of health testing, avoid red flags, and trust your instincts. You’ll soon find your perfect pup and enjoy many years of love and fun with them.