We briefly touched on what a good puppy breeding environment should be like in our article about what makes a good dog breeder. This article describes in greater detail the characteristics of a healthy puppy breeder environment to help you identify potential problems when selecting a breeder.
- A clean environment. We just can’t emphasize the importance of a clean environment enough. Dogs that are allowed to live in squalor are susceptible to any number of injuries and illnesses. If you aren’t impressed with the cleanliness of a breeder’s environment, thank the puppy breeder for his time and leave immediately. Of course, if you see what constitutes downright abuse, report it!
- An odorless environment. It’s impossible for a breeder to keep her environment poop free ALL the time, however that doesn’t mean you should expect to smell a zoo either! Ideally, you shouldn’t smell any urine or feces even though the sight of a couple piles in the play area (yard) is nothing to be alarmed about. The only time you should be worried is if you can detect the scent of waste before a breeder even opens the door or if the scent is overwhelming. A strong odor indicates that the dogs inside aren’t properly cared for and may thus be especially vulnerable to disease. You should also be alarmed if you find urine stains and feces in the dog’s eating or sleeping area.
- Fresh clean water. Fresh clean water is just as important to a dog as fresh air and fresh food. If you see water that’s stagnant and/or sits inside a rusty or dirty bowl, then you know the breeder isn’t as careful as she said she was when you interviewed her on the phone. Before you prepare to leave, see if you can’t manage to give the dogs a clean bowl of fresh water. (Somebody has to do it…)
- Sufficient, clean bedding. When you see a hair-free, insect-free, debris-free, and dirt-free sleeping environment, you can feel confident that the breeder you’re dealing with has done what’s necessary to reduce disease.
- Stimulating Toys. Finding the typical dog toys in a breeder’s yard is a good sign that her dogs get plenty of opportunities to play. Since many of these toys are designed for people too, they indicate that the breeder not only cares for her dogs, it also indicates that she plays with them as well (a form of socialization). Ask if you’re not sure this type of interaction takes place.
- A large and secured play area. In addition to the above requirements, a large and secured play area is a topmost importance. Here, puppies are free to get the exercise needed to strengthen their little muscles and bones. And they’re free to do so within a boundary that keeps them safe from escaping into a dangerous situation as well as from other invading animals.
- Healthy appearance. No, we’re not talking about the breeder. We’re talking about the breeder’s dogs. The ideal look of health is one that sports clean groomed coats, bright eyes, and a pleasant smell. You shouldn’t see any poop attached to any part of a dog’s body, and you shouldn’t see any physical signs of illness or injury (weeping eyes, oozing pus, cuts, gashes, etc.).
- Healthy Behavior. In addition to a healthy appearance, you should also see the healthy behavior. No litter is an exact clone of its mother, nor is a puppy a little clone of its siblings. Every puppy has its own personality. The only cause for concern is when you observe overly aggressive or submissive behavior. Healthy puppies are supposed to be curious and happy little things. Angry, growling, or lifeless, depressed little puppies indicate that something’s way wrong. Perhaps even terribly wrong.