Now that you’ve decided to get a Labrador Retriever, you’ll need to consider the options for finding a puppy or older dog. Below are some of the things to consider.
Should You Get A Puppy or an Older Dog?
Puppies are cute, but for many people an older dog is a great choice! Puppies require extra time and attention as they grow. When a puppy is small, you’ll need to be able to be home every few hours to let the pup outside. Many people who do not have the time to socialize, house train, and obedience train a puppy opt to get an adult dog who has already had some training.
Why You Should Never Buy From A Pet Store?
When you buy a pup from a pet store, you don’t get to see anything about the place where the pup was born and raised. What kind of a breeder would send a puppy off to a pet store, not knowing or caring anything about what kind of a home it ends up in? Pet stores are relying on impulse buys—meaning the person getting a puppy may not have put a lot of thought into whether or not they are really ready to commit to getting a dog.
Studies have shown as many as half the puppies sold in pet stores have diseases. Puppies raised for pet stores are often raised like farm animals, not pets — and many are raised under the worst believable conditions. If you really want a puppy, its worth waiting for the right puppy at the right breeder, or saving a dog from a shelter or rescue. By buying a puppy at the pet store, you are encouraging irresponsible breeders, who make money out of your purchase.
Consider Shelters and Rescue
Both shelters and rescue provide great alternatives, allowing you to provide a home for a dog in need. Many local shelters have Web sites that let you look at dogs currently available for adoption. Also, most breeds have dog rescues, where dogs of a certain breed are taken from local shelters or given up directly from their former owners, and placed in foster homes until a good new home can be located. Some of the best dogs come from shelters and rescues. However, try to find out as much as possible about your dog. Some dogs may have emotional or physical challenges, that you need to make sure you are prepared for. For the right owner, this can be a great chance to make a difference in a dog’s life. You can locate shelter and rescue web sites in the Section on Lab Rescue.
Avoiding Puppy Mills
A puppy mill is a place where puppies are raised under poor conditions purely for financial gain or because someone enjoys having puppies around, but doesn’t make the commitment to raising them correctly. Unfortunately, there are still many puppy mills out there. Dogs are kept without proper medical attention, feeding, care, or living conditions. No attention is paid to pairing up appropriate mates, or avoiding genetic problems. More information is available under selecting a breeder below, but always visit a breeder before you commit to getting a puppy. Be sure to check out the living conditions of the dogs — the dogs should look healthy and happy, and the living conditions should be neat and clean. If you don’t feel comfortable, do not get a dog from there.
If you decide to get your dog form a breeder, you will need to locate and assess possible breeders. Please see the information sheet on Finding a Breeder for more information.