Welcoming any dog or puppy and a Toller puppy dog in your life is a great experience for both humans and us doggies. We're so lucky when we find our perfect forever home. Whenever my humans walk me and we meet other humans they are often asked, "How did you find Henry?"
So, I decided to interview my humans to find out how they found me. The following is a transcript of our interview.
Henry Toller Tails (HTT): Hello my favourite humans.
Henry's Humans (HHs): Hello dearest puppy Henry.
HHT: This is serious. Please just call me Henry.
HHs: But you're so cute. Okay we will try.
HTT: How did you decide on a Toller?
HHs: Well the first time we saw a Toller was in Eastern Canada. We had never seen a dog like that before. That's when we discovered what a great dog you #Tollers are. But we still weren't sure about what type of dog we wanted. So, first we did a lifestyle audit. Which means, we examined why we wanted a dog, what our lifestyle is like...so how much time we spend outdoors, what our interests are and what temperament in a dog would best fit in our family. We decided an intelligent medium sized breed, who liked the outdoors, learning and had a cheerful temperament would be a good fit. Then we started to research possible dog breeds, animal rescue shelters and so on.
HTT: How did you find a Toller breeder?
HHs: Once we decided on getting a #Ducktoller, like most humans, we started our search first by going online. We just Googled "Nova Scotia Ducktolling Retriever Breeders", but there were a lot of search results. So, we narrowed down the search results for breeders in our region. This gave us a good start at creating list of breeders.
We then reviewed each breeder's website.
HHT: Did you have a process to review the breeders?
HHs: Yes. After reviewing each breeder's website, we contacted each breeder and explained why we were interested in a Toller and asked about their future litter plans. This was the first level of vetting. We assessed how thorough the breeder was in getting back to us and if they conducted any evaluation of us and were interested in ensuring we were a good fit for their puppies or a possible adult dog.
A good breeder cares deeply about where their puppies go and they will ask you a lot of questions ranging from past and current pet ownership, type of work you do, whether you can afford the costs of basic pet ownership such as veterinarian visits and immunization booster shots and even your dog training plan and philosophy to dog ownership. It's a good sign when the breeder asks you a lot of questions and spends as much time vetting a possible dog owner as you do.
We also asked questions to find out if the breeders we were talking to through email and over the phone were ethical breeders, who followed national codes of practice.
HHT: What is an ethical breeder and why did it matter to you?
HHs: Ethical Breeders are breeders who uphold the highest standards of animal husbandry and breeding as outlined by their national governing body, animal welfare and veterinarian standards. The Canadian Kennel Club makes its CKC Code of Practice for breeders available on its website. Knowing the codes of practice for dog breeders helps you, as the future dog owner, spot animal cruelty type or "puppy mill" breeder.
Puppy mills are not good because they place profit over the health of their dogs and puppies. The dogs and puppies rescued from puppy mills often have little to no veterinary care, are housed in substandard crowded and dirty conditions. Humane Canada has a good post on how to spot a puppy mill. We recommend all future dog owners read it so they can sport a puppy mill operation and report it to their local humane society or animal protection society.
HHT: Did you visit dog shows?
HHs: Yes, we found that going to local and regional dog shows was a great way to not only meet dog breeders, but to see a range of dogs and breeders. Like all people who are passionate and care about animals, breeders are happy to take time to educate potential dog owners and also answer questions.
HHT: What about visiting the breeder's kennels or home? Did you do in-person visits?
HHs: Yes. This was a crucial step in finding not only an ethical breeder, but also in assessing the environment that you, our puppy, were going to experience for the first 9 weeks of your life.
If a breeder did not allow a kennel tour or home visit before entering a contract, then that was a big red flag. Also, if a breeder did not let us tour their whole operation, then that was also a flag. Sometimes there is a good reason not to see the whole operation, such as puppies were newly born. However, that usually is contained to one area. The breeder should still be willing to let you see and tour
HHT: Did you speak to other Toller owners?
HHs: Absolutely. Toller owners and pretty much all dog owners love their dogs and are more than happy to talk to you about their dogs. Facebook groups dedicated to a specific breed can be a good resource. But also asking a perspective breeder if you can talk to other dog owners they've placed dogs with is a good way to check that you are supporting a quality ethical breeder.
HHT: Any other tips?
Ask to read their dog or puppy sales contract. Most breeders have a detailed contract that will outline not just costs but the type of care expected by the breeder. This is a excellent resource.
Contact your local or regional humane or animal protection societies to see if the breeder you are dealing with has had any complaints. This will give you peace of mind that you are not supporting a puppy mill.
Talk to your local veterinarian. If you don't have a veterinarian already, you should line one up. But talking with your local veterinarian about the dog breed you're interested in is a good source for information. Veterinarians can explain the health needs of your future dog and also help you understand what to look for when meeting breeders.
Again, if a breeder does not allow a kennel tour or home visit , then that is a big red flag. If a breeder doesn't invite you for a visit, then ask for one. Majority of the time, the breeders are happy to open their kennels and homes. It's their opportunity to assess whether or not you would be a good fit for their puppies or dogs.
Consider looking for your future puppy or dog through a Toller Rescue or other Dog Rescue Organizations. There are a lot of dogs our there in need of a forever home. If you want a specific breed, odds are there is a rescue organization dedicated to your breed.
HHT: Thank you my humans. Woof! Woof!
Toller Tip: Attending local and regional dog shows are a great way to meet multiple Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (a.k.a. Toller or Ducktoller) breeders and meet their dogs. For information on events and dog show events in Canada, contact the Canadian Kennel Club and in the United States of America, check out the American Kennel Club. 🐾