After choosing the Irish Setter as my next dog, the hunt was on for the right breeder. I used the Internet to search for the breeders in my State. I wanted to choose a breeder that did not live too far away so that I could visit the puppies regularly after they were born. When you are considering adopting a puppy it is so important that you can visit them as they grow. The time you spend with the litter will give you great insight into the puppies development, plus, it’s so much fun.
After finding the breeders in my State, I sent a bulk email around to them all, you can find a copy of some of this email at the bottom of this post. In the email, I wrote about my past experiences with dogs, my lifestyle, and my plans for my future dog. I also asked a few questions, I did this to gain some idea about the type of breeders I was approaching. I also kept notes about which breeders I had emailed and my feelings on them.
As I started to hear back from the breeders I narrowed the choice down further. The responses to my emails were very important. I was looking for specific answers to the questions I had asked. For example, the puppies had to be raised indoors. Some breeders did not respond at all, and this made the search a little easier. I was also looking for warmth, sometimes hard to find in an email, but I noticed that some responses felt better to read than others. Trust yourself on this one.
After waiting for a week or so, I began calling a few of the breeders I wanted to know more about. This helped greatly, as talking to them about their dogs made it clear to me who I would ‘click with’. Your breeder is an important person to develop a relationship with. If you have any questions after adopting your puppy, they should be the first port-of-call. They should also be willing to take your dog back at any time if things do not work out.
I narrowed the field down to two breeders and just waited for the first to have a litter. Over the last few months I have made many visits to my chosen breeders house (always welcomed by them) and got to know them, their family, and all of the dogs that live there. I have been involved in my puppy’s life even before he was conceived. The visits also gave me a great opportunity to spend time with my puppy’s mother. This is why choosing a breeder that does not live too far away is a wonderful idea.
The visits to the breeders home also gave her time to get to know me. Do not discount a breeders ability to get to know personalities, and match them wonderfully with their puppies. When I was choosing my pup, the breeder was such an asset in this process. A good breeder gets to know you, your family and knows the puppies. When you visit your breeder’s home please take a little goodie for them and their dogs. These people are opening their homes to you, and raising a litter can be really hard work (if done properly), never take a good breeder for granted.
The rest of it is a waiting game. You may have to wait, as I did, for them to come into heat, be mated, pregnancy tests and the pregnancy itself. Then you have to wait a few months before finally bringing your puppy home. It takes patience, but in the meantime, go to some dog shows, see your breed in action (cheer on your breeder), visit the pups, research dog schools and dog toys, choose a name, read, read, read and prepare your family.
This may seem like such an arduous process but for me it was vital. If you have children wanting a dog, make them go through a similar process, you will soon see if they are serious about getting a dog. It also teaches them that adopting a puppy is a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly, or to be done on impulse.
I am now at the end of an eight-month wait (like having a baby isn’t it?) as I am bringing my puppy home tomorrow, his name will be Ben, and I will not be sleeping much tonight. I may be at the end of the wait, but the journey is just beginning, it will be a privilege to share it with you all.
This is some of my bulk email that I sent out to about 20 breeders….
I am interested in opening my home to an Irish Setter, after my Weimaraner passed away at the beginning of the year, and wanted to give you some background information on myself….
My philosophy on dog ownership is that it really is a partnership. Dogs must be inside with us, come on holidays with us, and work with me at Kintala Dog Club, and have lots of fun doing it. My dog will spend most of its time running at the park off lead every day. I am a stay at home mum so it would be unusual if my dog was left for more than 4 hours at a time. I have a doggie door for my dog to come and go as they please, and also like to crate train my pups- never as a punishment though. I live with my husband, daughter, a cat, a bearded dragon and some fish. I am in no rush to get a puppy.
I understand that you should be picky about where you send your puppies (a great thing to be for a breeder) so I am willing to answer any questions you have. I also am picky about where I get my pups from and have a few questions for you…..
-Where do your dogs and puppies live?
-How many litters do you produce each year?
-What is the most important aspect of breeding to you?
-What do you love most about Irish Setters?