AKC Gazette breed column, Miniature Pinschers—It can take a little bit of patience before you can bring home that much-anticipated new puppy—but if you’ve chosen a good breeder, it’s worth the wait.
Well, it’s done. You did the research by reading books and checking the American Kennel Club and the website of your chosen breed's national club, and you found a breeder close to you. You spent hours asking questions and talking about puppies, adults, and when the litter will arrive, and whether you can come to see the newborns, and how often you may visit as they grow until you take puppy home.
Finding a good breeder is the best way to go, as this will be someone who has researched pedigrees (health and structure) and spent years to breed the most healthy and genetically sound puppies and adults. Your breeder is able to discuss any questions that you or your veterinarian may have regarding your new puppy. She will guide you toward the best training techniques and will “be there” for you for that dog’s entire life.
Your breeder gave you a list of things to buy for your puppy: blankets, collar, lead, water bucket, food bowl, and toys—oh, my, yes, toys! You can’t walk by the toys in the store or forget them when you look online!
You and your family decide that waiting for a healthy puppy with a great support team is the best way to go. So the call comes: The sire and dam have been bred, and now the nine-week wait for the puppies to be born begins. It sure seems like a long time at first, but human babies take nine months! Eight to 12 weeks is no time at all to wait for your puppy to ensure you will have many happy years together.
It’s week seven, and the time is coming. You go visit the dam, and she’s got a round belly—and is that bump on her side a little foot pushing out? She likes it when you rub her tummy and just wants to sit with you.
Another call: The babies are being born! Is it really 2 a.m.? Three boys and two girls, red and black and rust. Did you put in a request for a specific color? And a certain sex? Well, let’s just see!
When you come to the house to see the puppies the first week, you are not allowed in the room, but you can take a look through the door or window. Newborns are vulnerable to cold, and their room is kept very warm. They are so cute, and do they really only weigh four ounces? Did you know their little ears are closed, and their eyes aren’t open yet?
Week three, and they are starting to stand and toddle around. Their ears and eyes are open. They are sensitive to sounds and quick movements. Hold tight when you snuggle and breathe in puppy breath.
Week six, and hold on! They are so cute and playing and jumping in their playroom. All of them rush to you for snuggling, and maybe a little puppy-nibble to say hi. A black and rust puppy boy races toward you and settles into your lap. It’s hard to leave him, and your breeder says he’s yours.
Puppies don’t go to their new homes until after eight weeks, or sometimes a bit longer—however, you are willing to wait. A puppy from a reputable breeder will give you years of happy and healthy love and friendship. In addition you’ll have a person who will be able to answer any questions you may have throughout your dog's whole life.
Week nine, and congratulations! You have selected and are bringing home your new canine family member. Your breeder presents you with a written agreement and a list of things to work on with your puppy:
- Socializing is very important.
- Feeding quality food is a must.
- Exercise and play are required.
- Grooming is imperative.
- Training makes all the difference.
Continue to talk with your breeder as your puppy grows up. She is able to give you breed insights and training techniques. A good idea is to take your little one to training classes to ensure he is well mannered in public. The camaraderie of other dog owners will give you a chance to talk about issues you may have that someone else has been through and can help with.
—Kim Byrd, firstname.lastname@example.org