Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How Picky Is Too Picky?

In the last email I got from my breeder, she mentioned that if her two male puppies from her latest litter don't find forever homes by Thanksgiving, she'll save me one. This gave me pause because, well, I'm not sure I want one at that point. Does that make me awful?

What I mean is, by the time Thanksgiving comes and goes, those puppies, which were born in mid-August, will be almost 4 months old! Am I being too picky to say that I want an 8-10 week old puppy and I'm not willing to give up those 2 months of cuteness? Well, yes, I am. But am I also being reasonable?

If there's only one or two puppies left, I will want to fly out there and meet them. As much as I like this breeder, I have to assume that she'll be...I don't want to say desperate or impatient, but she'll be ever more inclined to find homes for those two puppies as they get older. Maybe she won't keep me and the kind of puppy I want as in mind than if I was the first pick of an entire new litter. So I think I would have to fly out there and meet them. Then what if I don't bond with the one or two puppies? Do I just say "No thanks, I'll wait for the next litter."? That would also mean I would have to have my house ready for a puppy possibly by next month, or possibly by February, and I won't know which until I fly out there. I know I can't be ready by next month fully, there's no way we'll fix that fence in time, but I think I can be ready enough with the puppy-proofing (I already bought socket covers last time I was at Home Depot) and stuff-buying.

The thing is, if I decide right now that, no, I just want a puppy from the new litter, how do I tell the breeder that without sounding like a tool? I suppose I could tell her that I'm not familiar with the dam of that liter (which I'm not, she was actually a puppy from a past litter that was staying with her for the summer). I could tell her I don't think I'll be ready in time, and I'd rather just wait until the February litter. But my main concern is making sure I don't give the impression that I'd be an unfit pet owner and I'm getting a dog for the wrong reasons. Does saying I'd rather wait for the new litter convey that?

Hopefully she'll find homes for those puppies and it won't even be an issue, but I'd like to tell her something now. Any ideas?


Sam Tsang said...

What is the reason that she wants to wait until the pups to 4 mos old? also why is there only 2 to choose from? Tell us more in the forum area and you'll get more answers from the group.

JuLo said...

Good point. I probably didn't give enough specifics for this to fully make sense!

They would be 4 months old because I told her I wouldn't be ready for a puppy until after Thanksgiving. They were born in August.

There are only 2 to choose from because she has placed the puppies from the rest of the litter into their forever homes already. I don't even know if these puppies will still be available after Thanksgiving. I hope they find homes before that.

Basically, the breeder was suggesting that if she still has puppies from this litter after Thanksgiving, which is when I said I would be ready for a puppy, I can take home one of the two if they are still left, rather than waiting for her next litter, which is due in December.

I think I'll stick to my blog for now. :) But maybe I'll peak over to the forums when I get more time.

Jenna Z said...

Here are my thoughts:

-8 weeks is too young to expect to get a puppy and your breeder shouldn't let you take one home until at or after 10 weeks, per PWCCA Code of Ethics.

-I hope upon hope that the breeder you have chosen is fantastic and I trust that you are intelligent and have checked this out. If that's the case, a 4 month old puppy from her should be perfectly wonderful and fit right into your life as if you had gotten it at 10 weeks. However, if for some reason (breeder's life got in the way/not enough time for puppies, not as experienced with socialization/fear periods as she should be) then a 4 month old puppy has passed a number of crucial stages during which it should have been exposed to numerous different environments/activities/situations to set him up for healthy mental status later on. A good breeder will of course focus on these things with each puppy, grooming, restraining, socializing, and enriching their lives with novel items. So hopefully that is not a problem and you've discussed what training/handling the older puppies have gone through up to this point.

-For me, an older puppy from a good breeder would be preferred because the closer they are to 6 months old, the faster we can get to training classes! Plus, I'm not so into the helpless baby stage as some people. I like a dog with a little bladder control. :)

-The fence- In my opinion, your puppy shouldn't be left alone in the backyard or even off leash for several months until it's housebroken. It should be outside, with you, for scheduled potty times, praised once it potties and then right back indoors. Having it on leash makes it much quicker and easier to catch him/her pottying and praise as soon as it happens. Potty breaks aren't for playing so a puppy off leash would not get the idea of why you were outside if it was allowed to roam and play.

-Lastly, if your breeder isn't listening to you when you tell her what you are looking for in a puppy and just trying to placate you with the two older puppies to get you off her back, I would rethink the breeder. She should be trying to match you up with the personality and demeanor that would fit in best with you, and by now those puppies have definite personalities. Has she told you about their temperaments and suggested one over the other for you?

I could be totaling misinterpreting the situation though. Is the breeder you've chosen a member of the PWCCA? Or her local club?

JuLo said...

Hmm, you raise some good points, as usual. Do I have inexperienced stamped on my forehead or what? >_<

Well I hadn't heard anything about a PWCCA code of ethics saying 10 weeks is the minimum, but I know that the law is that puppies can't fly before 8 weeks, and it's generally frowned upon to take a puppy from its mother before 8 weeks of age for developmental reasons. I've read here and there the benefits of waiting until 10 weeks. I figured I would cross the road of when to take the puppy home when I come to it.

Interesting. I just looked up the PWCCA code of ethics and the current one lists 8 weeks as the minimum timing to sell puppies, but the latest version, which goes into effect next year says 10 weeks. Apparently that's a new thing, but I haven't heard anything about it before now! Hm, so why is it so important to wait until 10 weeks? I'm very interested in all the different development periods and how puppies mature.

I haven't had any reason to be in doubt of this breeder. It's not that I don't trust the breeder to socialize and train the puppy, but it's the fact I have no control over it. I admit it, I have control issues with some things. If these are supposed to be the crucial development periods of a puppy's life, I don't want to sit at home and hope that the breeder has done what I wanted and think should be done. That said, she does know how puppy development works, and she'd probably do a great job. Hmm, I guess I could talk to her a little about it...

Since this is my first dog (after literally a lifetime of waiting), I was really looking forward to the whole experience, accidents and all. :) I'd just be a little sad to miss out on that part of it.

The fence is NOT for keeping my puppy in outside alone. Definitely not. I talked about this in an early post of mine. I put some grass in on the side of my house just for times when puppy needs to go, but it's not time for a walk, we have an area in the backyard where s/he can go. It's not exercise/walk replacement, it's just a quick place to romp, under supervision only! Our backyard is all concrete, so I just wanted to add at least a small area that a dog could be in without hurting her/his pads. The problem is that the fence that we share with the neighbor is rotted at the base where the boards are held in place, and in its current state, the puppy could easily slip out into the neighbor's yard! We just need to fix it before we can let the puppy use our little run area. It's not a must, but I wanted it finished before we got the puppy and had no time.

I'm not saying my breeder will push one of her puppies on me even if it's not a good fit. I was just trying to look at both sides of the coin: pessimistic and optimistic.

It basically stemmed from a comment I made. I told her that I knew she had two puppies left and my husband and I would want one of those possibly (since the litter we are on the waiting list for is later than expected), but weren't ready for a puppy so soon. So her response was just oh, well we'll see where we are come Thanksgiving then. I kind of dismissed it because of the reasons I stated in the post (older puppy, sooner than expected, I would have first pick of the litter if we waited). But you've raised some interesting points. I think I'll ask her a bit about the dam of the litter and the two puppies that are left.

But on the flip side, what if I fall in love with one of them and she finds another home for it? Heh.

I'm just torn. I'd love to give a puppy a home if we're the right fit, but I can't help having the attitude of why these ones were left. It's horrible, I know. I'm not saying I would never get the last puppy from a litter, but it just makes me wonder what puppy I could get if I waited.

The breeder is not a member of the PWCCA that I can tell. I didn't see any Oklahoma clubs on google, so I'm not sure.

Jenna Z said...

Oh, that's right, the new code hasn't taken affect yet. There was just a wonderful discussion on Corgi-L about the age at which puppies should leave the litter because someone got a 5 week old puppy from a not-very-smart breeder. (Well, most of the discussion was good, some people were a little snarky.) I'd suggest reading over that as it highlights some important things a puppy gets not only from being with its mom still but with its siblings too.

I think we are very similiar! I am such a control freak and overthink things to the extreme. But if I had overthought the dog issue any more than I had, we would not have Sully. We don't have a fenced in back yard, we rent our house not own it, we have a not-nice cat who came first so he had priority. But I felt this pull from my gut that it was the right time and that there was a dog waiting. And we were led to the right organization, the right foster home and to the right dog and I knew it the second I saw his picture. So my suggestion is to take a breath and ask yourself if one of the older puppies fees right, nevermind fence issue, the age issue, the timing issue, but wait for a feeling in your gut and your heart and if you feel it, things will fall into place. If not, waiting won't hurt anything. As far as these two being left, I doubt it is their fault at all, perhaps it was a large litter or the parents just aren't quite what others were looking for in a corgi at this time.

There is someone on Pembroke-L (I know, ANOTHER list!) hat just go ther first puppy and they are doing a good job recapping their experience so you might want to check that out. It's a yahoo group.

Lynn said...

Man there's a lot of good information here! Julo, I don't think you're giving an impression of an irresponsible pet owner by saying you aren't ready for a puppy yet. If anything, to me it seems like you are facing up to the responsibility of owning a puppy. If you want a 10 week old puppy, but all means go for it. I had a Samoyed puppy when I was growing up, so I've experienced the puppy stage before, but my boyfriend didn't. He's insistent on getting a puppy for that reason. Thanks for starting this conversation, I'm off to join some mailing lists now!

Lynn said...

Darn double negatives. I guess that's why the English teachers always said to avoid them! I think just asking the questions means you'll be a great owner! Of course responsible too :)!

My breeder should be finding out if the dam is pregnant sometime this week... I've kind of frazzled all week with excitement!

JuLo said...

LOL, that'll teach me to post when it's so early in the morning. I swear I've been a walking zombie all day. Hehe, let's try that comment again:

Lynn, my bad. I read right past your double negative. Quit trying to confuse me! ;p Thanks! I'm trying to be responsible, but as I'm learning from Jenna here, it's impossible to do everything perfectly. But I like to think that my heart is in the right place.

Jenna, you're totally right about it never being "the right time" if you over think it. I emailed my breeder last night and she had some good news! One of the boys is getting picked up today! I'm guessing that she'll find a good home for the last little guy long before Thanksgiving. But I asked lots of questions about them, since I felt like getting my hopes up. :p

I haven't had time to read through my Corgi-L emails for a few days, and I quickly got overloaded by how many there are! Phew! I'll have to spend some time and look through that thread. I'll have to check out Pembroke-L now too! Hehe.

Sam Tsang said...

I agree with Jenna, 4 months old corgi from a bad breeder is bad news. Early developments + socialization are very crucial. At this point it's really hard to tell what kind of breeder you're dealing with, may be you can shed more light?

JuLo said...

What do you want to know? She's been breeding for 5 years. She has 2 females and 2 males, and she generally breeders each female once a year (sometimes less). She tested the eyes and hips of her dogs, and has provided a family tree of each dog, including parents and grandparents. She waits until the puppies are 8 weeks of age before she gives them to homes. She's never avoided my questions, she answered them all, and knowledgeably. She even gives rewards to owners who complete training classes with her dogs. So she not only keeps in touch with owners, but she also encourages their dog's development.

I don't think she's necessarily the best breeder in the world, but I don't think she's irresponsible or unethical.

That said, my concern over her raising my puppy for 4 months was more, as I said, a control issue. I wouldn't know what my puppy experienced those 2 months I could have been raising him. He'll be living on a farm with 4 other dogs and other animals, so I don't think I have to worry about him being unsocialized, but I mean other little things. What if he's sheltered in other ways, like if he's not used to a city, how is he going to react when he gets put on a plane and flies there? I don't mean it as an insult to the breeder, just that we're in different situations.

I think my mom is right. Puppies are happy, adaptable animals and it will be fine to bring home the puppy at 4 months. Of course, I don't think that'll be happening anyways. I don't think the puppy will be around for 4 months.

Sam Tsang said...

actually we got Vienna at 4 months, what happen was someone backed out on the deal and never came to pick her up, so we jumped on it at 4 months. I have to say that our situation is quite different from yours, vienna was with her sister most of the time by the time we got there, her parents are in another dog pen in the yard. She loves the pool because the breeder had those blue portable ones in the yard, but till this day she still have some socialization issue, she is very very protective over mocha and tend to like human more than dogs. This may not happen to you, but if you do decided to get your dog at 4 months, really try and see how she does socially and don't let the puppy rage affect your judgement. All the best!

JuLo said...

Thanks! That's exactly the kinds of things I'm concerned about. I won't let the puppy rage interfere though. If I can hold out until February I'll get first pick of her next litter! :)

Mrs. Jones said...


I just found your blog, and I have to chime in because I have 2 corgis myself. I was looking for a cocker spaniel a few years ago, and the breeder told me that spaniels weren't the right breed for my family, and that I should find a welsh corgi. So we got a corgi, and loved her soooo much that we got another corgi last year. I couldn't imagine having another breed.

I have spent a lot of time speaking with breeders, and if you have a good impression of the breeder from your phone calls, it won't be a bad thing if she keeps the dog until it is a little bit older. Puppies are very challenging, and a good breeder will do a great job of training the puppy while she has it. My first breeder who was really good, kept the puppy until 10 weeks. I even looked for an older dog to adopt from a breeder when we were looking for our second dog (they "place" dogs that they keep for a while but then decide they will not show or breed). Also, a good breeder will not be offended if you say you are not quite ready for a puppy and you want to wait. So I say, just be honest about it if you feel you are not ready.

I saw on one of your posts that corgis are not a popular breed, but I do believe they are growing in popularity recently (not quite to the level of labradors or poodles). I keep seeing them here and there. This did make it difficult to find a puppy though, because I have found that there is a greater demand for them than supply.

They have the cutest dogs butts of any breed, too.

Good luck!