Tips for Contacting a Dog Breeder

Puppy buying is a bit of an art. As a breeder, and being in breeder-communities, I know that breeders can experience a lot of frustration with enquiries.  Puppy buyers, I’m sure, also get frustrated, and perhaps don’t know that they are going about puppy buying in the ‘wrong way’.

I’ve compiled a list of tips for contacting a dog breeder.  These are broad and general, but hopefully will help anyone who is searching for a puppy.

Border Collie Puppy - Guide to approaching dog breeders Continue reading


Guess Who’s Going to See Ian Dunbar!

Well, if it’s not obvious, I am going to see Ian Dunbar in Melbourne (Australia) this weekend.

This is a three day seminar called “Science Based Dog Training with Feeling”. I believe this may be a very similar seminar series as Crystal at Reactive Champion visited and blogged about in November 2010.

Friday is based on preventing behaviour problems.  It seems, from my pre-seminar PDFs, that this will mostly focus on socialisation (not a surprise for those who know Ian Dunbar).  I am excited to hear what I should be doing, as a breeder, to prevent behaviour problems, from a socialisation perspective.  (I am also interested in asking him where I’m going to find 100 people before 8 weeks. My puppies probably interact with about 20 people before 8 weeks, and see about 50 people before 8 weeks. And I feel exhausted getting that many people through my house and in the streets!) I already think I’m doing a pretty good job, but there’s always room to learn more.

Saturday is titled “Learning Theory Redux”.  While I’m interested to see the Dunbar perspective, I am concerned that I am just going to hear learning theory again. I am sure I’ll get something out of it, don’t get me wrong, but I am already fairly savvy and learning theory, and I expect the rest of the audience will be too.

Sunday is about luring.  I know Ian Dunbar is big into luring, and I can’t say that I’ve ever attended a seminar from a luring advocate – so at the very least, this would be fun!


I am concerned that Ian Dunbar may not truly consider the genetic basis of behaviour… There are a few snippets in the PDFs I’ve received, saying things like “At eight weeks of age, regardless of breed or breeding, the puppy’s behavior and temperament depend almost entirely on how the breeder has raised the pup.”  I very much disagree with that.  Genetics, in my mind, plays a huge role in dog behaviour.  Why was it in my litter of 3 pups in 2010 did they all have very different behaviours and temperaments at 8 weeks? It certainly isn’t because I treated them differently – it’s because they’re different dogs, with different personalities, and different genes driving their behaviours. Does Dunbar really believe that a whippet is different to a boxer at 8 weeks purely because of socialisation from the breeder?  Anyway, I spoke more about the overemphasis on socialisation previously.


I’m very much looking forward to these seminars, but it means you won’t be getting any posts for about a week. I’m sure you’ll survive without me!

Edited to provide a link to our ‘Dunbar Index‘, which summarises our learning from the lecture series.