Now that you have an idea of what breed of dog you are looking for you’ll need to look at a good place to buy one from. Buy a dog from a reputable breeder if you’re looking for a pure bred dog. Ask the breeder if the parents of the dog are available for you to meet. The parents can tell you a lot about the puppies and seeing the litter of puppies together can tell you a lot about the one puppy you are looking to buy. How does the puppy you have your eye on interact with its littermates? Does it seem to be the leader or bully of the pack, Or does it interact with all the puppies in a calm manner? Also ask the breeder at what age they will relinquish the pups for sale. Most people put their pups on the market at the age of eight weeks old, however the age of twelve or thirteen weeks would be preferable as those weeks help the puppy learn important socialization skills from his littermates.
You may also want to look into breed rescues. Breed rescues take a specific dog breed and foster it until they can find a permanent home for them. Be ready to go through a thorough screening process as the rescues want to insure the dogs they place won’t end up back in their facility. A breed rescue may be able to tell you where the dog came from and what if any special attention is needed for the dog. You can find breed rescues on the internet and in some dog magazines.
Avoid pet stores at all cost! Many puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills and you are going to pay just as much if not more than you would if you went to a breeder directly. Puppy mills are run by people whose main interest is making money, not to improve upon the breed. Their dogs are often kept in small, fecal ridden wire pens, have little to no human contact, rarely get proper vet care, and are inbred among the dog family members. Breeding between sister and brother or mother and son are not uncommon practices. Also many puppies from pet stores end up with severe health problems that show up throughout its life. A good breeder can usually show you records of the parent’s health and give you certain guarantees against health problems that the breed is prone to. The reason I stress this is because if you pick up a puppy or dog that ends up with severe health problems your therapy visits may have to come to a sudden halt. It is not fair to put an ill dog through the commands of sit, down, then stand and heel if you’ve found he’s been diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
If you choose to adopt from your local pound you are most certainly preventing an inevitable death but they cannot give you any health guarantees. However if you are purchasing a mixed breed from the pound most of their health problems are bred out of them, thereby making them somewhat more sound from health defects. Beware though, that many people who buy purebred dogs from pet stores may also turn them into the pound if they find they can not care for the dog. Ask the pound to give you as much background information as possible on any purebred dog they are adopting out.