When searching for the perfect puppy, you will probably encounter many different puppy breeders. It is always recommended visiting your puppy’s birth home if possible. If you cannot physically visit due to location reasons, then it is highly recommended asking for current photos and videos of not only the puppies, but where they live. If a breeder will not allow you to visit their location, then there is cause for concern. Proceed with caution if a breeder does not allow visitors. Breeders may express concern for their own safety and the safety of their animals. They may want to interview you before inviting a stranger into their home. In addition, disease can be brought in on a visitor’s hands, clothing, and shoes. For the protection of their animals and yours, please change your clothing and shoes and disinfect between visits with different breeders. Ask to see where puppies were born and where the parents reside. This may not seem important since their forever home will be with you, but do not forget that your puppy’s birth mom will continue to live in the same conditions and produce more puppies. Purchasing a puppy to save it from a “bad” environment will only encourage more puppies to be bred and sold from those same conditions. Space Accommodations should not appear as makeshift. They should be sturdy. You will see puppy pens, crates and grooming equipment. Fences should be safe. Overcrowding can cause disease. Close proximity makes it easy for infections to spread. USDA minimum standards for housing and exercise are just that, minimal. The requirement for cage size — the primary enclosure in which breeding dogs live their lives — is just six inches taller, wider and longer than the dog inside. The USDA waives the exercise requirement of 30 minutes per day for at least five days a week if the dog is housed in a cage with twice the floor space called for by the above formula. This cannot be a happy life. In addition, dog runs should be large enough for that breed of dog. Different sized dogs need different amounts of space, but all dogs need some level of exercise. There should be an outdoor space for exercise. In some instances, small breeds may be raised entirely indoors, but they should still have enough space to run about and play. If they are housed outdoors, a warm shelter and shade from the sun should be available for every dog. Sanitation The kennel or “puppy space” should be clean and free of parasites like fleas. Water bowls should be fresh and clean. If living area looks neglected, this is a clue that you should not ignore. Of course, a kennel will have a certain animal odor; that is expected, but you should not smell overpowering urine and feces. Excrements should be cleaned up often. Dogs and puppies should be relatively clean. Dogs like to play in the dirt and mud, but they should look like they are regularly groomed. Demeanor The animals should appear to be happy and content. They should not appear to be stressed or depressed. Every dog has a different personality just like people. Dogs should not seem scared, cower away from humans or bark and growl aggressively. A new puppy from this breeder may not adapt to your home with ease.