My current lab is 12 years old and was recently diagnosed with oral melanoma. We arent really treating it, since he is already 12 and I havent heard good things about doing cancer treatment for this type of cancer. He did have surgery to remove the tumor for his own comfort. But it is beginning to grow back. I want another puppy to help ease my pain when he goes. I think it will make me and my 2 kids much less sad. DH could go either way. He is a real animal lover but he says he could go for a 5 year hiatus from having pets. LOL. But my lab was my first dog ever and I am not ready to give that up.
I got my current boy from a breeder who no longer breeds. I paid $850 for him back in 2002. The breeder was a reputable one. His father was a Saltmeadow lab and I have heard that is a well known breeder in NH. I found another breeder in NH who has some Saltmeadow-bred dogs and I am going to visit her in the coming weeks. She sounds very nice and legit. She encouraged me to come and visit and see her dogs and to view all of their health clearances. So I believe that is a very good sign. She shows her dogs and I can see online that alot of them have won various titles. So I am certain I have found a good breeder.
I havent gotten a price for a puppy yet though. I am a little afraid to ask! Should I be expecting it to be much more than $1200? I think I'd be happy with $1200 and would feel a little pinch at $1500, but I'd probably still go for it. These potential puppies would be ready to go home mid-late September. So enough time to get housetraining underway before the cold sets in.
Another thing I am a little worried about is that I do not have a fenced in yard. Is this a no-go for breeders these days? I believe I am a responsible pet owner. I'd plan to walk the puppy and take her to the park which is about .5 miles from my house, so literally right around the corner. And I know I would have to wait to get all the shots before I exposed the puppy to other dogs. I do have an underground fence and I realize that a puppy is not going to be good with that like an old 12 year old lab is. So I would not plan on leaving the dog outside alone as a puppy. The dog would be crate trained and would be allowed increasing freedom in the house as it got older and more trust-worthy. Our current dog sleeps in the master bedroom with us and thats the way it would be for the future puppy. Although my kids are already asking when the dog can sleep with them. So any puppy would be well loved. We also have a cat who loves dogs. I do own my own house and we have a yard and all that (just not fenced). Its on a small cul-de-sac. I feel like I am trying to adopt a child in some aspects!
Price is regional.
Make sure they do ALL the clearances on both parents (hips, elbows, eyes, heart, eic and cmn no exceptions) and do something the dogs they breed (show in conformation, hunt or field) not a dog who's parents or grandparents or great grandparents some something years ago.
For the fence that will depend on the breeder so hard to say. You will need a solid plan for exercise and safe socialization. Even if you live on a quiet street it's not super safe to just let the puppy off leash so you need some training and probably a long line for awhile.
You don't want to wait until the puppy has all their shots to socialize, you miss the most critical socialization period by doing that. You need to find safe ways to socialize the dog. Play dates with friends dogs who are up to date on their shots and good iwht puppies. Puppy classes. etc.
Very sorry for your current pups health issues. Consider the strain a puppy could add if he's not feeling when when the puppy arrives. He may need to be separated some of the time (or puppy on leash) to ensure he isn't being pestered and lots of one on one time with you guys.
The breeder does all of those clearances that you mentioned (Hips, elbows, heart, eyes annually, EIC and CMN. The dogs are all shown in conformation and some obedience. The parents are both titled. The father went to the Westminster Dog Show.
I do plan on puppy kindergarten classes. I did that with my current dog and it was fun. I can socialize it. Our neighborhood has many dogs and I am sure my closest neighbors are all up to date with shots for their dogs. And of course I can get a long run for the dog to use while we are outside playing with her.
I do worry about my older dog, DH thinks we should get a puppy while he is still with us so our dog can show the new pup the "ropes". I worry about the old dog feeling replaced. He is the sweetest most mild-tempered lab. I think he would enjoy a puppy a little. Our sister in laws dog stays with us here and there and he likes the company I think. but we always be sure to lavish him with plenty of attention. He's been playing with some dogs at the park now and then and there is a chocolate lab puppy that he really enjoys. But I am not sure how long he will be with us to tell you the truth. He seems happy and what not. he eats like a champ and is on Rimadyl. But I have read that oral melanoma is very aggressive and just by googling it they pretty much give a few months as a lifespan once it is diagnosed. He was actually a 2nd dog when we got him and our previous dog was about 7 or 8 when he came to town. It took them a few weeks but they soon loved each other.
I just paid $1200 for a well bred English lab pup .....
Sounds ilke you are on the right track! best of luck