Don’t buy a puppy in a pet store or online—in fact, do not buy a puppy from any place that does not allow you to see its entire facility and meet the mother dogs. This includes websites that sell pets online. Anyone can put up a great-looking website boasting the highest standards of breeding and care, but you really have no way of knowing if such businesses are what they claim to be besides seeing them for yourself. Truly responsible breeders want to meet you before selling you one of their prized pups to be sure that he or she is going to a good home.
Make adoption your first option. If you’re looking to make a puppy part of your family, check your local shelters first. Not only will you be saving a life, but you will ensure that your money is not going to support a puppy mill. There are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country! If you’re committed to a specific breed of dog and can't find what you're looking for at your local shelter, contact a rescue group for that breed or locate a responsible breeder. Responsible breeders never sell puppies to dealers or pet shops or ship a puppy to a buyer without meeting them first. They operate in an open, undisguised manner, allowing and even encouraging potential buyers/adopters to visit and tour their homes and meet their breeding dogs.