I've detailed what I expect in "Small Dogs, Big Hearts." I don't think it's too much to ask to see at least one of the parents on the premises, to see clearances for health testing done before breeding for any genetic diseases that occur in the individual breed, to ask for a health guarantee to a reasonable age. All puppies should be clean and healthy and have a separate elimination place. The breeder should be properly socializing the puppies and starting their training as well as teaching them about the human-animal bond. And the breeder should be keeping the pups, preferably to at least 12 weeks while socializing the pups. If the breeder isn't socializing the puppies properly (a situation that must continue throughout the dog's life) then the earliest the pup should go to its new home is 8 or 10 weeks. The later, the better.
I have finally found a book that I can refer both breeders and potential pet owners to that details exactly what breeders should be doing and it is written by someone who walks the walk. Jerry Hope, CDBC, is a breeder, judge, trainer and behavior consultant in Georgia whose book, "The Breeder's Guide to Raising Superstar Dogs," is a must read for everyone who cares about dogs. I have a few minor differences with what should be done with Toy dogs but that's very minor. This is a book I'm happy to see available to the general public. And I hope more breeders will adopt Hope's program which includes thorough socialization, training and use of the bio-sensor program which is carefully outlined in Hope's book which is available at Amazon.
Add this one to your collection. You won't regret it. Too many dogs end up in shelters because they've had a poor start in life and have behavior problems for one reason or another. This book can go a long way in helping to prevent that.
I'd like to see what would happen if cat breeders adopted this program. Cats develop at different stages from dogs but I think this would be a worthy experiment to create better feline companions as well. It's certainly food for thought.