Don't Buy that Puppy in the Window  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , , , ,

Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it interesting! –Kim

10 Reasons NOT to Buy a Puppy from a Pet Store
By: Cathrine M. Sheeter

A pet store is a great place to purchase pet supplies, but buying a pet often raises another complex set of problems....

  1. Health: That adorable puppy in the window of the pet store is hard to resist, but you are often paying a lot of money for a dog about which you know very little. Pet stores rely on impulse buys to sell their "product." There is a good chance that the pet store puppy will develop a health problem sometime in its life that will cost you a lot of money. When you buy a pet store puppy, it is very unlikely that the puppy's parents were x-rayed for hip or elbow dysplasia. The parents have most likely not been checked for PRA, which causes blindness. Both of these debilitating diseases are genetically passed from generation to generation. These tests are expensive, but people who are concerned about the welfare of their breed will have these tests conducted to improve in the improvement of the breed. Good breeders are more concerned about the health of the puppies they are producing than the money that they will or won't make on the production of a litter.
  2. The myth about AKC papers: Pet shops would like you to believe that if a puppy is registered by the American Kennel Club that this guarantees the puppy will be healthy and a good representation of the breed. This is not so. The only thing that AKC papers tell are that the puppy is a purebred and produced out of AKC registered parents. Even this can be fiction, as some breeders register more puppies than are actually born in each litter to receive extra registration slips to pass out with unregisterable puppies. The parents of your puppy may be dying of cancer somewhere else and be horrible representations of the
    breed that you are buying. Responsible breeders do register their puppies with the AKC, but that is only the beginning.
  3. The pet shop guarantee: Many pet shops provide a form of guarantee for people buying puppies from them, but their guarantees are as bad as none at all. After your family has become attached to your adorable puppy, you find out it is sick and it will cost you several hundred dollars to correct; so, you take the puppy back to the store to receive your guarantee. What they will most likely do is trade puppies with you...take away your beloved pet and replace it with a new puppy that might also get sick. Then, they will probably euthanize (kill) the puppy you brought back, because this is cheaper for the store. The other tactic that some stores use is to tell you your puppy will grow out of the problem – until their guarantee has expired. Do you want to take this risk?
  4. What will that puppy resemble when it is full grown? You may have seen specimens of the breed that you are buying, but this does not guarantee that this puppy will fit the breed standard. You do not know if the parents fit the standard either and can not see the faults that each parent has. Their is no perfect dog, but a good breeder will be willing to discuss the faults and strengths that each of their dogs posses. You should also be able to see at least the mother of the puppy that you are buying if bought from a responsible breeder. Even then, you can not tell exactly how the puppy will look, but will have a much better idea of what to expect. Why spend so much money without even knowing the puppy's parents' physical characteristics and condition?
  5. What do you know about the breed? Employees of pet stores generally know very little about the dogs that are in the store. They might be able to tell you a little bit about the breed and then point you to a rack of generic dog books. What do you do after you find out that this breed is not right for you?
  6. Housebreaking and training problems: This puppy that you are buying from a pet store has spent its life in a cage. It has almost certainly never seen carpet and may never have seen grass or dirt. They have been forced to eliminate in the same area that they sleep and eat. This goes against the dog's natural instinct, but your puppy has had no choice. This habit will make housebreaking your puppy much more difficult, if not impossible. A good breeder keeps the puppy area very clean and makes sure the puppy has a separate elimination area. By the time their puppies are ready to go home with you, it will be well on the way to being house trained. Good breeders will often start teaching a young puppy how to walk on a leash and to lay quietly for grooming. A pet store puppy has never walked on a leash or been brushed before, and it will much more difficult to get him used to these daily exercises than a puppy who has been raised properly. Responsible breeders also base their breeding decisions in part on their dog's temperament and personality, not just on looks or the fact that they are purebred. Pet store puppies' parents have not been selected for any reason other than that they can produce puppies that sell as cute "purebreds" registered by the AKC.
  7. How about Socialization? Your pet store puppy has never been in a house before. Everything will be new and scary for them. The doorbell, vacuum cleaner, children playing are all new sensations that can be terrifying to an unsocialized puppy. Good breeders will expose their puppies to many situations so that the puppy is used to them by the time that they go to their new home. Responsible breeders temperament test their puppies before they are placed in a new home. This shows the breeder which puppies are dominant or shy. Then, the breeder will match the puppy to the new owner and make sure that active pups go to active families and that shy puppies go to a home that can help them overcome their insecurity. Good breeders will also have more than one or two puppies from which to pick, and they can help you make an educated decision based on your family situation. If you are going to spend so much money on a dog that you plan to keep for a lifetime, why not find one that will fit into your lifestyle well?
  8. What is a pedigree worth? Pet shops often make a big deal out of their puppy's pedigrees. This is interesting, as the pedigree is really just a piece of paper with names on it. Unless you know the dogs behind those names, the pedigree is really quite useless to a puppy owner. Can the pet store tell you what caused your puppies grand-parents' deaths or how long they lived? Do any of the dogs in your pups pedigree carry genetic diseases? A reputable breeder can tell you all of this information about your pups family tree. When you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder, you are getting more than a piece of paper: you are getting the important information associated with the names, too. Almost all responsible breeders will "title" their dogs by showing them under an unbiased judge. They will achieve championships on their dog, which says that the dog is a good representation of the breed. Many also obtain obedience, hunting, herding or at least canine good citizen titles on their breeding dogs. These titles will be shown on the dogs pedigree before and after the parents' names. Ask the breeder to explain what the letters mean.
  9. Do you want to support puppy mills? Almost all puppies that are in pet stores come from puppy mills. These operations are exactly what the name implies. They mass produce puppies with the prime motive as money. Their breeding dogs are kept in very poor conditions and are often malnourished. The dogs are never tested for genetic diseases and may not receive vaccinations. Puppy mills often get their breeding dogs from people in a hurry to get rid of dogs for some reason, public auctions and occasionally they are stolen from their owners. Females are bred every heat cycle until they are worn out, and then they are sentenced to death. The horror of puppy mills is encouraged every time a puppy is bought from a puppy store. How do you know that your puppy comes from one of these places? The main reason is that responsible breeders will not sell puppies to pet stores. Good breeders want to make sure that their puppy goes to a good home and is cared for well. They want to be actively involved in screening the home where their puppy is going. Breeders are also concerned about keeping track of their puppies that they produce. They want to know about any health problems that their lines may carry. A pet store generally never hears about their puppies once they leave the store, and really don't care.
  10. When the puppy goes home: After you take the puppy home from the pet store, they do not care what happens to the puppy. They do not care if the dog is left to run loose and kill livestock, or if it dies of liver disease at one year old. If you have a training problem, they will not give you training advice. They do not care if you take your dog home and breed it continually. A responsible breeder is more than a person that sells you a quality dog, they are also a friend. They care what happens to their puppy once it is out of their house. Almost all good breeders sell spay/neuter contracts or sell show quality puppies on limited registration, so that they still own part of the dog. This enables the breeder to keep inferior dogs out of the breeding population and also monitor what happens to their puppies. If you have a health or training problem, they will be able to offer you advice and help you through the ordeal. A reputable breeder wants to make a good reputation for themselves and they care about each of their puppy's futures. They care not only about their own dogs, but also the impact their dogs will make on the breed as a whole.

So please, next time you are looking for a new puppy to buy, do your research. One of the best steps toward becoming an educated puppy buyer and dog owner is to attending American Kennel Club sanctioned shows and carefully researching each breed in which you are interested. After you decide what breed of dog you would like to add to your household, talk to many breeders. Good breeders can inform you about genetic diseases common in the breed you want and are generally happy to share their knowledge. When you are ready to buy a puppy from a particular planned litter, ask the breeder for proof of genetic tests specific to the breed and request to see one or both of the parents of your new puppy.

A common excuse for buying a puppy from a pet store is that you do not plan to show your puppy, you just want a companion. Out of each litter that a reputable breeder produces there is a good chance that at least a portion of the puppies in each litter will not be show quality, but would make outstanding pets. Not every puppy that a breeder produces is destined for stardom in the show ring, but might well be the next shining star in your household. Please pass up the next puppy you see in the pet store and contact breed organizations. They will be able to match you with a responsible breeder that will help you add a well adjusted and healthy new canine member to your family.

Other positive alternatives are adopting a dog from your local shelter or adopting a rescue dog from various rescue organizations located throughout the United States. Every breed of dog registered by the AKC has at least one rescue organization that will take in dogs of that breed and places them in new loving homes. There are endless numbers of dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages and personalities in need of a new loving home. When you obtain a dog from one of these organizations, you are more than saving that dog's life. You are also sparing a female dog in some puppy mill from being condemned to produce yet another litter for pet shop sales. So, please be rational and thoughtful when you go to get your next dog and help prevent irresponsible pet ownership.

A pet store is generally the worst place to buy a puppy. As long as there is a market for pet store puppies, other dogs will be condemned to death by mass breeding only so that a few people can make some money, often with no thought of the welfare of their "product." This is not to say that a good pet has never come out of a pet store, as many have. For each that has, though, many others have not. Remember, when you buy a puppy, you are adding another member to your family, not just another piece of furniture that can be disposed of at the smallest whim. You would not have a child without careful research and planning for the child's future ten or fifteen years down the road. Your new dog should be no different. Adding a dog to the family is a long-term commitment, and responsibility that should be taken seriously and only acted upon after careful consideration and research.

Source: I Heart Paws

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at Sunday, April 10, 2011 and is filed under , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 comments

I like your post very much this is very very informative, you have provide me the good knowledge about purchasing a puppy because I have no idea that puppy in the window is not good.
Thank you for sharing with us.

April 10, 2011 at 11:14 PM

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