Sunday, February 23, 2014
From the desk of Sharda Baker.
Hi and welcome everyone!
This is Sharda with another dog training newsletter! Let’s look at places to buy a dog!
Here we go!
There are several options available to you for buying your puppy, including animal shelters, pet stores, and breeders.
Below is a description of each.
AN ANIMAL SHELTER
If you are looking for the cheapest option for buying a puppy, adopting one from an animal shelter would be your best bet. The cost is actually very minimal.
Additionally, when you buy your dog from an animal shelter, you are often eligible for a reduced rate on spaying and neutering.
Another benefit from getting your dog from your local animal shelter is that you will be saving the life of a dog that if not claimed or adopted, would otherwise be put to sleep.
There is an enormous population of dogs that are sent to these shelters, and if you adopt from these you are helping to control this ever-growing pet population.
Animal shelters usually have a wide selection of mixed breeds. Usually less than half are actually purebreds.
But just because there isn’t a big selection of purebreds does not mean that you can’t find a wonderful pet.
Just be sure to try to find out as much about his background as possible from the animal shelter.
For rescued dogs that were strayed, this information is usually very limited.
There are many reasons why dogs end up in the shelter.
Some dogs end up there because the owners didn’t want them anymore.
Maybe the dog misbehaved and the owners couldn’t properly train him. Maybe the owner was getting too old to take care of the dog. Or maybe the family was moving to a home that didn’t accept dogs.
Another common reason for dogs being sent to the shelter is because they ran away and didn’t have an identification tag.
In this case, hopefully the owners will come back to rescue their dog.
If you spend some time talking with the staff about your questions and concerns about adopting from an animal shelter, they should be able to help you determine which dogs are best for your family.
When you are looking at a dog at an animal shelter, spend time playing with him. Take notice of how responsive he is to you. Does he perk up and wag his tail in excitement? Or, is he very shy and meek? Does he look healthy? Are there any known health conditions that he has? Do you know what breed(s) he is?
A PET STORE
Buying a dog from a pet store is certainly convenient. These stores usually have a nice selection of cute dogs to choose from.
Owners of pet stores will tell you that a benefit from buying a dog from a pet store is that the dog has had an opportunity to be sociable with all the people that come through including employees, customers, and window shoppers.
However, some pet stores have become the target of criticism for alleged inhumane treatment of their animals. For example, they may not get all of the medical attention they need. Or, they may have highly infectious diseases. Or, they may be kept in cages that are just too small for them.
Oftentimes, the dogs that you see in the pet stores are actually purchased from puppy mills. These are unethical breeders who breed dogs in mass quantity for profit only.
Dogs produced in puppy mills usually live in filthy conditions, with no regard for improving the quality of the breed. These puppies are usually sick, underfed, dirty, and have been mistreated.
These dogs are generally reproduced with each other, passing on grave genetic defects for many generations.
Some people think that if you buy a puppy from a puppy store, you are actually supporting the operation of puppy mills.
If you want to buy a puppy from a pet store, make sure it is a reliable store by asking some questions and handling the dogs. Does the dog look healthy? Check his weight, eyes, ears, coat, etc.
Ask if the pet store can provide you with references of owners who have previously purchased dogs from the store. If they really care about the puppies and the homes they go into, they will probably have this information for you.
Another clue to determine if a pet store is reputable is by the number of questions they ask you. If the staff is truly concerned about the future of the dog, they will want to know about your lifestyle and living condition, too.
A REPUTABLE BREEDER
There are many advantages to buying a puppy from a breeder. In fact, buying a puppy from a reputable breeder is the preferred—and safest—way to buy a puppy. Once you select on a breed (or breeds), try to find the most reputable and experienced breeders you can.
A reputable breeder is one that truly cares about the quality of the breed more so than making fast money. A reputable breeder is very selective about what dogs are bred together.
Their goal is to continually improve the quality of the dogs they produce. This includes physical traits as well as temperament.
Buying from a reputable breeder is the best way you can find out about the dog’s background. In many cases, you can ask for documents verifying that a particular line of dogs is free of conditions, if any that affect certain breeds.
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find a reputable breeder for the breed(s) you want in your city. Some people search out of state, out of region, or even out of country to find the right breeder.
But it is worth the search to know that you have a high-quality puppy that has been breed with the utmost care.
It is best to meet with a breeder before you want to purchase a puppy. (If you do, leave your money at home so you don’t spontaneously decide to buy one on the spot!) At the very minimum, have a phone call conversation with the breeder.
You will see a section below titled “Questions to Ask a Breeder” to learn what questions you should ask your prospective breeder.
When you meet with the breeder, ask to meet the puppy’s parents. If you are truly dealing with a reputable breeder, they will have no hesitation with you meeting the parents. Meeting the sire and dam will give you a good idea of what your puppy will probably look like when it is full grown.
Pay attention to the parents’ physical characteristics and temperament. Are they alert and playful? Do they appear healthy and happy? Would you feel comfortable living with these dogs?
Also look around to see what kind of conditions the puppy is living in. Is the breeder’s home clean? Is the puppy’s sleeping area clean and comfortable?
The best breeders will also extensively question prospective dog owners about their lifestyles and living situations. In fact, you should feel like you are being interviewed just as you are interviewing the breeder.
The breeder should ask you all sorts of questions about your lifestyle, your family, your home, your knowledge of raising puppies, etc. Although rarely done, you should not be surprised if a breeder asks to see your home.
The only downside to buying from a reputable breeder is the cost. Breeders do charge a lot, especially if the puppy is from a high-quality bloodline. However, if you want a puppy that you can be confident of his temperament, appearance, etc., buying from a breeder is absolutely the best option.
This is particularly true if, for example, someone in your family has allergies and can only live with a certain coat type. If you buy a dog from a pet store or an animal shelter, you take a risk of not knowing for certain.
Of course, the cost of the puppy depends on the breed and the breeder’s reputation. A breeder with a strong reputation can get by charging more.
If you do not know of any reputable breeders, you can ask around to local humane societies, veterinarian offices, friends, etc. There are a lot of good breeder websites too.
An amateur breeder is one that is not a professional, but rather someone who might be a neighbour or friend whose dog has been bred. In this situation, the dogs probably were not selectively bred for appearance and temperament as a professional breeder would have done.
However, if the puppy was produced by two great dogs, you will most likely get a great dog too. A lot of families find an excellent dog this way and it is typically not as expensive as buying from a professional breeder.
This amateur breeder will most likely be able to provide you with some information about the puppy
At least, more information than you would know from an animal shelter or pet store.
I hope you learned a lot from today’s Dog training newsletter.
I will be back for more!