HOW MUCH IS THAT PUPPY IN THE WINDOW?
Cute song but a pet store is not where you want to buy a puppy UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!! Let’s address where to actually buy a puppy ….before I get on this soapbox let me give you some facts about puppies from birth to 8 weeks (the PROPER age to get a puppy) The mother dog contributes 75% of the puppies genetic makeup and temperament. Meaning if the mommy dog has genetic problems 75%of those problems i.e. hip dysplasia will be passed on to her puppies. If she is afraid of people, is aggressive towards people, afraid of thunderstorms etc. she passes that on to her puppies. If puppies are separated from their mother before 5 weeks they become an aggressive dog risk. The mother dog teaches her puppies “inhibited” bite between the 5th and 7th week. Meaning when the puppy tries to bite hard on his mom the mother dog corrects that puppy so he does not clamp down with his mouth. This is called “inhibited” bite. So when a crappy uninformed breeder sells you a puppy that is under 6 weeks of age you have now purchased a puppy who is at risk to bite you or your kids in the future. So when you take home this underage puppy and then start playing tug of war, chase me games, wrestle games and you all of a sudden have scars on your arms or your kids are now afraid of the puppy you got especially for them guess where it came from? An ethical, informed breeder handles his/her puppies properly from birth; raises them inside, keeps them clean and matches them to the proper buyer. The buyer then has a great dog that will stay with them until a ripe old age.
So I am going to make people mad or at least I will get them thinking about where to “get” a dog. We have entered into a trend of being politically correct about where we get dogs…the shelter folks have done a great job in convincing people the only place to get a dog is from a shelter. “Crap” I say. I would NEVER suggest that a family with kids (especially under 5; and why are you getting a dog with “little” kids in the house anyway) adopt a dog from a shelter. That’s right not from a shelter; especially from a shelter that does not “test” their dogs for adoptability; and match them to the proper family for it’s temperament, size, age, etc. Most dogs are not in shelters because they are “well behaved” Since 1974 when I started to do dog rescue up until now I have yet to meet someone abandoning a dog that is well-behaved.
Sooo if you are going to adopt a dog for your family of kids you are adopting a dog with “baggage”. You will have no idea about that “baggage” it could be as simple as a barking problem or as serious as a “biting” problem. So where are you supposed to get a dog you ask? I have no problem with saving a dog that has been abandoned but be thoughtful about where you adopt if from…if you want a Poodle go to a local Poodle rescue. They usually have the dogs living in a foster home and can tell you exactly what the behavior problems are and/or have actually fixed the problems or will assist you in fixing them. They are also (or should be ) good at telling you NO a Poodle is not the right breed for your family and tell you why. If you gt to a shelter or private rescue group ask if they temperament test…if they don’t know what that is; or say No simply go somewhere else.
Most shelters have an 80% return rate…
So you have done your research, you have gotten on some reliable websites and you have decided that you want a “Three toed herding dog” where do you go?
What do you ask for or look for in selecting where to get your “Three-toed herding dog”
You can start by contacting your local AKC or UKC kennel club and see if they offer a breeder referral list. Many times these breeders have to sign a code of ethics and maintain certain standards to be on the referral list.
An ethical breeder will only breed a litter every couple of years. they will require you to sign a contract that will guarantee you a genetically sound puppy (because they have tested and screened parents for genetic diseases) and a temperamentally sound puppy according to the breed standard. If something goes wrong with the puppy genetically they will refund your money or replace the puppy. You may have to agree to spay/neuter the puppy, keep it as a house dog , and/or take it to training. My contract to purchase a puppy from me is 5 pages long. My adoption contract for a rescue dog is 3 pages long. If I brought a puppy into the world or I rescued a dog; it is my moral responsibility to maintain an interest in that puppy/dog for it’s life time. Meaning if at ANY time you cannot keep a dog that you have gotten from me it comes back to me immediately.
Now some shelters/rescue groups/ breeders go over the top when it comes to requirements to obtain a dog from them but I would rather have too many than not enough. If you do not feel comfortable with the breeder/shelter/rescue group and you don’t feel that they will be available to answer any questions that you may have then go ELSEWHERE!
What to pay for a puppy/dog? Well that is a huge debate..in my opinion a pet purebred puppy (that you must spay or neuter) from an ethical breeder that comes with a guarantee will cost anywhere from $600 to $1,200 dollars depending on the breed. Show puppies are a different discussion. Can you get a nice puppy for $300 dollars sure; purchased with the knowledge that it may have a genetic problem that could be heartbreaking.
Let’s talk puppy mills..my description of a “puppy mill” is ANYONE who breeds dogs for profit, does no genetic testing, places puppies too early, or has more than one litter every two to three years.
Common sense would dictate that you DO NOT “meet” someone in a parking lot and buy a puppy out of the back of their truck or van or on the side of the road or a Wal Mart parking lot. The same goes for the internet a great way to let lots of people know you are breeding dogs; but quite often these are puppies from puppy mills, or careless breeders.. ask lots of questions before you have a puppy shipped to you sight unseen, How old is the mother dog, do they show their dogs, why did they have this litter, what type of guarantee do they give; are the puppies raised in the house, have they had at least one round of shots, is this the only breed of dog they raise; do they test for genetic diseases; can you come to their home and pick up your puppy? If they don’t answer yes to these questions or have good answers they are most likely a puppy mill or at best a careless breeder and these puppies are not socialized, the parents are warehoused and given minimum care and treated like a commodity. You end up with their gross misconduct when it comes to breeding dogs and the only “victim” is the puppy who gets abandoned because you cannot get it house-trained or continues to have behavior problems no matter what you do to correct it.
That being said..be sure whatever dog you purchase, find, inherit, or adopt you buy a crate; use it and immediately enroll said dog in a training class to ensure that the dog is a companion that you will enjoy for a lifetime..