10 Reasons NOT to buy a puppy from a pet shop
That adorable puppy in the pet store is hard to resist, but you may be paying a lot of money for a dog that you know little about. Pet stores generally 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 may cost you a lot of money to remedy. When you buy a pet store puppy it is very unlikely that the puppy's parents were screened for genetic diseases that can be passed to their offspring. Every breed of dog has genetic problems that are passed from generation to generation by breeding dogs that carry the flawed gene. Most good breeders are more concerned about the health of the puppies that 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
Most pet shops would like you to believe that if a puppy is registered by the American Kennel Club, this guarantees the puppy will be healthy and a good example of the breed. This is not so. The only thing that AKC papers certify is that the puppy is a purebred and produced out of AKC registered parents. Even this can be fiction, as some producers register more puppies than are actually born in each litter to receive extra registration slips to pass out with unregisterable puppies. They may also be horrible representations of the breed that you are buying. Often times the parentage of pet store puppies is also questionable due to poor record keeping. In other words, your puppy may not even be a purebred, even though it has AKC papers. Responsible breeders do register their puppies with the AKC, but that is only the beginning.
3. The pet shop guarantee
Many pet stores provide a form of guarantee for people buying puppies from them, but their guarantees may be as bad as none at all.
4. What will that puppy look like 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. There is no perfect dog, but a good breeder will be willing to discuss the faults and strengths that each of their dogs possesses. Even then you can not tell exactly what the puppy will look like, but you will have a much better idea of what to expect.
5. What do you know about the breed?
Employees of pet stores generally know very little about the dogs that are in the store. Good breeders are full of information about the breed of puppy that you are considering. They will also be able to warn you about specific health problems that the breed is prone to and will be able to tell you what aspects the breed excels in. There is no breed of dog perfect for every person and a good breeder is concerned that their puppy goes to a home that they will fit into.
6. Housebreaking and training problems
This puppy that you are buying from a pet store has most likely spent much of its life in a cage. Many pet store puppies have never seen carpet and may never have even seen grass or dirt. Due to the conditions that puppies are kept in at pet stores, 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 may make housebreaking your puppy much more difficult. A good breeder keeps the puppy area very clean and makes sure the puppy has a separate elimination area. It can be much more difficult to teach a pet store puppy these daily exercises than a puppy that has been brought up properly. Most pet store puppies' parents have not been selected for any reason other than they can produce puppies that sell as cute "purebreds" registered by the AKC.
7. How about Socialization?
Your pet store puppy may well have never been in a house before. If this is the case then everything will be new and scary for them. Good breeders will expose their puppies to many situations so that the puppies are used to them by the time that they go to their new homes. A good breeder will know, due to hours of observation, which puppies are dominant and which are shy, which are energetic and which are easy going. Then the breeder will be able to match the puppy to the new owner and make sure that energetic pups go to active families and that shy puppies go to a home that can help them overcome their insecurity. Good breeders can help you make an educated decision about all aspects of your puppy's feeding, training and overall maintenance and care based on your family situation. If you are going to spend so much money on a dog that you plan to keep for its lifetime, why not find one that will fit into your lifestyle well?
8. What is a pedigree worth?
Some pet shops make a big deal out of their puppies' 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 the new owner. Can the pet store tell you what your puppies grand- parents died of, or how long they lived? Most pet store employees do not know any more about your puppy's background than you do. A reputable breeder can tell you all of this information about your pup's family tree and more.
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. Most mass produce puppies with money as the prime motive. Their breeding dogs are often kept in very poor conditions and are sometimes malnourished. The dogs are almost never tested for genetic diseases and may not receive vaccinations. Females are generally bred every heat cycle until they are worn out and then they are often 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 almost no responsible breeders will sell puppies to pet stores. Good breeders want to make sure that their puppies go to good homes and are well cared for. Buying from a pet store does not mean that you will save any money in the purchase price of the puppy either. When you buy from a reputable breeder there is no middle man involved who wants to take his share of the profit out of the price of the puppy. Often the price that good breeders charge is no more, and sometimes less, than what you will pay buying a puppy from a pet store.
10. After the puppy goes home
Once you take the puppy home from the pet store they do not generally care what happens to the puppy. Most pet shops 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. Most do not care if you take your dog home and breed it continually. Responsible breeders are more than people who sell puppies, they will also be good friends to you and your puppy. They care what happens to their puppies' once they are sold. Almost all good breeders sell on spay/neuter contracts or limited registration. Some breeders sell show quality puppies on co-ownership, so that they retain a portion of the dog's ownership, for better control of what happens to their dog later in it's life. If you have a health or training problem a good breeder will generally be able to offer you advice and help you through the ordeal. Most reputable breeder care about each of their puppies' futures and will be concerned about their welfare. 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 that you are interested in.
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