Monday, March 29, 2010

What Is Best Place To Buy A Puppy

A number of years ago when I had my first litter of Labrador Retriever puppies for sale I got a call from a woman who asked me all sorts of questions about the pups and then sniffed that she did not approve of "backyard breeders" before abruptly hanging up on me. I stared at the phone in astonishment. I said out loud to the phone, "Would you rather get your dog from a puppy mill?

This was my first litter of pups, but I certainly did not consider myself a backyard breeder. My dog was from a long line of field champions, master hunters and other highly titled dogs. So was the sire of my litter. Both parents of the pups had already earned their AKC Senior Hunter titles. Both parents were cleared through the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals on their hips and elbows. The pups eyes were checked by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

What's more, I had thoroughly socialized the pups, spending hours of time with them. They were introduced to retrieving, birds and water. They LOVED people and were smart little things.

Recently I placed a pup from my last litter with a very good friend and fellow hunter/ retriever trainer. She mentioned to me how much different this pup is from some of the others she has obtained from larger kennels. She noted that the pup from me did not ever bite at her like so many do when first brought home. And how eager to please he was and how he always retrieves and delivers a bumper or a bird to hand.

I have also noticed a big difference in pups I have bought that are raised in someone's house with a lot of time spent interacting with people versus pups that came from a very highly respected kennel where the time spent with the pups was a little less steady.

From the time my pups are three weeks old they ride on my truck with me out to the training grounds where they hear far-off gun fire. By the time they are six weeks old, they are introduced to birds and they are exposed on a regular basis to the sound of far-off gun fire. By the time they are eight weeks old, they are introduced to retrieving and begin to associate the sound of gun fire with the excitement of marks.

I think of the term "backyard breeder" and think of someone who does not compete and train with their dogs. They might have a male & female dog and just let them "get together" in hopes of making money off the pups. They probably don't know a whole lot about pedigrees and clearances. Not that the pups are necessarily going to be bad dogs. Not at all. Being a "backyard breeder" is not necessarily saying that the dogs are not going to turn out well, especially if the dogs are well socialized and well cared for.

Puppy Mills have received huge amounts of attention over the past twenty years. The plight of dogs in wire cages imprisoned and forced to breed puppies to be sold to pet stores is an emotional topic that tugs at most people's heart. There are many great people who rescue dogs from these mills when they are shut down by authorities. The dogs and pups coming out of these operations face many health issues. They also have a tendency to have problems with socialization. Dogs kept in isolation from people often exhibit fear of people--for good reason.

As a professional dog trainer, I recommend NOT buying a puppy from a pet store. Chances are that pup came from a puppy mill. The likelihood that the pup will be harder to train is huge. Plus, buying a pup from a local breeder that you can visit and interview will discourage puppy mills from being in business.

1 comment:

dfelipe1978 said...

Good article!!! We are so against puppy mills and back yard breeders that's why we wanted one of your pups because we were able to see them from a young age and how they were cared for at Kate's Lab Rescue Center.