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The Terrible Ten
When Less is More
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Little Shop of Horrors
The AKC Pure Bred
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Little Shop of Horrors

Time after time, people who care about dogs will try to convince you not to buy your puppy (or supplies) from a pet shop which sells puppies.  

They'll tell of the horrible conditions 
in which the dogs are bred.  

They'll show you pictures of the cramped, filthy pens in which the breeding stock is housed.  

You'll be shocked and you'll be horrified.  

But you'll forget all that when you see that little bundle of love wagging it's tail at you through the glass and begging you to take it home.  A quick pass of the credit card, and you're walking out the door a dog owner.  

  • No waiting
  • No travel
  • No pesky contracts
  • No spay/neuter agreements
  • No probing questions about you and your family to find out whether this is the right breed for you.
  • No problems.  

Don't kid yourself, there will be problems.  Forget the horrible conditions that this puppy came into when he entered this world.  Forget that you're buying a complete mystery puppy.  Sure, the breed standard for the breed says it's a calm, gentle family dog, but the owner of the puppy mill who produced your little bundle of love has probably never seen the breed standard, let alone bred to achieve it.   

Puppies will grow up to be 
like their parents.
 

Many a family has bought a darling little Cocker Spaniel puppy at the pet store only to have it grow into a psychotic, screaming, urinating, biting terror.  Cocker Spaniels are a wonderful breed, especially suited to families, when purchased from a reputable breeder.  Cocker Spaniels are notoriously awful dogs when purchased from pet stores and poor breeders.  This is true not only of Cocker Spaniels, but many, many other popular breeds.   

Puppies will grow up to be 
like their parents.
 

Repeat this to yourself as you walk through the mall and past the pet store.  Make it your mantra.  That puppy in the window has parents living in cages hundreds of miles away.  

  • You have no idea whether the sire is an aggressive terror .
  • You have no idea whether the dam is a timid, nervous fear biter.  
  • You have no idea what genetic time bomb is ticking inside that cute little bundle of fur.

Like playing the lottery?  That's exactly what you're doing when you buy a puppy from a pet shop.  However, when you don't win in the lottery, you throw your ticket away.  What will you do with a sick, ill-tempered member of your family if you don't get lucky and pick a winner?

Of course there are sweet natured, wonderful dogs who end up in the hands of puppy millers.  These incredible dogs produce sweet natured, wonderful puppies despite the deplorable conditions in which they survive. 

Your problem, should you decide to buy from a pet store, is there is no way of knowing whether the puppy in the window is the product of a sweet, wonderful dog or a psychotic, screaming, urinating, biting terror.  

Feeling lucky? Go buy a lottery ticket. Don't buy a puppy from a pet store.

Puppies will grow up to be 
like their parents.
 
  

Even if your locally owned pet store gets their puppies from local breeders, beware.  Again, you can't meet the sire and dam of the litter and one must question the ethics of a breeder who will sell their puppies to someone they never have nor ever will meet.  Ask the local pet store what their guarantee is.  You'll find answers ranging from "48 hours" to "none".  Remember, many diseases don't show up for years.  The only acceptable answer is "a lifetime guarantee against genetic defects".  Get it in writing.

Puppies will grow up to be 
like their parents.
 

One day I overheard a teenager who works nights and weekends at a local pet store was telling a family with very small children how wonderful Chihuahuas (the Taco Bell Dog) are with children.   Unfortunately, they aren't.  This pimply faced teen  then turned to another family and offered his "expert" advice on another breed.  I do not question the young man's love of animals.  I am sure he is a first class animal lover.  However, based upon the advice I heard him dispense that evening, he is far from an expert on any breed of dog.

A breeder of Cocker Spaniels may not be a great source of information about Irish Wolfhounds.  If you want information about Chihuahuas, ask a Chihuahua breeder.  Heck, ask SEVERAL!  

Do your own research. The internet is a great place to start.  Find the experts in the breed you want to consider.  Ask them questions.   Remember, breeders are human too.  Some know more than others.  Some think they know more than they do.  If you talk to four or five different breeders, you should hear  the same answers over and over again.  If four breeders tell you their breed is not suited for children and then a fifth tells you differently, don't assume the other four are "lying".

You can't do research standing in the middle of a mall.  Get out, get home and you'll find......

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