Don't Buy That Puppy in the Window
Reasons NOT to buy a puppy from a pet shop or puppy mill
That adorable puppy in the window of the pet store is hard to resist, but you may be paying a lot of money for a dog that you know very 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, or result in the loss of the dog. 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. Many of these genetic problems can be detected with today's technology, but these tests are expensive. People who are concerned about the welfare and future of their breed will have these tests conducted to preserve and improve in the future quality of their breed.
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. 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 unregister able puppies. The parents of your puppy may be unhealthy or carriers of crippling or deadly health defects which they may have passed to their offspring- your puppy. They are most likely horrible representations of that breed. 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.
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. You do not know if the parents fit the standard either and cannot see the faults that each parent has. You should also be able to see at least the mother of the puppy that you are buying if bought from a responsible breeder. 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. Why spend so much money without even knowing what the puppy's parents look like?
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 daily exercises than a puppy that has been brought up properly. Responsible breeders also base their breeding decisions in part on their dogs' temperament and personality, not only on looks or the fact that they are purebred. Most pet store puppies' parents have not been selected for any reason other than they can produce puppies that sell as cute "purebreds".
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. Puppy mills often obtain their breeding dogs from people in a hurry to get rid of their dogs for some reason, often through "free dog" ads in newspapers or public auctions. Occasionally they are stolen from their owners. 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 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. They want to be actively involved in screening the home that their puppies go to. Breeders are also concerned about keeping track of their puppies after they leave the breeder's home. They will know about any health problems that their lines may carry, and will be interested in any health problems that a puppy of their breeding develops. Buying from a pet store does not mean that you will save any money in the purchase price of the puppy either.
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. If you have a training problem they will often be unable or unwilling to give you training advice. 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. This practice enables breeders to keep dogs that are not breeding quality out of the breeding population and also monitor what happens to their puppies in their new homes. 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. 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 carefully researching the breed that you are interested in. Good breeders can inform you about genetic diseases common in the breed you want and are generally happy to share their knowledge. When you are ready to buy a puppy from a particular planned litter ask the breeder for proof of genetic tests specific to the breed and request to see one or both of the parents of your new puppy. A common excuse for buying a puppy from a pet store is that you do not plan to show your puppy, you just want a companion. Out of each litter that a reputable breeder produces a portion of the puppies will not be show quality, but would make outstanding pets. Not every puppy that a breeder produces is destined for stardom in the show ring, but might well be the next shining star in your household. Please pass up the next puppy you see in the pet store and contact breed organizations