Tue

13

Dec

2011

Puppy Mills - Christmas Puppies - Responsible Decisions

This week I have booked several training consultations - for example, one with a Lhassa Apso that I saw get in a nasty dog fight with a bigger dog, and another one that proves to be difficult for his family: separation anxiety, incessant barking and biting...

 

Puppy Mill
The mother your petstore pup left behind

In particular I am going to work with a puppy that comes from a puppy mill. I'd like to grasp this opportunity to remind everyone to please, please not buy puppies for Christmas. Puppies should always come either from a shelter or from a reputable breeder, and none of those two organizations would let you buy a puppy for Christmas.

 

Companies that will sell you a puppy for Christmas are mainly

* pet stores,

* online pet stores,

* fake rescue organizations that will let you "rescue" a puppy or adult dog for an excruciatingly expensive rehoming fee. Those are mostly found online.

 

All of the above are supplied by puppy mills. If you're not too sensitive to graphic images, you can Google the concept of Puppy Mills and you will quickly understand that buying a puppy online or from a petstore is the worst thing you can do if you call yourself a dog lover. If you're going to get a dog, get out there and meet with him/her in person. Spend some time together, figure out if the dog's energy level is right for you and your family, invest the effort and time to really think this through: this little guy will spend the next 10 years with you, are you ready for this?

 

Buying a puppy online is like buying a plush toy. You base your decision making on photos that have been stolen from fancy photoshopped galleries, without looking at the actual "product" you're shopping for. The puppy you will actually get will often be sick, traumatized and rarely purebred. The mother of that puppy will stay in the cage she has never left, and have another litter a few months later. She will never get vaccines, dewormed, treated for fleas or ticks, she will never get to build muscles by walking on the floor, she will never be clean because she's living in her own feaces, and buying one of her puppies is simply supporting this horror to continue.

Buying a puppy from a petstore might make you feel like you've spent some time with the dog, but the reality is that you need to spend several weeks, if not months or sometimes years before you know that you're ready for a dog, let alone for that particular dog. Only a reputable breeder or shelter will understand that you need the time to make your decision, and they will appreciate that. In a puppy store, the sense of urgency and the risk of buying the puppy just because he's so cute are real and the next few months will be very, very challenging - that is, if your puppy is healthy enough to live.

 

From a training perspective, it is very hard to work with dogs that come from petstores - from puppy mills as their most basic instincts have been suppressed in order for them to survive. The instincts that I base my training on are just not there. I can use other methods but they're not half as efficient as the ones you use on a mentally healthy dog that was born in respectful conditions. You will be faced with some challenges during the whole life of your dog - that's at least 8 years if you've got a healthy dog.

 

If you are considering buying a puppy for Christmas, for your kid, your Mom or your friend, please take the time to go to the nearest shelter and ask the dogs in the cages what they think. The average age of dogs that get in a shelter is 13 months old. Why do you think that is?

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