Pet Shop Puppies
Every pet shop that sells puppies will assure you, solemnly, that their puppies are different. Their puppies
don't come from puppy mills, but from fine local breeders. Pillars of the community, in fact.
is that responsible breeders will never place one of their puppies in a pet shop or anywhere else for resale or consignment.
Never, ever, ever. Any breeder who has placed their puppy in a pet shop to be sold has immediately disqualified
himself as a responsible breeder.
Because, as commercial establishments, pet shops are required to sell a puppy to anyone
who can pay. Legally, they are not allowed to "screen" buyers for suitability. Responsible breeders wouldn't be able to sleep
at night wondering which of their puppies might have gone to an unsuitable home and was not being properly cared for.
The pet shop industry has manuals and trade journals that teach pet shop owners and
employees exactly what to say to persuade you to buy. Their marketing ploys include:
only from local breeders."
difference does this make? Whether a breeder is local or lives in Timbuktu, whether he has produced only one litter or many -- if he has placed
his puppies in a pet shop, his breeding practices are irresponsible. Geographical location makes no difference at all.
Ask the pet
shop for the phone number of one of these local breeders. Call them with the interview questions recommended in my book, Your Purebred Puppy: A Buyer's Guide. They will fail.
"reassuring" platitude is how pet shops and irresponsible breeders seek to get around the expenses of genetic testing.
to replace defective puppies rather than avoiding them in the first place by requiring their "wonderful" breeders to do genetic
health tests on any parent dog used for breeding.
Let's look at it from the PUPPY'S point of view. Guarantees don't help a puppy at
all. You get your money back, while the puppy still has to live with the genetic health problem that could have been
avoided -- if his breeder had been seeking to produce healthy lives rather than seeking to keep his expenses down by avoiding
genetic health testing.
We're talking about quality of life here. Don't support any breeder or pet shop who
cares so little about the future life of their puppies that they do not require genetic health testing of the parents, in
breeds where such health problems are virtually an epidemic.
Obedience instructors and canine behavioral consultants will be happy to tell you
about the temperament and behavior problems that develop in many pet shop puppies as they grow up.
Most pet shop puppies start out playful and friendly, but as they mature, their
genes begin to assert themselves. If their parents or grandparents had shy or aggressive or hyperactive temperaments,
those genes will show up during adolescence and adulthood.
Many pet shop puppies are nippy. Some were removed from their mother
before 7 weeks of age, a critical period of time where she teaches them "bite inhibition." Some have learned to nip from interacting
with so many potential owners wandering through the pet shop, including kids who tug and play roughly. Most of these potential
owners thought the nipping was cute, didn't correct the puppy for it, and so the habit becomes entrenched.
reason not to buy -- supporting the industry
You may wish to "rescue" a pet shop puppy. That's completely understandable. We all
feel sorry for them.
But your good intentions will backfire, because you are feeding the industry by rewarding it with money.
You've emptied one cage, yes -- which creates demand for yet another litter to be
produced to fill that cage. Even if you're very, very lucky, and your one individual puppy turns out okay, a large percentage
of the others will not -- and YOU provided the incentive for them to be born by buying the one who came before them.
seems like a simple, isolated purchase actually contributes to:
- The misery of adult females who spend
their lives in a cage, being bred again and again to provide puppies that you and others can buy
- The misery of these future puppies
born with health and temperament problems
- The misery of future families who
buy these puppies and then try to cope with the health and temperament problems
- The misery of animal rescue groups
trying to deal with the flood of pet shop puppies dumped on their doorstep because families gave up on the health and temperament
I hope it's
clear that when you buy one of those cute puppies in the pet shop window, you buy more than the puppy. You buy the budding
physical and behavioral problems created by the bad genes passed on by untested parents whom you never get to see and evaluate.
Worse than that, you buy into a profit-hungry industry that is hurting innocent animals.
Simply out of good conscience, a pet shop should not be anyone's choice as a source for a puppy.