Does it really make a difference where you get a puppy, provided you find the breed you want? Yes, absolutely. If you’re not planning to breed the dog to produce winning show dogs or dependable working dogs, it might seem unimportant to seek out a breeder who strives to improve the breed with each litter. Actually, it’s vitally important, and ignoring this concern can lead to sad times in your home…..
What Is A Puppy Mill?
The term puppy mill is a label that every breeder denies applies to them and that every pet shop denies that their puppies come from… so what exactly is a puppy mill?
Other names for this type of breeding operation might be puppy farm or commercial breeder; wherever dogs are produced for profit the animals are at risk. It’s seldom profitable to breed dogs humanely and responsibly. The profit comes when dogs live their lives in cages, rather than with human companionship. The profit comes when commercial operations provide only the minimum requirements to keep a dog alive and able to breed, filth, loneliness, fear and pain constitute the typical life these dogs know.
Puppies produced in this situation have the wrong start in life. Experiences in the early weeks are critical to a dog’s development. Commercially bred puppies miss vital experiences they need during this time, and they are exposed to experiences that harm their emotional stability for later. One experience many of them have is to leave the mother and littermates far too early in order to be in the pet shop on display for sale at the “cutest” time.
Behavior problems you may experience with a puppy from this source include housetraining issues because the puppy has been confined too close to feces and urine. This causes damage to the pup’s natural instincts to keep the den area clean. These pups have also typically missed important conditioning to appropriate surfaces for defecation and urination; they may never have even been on grass. A frightened mother dog can transmit her fears to her pups, leaving the mother and littermates too early can result later in biting problems, since the pup missed early bite inhibition that needs to happen in the litter.
The physical problems that result from a poor start in life as well as poor genetic selection of the parent dogs can also profoundly affect the behavior of a puppy bred by a commercial breeder. Pain and fear cause dogs to react defensively. Dogs don’t show their pain in the same ways that people do, and often a change in behavior is the first sign- sometimes the only sign- that a dog is ill or has a genetically based health issue.
Responsible breeders make their breeding choices based on producing puppies with the genetics for both good health and good temperament. Responsible breeders will be there for you later if there are problems. A responsible breeder will place each pup personally, not through a third party such as a pet shop or broker. The commercial breeder is not interested in any problems you have beyond the time your purchase check has cleared the bank.
What Does the Term Backyard Breeder Mean?
Another attempt to define various kinds of breeders results in the term “backyard breeder”. This term is used to describe people who breed dogs without knowing what they are doing, not knowing their dogs health issues, pedigrees… etc. The motive is PROFIT and some make a tidy profit from turning out puppies without spending the money to provide them with good care.
The backyard-bred puppy may make an all right companion dog, if the parents were good companion dogs. Genetic health and temperament problems may be waiting to emerge as the pup matures, since this type of breeder isn’t likely to have done the appropriate testing of both parents to make a good genetic pairing. It’s a complete gamble as to how things will turn out with a puppy you acquire from this type of breeder. These puppies are probably the cheapest to purchase, especially the ones the breeder can’t sell at the most profitable “cute” age. Responsible breeders have homes lined up for their puppies in advance. They have acquired reputable credentials on the appropriateness of the parent dogs before breeding, in the form of testing for genetic problems common in their breeds as well as titles or other verification that the dogs are good examples of their breed. As a result, their puppies are in demand. The unprepared, uninformed person who decides to give breeding a try is surprised to find there’s no demand for carelessly bred pups at high prices.
If we were to discuss what’s best for the dogs, it’s certainly for them to be bred only by people who will take excellent care of parents and pups. Great suffering in dogs is alleviated when breeders refrain from reproducing genetic problems. Only breeders who put the welfare of the dogs ahead of profit make these difficult decisions. To learn how to make the right decisions, responsible breeders work with experienced mentors and do a great deal of study and spend a great deal of money on health testing and AKC championships.
Such a discussion would also include the inhumanity of keeping a dog in a cage for a life whose sole purpose is to produce puppies for human profit. Every puppy purchased from such a source is a powerful vote. That purchase makes it profitable to breed the parent dogs again and the cycle of suffering continues. When you see a puppy, you don’t see that suffering. It’s easy to think that the suffering that happens in commercial breeding has nothing to do with you. Sadly, chances are good that you and the puppy will become a part of the sad cycle of suffering. Genetics play a huge role in dog temperament, as do the experiences of the first several weeks of life. Getting your puppy from a responsible breeder is not only a socially responsible thing to do, but also the best way to wind up with a healthy happy puppy that grows into a healthy happy dog…..