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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Look Before You Leap

I am in a couple of online pet groups where it is common for people to post that they have puppies for sale. What amazes me is that within minutes there are people offering to buy these puppies based on no more than a photo of a cute, fluffy puppy.  Deals are made without the buyer asking questions other than "how much?" or "do they come with shots?".  Some of these puppies are breeds that have a well know history of health and/or temperament issues, where serious questions should be asked before purchasing.  

There is a real lack of education in the pet puppy buying market, which is sad. When people go to buy a pet, they are generally looking for a nice, easy going dog that will be easy to train and will fit into everyday situations.  They want a puppy that is going to grow up to be a healthy dog and just a nice family pet.  Sometimes this is what happens, but based on how many dogs are surrendered to shelters or relegated to the backyard, this is not always the case. Puppy buying education would really help all these types issues. Finding a puppy that is suitable for your family involves more than picking a cute puppy from an Internet ad.  It should involve research to make sure your puppy comes from a caring, responsible breeder that is more concerned about producing healthy, sound puppies than making money. 

Bernese puppies seem to be an easy sell.  They are fluffy, extra cute and the breed is often noted as being laid back and a great family dog.  None of this is untrue. However, the breed comes with some serious health issues and as the popularity of the breed increases so do bad breeders.  Breeders who do not health test and who do not care what kind of temperaments they are producing.  I often have people looking for a Bernese puppy ask me to recommend breeders or they ask me about the reputation of a breeder they may be considering. I tell everyone the same thing - Do Your Research! There are many wonderful breeders that truely care about the breed and are doing all they can do to produce healthy, sound puppies.  Then there are breeders who are in the business of selling puppies. They cut corners where they can (little to no health testing and do not title dogs in anything).  They are good at telling puppy buyers what they want to hear to make a sale (selling and marketing puppies is their job) but can not always be counted on later when you actually need their help or advise. Uneducated puppy buyers are the backbone of these types of breeders business. They do not want puppy buyers doing their research, they just want to sell puppies.  

I was recently threatened and bullied by one of these types of breeders.  On a public forum I suggested that someone do more research before they decided to go with a particular breeder.  I did not tell them where or where not to buy a puppy, but in a private message I gave them the links to help them research further.  Well, this breeder did not like that I potentially lost her a sale and she was mad!! I know her threats were unfounded (being personal friends with lawyers comes in handy) but I obviously touched a nerve with her in regards to her breeding practices.  There is a reason that I recommend puppy buyers research breeders.  Do you really want a breeder who's only concern is that they may have lost a sale?  

I will not stop talking to people and trying to educate them about finding a puppy and breeder.  I know first hand the difference between buying from reputable, caring breeder and one that is just out to sell puppies.  And there is a big difference between the two.  

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