Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
Disadvantages of Pet Shops. It may be impossible to know where a pet shop dog originated. It could be from a commercial breeder, a puppy mill, or even from an unexpected litter from a dog owned by a customer of the pet shop. Without knowing where the puppy originated, meeting its parents and getting their health reports, it is impossible to accurately evaluate the two most important criteria in getting a healthy puppy. The first of these is what genetic health problems may exist in the puppy. The second is what tendencies in temperament may be passed on to the puppy. A puppy may seem healthy when you get it from a pet shop, but may start to show symptoms of an infectious illness contracted at the shop days or even weeks later and the most serious genetic health issues typically do not display themselves until adolescence or later. Additionally, pet shop dogs may not be living in healthy conditions. Pet shops that don't have the resources or facilities to properly clean dogs' cages, exercise them and provide them with human socialization may result in dogs with behavioral problems or illness. Dogs in pet shops may exhibit kennel stress and this may make it difficult to effectively evaluate their temperament to determine whether they'd be a good fit for your home. A pet shop owner or the salesman helping you may be generally knowledgeable about dogs, but sometimes don't know all of the characteristics of a given breed. They may be able to provide you with a general overview of dog ownership, or a limited selection of breed characteristics, but don't have the in-depth expertise of a breeder who works with a breed day-in and day-out and may have done so for years. That means that pet shop owners may not be able to effectively answer your questions about a specific breed or assess a breed's appropriateness for your lifestyle in the same way that a responsible breeder could. When you buy a dog from a pet shop you don't know anything about its parents or how it was raised. When you buy from a breeder you can generally meet one or sometimes both parents and get a good idea of their quality as dogs. When you buy from a pet shop you have no such information. Not knowing how a puppy was raised could result in you getting a puppy that's been poorly socialized, traumatized or raised in unsanitary conditions. Poor socialization or trauma can cause long-term behavioral problems. Without proper exercise, pet shop puppies may become hyperactive, noisy, and nippy. Additionally, puppies that are removed from their mothers and litters too early don't learn bite inhibition, and may be inclined to nip or bite. Finally, pet shop puppies may be difficult to housebreak. Dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping quarters but pet shop puppies usually have no choice but to eliminate in their cage. This can make crate training less effective and frequently makes it more difficult to housetrain these puppies. Prices at pet shops are inconsistent. Buying a dog from a pet shop may be cheaper than buying it directly from an AKC breeder but some dogs can be more expensive from pet shops than purchasing directly from a breeder. Pet shop dogs are generally more expensive than dogs from animal shelters and humane societies and may be more expensive than dogs from rescue groups. Keep in mind that pet shops are businesses and their goal is to sell dogs, so they may not answer your questions objectively. You should also be prepared for a marketing pitch or the occasional hard sell at a pet shop.