Saturday, February 27, 2010

On the subject of breeding and decorum...

Getting Dexter was my first experience with a breeder. In the past, my pets have only ever been shelter cats. However, my husband was adamant that if we were to get a dog, it had to be a doxie, and we both agreed we wanted a male puppy. So four months ago, I started looking for breeders that were within driving distance.

We found one in the same state as us, and began watching her web site. She seemed to really have her stuff together. Lots of suggestions, her mission statement was about improving the breed, she has tons of experience, and the pictures of all the puppies were adorable. We also liked the fact that the puppies were around children, which was important to us in case we wanted to have kids.

Finally, we felt ready to adopt a doxie, so I got in touch with the breeder. She was prompt in getting back to me, and we talked at length about our goals in a pet, how long we had been looking into getting a dog, what our household was like, the fact that I am currently not working so I will be home to train him. First impressions were good.

The day came for us to meet the breeder, and she called to make sure we were still coming. Again, I was happy. The happiness waned a little when we pulled in. She breeds out of her home, and raises the puppies in her kitchen. Not to be a snob, but, it did not look like the, well, cleanest of places. But in we went.

There were about 20 puppies in a little kids' swimming pool with some chicken wire fencing them in. They were all adorable, but older than what we wanted. Our puppy was in a crate with some other very young puppies. The minute I held him, I knew instantly, that he was in fact, "our puppy". We started the paperwork immediately.

Now, I do not know how things normally go with breeders, and how much they can actually be held accountable for. What I do know is, we LOVE Dexter. He has a wonderful personality, great demeanor, and seemed so ready to join our family. He never fussed at all on the 2 hour car ride home, and had no problems eating, drinking, or anything, as soon as he came into our home.

However, there are some things about the breeder and that environment that trouble me. First, she told that she fed all the dogs the same food. She fed all breeds, large and small, and all ages, puppy, adult, and mature, the same exact food. And it was really crappy cheap food, like 20 bucks for 50 pounds. It gave him the worst doggy breath. Switching him to a healthier, puppy formula food is wreaking havoc on his little belly, and causing potty troubles. Second, she sent us home with a syringe full of worm medicine, unlabeled, with very vague dosing instructions, as well as some other medication broken into pieces, shoved into an old prescription bottle (for some other prescription) with no suggestions on how to administer, other than once a day (morning, noon, when? tips for getting him to swallow?)

But finally, what really concerned me was I immediately noticed him scratching his ears. Our vet confirmed that he had ear mites, which seemed to surprise the vet. But then the vet asked if there were a lot of other dogs at this breeder, and explained that there were.

So, now I am left with mixed emotions about the breeder. I mean, I absolutely love this little puppy that came from her environment, but I have all these concerns. Are these normal? What types of experiences have other people had with breeders?

1 comment:

Renee said...

Hi Tiffany,
I had my first experience with a breeder when we got our Boston Terrier in August of 2008. However, the breeder we went to wasn't using her dog for profit per say. She was a family pet and the daddy was too. She had only had 3 litters and was going to be spayed after the litter we got our Lola from. We didn't go in the house so I can't say what the conditions were in there, but the puppies and the parents were all outside in a very very large doggie kennel in their large backyard. I could tell that the puppies and the parents were well loved and well taken care of by their appearance. The lady said she was having the puppies spend small amounts of time outside so they could get used to the outside noises. She was feeding them puppy Chow and my doggie had no problem switching to different puppy food right away. As for medication and such, she had given the first puppy shots herself and the deworming meds too. I made an appointment right away with a vet and had absolutely no problems. When I called the breeder to be sure I had an accurate record written down of all the shots and things she had already had, she was more than happy to tell me exactly what that was. I had a very good experience with this breeder. We didn't do any checking around though so I don't have much to compare to. This was a first experience for me dealing with a breeder and I think that because the mommy and daddy were family pets, not just moneymakers made a very big difference in the care of the puppies. It sounds like your breeder had a couple litters going at the same time and didn't consult with a vet in the care of the puppies from the beginning. I'm sure Dexter will adjust to his good puppy food very soon and the potty training will come easier! :) We didn't crate train our puppy. She slept with us from day 1! I couldn't take those sad lonely crys coming from the cage so I picked her up and cuddled her and that's where she has been ever since. When she was tiny, since I was home with her all day long, I would take her outside every 2 hours and reward her when she went and brought her back in right away so she knew that is what she was supposed to be doing out there. Gradually I would extend the time between going out so she could learn to hold it a bit longer. She took to it very well and now crys at the door whenever she needs to go. She NEVER has accidents. We were very lucky though because from day 1 she would sleep all night long and wake me up in the morning before she left the bed so I would get up and get her out right away! Now i'm usually up for a good 15 minutes or so before she makes her way out from under the covers. ;)

Good luck to you with your puppy adventures! I know I love mine! She makes me laugh and smile daily, just like my kids. ;)