Buying An Older Dog From A Breeder
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Should you buy an older dog from a breeder?
What Dog Is Right For You: The decision for getting any dog starts with knowing what kind of dog works best for your home. Are you a couch potato? A hiker? Someone with lots of guests, or kids, or other dogs, or do you have birds, cats, or ferrets? Do you live in a cold or hot climate? Do you mind grooming a dog? Do you have enough time for a dog? What is the right breed for you?
Do You Know How To Interview A Breeder? There are ways to buy a dog and choose a breeder. You should know a few things, such as what questions to ask, how to verify that they are reputable, how to determine the kinds of dogs they breed, if the dogs are healthy, and so on.
Socialization History: Many breeder’s dogs have never left the home. As a result, when you bring them into your home, and into your life, they are extremely afraid. Their whole world has come crashing down, and they just can’t cope. It is no fun owning a dog that wasn’t properly socialized. I think it is negligent on the part of many breeders to own dogs and then not socialize them. Then, when the dog is past breeding age, they sell them for top dollar, to some unsuspecting novice dog owner. Then the breeder can own another dog, neglect its socialization, you are stuck with a dog that has behavioral problems, and the cycle repeats. A responsible breeder properly socializes all their dogs throughout the dog’s life. Dogs are taken to the store, on trips, visit with guests, and all the other things that pet dogs do. If they have too many dogs to do this, then they are no better than dog hoarders as far as I’m concerned. Take two perfectly normal puppies bred by a particular breeder. One goes to a good dog home, is trained and socialized, from 8 weeks through adulthood. It will turn out to be a great dog. Take the second puppy, leave it at the breeder’s place, left in a kennel and not taken anywhere regularly. When the dog is an adult, it will be afraid of everything and everyone outside the breeder’s property. In some cases, the dog will even become dangerous to strangers and strange animals. You need to meet the dog, take it in public, take it around other animals, meet strangers in public, and take the dog to your home, and see how the dog deals with all these situations. Make sure there is a written agreement that allows you to return the dog, and get your money back, if it isn’t doing well in your home after the first 60 days. Of course, the dog would have to be returned in a healthy condition, as verified by a veterinarian.
Health: You always want to get a dog checked out by a veterinarian before, at the time, or just after you purchase a dog. There needs to be something in the purchase agreement that allows you to return the dog, no questions asked, within a reasonable amount of time, if the veterinarian finds something costly or serious. Even puppies need a vet clearance. Older dogs can start developing age related diseases after 5 years of age, so you need to know what you are getting into.
Making The Decision: If you get the right breed of dog, with a responsible breeder, and the dog has been properly socialized, then go ahead and get the dog. Buy it for a small price, because it isn’t very valuable now. Don’t pay top dollar. Dogs are most valuable as 8 to 12 week old puppies, or if the dogs are titled champions and are still capable of breeding for a few years. If the dog isn’t the right breed, or isn’t with a responsible breeder, or it hasn’t been properly socialized, or if they are asking top dollar… then don’t buy that dog.
No Training: And, by the way, such a dog is often completely untrained. You will need to hire professional help to house train the dog, teach the dog manners, and do obedience training. Don’t neglect this!!! Many people are way to rough on these dogs, and it is unfair. They are adults, but they aren’t trained. You MUST have some common sense and realize that the dog is coming into the home knowing nothing, and it will be getting into trouble, and it isn’t the dog’s fault. It will be your fault if the dog does something bad… the dog is untrained.
Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.