Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
The Problems of Purchasing Dogs and Cats from Pet shops
Some weeks ago I wrote about a Puppy purchased form Centracan that has an enlarged heart. The owner is waiting for the dog to reach ten months before the vet can say conclusively if this will be a problem or not as some dogs do grow into them. The owner is not only concerned about this but also there is still no sign of any pedigree and that the puppy was in the shop at 6 weeks of age when it should still have been with its mother and siblings. We can see the result of leaving the litter too early, as the puppy does not relate correctly with other dogs. It is improving now because of the many meeting we have had with the owner so her dog meets my Dog Winston.
The owner did request when she ordered the puppy that it should be available at about 10 weeks of age but they telephoned to say the puppy was available when it was only 6 weeks. They said it would only stay in the shop if she did not wish to pick it up.
Following on from this article an owner called me to say she had purchased a small puppy from the in-house pet shop at Carrefour shopping area at Alicante. The shop told the owner the pup's birthday was 19th December 2003. When she was a little concerned about her puppy she took it along too her vet who said that from the size of the puppy and looking it over the birthday was probably 19th January 2004. The vet was saying that she had probably purchased the puppy at 4 weeks old not at 8 weeks.
This does accounts for why this dog is very aggressive towards all other dogs even if the other dogs are not showing any aggression towards the pup. I have suggested that she takes her dog over to her friend's house and stands there whilst it barks at her friend's dogs that just look at her perplexed. Eventually if the owners and the other dogs just ignore the puppy's tantrum then she will begin to quieten down.
After a while, the dogs should start to sniff at one another to teach the puppy the proper meeting language if a little slowly. After this, the owner should then try meeting with other dogs and going to busy places so the puppy will eventually calm down and come to realise that dogs can become friends.
During this training stage, it is possible to ask the vet for something to calm your dogs to assist in learning to greet new dogs or people. We have though a further problem. This dog too has an enlarged heart and why the owner telephoned me in the first place so readers are aware of such problems. She knows it was not the place to purchase a puppy but at the time but anyone would have so easily have fallen in love with it.
I have watched advertising production and it is amazing to see the way they use their knowledge of human reactions. I watched one producer doing a television advert for an early CD player. The director had to make the table just the right height so that the lady should lean forward so as she showed off the player towards the camera the viewer could see her cleavage. It was such a matter of fact way of using people because we are all aware that sex sells. The other best seller is an appealing face and nature has created its own advertising director by creating puppies so that they are all appealing. The usage and manipulation of both of these ploys seem to fog the human brain into over riding all normal sensibility.
The lady had paid a considerable sum which is similar to that normally paid to a decent breeder but the puppy came without a pedigree but with an enlarged heart. Just to look at the EU rules controlling the sale of goods the puppy was not a suitable purchase for its intended use. It was ill and aggressive to all other dogs so as a companion it was not suitable. I did not expect the owner to want a replacement as she loved her dog but for the exorbitant price, she should ask them for a refund to reduce the shops profit so forcing them to reconsider buying dogs that have similar problems.
The lady telephoned this week to say that she had returned to the pet shop and complained about the age and the enlarged heart. The shop told the owner off the record that these puppies come from Czechoslovakia and they will not be purchasing any more from this source. All they were prepared to do was pay half of the vet bills the owner had incurred to date. That is not a satisfactory result for this owner or for anyone else who thinks of purchasing dogs from pet shops.
You should only purchase puppies and kittens from reputable breeders or a reputable non-profit making animal shelter and at a date that ensures they wean them properly and that they have learned all they need to know regarding survival.
For dogs, they need at least a minimum of 8 weeks to remain with their siblings before puppies start to go to new owners. I like 10 weeks but a good breeder can tell how they are coming along. In this period the pups learn how to react with other puppies, as well as learning skills needed to survive. Some of the skills like hunting are only games today but non-the less, they teach the puppies the necessary interaction.
When at 10 weeks and on up to 18 weeks they then learn how to relate to humans. Because of the need to survive, puppies learn at a phenomenal rate and imbed what they have learnt as almost gospel. Once at 18 weeks, they should have learned all they need to know on how to survive. The 10-week point of leaving the litter is the best point to have a dog that is confident with both people and other dogs. Too long with the puppies and we find dogs do not relate well with people and similarly taken from the litter too early and they do not relate with dogs or cats as well as a well balance pet.
This is a basic rule not just my opinion. When we purchased our last cat, we could go and see her but not until the breeder gave the appointed time could we go to collect her.
I am very upset to see cats and dogs sold in pet shops. I see there is now a new pet shop in the Mall at Finistrat near Benidorm and there others opening in many other places. The reason is there is a big mark up and they treat dogs and cats as a product while we do not. If they sell faulty goods then they are not worth the money you would pay for them. Would you keep a Television where the screen is distorted? You would take it back but the shops know you will fall in love with your pets and you will not take it back so obtaining a refund is difficult and unless you have a strong consumer protection system that is willing to take on shops that sell shoddy goods other wise buyers are in a difficult position.
We also have the problem of intermediaries who can obtain any type of dog according to a list at a given price. I have to wonder if this is puppy farming where bitches just breed and breed in every season. This is no life for any dog. Quality control is non-existent and they are taking puppies from the litters at the earliest time ignoring their important health needs.
They see dogs only as an easy money product with a good profit margin where many people get a cut. The little dog that came from Czechoslovakia will have travelled far too early in its life. It will have had to go to some place where they supposedly checked them by a vet. After this, they then transport them out to the shops to sit in a glass box with hoards of people gazing in. How more traumatic can it be for a puppy to start its life this way and then I am called in to try to correct the problems.
Now with all these potential problems from such a system, you might expect I should be rubbing my hands with gleeful anticipation of improving my income. I am not. Such a system is not fair or healthy for such pets and certainly full of potential problems for the owners. It is false economy to buy this way. Yes, you can be lucky but often you will be not. Is it really worth the risk? If you do not buy from pet shops, they will begin to stop selling them.
Following on again from Hip Dysplasia I have had a lot of emails on how to spot the problems. In the young pups, you cannot see anything that early as the pelvis joints only begin to degenerate at about 4 months. Often there is no sign but forget about not letting small puppies from going up and down stairs. It does sound logical as does not making a puppy jump too early as it has growing bones. Think of those pictures of a horse with a dipped back because people rode it far too early in its youth.
Here are a few tests you can make. If a dog does not like going up and down, stairs then begin to suspect something is wrong. Look at the back legs are they pointing outwards with heels together. Do they run with both back legs together like a rabbit? Press each side of the dogs back legs and see if he or she can stay upright by fighting against your pressure. If you find it is very easy to push them over then it must be painful to resist.
Some vets can tell if there is something wrong early on in a puppy's life by feel and maybe an early x-ray but it is better not to get into this situation.
If you have a chosen breed please do ask people who have a dog of your choice that live near you and if they purchased it locally or from where. Go and ask your vet or other vets to recommend a breeder. If you know of a breeder then go to local vets and ask would they recommend them or have they had problems with this breeder. Sometimes they maybe hesitant to persuade you from a breeder as this can be a legal problem but if they say they have seen too many dogs from them then take that as a hint to leave alone.
It is important for our pets that we do not let ourselves get into that position and the best way to do this is purchase dogs and cats from only approved and reputable source like breeders or shelters in a time frame that is beneficial to the petís well-being. Even then, you cannot always guarantee there are no problems but it should at least reduce them to a minimum and if there are any we can always help to smooth off some of the rough edges.
For our pets sakes lets be careful out there.