We are grateful to Anne Marie
Rasmussen from Canada who has written about :
What is a responsible dog owner?
A responsible dog
owner is a person who gets a dog for all the right reasons, researches the
right dog for them and takes the time to find that right dog. They take their
dog to the vet annually for health check ups and vaccinations. They spay and
neuter their pet. They feed a quality dog food. They spend time with their dog
and do not expect the dog to fend for themselves. They will be concerned about
the dog's health and safety. They will not allow their dog to run free where it
may be hurt or killed. They will keep and take care of their dogs in sickness
and in health.
What is a
responsible dog breeder?
A responsible breeder
is a breeder who has developed a breeding program and is breeding to improve
their dogs. They are not interested in making money, they rarely even cover
their expenses. They ensure that their female is healthy, free of parasites and
disease prior to breeding. They also make sure the same is true for the male
they intend to use at stud. They spend considerable time studying the planned
breeding by looking at pedigrees and getting as much information as possible on
the two dogs they plan to breed together. They would make sure that their
puppies have health checks and vaccinations prior to going to their new homes.
They will vet all perspective homes carefully to ensure that the puppies go to
the best homes available. They will make themselves available to answer
questions and address any concerns that their puppy buyers may have along the
way. They will take care of their old dogs despite the fact that they are no
longer useful as breeding dogs. This is just a small list of what goes into the
making of a responsible breeder. For a little more depth on what it involves to
be a breeder go to
What is a puppy mill?
A puppy mill is a
commercial breeding operation where the sole interest in breeding dogs is to
make money. Dogs are considered cash crops as if they were wheat or soya beans.
For the most part the dogs are kept in appalling conditions and they have
little human interaction. In general they would have no or little veterinary
attention throughout their lifespan. Nor would the puppies that are to be sold.
The only plan that they have in their "breeding program" is to produce as many
puppies as cheaply as possible. They have no interest in the health or
disposition of those puppies. They are like toy manufacturers who hope their
products fall apart quickly so that you will buy more.
What is a backyard
A backyard breeder is
a person who has one or two females that they breed from time to time to get a
little pocket money. Generally speaking the dogs that they are breeding were
sold to them as pet quality and they usually breed to the dog down the road who
is also of pet quality. They rarely understand about the genetic health
problems of the breed nor do they know anything about proper breeding
practices. They will generally sell their puppies between 6-8 weeks sometimes
younger and the puppies are only occasionally vaccinated or health checked
before going to their new homes.
Reasons to get a
For the children - No, no, no! the children are not a reason
to get a dog. These are little people who can't take care of their toys. They
are not ready for the commitment. The dog should be as much for the primary
caregiver in the family as anyone else, as this is who all the care of the dog
will fall on.
I saw it in the pet store and I couldn't leave it - This is
what the pet stores and puppy mills hope for. Impulse buyers usually base their
decision on sympathy for the puppy. However, by buying from a pet store, you
are really contributing to the continual suffering of dogs in puppy mills, as
more dogs purchased from the pet stores, the more that will be required to be
produced. It is supply and demand. You supply the demand.
Mixed breeds are
Not necessarily. Dog that are of no discernible background
can often be healthy where the role of hybrid vigor plays a part. However often
in cases of two breeds that have been mixed such as the Cocker Spaniel and the
Poodle if both parents carry a gene which may be common to those breeds (e.g.
epilepsy, heart problems, allergies, etc) then the likelihood is that the
resulting offspring will have doubled up the gene and have the disease.
Reasons to breed a dog
The children need to
see the miracle of birth - only if you are willing to show them the possible
end result of breeding for the sake of breeding. Be balanced take them to the
Humane Society on D Day.
Friends and family would love one - let them
buy one from a proper breeder! Why should you do all the work, have all the
expenses, no sleep for weeks, all that mess, etc, so they can have a puppy?
Also are you ready for the lifetime responsibility of what happens to those
dogs? Suppose your dog has 8-10 puppies do you have that many friends wanting
It is better for the female to have a litter before she is spayed
- better for you or the dog? There is absolutely no health benefit to a dog
having puppies. The minimum age that a dog of any breed should be bred is
approximately 18 months or after their 3rd season. Optimum is after 2 years for
many breeds as they require certain health tests to be done, such as x-raying
for Hip Dysplasia, prior to breeding which is not done until 2 years of age. By
spaying a bitch earlier than later, you lessen her chances of developing
mammary tumours later in life. There are also other diseases that unspayed
bitches are prone to, such as pyometra which is potentially life threatening.
Also you may find a bitch that has had puppies may become more dominant and
aggressive. They can also become inclined to mark (do little pees all over the
place, like males that lift their legs) Nor will not spaying your bitch keep
her from getting fat, a correct diet and exercise will do that.
is getting antzy and needs to be bred - no he doesn't, he needs to be neutered.
Breeding him will just make him harder to manage, he will become more inclined
to lift his leg, he may become more aggressive. Also an unneutered male is more
prone to problems later in life such as testicular cancer or prostate
I don't want a showdog, I want a pet
Showdogs should be pets first, showdogs second. All
responsible breeders breed with that foremost in their minds. Breeding dogs of
sound minds and bodies who after a very short show career are able to become
loved pets. In most litters there is usually only one or two dogs that would be
qualified for the showring so all dogs in that litter must be suitable as a
Females are easier to housebreak than males
Whether male or female, some dogs are easier than others to
housebreak. In fact one more often sees problems with dribbling in females than
in males. Males after they reach a certain age may start to lift their legs to
mark territory, however if they were correctly housebroken in the first place
it should not occur in the house. Dominant females may also have a tendency to
mark territory by doing a little leg lifting. Also certain breeds may be harder
Females have better temperaments than males
In certain breeds you may find a tendency for females to have
an easier to manage temperament especially where there may be problems with
aggression. On the whole, of the breeds I have had involvement with, I have
preferred the male temperament slightly over the females. This is a very
individual taste but one should never rule out a dog on the basis of sex. My
own males have had a tendency to be very soft and cuddly.
Mixed breeds have
Absolutely not. There
are many reasons for bad temperaments. Partly genetic and if the dog's parents
have termperament problems then there is a good chance the resulting offspring
will as well. This goes for both purebred dogs and mixed dogs. Also environment
plays the largest part in developing temperament, so if the puppy did not have
a correct upbringing, it is likely to have a poor temperament.
Purebreds are too high strung
Not true. Certain
breeds may be more high energy depending upon their breed purpose, but other
breeds can be extremely laid back. Hyperactive dogs can occur in mutts as well.
If you want a laid back purebred dog get the appropriate breed. Also make sure
you buy from a responsible breeder who is concerned with their dogs'
It is safe to pat a dog that is wagging its tail
Dogs are unpredictable animals and nothing is written in
stone. A wagging tail can mean many different things, sometimes it can mean "I
want to be your friend" but other times it can mean "I am not at all sure of
who you are so it might be better if you just leave me alone as I really don't
want to bite you". It is better to never approach or touch a dog that is
unknown to you no matter how friendly it looks.
My dog will go
blind if I cut the hair over its eyes
This is a myth. He is
more likely to have eye problems if the hair is left growing in his eyes
My dog can't have
fleas, he isn't itching
Not all dogs are
affected to the same degree by fleas as others. The reason that dogs itch from
fleas is because they are allergic to the flea's saliva when it bites. Some
dogs are so allergic that one flea can make them itch and bite themself sore,
whereas other dogs barely notice a flea bite despite having many little friends
crawling around. To see if your dog has fleas the best way is to check the skin
around the back end area above the tail. If you see little specks of dirt this
is usually from fleas. If you take a few specks of that dirt and place it on a
white surface such as a paper towel and just lightly wet the dirt it will turn
reddish colour. That is because it is the excrement of fleas whose diet
consists of blood from dogs. Also if your dog has fleas you will have to watch
for tapeworm by checking the dog's stool. If you see what looks like rice in
the stool it is a good bet that your dog has tapeworm.
My dog has
tapeworm, will my family get them?
Most likely not. The
type of tapeworm that dogs have commonly, require an involved cycle to
reproduce, the final process being that a dog will ingest a flea which carries
the tapeworm larvae. So generally speaking for a person to get this type of
tapeworm they would be required to eat a flea. There are other forms of
tapeworm which one can get from such sources as undercooked meats and fish. So
it is best to well cook your food for both the family and dog.
Crating a dog is cruel
Crates for dogs can
serve their purpose. They make an invaluable tool for the housebreaking of a
puppy. They can be used as a place to keep your puppy safe while you are away.
When transporting a dog in the car a crate can be the equivalent of a child's
safety seat keeping the dog safe in case of accidents. What would be cruel is
if dog is crated for large periods of time without recourse to adequate
exercise and quality interaction with its owners.
Please feel free to
add to the Dog FAQS and Myths list by leaving a note on my discussion board as
this will be added to from time to time. Or if you have heard one that you are
not sure of, please ask there.
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