General Question

janbb's avatar

Re puppy buying: Does this ring true?

Asked by janbb (44825 points ) September 2nd, 2014

I am still gingerly considering getting another dog. I would consider adopting but since the last experience came back to bite me, I am also somewhat open to buying a dog. I found a cute maltipoo online. Supposedly the Web site – which I had been in touch with before – represents many breeders. Although this site was listed as “maltipoos – NJ”, the pup is actually in Lousiana. I said I would not consider buying a puppy unless i could meet it. The puppy counselor told me that no reputable breeder would let someone come in to meet their pups because of Parvo – that this was only done at puppy mills. I smell a rat – am I right or wrong? Bonus question: how should I be looking for a dog? I do look at petfinder.com and would prefer an older dog but…once bitten, twice shy. And I think I need to wait a year anyway.

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30 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That sounds like a weak excuse. All breeders would be vaccinating for Parvo. I’d want a puppy too, though the dogs that adopted me were amazing.

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chyna's avatar

I would not buy a dog I couldn’t meet. It sounds wrong to me.
I still get a real, old fashioned newspaper and they have dogs listed in the ad section. I always look at these ads and I have noticed some of them say “mother or father or both on premises” which leads me to believe you are welcome to come look at the puppies.

hearkat's avatar

I don’t know much about the puppy buying in the main question, but I agree that it sounds fishy.

As for the bonus question, I’ve been following this rescue organization on FB for a while, and they do great work, including re-homing for people who can’t keep their pet for one reason or another. A month or two ago, I recognized the family in the adoption photo – it was a coworker’s family! They’ve been enjoying their pup, Roxy. Voorhees is a lot closer than Louisiana… just sayin’.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I’ve never heard this excuse before – certainly it would make my spidey-sense tingle. Perhaps they are just a front for a puppy mill. If you are determined to follow up with them, perhaps talk to your vet first to see if there’s reason for caution.

janbb's avatar

Unfortunately, most dogs who are in shelters are pit-bull mixes and not what I am looking for. I do check petfinder.com and rescue sites often though.

zenvelo's avatar

The problem with buying dogs, even mixes like Maltipoos that are now common, is inbreeding which causes defects. My kids’ mom bought them a Maltese from a “reputable breeder.” The poor puppy went in for his first vet appointment, and had a severe heart defect and they were told he wouldn’t make it to one year.

Any good breeder should let you visit and see how they are born and raised at birth, and what the kennel is like. When I took my kids’ puppy back to the breeder, she had 4 or 5 litters going at once in her house.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Laughs, I just remembered I used to deal with a client that bred German Shepards. She wouldn’t let you buy or adopt one till she inspected your facilities and your space.

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe The rescue orgs do that too!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

That makes no sense to me @janbb. I would also want to meet a puppy I was thinking of sharing life with. You want to see the conditions it’s been kept in amongst other things. When we got our dogs we visited for weeks and played with the puppies.

Could you get a puppy from a rescue centre @janbb? I can understand your concerns about getting an adult dog. Where I am there are often lots of puppies too at shelters. So perhaps that would be the way to go?

janbb's avatar

I have concerns about getting an adult dog and other concerns about raising a puppy but your advice is good. I would actually like an older dog but with a good temperament. I’m just not finding that yet but also still just thinking about it.

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syz's avatar

The puppy counselor told me that no reputable breeder would let someone come in to meet their pups because of Parvo

Bullshit. Any breeder who does not allow you to meet the bitch, the sire, and the puppy is disreputable. Actually, any reputable breeder would not be selling multipoos since they are a mixed breed.

janbb's avatar

Thanks @syz.

syz's avatar

(Parvo virus is a concern for incompletely vaccinated puppies, but basic precautions like a brief history [“Do you have any puppies at home?”], hand washing, and a foot bath are adequate.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

Legit breeders welcome visitors. I’d check with the BBB. I’m also a adopt don’t shop vote (don’t get me started!)

janbb's avatar

I won’t.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think the question has been adequately answered above, but I’ll just throw in this comment from my aunt (who used to breed dogs):

“A legitimate breeder will let you meet the dog you are buying and its parents (if they are available). Parvo shouldn’t even be a concern. I used to make people wash when they showed up just in case. If someone balked at that, I just told them I was worried about the possibility they stepped in something in my front lawn. If they wouldn’t, I made them leave.”

By the way, I didn’t mention the breed. I just asked “Is Parvo a good reason for a breeder not to let someone meet a dog before buying it?”

jca's avatar

Relevant: Recent Fluther question where everyone answered that you should not buy a dog you’ve never met and you should be leery of having a dog shipped from another state:
http://www.fluther.com/174795/should-adopt-a-dog-from-a-web-site-the-fee-is/

sujenk7422's avatar

Many Breeders invite buyers to inspect the dam and sire if on sight and also present pedigree documentation. Sounds as if this breeder is a bit off and can’t be trusted. As for buying, adopting, or even taking in strays, I’ve done it all. I live on a farm and people drop dogs off at my barn. I take them in, vet them, and rehome many. All of the dogs have been a great addition to our family. Good luck and take your time in deciding, the last thing you want to do is have to rehome the dog…

linguaphile's avatar

My husband is a dog person—he’s always owned dogs. I’m more of a plant person, but I digress.

He will not buy/adopt a dog that does not make or sustain eye contact. He loves all dogs, but he said for trainability and responsiveness, eye contact is the make or break trait he looks for. We have a Border Collie/Lab mix that has amazing eye contact, thus responds very well and is very aware of her environment.

So, drawing from my husband’s knowledge and experience, no—I would not buy/adopt a dog I can’t meet.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you want better knowledge of a dog’s temperament you could refine your searching to rescue organizations who place their rescues in the homes of volunteer who temporarily foster them until they get adopted. These organizations typically don’t have a facility to house the
animals but are dedicated to rescue.

They wil often pull dogs from high-kill shelters before they are euthanized.

However, they do have to be selective cuz they obviously can’t rescue all if them. So, how do they choose which ones?

A large part of it is temperament (with some factoring in for desirability. For example, cute little dogs are more in demand than are large black pit mixes. Yes, there’s also a degree of racism affecting dog adoptions, sad to say.)

So, obviously the folks who go to shelters to pull dogs have a LOT OF EXPERIENCE in assessing temperament.

Is their judgement sometimes flawed? Sure, occasionally, but nothing in life is perfect and they usually have a lot better judgement than anyone else other than a dog trainer or breeder.

And then these dogs spend time in a foster persons home in real world conditions so that foster parent gets a pretty complete picture of each dogs temperament regarding children, people and other dogs.

And they insist upon you meeting the dog in person as well as assessing your suitability for the dog in question.

It’s not in their best interests to hide undesirable traits in an animal cuz that just results in more bounce-backs.

There are also shelters which have a network of volunteers fostering dogs in their homes to free up space for others.

I think that part of the reason there aren’t that many dogs available which you specify is because EVERYBODY and their uncles and brothers are looking for smaller dogs that have that high cuteness factor (such as Maltipoos, Cockers, Shitzus, to name a few.)

But even tho difficult, due to the law of supply and demand, it can be done. For example, a few years ago after the death of his Cockerpoo mix, my landlord found a cute little purebred Shitzu online through
a shelter. They had him in a foster home because he had been rescued from a puppy mill.

He himself was a young dog but not a puppy. He had been used for breeding purposes. But since he had basically spent years in a caged environment, they wanted time to evaluate his personality and give him some home life experience before adopting him out.

Long story short, he’s been happily living here for 5 plus years. He’s affectionate, calm temperament and his bark works better than a doorbell
when anybody comes knocking.

So, cute little dogs with great temperament can be found but it just may take a little
longer.

But since you are now leery of getting a dog with hidden temperament problems, here’s a slightly off the wall idea you might want to consider.

There are rescue groups who focus upon retired racing Greyhounds to give them the chance at a decent life.

The term “retired” is a euphemism for the fact that once a dog slows down even slightly and is no longer winning races and putting money in peoples pockets, they are considered a financial liability and euthanized. Some at surprisingly young (ages 2–3 years old).

The only LIVING retired racers are the ones rescued by these groups. And it’s really a shame because they really do make great pets for several specific reasons.

The first is that, due to years and years of selective breeding, all the aggression has been bred out of them. Really, they are the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet.

They literally cannot afford to keep an aggressive dog (either to other dogs or people) because it would cause chaos at the track. They are their to race. Period.

Secondly, even tho many people think they need enormous amounts of exercise all day long, they are couch potatoes mostly.

Even in their racing days, they typically only ran when there was a race. The rest of the time is spent in their kennels.

So the opportunity to run around for a little bit once a
day is sufficient. The rest of their time they prefer to be relaxing with their people.

These rescue groups for Greyhounds have a network of dedicated foster homes where they are both evaluated and given the experience of being in homes rather than kennels.

Interestingly, they usually have to be familiarized with negotiating stairs since everything in their prior experience was limited to kennel-to-track and back.

Most of the temperament evaluation is regarding small children and cats and other small animals.

With kids, the problem is not aggression but usually the opposite since they’ve only previously dealt with adults.

Anyhow, since you are an adult without kids or cats, you would be ideal for a sweet Greyhound who just wants to be loved.

It’s just another option for you to consider. Every person I’ve ever encountered who adopted a Greyhound pronounces them the ideal pet. I used to encounter them regularly because their booth was next to mine every weekend while I was face painting.

The only reason I didn’t afoot one was due to the three cats I had at the time. My pet quota was full enough :)

Anyhow, whether a Greyhound or not, I think your best chance of finding the right doggie for you lies in finding one who is currently being fostered in someones home. You have the opportunity to speak with the foster parent long enough to get a pretty comprehensive picture of the dog’s habits and temperament.

Whenever I’ve checked out Petfinder in the past, i’ve seem plenty of ads by both shelters and rescue groups stating the contact info for the foster parent rather than the group.

Of course, the rest of the process is handled by he shelter but your first contact will be with the person who knows the dog best.

Somewhere out there is the right doggie for you. I wish you good luck in your search.

canidmajor's avatar

What every one else has said about this…DO NOT buy a puppy you haven’t met. Or adopt one. Or babysit one for friends. I would recommend reporting that person to whatever authority governs them, be it a breeders association, the local animal regulatory group, whomever.

Good luck with your puppy hunt!

downtide's avatar

Legitimate breeders will welcome visitors and no puppy should be offered up for sale that isn’t already vaccinated against parvo. I smell a rat – they just don’t want you to see the conditions in which this puppy is kept.

janbb's avatar

This is a huge online site that supposedly represents breeders nationwide. I smell a rat too although I had heard about them first from someone who had a lovely little dog she bought from them.

longgone's avatar

Your gut feeling is spot on!

After my experience with Amy, I’ve started to see the huge benefits of adult dogs. Amy got the same careful sozialising/training Nerina received, but turned out to be a dog who may never truly trust people. Food for thought…genes are powerful. Good luck!

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