Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I hate Breeders (And Bulldogs)

All names and identifying details have been changed, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. 


Dog breeders are a special species of human. And not in a good way. (yes, yes there are lots (a few) good breeders out there, who actually care about their dogs and not money and do the right things for their animals, blah blah etc etc. This post is not about them).

English Bulldogs ..... oh, English Bulldogs.


Seriously, Brits? What were you thinking creating this monster? I mean any dog who's breed standard includes an underbite ... really? It can't breathe, it can't walk, it can't do anything in hot weather, it can't have babies the natural way, it can't swallow, it can't, in short, survive without serious human intervention. If left to its own devices, it would become extinct. As it should.

Most dog breeders are under the impression that they know much more than any vet about the care of their dogs because of their 'years of experience' breeding. They pass on all kinds of information to their unsuspecting buyers that is often wrong or even dangerous. Sometimes it is hilariously funny, case in point.

Yesterday my boss saw an emergency that came in in the afternoon. It was a new client with a bulldog puppy. The puppy was flat out on its side, had a high fever, and was barely responsive. It was wrapped in a wet towel. It turns out the owner was the breeder of the puppy, and had five more at home.

My boss did a physical exam on the dog and asked the owner some questions, all of which he answered with an attitude and while on the phone. The puppy had had zero vaccinations. When asked why the puppy was covered in a wet towel, he replied that it was the only towel in sight and he just grabbed it. My boss suspected heat stroke, although several other disorders were possible. The owner was insistent that the dog had been inside in the air conditioning. We recommended initial basic tests which included bloodwork, x-rays and a parvo test.

When the owner saw the estimate, he became irate, and asked why we wanted to run all these tests when we didn't even know what was wrong. {They're called diagnostics, dude. The point is to help us diagnose things}. He stormed out of the building with the puppy. My boss hurried out to stress that the puppy was in serious trouble, but he just blew off the warning, said something about money grubbing vets and left.

Okay. Veterinary care is not free. We have bills to pay, staff to take care of, and loans to pay back. Veterinary care is a service. But before I get into a crazy outburst about that, let me just say that we are not trying to gouge anybody. We are really just trying to find out what is wrong with the pet, so that we can fix it.

Bulldogs have lots of problems. Anybody that is breeding them is crazy and should be shot  needs to be aware of this fact, and willing and able to provide the care these dogs need, financially, physically, financially, financially etc. Bulldogs will cost their owners tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetimes.

Breeders like that guy are the type that don't vaccinate or vaccinate their own dogs without the care of a veterinarian, don't care about the type of owners that get the dog, don't guarantee their dogs, don't fix congenital problems before selling them, don't care about the bloodlines they are adding to the population, and don't want to pay for services that are required to help their dog because they know better than the vet. We felt sad for the puppy, but good riddance to the owner. Take your 'tude elsewhere.


(The moral of the story is: Adopt don't shop!! And if you must go to a breeder, research them. Make sure they are doing what they do for the love of the breed, not love of money.)


12 comments:

  1. Someone close to me used to breed bulldogs, and though this person was one of the nicer ones, I cringed when I learned about it. Breed standards, man, they suck.

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  2. I find this appalling! I hear these dogs trying to breathe, see them trying to walk, and I want to slap their owners. What is this, some kind of Frankenstein-ian play a creation? SHEESH! And, amazingly, these same sorts of people also neglect to immunize their CHILDREN as well.

    Welcome to the frustration of dealing with the public. This year is my 35th year as an RN, and though I wouldn't trade it -- some jobs are "bred" with certain frustrations!

    Hang in there, my dear!

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  3. I meant to say "...play AT creation..." sorry, I can't type and keep up w/my thots.

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  4. I've fostered a lot of dogs. Got a Puggle foster right now, in a crate beside me.

    That said, I am done with adoption. The dogs that come out of ignorant (often the owners mean well, but are ignorant of what needs to happen with puppies)homes, come with baggage. The dogs who come out of pounds, often come with baggage and the dogs who come from shelters are .very. often not properly evaluated for temperament issues. The prospective owners think they are doing a good deed, get these dogs home and find out they are overwhelmed by a dog who isn't what they thought it would be. That is when I get called. 8 out of 10 new owners of said dogs will not/can not do the hard work required to get these dogs right. And believe me, if it is hard work for me to get these dogs right, it is nearly impossible for new owners who "had the greatest dog growing up" to do the work. Greatest Dog was probably either handled/trained by Mom and Dad or was a self training dog who just went along with the program.

    The Puggle mentioned above is a very nice little dog, but he's spent the last 8 months (he's a little over a year old), learning things that made him really difficult to live with and there is not a doubt in my mind that it will take me 4-6 months to teach him things to keep him from getting killed/dumped at a shelter/rehomed. Then it will take more time to generalize what he has learned so he can go to a home that will keep him. That is about a year of my time. And I will get no compensation except knowing he will be a great dog for someone. My money into dog food/vet care/training/socializing.

    What .really. needs to happen is that shelters/pounds need to put in place strict guidelines for the dogs they adopt out (bite history/far more strict temperament evals) and actually do some +R training so that people get dogs they can live with.

    My next dog will come from a breeder that *I* will screen carefully and then spend the money to get a puppy that will not be a problem child.

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    1. Are you an undercover breeder trying to prove a point? Geez! Roughly 10,000 dogs a day die from euthanasia and it sickens me that you, knowing that this happens, are "giving up" on rescuing these poor abandoned dogs. But I guess it is all about YOU and not doing whats best for other creatures and being compassionate. I know hundreds of people who have adopted animals and they are the BEST animals most loving obedient animals ever. Do you think children will just simply pop out of you and be completely "obedient"? What about children who are neglected or come from abusive homes? Should we give up on them and not "adopt them out?" And the truth of the matter is that most shelters will NOT adopt dogs out who are aggressive and they are euthanized, so this only leads me to believe you are in fact, only referring to dogs who are "difficult to live with." Shame on you. As a shelter mom (who is very well aware of animals being adopted out and then being returned to the rescue) and animal advocate I understand that this is what happens. There is no where for these poor animals to go and some people lie and make themselves seem like better owners than they really are. So instead of thinking about yourself and being inconvenienced, think about the animals. You may want to reconsider being a mom in general considering your impatience and coldness.

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    2. Seriously I have a Dog purchased from a breeder, he is the BEST dog I have ever had (and my first Breeder purchased dog) Breeders can be a great place to get a dog. Just because there are thousands of dogs dying in shelters doesn't automatically make breeders bad. Most of the dogs in shelters are mixed breed dogs bred from people who are irresponsible and don't spay or neuter. Also there are a LOT of children in foster care and who need families, does that mean we shouldn't have our own children and should just adopt these children?

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  5. Wow Holly, I'm willing to bet that you're not the most patient person, are you? I've also adopted many, many strays/shelter animals in my life and we've managed to work around their idiosyncrasies. The only time I've rehomed dogs is when I was looking for a new Service Dog and couldn't keep all of my washouts. I simply don't have the funds for it on my disability income, and only 20% of the dog population is suitable for it to begin with. It is true you need to be incredibly patient when you don't know what your dog's past is (and sometimes even when you do), but if you can't hack it, perhaps it isn't the right job for you, or maybe you need to be fostering a different animal. No shame in that. I'll bet if you spoke to your coordinator, they'd understand. I'll agree with you that the things people to to animals (physically, emotionally, conformationally) are pretty messed up sometimes. I totally despise the downfall of the German Shepherd hips. It's disgusting and should be outlawed, but judges seem to be blind. When people stop paying outlandish prices for "designer dogs" also, people will stop buying them and dumping them at the shelter.

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    1. Actually Anony, I am very patient with the dogs. Not so much with shelters who place inappropriately or those who want to save all dogs. Adoption is an option, but it should come with a warning label and I truly, really, very much think shelters should put a minimum training on any dog they place. That should include a recall, a "no jump/sit for greeting" and a lie down cue.

      I am totally with the OP tho, about careless breeders. Good dogs don't just happen, they are made. Good dogs are a team effort, which includes an educated breeder, a good veterinarian and an understanding of what kind of dog can live easily/well within our society.

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  6. It doesn't really matter how the dog become that way, all dogs can be trained (re-directed) if its done properly and patiently.
    I believe every new dog owner SHOULD hire a dog trainer so that the new dog owners wouldnt screw up that dog cause they don't know dog language or have dog trainer's volunteer to re-direct some of the dogs ( I would if i was a dog trainer).

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  7. My dog is a good dog. My dog is a mutt who was rescued from death. My dog is my reason for waking up in the morning. Shame on you, Holly, for giving up on these animals who at no fault of their own, may or may not have somen problems that can be worked on. I foster dogs, too. I've been fostering shelter dogs for almost 3 years... Since I was 18 years old. (I also don't keep my fosters in cages) they are generally all mixed breeds from shelters, found on the streets. I have yet to meet a "bad dog". How dare you discourage people in adopting a shelter dog, desperate for a home? HOW DARE YOU. You need to stop viewing all dogs as creatures of the same species who are born bad and born good, and that all shelter dogs share a brain, and start to realize that all dogs are individual animals with individual personalities, and like humans, 'baggage' is in the past and can be worked with. I love my rescue dog more than most people love their children. He was neglected to the point where he was almost dead when i took him in, now he is the single most important thing to me. Check your facts, lady. Ugh!!!!

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  8. Anonymous, how dare I? Here is how I dare, 14 years of training problem dogs. That's how I dare. Who says I have given up? I have a Puggle foster here RIGHT NOW. He lost his home because of his behavior. Just because I will choose something other than a shelter dog does not mean I have given up, I have not. I help those who contact me (usually through my veterinary office) all the time. I've traveled out of my area and at my own expense to do so.

    I am glad that you have had a good experience with your rescue and I wish you continued good fortune, but you have not met some of the dogs I have.

    Let me add this as well, just because a dog is purebred and can trace lineage, does not mean it will be the self training, Lassie-rescues-Timmy kind of dog most of the public thinks it will be. Breed does not = what people expect, it does equal some very general guidelines. Herding breeds are going to be a bit sharper in temperament, than a sporting group breed. Papers will not make a poorly tempered dog an easy dog to live with. But the chances are .better. IF the breeder pays attention to early puppyhood training and chooses parents with temperaments as one of the first 2 criteria when choosing the parents.

    This brings me to one more point. People no longer have much access to normal animal behavior in general and most don't have a clue on handling. Part of this is due to the Lassie syndrome (anthropomorphism), and part is due to the fact that our dogs often do not have the early puppyhood experiences (and protection) of a mother who *teaches* them appropriate dog behavior. This also puts more of a burden on the shelters for placing dogs. The Puggle I have referenced in this thread is one who probably did not get the benefit of early, appropriate socialization as his dog/dog skills leave much to be desired. Finding appropriate dogs is difficult for even those who know what to look for anymore. Our dogs become so isolated now.

    All dogs CAN be worked with, but not all will respond to the training with the appropriate responses and not all can get past the baggage they carry (some is hard wired) to become general public appropriate. Far too often I hear about dogs that are dog aggressive and need to find homes where they won't come in contact with other dogs. Or dogs who can't be around livestock or kids. Or dogs who have bitten their owners repeatedly and need to go "to a farm in the country". What, exactly, are you going to do with dogs like that Anonymous? Where, exactly, are you going to find that perfect place in the sun for them?

    Alison Cute, this is not all about me, and I do not compare children and dogs. The shelters in my area adopt out totally inappropriate dogs frequently. Not sometimes, frequently. Just a few months ago, I got called to do an eval on a cattle dogx that had been placed with a couple in their 70's. ?! Really? Something a bit smaller and less intense in temperament would have been more suitable for an elderly couple. The poor dog had begun to guard the woman from the man and all "strangers" (ie: anyone who did not have daily contact with this couple) including the adult kids. When I suggested pulling the dog and providing something with a less extreme breed temperament, I was told "but they love her, can't you fix this?".

    If I did not want to be inconvenienced I would not have the Puggle in the crate next to me. He's a handful for me to deal with, and he was impossible for his previous owners.

    I agree with you that the owners often present themselves as something they are not, and the shelters need to screen as well as they can. See the paragraph above in reference to the cattle dogX, where that screening fell apart.

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  9. Jen, I agree. Every adoption should include or have a requirement that the dog goes to at least a 4 week basic good manners training class. But because I know how often those fail, I think the shelters themselves should hire a good trainer to do nothing but put a few good manners on the dogs they adopt. It would increase their placements and most of all, KEEP those dogs in their homes. If you have not heard of Sue Sternberg and her facility, she is one of the best there is.

    http://www.traintoadopt.com/

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