WHAT IS A ‘BREEDER’?
A Breeder goes through absolutely hellacious torment every time a puppy is shipped by air. A Breeder makes you justify just why you think you deserve a puppy.
On the other hand, a non-breeder, in the case of the worst
puppy mills, breeds any dog which looks like it may belong a certain breed to whatever specimen of the same breed they can pick up. A non- breeder doesn’t choose the ‘best’ male for a given female. A non-breeder ‘lets nature take its course’ rather than doing everything within their power to ensure that the mother and the father, and eventually the puppies, are healthy, so that the breeding will be successful, so that it won’t seriously affect the health of the mother, and so that the puppies will be robust and healthy. A Breeder will perform all necessary tests to ensure that the mother and father of a litter are genetically healthy, and free of inheritable diseases to the best of their ability to check. A Breeder will only register puppies with the correct pedigree. A puppy mill will use any set of ‘papers’ they can get their hands on, and which may not actually be the true pedigrees of the sire and dam. A Breeder will stay awake and with the litter for as many 24-hour days as are necessary to insure that no puppy is lost to ‘fading puppy syndrome’, or is squashed or misplaced by the new mother. A non-breeder will ‘let nature take its course’ – again. A Breeder will handle every puppy several times every day, and help supplement the puppies feeding if necessary to save excessive drain on the dam. A Breeder will chart daily weights on the puppies, and identify each puppy in some way, so that they can keep track of each puppy’s rate of gain, so a puppy which is falling behind the others can be supplemented. A Breeder will give the expectant mother Breyers Ice Cream, or pickles and peanut butter, if they are requested, and will sleep with her on their pillow, to reassure her she is special. A Breeder will stay home from work for as many days as necessary, in order to whelp the litter, help the female, and get the puppies off to a good start. A Breeder will supply the mother with a whelping box which keeps the mother and the puppies comfortable, and gives them a feeling of protection and safety. If the bitch chooses, however, she is allowed to begin the whelping process on the Breeder’s own bed, and to move to the whelping box once anxiety cools and the female is ready to keep at her job in another location. A puppy mill simply ‘harvests’ the puppies from wire bottomed cages like rabbit hutches when they appear to be about the age of consent for the airlines. A Breeder will skillfully interview all applicants for adoption, and will provide the new puppy owners with a healthy, well adjusted, well vaccinated and wormed puppy. I know I could go on about this for a couple more pages, but the impression I want to give, is that breeding a litter and whelping and raising and placing puppies entails tremendous sustained effort, education, money and a good knowledge of applied genetics. It is anything but a casual undertaking. A breeding undertaken without this kind of effort may produce healthy, sound puppies, or it may not. One has no way of predicting, since the deck wasn’t ‘loaded’’ as good Breeders try to arrange it. After selling the puppy, a good Breeder will follow up with all needed assistance to the new owner. A Breeder will be prepared to take a puppy or adult dog back into their own home if needed – for whatever reason. This means that a good Breeder must be able to provide for an extra dog or two at a moments notice, and inconvenience isn’t an admissible excuse. A good Breeder considers him or herself the “parent” of a puppy from birth to grave. The responsibility for bringing new puppies into the world includes making certain, to the extent possible, that these puppies will go on to have happy lives, and never become homeless. All contracts for puppy sales must include that any transfer should occur through the breeder, or be approved by the breeder. The bumper sticker proclaims that “A Puppy is for Life”, and that’s true, for both the buyer and the breeder. While ‘back yard breeders’ may not be guilty of the sins of puppy mills, neither are they, by definition, cognizant of the procedures and efforts necessary to earn the title ‘Breeder’.
Before you buy a Labrador
Before you buy a Labrador…
You may be interested in purchasing a Labrador for a variety of reasons. Regardless of whether you are looking for a pet, a hunting dog, an obedience competitor, a therapy dog or a show dog, deciding to own a Lab means making a serious long term commitment.
Taking responsibility for another living creature demands time and expense. The Labrador retriever has many fine qualities which have contributed to making it one of the most popular breeds. They make wonderful family companions and working dogs with equal skill and enthusiasm. Labs are adaptable, willing to please, gentle, courageous and dependable. But it isn’t all a fairytale story and serious consideration should be taken before making the commitment of making a Lab part of your family. We’d like to share some of those fine qualities with you, along with some of the less commendable ones. If you get a Lab, you should be prepared to accept the bad with the good.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Here are some things you may want to consider before bringing home that adorable Lab puppy:
1.Time. Labs are very people-oriented and will not be happy or thrive locked in a kennel or backyard without human contact. They are also energetic and will require lots of exercise (play). They love to run, retrieve, swim and just take walks in the park – any will do but it is daily so make sure you have the time and energy. Also, they need some training. The good news is that they are smart and easily trained but again, it takes time. The Labrador is smart. This is why Labs are so often used for therapy, detection and guide dog work. However, inexperienced owners sometimes neglect to train their new puppies. The result — an intelligent 65-85 pound, strong, energetic, unruly animal accustomed to getting his own way. Most breeders strongly suggest you and your puppy enroll in an obedience class.
2. Upkeep. While we’re on that topic, did we mention that they shed…. and that hair will stick to everything (places you have not yet imagined)? An un-spayed female usually blows coat (sheds a lot of her coat) about twice a year, usually with her heat cycle. All other Labradors will shed moderately throughout the year and more heavily when the seasons change. So, if you hate dog hair or have allergies to dog hair, then this breed is the wrong breed for you. The good news is that the Labrador requires very little upkeep. They need a bath occasionally and brushed as needed, more often during shedding season. Nails need to be clipped regularly. Ears should be checked often and kept clean and healthy. Also, they should be fed a well-balanced, high-quality food.
3. Patience. It will take love and patience to endure the chewing your puppy will do, the messes he will make and the holes he will dig… and did we mention the shedding? Labs can take two to three years to grow up and may act like a puppy for a long time. It is likely you could have a 70 lb. dog that still acts like a big puppy. The good news is that the Labrador has a wonderful temperament. However, like people, Labs can exhibit a wide range of dispositions. The Lab can be easy-going and quiet or energetic and bouncy. This is a very important point to discuss with the breeder. Ask questions, and be clear as to what sort of pet you are looking for. Labrador Retrievers make wonderful family companions and working dogs with equal skill and enthusiasm. Labs are adaptable, willing to please, gentle, courageous and dependable.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Is there a place in you life for a dog?
2. Does everyone in the household agree with acquiring a puppy?
3. Will someone be available during the day to feed and let the puppy out?
4. Do you anticipate any life changes that would prevent you from having a dog?
5. Are you prepared to exercise our puppy?
6. Do you have adequate space for a Lab to live and exercise?
7. Do you have time to train a puppy?
8. Are you prepared for damage to your house and possessions that your puppy may do?
9. Can you afford the medical care, feed and supply costs associated with dog ownership?
Serious consideration should be taken before making the commitment of making a Lab part of your family. This commitment is time consuming and long term and this decision should be well thought out and planned. Never purchase a Labrador as an impulse buy. Don’t even look at the cute puppies, whether they are in Wal-Mart parking lot, the pet store, or at a reputable breeder, because those precious faces can melt your heart and they are hard to refuse. Think of the Labrador as a grown dog that will be living as part of your family for around fifteen years.