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Thanks, zooeysmom and lily cd re. I still feel guilty over it, but I did need the job and I'm glad I was able to leave after I saw what was going on. I was fortunate enough to get hired at another pet store (no puppies!) shortly after. It was night and day.

Pet stores that sell puppies are ALL about the puppies because the profit margin is huge -- they force their floor people to behave like used car salesmen, always pushing for the sale. They don't care if you're a reckless 19-year-old with a new credit card or a young family with too much on your plate for a dog -- if you want to play with a puppy, they'll say anything to sell you that dog. They'll lie about the breeder. They'll make puppies sound like a breeze. One of the salesmen liked to tell people that the puppy they'd picked to look at had champion lines and could produce puppies worth a lot of money. Really! It's horrendous.

I could go on for ages about it. The "kennel techs" were instructed to spend most of their time watching the puppies for any sign of defecation so that the cages always looked spotless. The idea was that people would assume that the puppies never soiled their cages and would be easy to housebreak, but the truth is that these dogs were NEVER taken outside and were actually forced to relieve themselves in their cages 100% of the time.

Though it's long been closed, the Google reviews for the store are still online. Several people posted 1-star reviews because the puppies they brought home were sick and required emergency treatment. One review noted that the puppy had congenital renal disease and didn't survive the first year. One grandmother posted a 5-star review after she went in to buy a fish and instead left with a puppy(!!!).

Trust me, even a store that looks clean and well-staffed will sell you a puppy mill dog. Even puppies who look bright-eyed and well-fed can have been recently exposed to all kinds of illnesses -- you don't see the littermates who die shortly after birth or the cagemates who have been removed for treatment. If you can't meet the parents or see the environment the puppy was born in, you're probably being lied to.
 

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Mason your insider's perspective on the puppy pet store is invaluable. We can talk all we want to the point of seeing pink elephants, flying pigs and being blue in the face about how truly deeply bad it is to support puppy mills by buying a puppy from a pet store, but without your words about your experience here I think we don't necessarily really reach into people's hearts and minds to help them truly see that this business is evil.

I know you say you still feel guilty about having worked in this store but I hope truly and deeply that you feel lifted away from that guilt by sharing here what few of us can really know about the whitewashed retail fronts for puppy mills.
 

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This is great thanks so much, my guy a rescue I feel came from a puppy mill (love him bunches) but our next one I will do a ton of research and this is a great start. Thanks again
 

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I have read through a decent amount of this thread, and will admit it has made me a bit more nervous than anything. I'm looking to get my first SPOO this summer. I'm doing a lot of research (ex. This forum), reading books, etc. How do I find a reputable breeder? I will not be breeding- I want a loving pet and would like to introduce him to agility training as well. It's all so overwhelming... how does a breeder "prove" their health testing and results? Will breeders be less likely to sell to me since I've not had one before?


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I have read through a decent amount of this thread, and will admit it has made me a bit more nervous than anything. I'm looking to get my first SPOO this summer. I'm doing a lot of research (ex. This forum), reading books, etc. How do I find a reputable breeder? I will not be breeding- I want a loving pet and would like to introduce him to agility training as well. It's all so overwhelming... how does a breeder "prove" their health testing and results? Will breeders be less likely to sell to me since I've not had one before?


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Don't get so nervous that you get scared! A really good breeder can prove their health testing through OFA (the orthopedic foundation for animals) and other such registries that will keep records of those results or they will show you copies of the certificates from the testing agency.

As to a pet vs. a show dog, they should be one in the same. A good show dog will be soundly built, in good health and have good temperament, in other words possessed of all of the attributes you want for your companion dog.

This piece that has been posted elsewhere at PF speaks to this issue.

I Don’t Want A Show Dog; I Just Want A Pet. by Joanna Kimball on July 13, 2010
This is one of the most pervasive sentiments that puppy buyers, especially families, express when they're looking for a dog. What they really mean, of course, is that they don't want a show BREEDER don't want to pay the high price they think show breeders charge, don't want to go through the often-invasive interview process, and think that they're getting a better deal or a real bargain because they can get a Lab for $300 or a Shepherd for $150.
I want you to change your mind. I want you to not only realize the benefits of buying a show-bred dog, I want you to INSIST on a show-bred dog. And I want you to realize that the cheap dog is really the one that's the rip-off. And then I want you to go be obnoxious and, when your workmate says she's getting a puppy because her neighbor, who raises them, will give her one for free, or when your brother-in-law announces that they're buying a goldendoodle for the kids, I want you to launch yourself into their solar plexus and steal their wallets and their car keys.
Here's why:
If I ask you why you want a Maltese, or a Lab, or a Leonberger, or a Cardigan, I would bet you're not going to talk about how much you like their color. You're going to tell me things about personality, ability (to perform a specific task), relationships with other animals or humans, size, coat, temperament, and so on. You'll describe playing ball, or how affectionate you've heard that they are, or how well they get along with kids.
The things you will be looking for aren't the things that describe just "dog"; they'll be the things that make this particular breed unique and unlike other breeds.
That's where people have made the right initial decision they've taken the time and made the effort to understand that there are differences between breeds and that they should get one that at least comes close to matching their picture of what they want a dog to be.
Their next step, tragically, is that they go out and find a dog of that breed for as little money and with as much ease as possible.
You need to realize that when you do this, you're going to the used car dealership, WATCHING them pry the "Audi" plate off a new car, observing them as they use Bondo to stick it on a '98 Corolla, and then writing them a check and feeling smug that you got an Audi for so little.
It is no bargain.
Those things that distinguish the breed you want from the generic world of "dog" are only there because somebody worked really hard to get them there. And as soon as that work ceases, the dog, no matter how purebred, begins to revert to the generic. That doesn't mean you won't get a good dog the magic and the blessing of dogs is that they are so hard to mess up, in their good souls and minds, that even the most hideously bred one can still be a great dog but it will not be a good Shepherd, or good Puli, or a good Cardigan. You will not get the specialized abilities, tendencies, or talents of the breed.
If you don't NEED those special abilities or the predictability of a particular breed, you should not be buying a dog at all. You should go rescue one. That way you're saving a life and not putting money in pockets where it does not belong.
If you want a purebred and you know that a rescue is not going to fit the bill, the absolute WORST thing you can do is assume that a name equals anything. They really are nothing more than name plates on cars. What matters is whether the engineering and design and service department back up the name plate, so you have some expectation that you're walking away with more than a label.
Keeping a group of dogs looking and acting like their breed is hard, HARD work. If you do not get the impression that the breeder you're considering is working that hard, is that dedicated to the breed, is struggling to produce dogs that are more than a breed name, you are getting no bargain; you are only getting ripped off.
 

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lily cd re- Thank you so much for sharing! That was a great article and I agree with everything being said. I'm sorry if I made it sound like I was trying to find something less expensive- I realize that he will be my family and I am willing to do thorough research as well as travel for and pay for the perfect puppy. Like the article said, I want a standard poodle for everything that makes the breed what it is.

I would rephrase and say that I'm concerned I won't be able to find a good breeder with puppies, or that they won't be willing to sell to me for some reason. In addition to this forum, Ive been looking at some breeders on the AKC website, and am in a Facebook group (AKC/CKC/UKC Standard Poodles). I assume these are acceptable means of finding breeders, as long as I do my due diligence (visit, meet the mother, get papers/registration/pedigree/health testing docs)? Are there any other places you recommend getting connected?

Thanks again!



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This is a very informative thread!

I have a question. I found an excellent breeder who does health testing, etc. I am going to visit her in the spring to have a feel for her place and hopefully meet my future puppy's mom. She operates on the 'she will pick a pup based on our lifestyle', I have no issues with this. I don't do well when it comes to choices! :aetsch:

Now, I am assuming she will send me pictures, etc when the pups are born. How important it is to meet the mom and pups then? I have asked the breeder if she is willing to bring the pup to us in another city and she is willing, this is awesome! But if it's absolutely important for us to meet the mum (don't think dad will be there), we are willing to make that drive.

Thoughts?
 

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I think it rather depends on how much you know about the breeder. If you are visiting, seeing her premises and dogs and building a relationship, and know that she is someone with a good reputation and that you can trust, that is a very, very different matter from someone buying a puppy off the internet based on cute pictures and celebrity endorsements! The advice to see the puppy with its mother is largely to protect people from sellers of puppy mill and imported pups, who advertise as if they are home bred, and to ensure that the buyer knows what sort of environment the puppy has been raised in.
 

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BaileyWilliams I didn't think you were trying to go some sort of less than excellent route to a puppy. I just like that piece so much that I try to make sure it gets seen and your post made me think of it. To me it sounds like you are doing all the right things to find a great breeder and a wonderful new family member. When you get to the point where you are looking at specific breeders or litters you can ask around here and there may well be someone who knows the breeder you are interested in.
 

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When looking at puppies and health tests, what should I expect from a breeder who does thorough health testing for SPoos? cataract, thyroid, cardiac, von Willebrands and hips? What about a line that doesn't have bloat in it? Is there a test for this? is there anything I am missing or is less important? The DNA is mostly for colour? If they say they are low COI - is there some way they should be showing that? Thank- you all so much for all this great information!!
 

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Question on etiquette: my boyfriend and I are looking for a SPOO puppy this summer. I know that while we may be communicating with a breeder, there is no guarantee what they will have (we want a male, ideally not brown or black) or that we will get a puppy. When you ask to be placed on a waitlist, is that a commitment? It seems most beneficial to ask to be put on a waitlist of several breeders, Im just not sure what's acceptable/the norm. Thank you!


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I think the key is to be totally transparent. However when I was looking for Javelin I really was only looking at one breeder, so no big complications there for me.
 

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I'd say if it's just an informal, "please let me know when you have a litter coming up" kind of thing, then you're fine to do that with multiple breeders. If you've put down a deposit and/or they're otherwise saving a specific spot for you in an upcoming litter, then you should probably let them know that you're looking elsewhere as well.
 

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I think it's at the point of putting down a deposit that you are making a commitment.
And if you are open about what you want it will not be a surprise to the breeder if the litter doesn't have what you are looking for.
 

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Question on etiquette: my boyfriend and I are looking for a SPOO puppy this summer. I know that while we may be communicating with a breeder, there is no guarantee what they will have (we want a male, ideally not brown or black) or that we will get a puppy. When you ask to be placed on a waitlist, is that a commitment? It seems most beneficial to ask to be put on a waitlist of several breeders, Im just not sure what's acceptable/the norm. Thank you!


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As others said, honesty is the key. Somebody wrote a funny blog post some years ago from the breeder's perspective, and pointed out that breeders talk to each other! I'm going to make three seemingly unrelated statements that sort of sum up my take on this issue.

1) It's not in anybody's interest for you to take a puppy you don't feel is ideal for you (I haven't taken deposits, because I generally have a feel for when somebody is seriously committed to a litter.) On the other side, hard-sell tactics on the part of a breeder (only two spots left on the waiting list!!!) make me squeamish.

2) I think it's a best practice to focus on choosing a breeder whose dogs and general approach you like, and focus less on your "perfect" puppy. I understand sex and color preferences, but those things might get in the way of the ideal puppy for you.

3) There is a type of puppy buyer out there that every breeder knows about: the "shopper," who is always looking for the perfect puppy (usually with a list of criteria as long as their arm) and never ever commits. Be aware that as you are sizing up a breeder, a breeder is sizing you up on a number of fronts, including your willingness to commit to a puppy.
 

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Well said Verve. Javelin's breeder did take a tiny deposit of $100, which she would certainly have returned if things weren't right for committing to that litter. Initially I had 2nd choice boy, but then the woman who had first choice changed her mind about the timing as her older dog had been diagnosed with cancer. I know her deposit was returned to her and there certainly was no negative tactics about missing a once in a lifetime opportunity either. The kinds of things we are talking about at this point make a repeat customer.

I also want to support your comment about color. It is much lower on the list for me than temperament, health and knowing that the breeder is a good and ethical person to deal with. I would not eliminate any potentially good working pup because it was the wrong color. There is no perfect puppy. I would have loved it if I had been able to get Javelin one month earlier in the summer, but everything else was just right. His breeder's next litter was silvers, but had the summer litter been silvers he would be a silver (even though I prefer black).
 

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I have read through this thread many times lately because it is never too soon to start preparing for my next pup/adult.

I usually figure myself as a smart person but it's easy to make a mistake or be misled

So I am putting this here as a cautionary tale because I have read more than a few posts of late regarding the high cost of health testing of poodle pups, the questions or just blatant statements of why one should pay these so called high prices, the pup I got from them is just fine.

I am not a breeder but I do reccomend you do your homework, truth be known I didn't on either of my pups

My Beatrice, is a toy poodle from a "home" breeder and she is a wonderful dog but what it cost me to get her bi-lateral luxating patellas surgically repaired, before she was 3 years old, I "jokingly say" I could have gotten another puppy for what it cost to fix them, truth is at NY prices vet othro prices I could have gotten several puppies from a reputable breeder.

For those who cannot do the math that is nearly $8000

Would pet insurance saved me, nope because my vet said at her first visit I got her at just shy of 18 weeks her knees were not great, but she may not get worse.

Yep I did my homework now but on knee strengthing exercises a pup I fell hard for.

I hear again and again the home breeders have beautiful puppies, hate to tell you all puppies are beautiful, it's easier to walk away when it's a photo on the computer than when it's a warm wiggly puppy in your lap.

And it's easy to think that a terrible breeder is someone who has puppy mill like conditions, that there are diseases like parvo, but I advise you to really look at the parents because that is what your pup will look like grown up

But when it's something that could have been avoided by good breeding practices like don't breed dogs that have crap knees or insert what other tested for maladies in here... seems some folks are thinking this can't possible affect them.

My Beatrice who is 39 months old at the time of this post, had her first surgery at a little over 16 months of age to repair a torn crucitate ligament and grade 3 luxating patella in her left knee and was 35 months old when she had her grade 4 right knee repaired.

Sure she is happy now, but basically I had a crippled dog up until now

You may luck out with a home breeder, me next time I will either adopt from a shelter, which is a crap shoot on genetics and temperment ( but I won't be lining someones pocket with $$$$) or find myself a breeder that does the required testing

okay I am done now, go back to you research
 

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twyla I am glad you made the comments you did and appreciate that you were so candid about Beatrice and her knee issues. I also noticed posts regarding whether paying for the price of health testing was worth it late last night and didn't reply at the time because I was tired. If you hadn't posted I would have, but I don't have a story like Bea's to tell, so I think you made it real.
 

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Is there really risk of Parvo if they let too many people visit the facility? One breeder is saying that is the reason that you can only come on visit day
 

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Parvovirus is very cosmopolitan and highly contagious so yes I would respect that a breeder who has a particular routine about meeting puppies is doing things to minimize risks.

The first time I met Javelin and his litter mates they were just about 5 weeks old. I had Lily and Peeves in my truck and in my truck they stayed. To enter the yard by way of an area that served as the puppies outdoor run I was asked to step onto a disinfectant soaked towel in a tray and I had to wash my hands before I touched any puppies. I thought that was all quite reasonable and reassuring that I would bring home a healthy pup.
 
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