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Beckett, 13 months, Miniature Poodle; Street, 5 years, Chihuahua
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of buying a puppy from a breeder. The breeder is a member of the Poodle Club of America and I connected with a referral service from that club. The breeder initially took the puppies to a vet, but since then has herself given the 3–4 week vaccinations required for puppies. She has not, however, given heart worm prevention or the rabies vaccination, telling me that I can do that myself. She is also charging quite a bit of money for the dog.

Just wondering if this is normal, or if I should be concerned. The cost is relatively small, but I am wondering what other corners are being cut and want to make sure that there won’t be other questions down the road. The dog is 16 lbs now (a large mini poodle) and she is trying to get me to lie about my mental state in order to have the dog out of the carrier on the return flight, In order to qualify for an Emotional Support Dog on the plane, which makes me feel uncomfortable.

I didn’t expect to have tension with her over something as basic as a rabies shot and heart worm prevention. I have had my dogs on prevention since the first warm overnights, back in March. Any experience with this? Would especially appreciate hearing from breeders for balance on these issues.
 

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she is trying to get me to lie about my mental state in order to have the dog out of the carrier on the return flight, In order to qualify for an Emotional Support Dog on the plane, which makes me feel uncomfortable.
That is unethical, and I am not understanding why a good breeder would suggest this. My opinion, based on the above information, is that I would walk away from this breeder.
 

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Taking a six month old puppy on a plane and expecting him to be quiet and well behaved the whole way does not sound like a good plan, and if he is not quiet and well behaved you would just be making things more difficult for those with actual emotional support dogs. I would never agree to this, and I think the breeder should be ashamed of herself for suggesting it.
 

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Beckett, 13 months, Miniature Poodle; Street, 5 years, Chihuahua
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m also wondering about testing that she has done for the dam.

82E08146-5381-4A85-B92F-6F2589F39D7F.png


Versus the sire:

82E08146-5381-4A85-B92F-6F2589F39D7F.png
80E445FC-4BD2-4571-A9DF-1811AD09AFB6.png

Which is extensive.
 

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Beckett, 13 months, Miniature Poodle; Street, 5 years, Chihuahua
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry, that last post captured the dam’s testing again. The last image is the sire’s testing. The dam’s testing looks very thin in comparison. The breeder also does not include Legg-Calve-Perthes in her health guarantee.
 

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I don't think it's unusual for sires to be tested more than dams. A good sire might be used with many females, and also others will pay stud fee to use him. So a good sire has very thorough testing. Ideally both would qualify for CHIC though.

Many people are very cautious with rabies vaccines. My breeder is one of them. My vet is one of them. It would not surprise me that the breeder held off on it. Also with heartworm, it is common for people to not give it if their dogs are mainly indoors, especially if they live in low risk areas. People worry about toxicity. It would not surprise me.

The thing about the plane... I'd feel borderline about this. I wouldn't do this myself but it is not uncommon for people to do. I don't agree with it personally. But it also isn't surprising to me. I see it so much that I wouldn't feel especially strongly about the request. But that is me. I flew with Misha when he was 9 months. He was OK but it was very stressful on me. I did have to reassure him quite a bit during takeoff and landing.

As for cost, a well bred pet quality mini from show parents is usually $2-3k. More than that would be concerning.
 

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I agree, there’s no reason to make it so he isn’t in a carrier on the way home. He is not an ESA and it isn’t ethical to force that on you. I live in an area endemic to both HW and rabies (have seen both multiple times personally) so it makes me very annoyed when people don’t take them seriously. The dog is over 6mo and should have a rabies vx. Plenty old IMO...
I’m not sure what I would do in your shoes but the situation certainly makes me raise an eyebrow. It’s tough because I’m sure the puppy is lovely and sweet! Sigh.
 

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I am in the process of buying a puppy from a breeder. The breeder is a member of the Poodle Club of America and I connected with a referral service from that club. The breeder initially took the puppies to a vet, but since then has herself given the 3–4 week vaccinations required for puppies. She has not, however, given heart worm prevention or the rabies vaccination, telling me that I can do that myself. She is also charging quite a bit of money for the dog.

Just wondering if this is normal, or if I should be concerned. The cost is relatively small, but I am wondering what other corners are being cut and want to make sure that there won’t be other questions down the road. The dog is 16 lbs now (a large mini poodle) and she is trying to get me to lie about my mental state in order to have the dog out of the carrier on the return flight, In order to qualify for an Emotional Support Dog on the plane, which makes me feel uncomfortable.

I didn’t expect to have tension with her over something as basic as a rabies shot and heart worm prevention. I have had my dogs on prevention since the first warm overnights, back in March. Any experience with this? Would especially appreciate hearing from breeders for balance on these issues.
Not sure if I missed what part of the US but I'm not as concerned over the heartworm, tho of course it can be a real concern. Are they in a similar climate? Has the pup been primarily an indoor pup? The rabies is more concerning to me, not only for health but for the law. I've never flown a dog but feel pretty certain there are papers that must be presented and signed off on before a dog can fly out of state. Check into that asap. First rabies vaccination can be held off til 6 months, but isn't usually.

How did the conversation come up about presenting the pup as an ESA? Not that I think that's ok, but is it possible that her concern is that the pup will actually be the one to need the emotional support for this first step away from everything they've known for their whole lives? Just thinking out loud on this. I also just wondered if he might just be too big to fit comfortably under an airline seat? My bigger boy is about 14lbs and a lot of legs. I don't think he'd fit easily.

For the health testing, first, is she the breeder of one, both or neither of the dogs? Testing varies per breeder.

It's possible that some tests weren't done due to being cleared by parentage. I haven't fully reviewed the sire/dam of each of the pups sire and dam to see if that might be the case. A CHIC number is more of a database ID#, showing that certain requirements were met, It's not pass/fail but were all requirements met, not just health testing. These are the minimum health testing standards for a miniature poodle from VIP to receive a CHIC number.

prcd Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA testing from an approved laboratory
Eye clearance by the Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
Hip Dysplasia evaluation from an approved agency
Patellar Luxation OFA evaluation

It looks like the eye test on the sire was a yearly repeat, and the sire has had the minimum testing and some extra and has been microchipped or tattooed and therefore passes the certification for a CHIC number.

The dam has had hips and elbows done but not eyes or prcd/pra. There's a possibility that the tests have been done but the results not entered on OFA. Those may possibly be clear-by-parentage disorders. You'll need to check into that if that's a deal breaker for you. The dam has also had the Legg-Calve-Perthes and tested normal. The sire may be clear-by-parentage or not but that test isn't part of the minimum requirements for the CHIC number.

Generally yes, I'd like to see all the appropriate testing done but as I go further into my other project, I'm finding a lot of well recommended breeders don't seem to meet all the health criteria but I'm also learning that once I know what to ask, I may find the answers.

I'm not particularly bothered by the fact that the breeder isn't covering specifically named conditions in the guarantee. How does the genetic portion of the health guarantee read?
 
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By themselves the shots and heartworm wouldn't be a dealbreaker. I know several people who give their own shots. I haven't started heartworm yet because we haven't had any bugs yet in my area.

Lack of rabies shot is not cool. She knows you are coming from outside her area. Many states require any dog over 3 months to have a rabies shot. Even if her area doesn't require the shot, she should get it done. It's protection against unexpected travel hassles as well as the disease.

Asking you to lie about ESA status is also not cool. No six month old dog is going to be reliably housebroken in a situation as stressful as air travel. Airline crews don't need to deal with dog messes in the cabin, especially not now. Future travellers with legitimate service animals don't need to deal with the situation either.

No breeder is perfect. I'm always going to find something I don't like. The question is which imperfections are ones that push me over the edge. What you describe would exceed my tolerance.
  • Airline travel needed. (Much hassle and possible danger in this covid era.)
  • Lack of rabies certificate indicates a lack of respect for the customer, the puppy, and appropriate authorities.
  • Encouraging you to lie about ESA status indicates a lack of respect for people with disabilities.
Your hot buttons might be different from mine.
 

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Beckett, 13 months, Miniature Poodle; Street, 5 years, Chihuahua
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here’s the health guarantee:

CB921A26-B71D-4A5E-B73C-D1CDA60954D9.jpeg
 

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I find the lack of coverage for congenital issues a bit odd. I don't know why that wouldn't be covered in the 3 year guarantee. I think most breeders cover congenital issues for a period, usually 6-24 months.
 

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I don't see what happens if the dog develops a covered condition. IMO requiring the dog to be returned means the guarantee is useless.
 

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Thanks, seeing this helps clarify. This overall situation has the feel of incomplete communication to me.

Is this the pup with the retracted testicles you posted about previously? He's noted as 16 lbs at 6 months. That's a big pup.

The health guarantee is actually more generous than most I've looked over lately.

**

The breeder recommends taking Pup to a vet within 4 days to have present health verified. Most demand this visit within 2-3 days and will void the guarantee if not done. Most have a number of requirements, which if not met by the buyer, will void any guarantee or contract. Is there any wording in the guarantee, or any other contract referring to voiding of the guarantee or contract?

The breeder states that the 1 year Rabies vaccinations will need to be administered along with the usual dewormings. The 1 year Rabies is a booster to the original vaccine administration which suggests the original was done (typically at 16 weeks) so if they will provide the certificate from the state, rabies may be a non-issue.

The 3 year guarantee to be free of genetic diseases which would make him unsuitable as a pet is also more generous by a year or more to most. Just based on what I'm seeing in the guarantee for not included congenital conditions "such as...", I'm guessing that they are not guaranteeing heritable conditions which were not tested in both sire and dam. It doesn't seem unreasonable to not guarantee something not tested for. And in this case, LCP is not part of the minimum requirements and the dam was tested for LCP so that's a 50% reduction of those odds.

Here's a partial copy of a more stringent contract:
466650


Regarding the flying as an ESA, this also feels like incomplete communication to me, but without knowing how or why that suggestion came up, speculation isn't helpful.

Is flying the only practical option? Will he fit in a carrier under seat and how long is the flight, with stops or non stop? My about 14 lbs boy will not fit in an under seat carrier based on these criteria.

A general description of airline requirements:

If you are thinking of traveling with your pet in the cabin of an airplane, you will need an airline compliant pet carrier. Here are the minimum features that your carrier must have to be airline compliant:
  • Your carrier must have a waterproof bottom
  • Your carrier must have adequate ventilation
  • Your pet must be securely fastened in the carrier. (no snaps, please, zippers are better)
  • Your carrier must fit under the seat in front of you.
  • Your pet must be the proper size for the carrier. It must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.
The last criteria is the most important on the list and may mean the difference of getting on the airplane with your pet or not.
Measure your pet from top of head to the ground and from the tip of the nose to the base (not tip) of tail. Use these measurements to select a pet carrier.
Generally, if your pet's weight exceeds 15 pounds and is more than 19" long, it will be too large to fit into an airline compliant carrier.

From Southwest Airlines:

Acceptable Pet Carriers:
  • The Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier (17” long x 9.5” high x 10” wide).
  • Other pet carriers with maximum dimensions of 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide.
  • Soft-sided and hard-sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable.
  • The carriers must be leak-proof and well ventilated.
  • The pet carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of the Customer and be stowed in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.
Pet Carrier Requirements:
  • Southwest Airlines allows only one pet carrier per ticketed Passenger.
  • The carrier may contain two (2) cats or dogs and must be of the same species per carrier.
  • The cat or dog must be completely inside the pet carrier and be able to stand up and move around the carrier with ease.
  • Pets must be secured in the pet carrier at all times while in the gate area, during boarding/deplaning, and they must remain in the carrier for the entire duration of the flight. Failure to follow this requirement may result in denial of transportation of the pet onboard Southwest Airlines.

Note: Pet carriers are considered either a personal item or a carryon item. A Customer may board the aircraft with either a pet carrier and a personal item or a pet carrier and a regular size carryon bag. A Customer may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a regular size carryon bag, and a personal item. The pet carrier must conform to all carryon baggage regulations.

As cowpony said, figure out what your deal breakers are and decide on that basis.
 
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I find the lack of coverage for congenital issues a bit odd. I don't know why that wouldn't be covered in the 3 year guarantee. I think most breeders cover congenital issues for a period, usually 6-24 months.
I don't see what happens if the dog develops a covered condition. IMO requiring the dog to be returned means the guarantee is useless.
I don't think we're seeing the whole thing but I agree that more information re what is considered covered vs non covered issues would need to be clarified, and more specifics on remediation of issues and enforcement of contract stipulations if this is intended to be an enforceable agreement. As we're seeing this, it reads to me like a "gentleman's agreement". I miss that.

This just takes me back to my belief that a quality breeder will step up for their pups, with or without legal stipulations and enforcements. That may be naive but I feel sure they are out there.

Cowpony, your point about returning a pup is well taken. Seriously, could you return a pup after months or years no matter what a contract says?

Another section from that same more stringent contract I copied above. It's spelled out here but I don't know that it makes me feel any better :(
466651
 

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Beckett, 13 months, Miniature Poodle; Street, 5 years, Chihuahua
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is the complete contract:

Guarantee:
It is understood that at the time of sale, this puppy is representative of a very fine miniature poodle, both in structure and temperament. He is being sold as a companion pet, and should be neutered at 8-12 months of age. It is recommended the buyer have the puppy examined by a licensed, reputable veterinarian within 4 days of bringing the puppy home to verify his good health. He will need his 1 year rabies vaccinations and worming. Your puppy has a 3 year guarantee to be free of genetic diseases which would make him unsuitable as a pet (PRA, Hip Dysplasia, etc). This does not include umbilical hernias, bites, missing testicles, misplaced eyelashes, congenital conditions such as Legg Calves Perthes, contagious diseases such as parvo, rabies, bordatella, etc.

It is also recommended that you exercise good judgement in managing your puppy’s exercise and rest periods as he is still young and will need discipline, protection from over-exertion, and supervised play periods. Under no circumstance should you allow your puppy outside off of his leash, unless you have a safe, secure fenced area. Poodles were bred to retrieve and hunt - they will chase a squirrel or a cat without hesitation. Do not allow unsupervised play periods with children or other dogs or cats as this creates risks of injuries to your puppy’s growing joints and body.

Please review the revised Vaccination Protocols attached. These vaccination protocols were revised years ago and are accepted by most Veterinary Schools in the USA. If you do not follow these vaccination protocols, you may invalidate your health guarantee. I encourage you to provide a copy of these vaccination protocols to your vet, although I would expect a reputable veterinarian to be currently adhering to these vaccination protocols.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these revised protocols to assist your vet in managing your poodle’s vaccinations.

Please understand that if for ANY reason, at any time, you cannot keep your Poodle (due to unforeseen family emergencies, illness, job relocation overseas, death, divorce to name a few life changing events) I require that I am contacted by email or letter, and that the dog returns to me. I absolutely do not allow my poodles to go to shelters or rescue organizations. This dog has a home with me should your circumstances change drastically.

Welcome to the X Family of Poodles. I am certain that this poodle will be a beloved, devoted, healthy companion for you. I am entrusting his complete and total welfare to you and hope that you will cherish him as I cherish my poodles.


vaccination link:

2016 Dodds Vaccination Protocol for Dogs
 

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If you're confident that this is the pup for you but not confident in the breeder, then you have a set of risks to evaluate. If you approach taking on the pup with the future completely as your responsibility come what may, this might be the pup for you. The breeder may or may not step up if problems arise.

If you're confident in the breeder but not in the pup, then this is probably not the pup for you.

If you're not confident in either, then this probably isn't for you.

Do you think you can look this pup in the eyes one, three, many years from now, whatever has happened or will happen, and say "I'm so glad you came to live with me. You've made my life better. I hope I've done the same for you."?

Because of my experiences with a quality breeder with my previous girls and, let's just say a wouldn't pass muster breeder of my boys, I advocate for proper health testing and a breeder who will stand behind you and your pup, rain or shine.

I didn't want to even meet my boys because I knew the breeder wasn't doing things right. They actually thought they were, but they were seriously not educated in what it takes to be a quality breeder.

We had been searching for a little while after losing both our girls not long before their 16th bday but felt time was against us due to our age. I underestimated how much my hubs missed having a poodle so when a friend showed him the classified ad, we fought. When hubs made it clear how much it meant to him, we went to see the available pups. We saw them with the breeder and their family. We saw the boys mom and dad. We watched them play and run around. We came home the second visit with the two available boy pups.

I made up my mind that I'd treat them as a rescue, knowing the health testing was spotty and that the breeder would not back them or us up. There was no contract or guarantee, just a bill of sale, the vaccination records, and the registry papers.

Because I knew the risks, and I knew we could cover health issues financially, I felt it would be ok taking them.

I will never recommend my course of action to others except in this one point - I gathered as much information as I could before making any decision.

I'm so glad they are in our lives, they've made our lives better and I hope we've done the same for them. I love my little boy band always.

If you're not comfortable, it's probably not right for you.
 
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For me the dealbreaker is “does not guarantee against rabies and parvo”....they can’t guarantee against RABIES?
 

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Seeing more wording shifts me a bit. I agree with Rose n Pops that some of the concerns might just be miscommunication. It does sound like she means the puppy should get the rabies booster, not the initial. I think it's reasonable that she wouldn't guarantee against communicable diseases if the dog wasn't in her control at the time it was due for boosters.
 

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I'm kind of in the camp that nothing's ever perfect, and it's just a matter of deciding what's a deal breaker for you. Everybody has their "perfect criteria" for how they would ideally want their puppy bred, raised, fed, and guaranteed. It's unlikely to find a perfect match. There are certain boxes that for me are definite deal breakers if they are not checked. Parents must have hips and patellas tested. Parents must be registered. I will not do an early spay/neuter. There are others. And my deal breakers will be different than another person's. If you love the puppy and your gut tells you this is the right puppy, and you don't have any serious issues with the breeder, that's your choice and it's fine to make that call. But just make the decision that feels right for you. I think you are doing everything you can to make an informed choice. I think this is a really beautiful puppy and he would tug on my heartstrings as well.

Also, is driving to the breeder a possibility? I would personally not want to fly with a 6 month old puppy that had just met me. They are very unpredictable, have poor manners, and may be very anxious. I'd rather drive halfway across the country than do that. I drove 12 hours from FL to TN to pick up my puppy and it really wasn't bad. He slept most of the way.
 

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Beckett, 13 months, Miniature Poodle; Street, 5 years, Chihuahua
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wanted to thank everyone for their comments and detailed assistance with this decision. I did have a long conversation with the breeder last night and have decided to proceed with this puppy. All issues have been addressed and I feel very good about the decision. Communication and communication style, as well as ideas about vaccinations, rabies, missing verbiage from the contract, etc., were all at issue, and are now resolved. I will be picking the puppy up from the breeder in early June, and will post photos when he’s at his new home in New York. He may even get a poodle sibling soon as there is another litter. Will post details soon.
 
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