I strongly believe in saving dogs from shelters, though there is a place for responsible breeders.
To rescue a dog or buy from a responsible breeder? There are pros to each avenue, it really comes down to your needs, beliefs, and what fits with your lifestyle. Let’s dive in!
Pros of rescuing from a shelter
First and foremost – you save a life!
How amazing is that?! The gratitude you get from that dog will be like none other. I rescued my beloved Kya from the pound in Denton, TX and that dog would do anything for me. She literally jumped off a second-story balcony because she wanted to join me for my evening run. We had a special bond and her ashes will be spread with mine.
To rescue a dog or buy from a responsible breeder? Rescue = saving a LIFE!
You will save hundreds of dollars because the spay/neuter operation and vaccinations are already rendered
It’s important to pick the right dog. Some dogs will be timid at the shelter, but once they have been in their new home for a while a ‘different dog’ may appear. When the dog feels safe and confident their true personality comes out – which could be a good thing, however, sometimes it presents challenges.
I had a dog-walking client who adopted a dog with severe fear aggression – which was likely caused by a traumatic or negative experience and/or no socialization. In the end, was not able to service them after almost being bitten twice. It was the first and only time I ever turned away a client. The owners worked with 4 trainers but were unable to rehabilitate the dog. In the end, they had to medicate the dog to alleviate the problem. This is an extremely rare case – I’d say one in a million, but it could happen. Most dogs can be rehabilitated. It takes a lot of time and work but is worth it in the end. Do your best and meet your dog where they are emotionally and mentally.
May already have basic training skills and potty trained
Huge bonus! Half of our client’s dogs are rescued and they had zero problems folding into their dog mom and dad’s life. Some shelters will have the dog’s backstory but often times they don’t. You will have to follow your heart and make your best judgment when interacting with the pup at the shelter.
Pros of purchasing a puppy from a responsible breeder
You will know the breed’s temperament, size, and appearance.
Can meet your dog’s parents
When meeting your dogs parents you will get an even better idea of what their size and possible temperament will be. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.
Will know your puppy’s health and socialization history
Responsible breeders have a passion for their breed and work hard to achieve high standards with their litters. They test for potential health problems, search for good bloodlines, routinely have their dogs checked by a vet, feed quality food, proper shelter, offer adequate exercise, and examine family trees to make sure inbreeding does NOT occur.
A responsible breeder takes their puppies to the vet to get a health check and will offer a health guarantee
You get a puppy with a CLEAN slate to mold, guide, and teach from the very beginning
You get guidance from an expert
A responsible breeder will start the potty training and socialization from day one and will help you prepare your home. This sets you up for success, though no doubt about it – a puppy is WORK! Many times our dog walking service is hired to help with the potty training. As they say – it takes a village! A responsible breeder will be your support system and help you in every way they can throughout your dog’s life. Since they know the breed so well they can tell you things to watch out for ie. sunburn easily, love of water, or being prone to eye infections.
“It’s important to understand that responsible breeders do not contribute to the situation of homeless pets in shelters. In fact, they support breed-rescue efforts that help those dogs and are often actively involved in transport, fostering, and placement of rescued dogs.” (SOURCE)
A responsible breeder will take one of their pups back, and/or help you find a new home if necessary. “Responsible dog breeders do not cause pet overpopulation. Irresponsible dog owners do, whether they breed their dogs deliberately, or don’t bother to neuter their dogs in the first place.” (SOURCE)
MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT TALKING TO A PUPPY MILL!!
To rescue a dog or buy from a breeder?
Some say there are enough dogs out there – why breed more? I used to be one of those people, but after 10 years in the pet industry, I’ve seen a lot and have had many experiences. I respect responsible breeders and believe they have a place. They foster the integrity of the breed and share their history. I love the Great Dane and when I see them running full speed I sometimes imagine their ancestors hunting wild boar in the fields. Specific breeds were bred for a purpose, a ‘job’ if you will. If that ‘job’ fits your lifestyle it will be a great breed for you. Love life on the water – get a Lab. If you like hunting – get a German Shorthair Pointer. Enjoy running – get a Vizsla. Are brain teasers and playing games your jam – get a Collie. Want to be lazy – get a Bulldog. Finding a dog that matches your lifestyle and energy level is supremely important.
Ask yourself what it is that you want in a dog, and what situation works best for you. Again follow your heart, do the research, and enjoy the process. You’ll find your forever furry friend.