New Trend: L.A Pet Foundation’s Lead A New Paws-a-tive Perspective To The Pet Store Concept

A new trend in Los Angeles is helping to change the face of pet stores. Many animal foundations are redefining the “pet store” concept to include “only” rescued shelter pups. The concept has been emerging over the past few years, but now picking up steam.

During  the past 20 years the pet industry has tripled and so has the volume of breeders good and bad. The internet and local pet stores are inundated with breeding facilities who follow a trend of popular pups, designer or not. The internet competition of where to get your Lassie-like idea of your next BFF is an underground web of confusion in this furry internet secret society. 

In other words, the rescues and shelters can’t stop the puppy mill or internet breeders. They can only educate us to be responsible and provide help for the pups in the pound. Only we can change with awareness, education and knowledge to ask the right questions. USDA (United States department of Agriculture) are legal commercial kennel facilities that produce mass puppies often sold to pet stores. That’s not to say all breeders are bad, it’s truly buyer beware and education on how, where, and who to get a puppy from, that’s lacking to the general public.

The puppy mill breeders appear behind internet sources and pet stores providing cute puppy faces and sometimes make deals with pet stores. The breeding conditions aren’t known (behind a website or from a store) and a seemingly heathy puppy within a year can have chronic ailments due to bad breeding or not having the  proper training (due to lack of puppy parent education) hence, they’re turned into the shelter. By the way, not all rescue pups are in ill health. I personally have a rescue pup that will turn 17 years old in August. She’s in perfect health for her age! 

The rescues keep plucking the best out of the pounds urging people to spay and neuter and adopt, but the cycle continues. All topics are important issue’s that contribute to the approximate 10 Million animals a year that get euthanized across the U.S shelters, costing tax payers roughly 2 Billion dollars to execute. 

Congratulations to the many animal foundations who are making their way into main stream retailers! This provides the space and appeal to “rescue” a puppy while shopping in a local shopping mall. Spot! (West Hollywood) , Love and Leashes (West Los Angeles) and Adopt and Shop (Mission Vejo, CA)  to name a few. Many people want to rescue yet the local animal shelter can be a sad depressing place or not local. The great thing about these types of stores is that they provide more than just puppies. Often a more mature pet is your ideal lifestyle pick. Viola, love at-first-sight! A store front environment changes the appeal and makes recycling a paws-a-tive gift! 

 Found Animals Foundation who  is a privately funded operating foundation in Los Angeles that focuses on a few powerful levers for changing the outcome for millions of animals euthanized each year in the US. Working with local communities and animal care professionals, we deliver innovative community-based adoption, spay/neuter, and pet ID programs while offering a wealth of trusted educational resources. Bravo! 

Thinking Puppy? The Truth Behind Professional Breeders

Paws For A Minute® - Puppy Series: What goes into the cost of a well-bred pup?

Ready for a new puppy? Many people break down their search by picking their breed first. Lab, German Shepherd Dog or Poodle, whatever your fancy all can be found on the internet. Remember though, not all pure bred dogs are well-bred!

All pure breeds can be found in the shelter and/or breed rescues. Often healthy fabulous dogs can be found in every city. Sometimes it may take a bit of research, calls or asking veterinary staff but rescuing a desired pure breed dog is possible. If you choose to find a professional breeder on on-line beware, not all breeders are reputable.

The show breeders often do not advertise and the professional breeders can be mixed in with other puppy mill type breeders. The best thing to do is have knowledge about your chosen breed, call and ask questions and ask then to email OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certificates or ratings of the parents of the litter, etc. 

While researching this entire  I found that backyard breeders often do not do health testing on their breeding dogs, which translates to potential un-known heredity issues within the litter. Many breeders can have registered dogs and even pedigree’s but they are breeding potential heath issues such as hip dysplasia.

Every breed has a club which votes in members. These people show in confirmation agility and or obedience and have strict guidelines to their breeding protocols. Usually show dog people who have mastered their breed, gained championships and decided to breed. They are in the business of selective breeding and often keep what they want out of the litter and sell the rest. If you fall into this category of wanting a show puppy, then it’s really important to know what you’re buying and why?

Professional breeders distinguish themselves from other “backyard” breeders in that they show their dogs to champions in the confirmation rings. This is a very time consuming hobby and many championships take years. Often health tests on their breeding dogs are done before any litter is produced. Oddly enough, health testing is not a requirement to showing or breeding a show dog, but most do.  The mission for breeders (in general) is to better their “chosen” breed, so most will. The great thing is that health testing usually comes with certificates and paperwork which you (as the buyer) can ask to see. Professional breeders usually do not breed often and are extremely selective on who gets their puppies. 

So what goes into the cost of these pricey pups? I found a very interesting article written by professional breeder Bill Burns, who breaks down his costs involved in breeding a pedigree’d dog. I called him and asked if I could re-publish his article to help prospective puppy buyers understand what goes into a cost of a high-priced pup. Here’s what Bill had to say..

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How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

written by Bill Burns /The Kennel At Burns Gardens -Golden Retrievers and Havanese

Searching the web for a pedigree’d pup that’s produced by a professional breeder is a different experience and takes a bit of knowledge to understand all the lingo. To find the good ones and really understand what you are actually buying, other than just a cute puppy.  Not unlike other important life oriented decisions like buying a home, having a child, or even buying a car, a dog comes with a 14 year or more commitment and possibly heath issues.

Many people ask me where the best place to get a puppy from is and my answer varies depending on their lifestyle. The shelter is always filled with wonderful dogs. Each breed usually has a rescue that’s easily found on the web. However, some people want to get a purebred pup from a professional breeder, and that’s okay too, if you know why you want to pay thousands of dollars for a dog and why, what to look out for… hence my desire to write this article!

In the first article, I took a three year time frame that started during the year 2006 and ended in 2009.  For this study, for convenience, I used calendar years.  I also wanted to have some overlap between the studies so that any remarkable changes (like the cost of dog food) would be tempered.  So I used the three year calendar period from 2009 to 2012.  The number of Havanese puppies produced here during that first three year period was 38.  In the most recent three year period the number of puppies produced was 28.     

During each of these periods we paid for vet fees, medicines, wormers, vaccines, progesterone testing,  flea prevention, health testing (Baer Hearing, Bile acid, Cerf for eyes, OFA Patella, OFA Cardiac, OFA Thyroid, OFA Hips, LCP and Elbows), stud fee, semen storage, AKC and CKC registrations and pedigrees, DNA kits, Microchips, vaccines and progesterone testing.  We paid a total of $45,326.64 for those kinds of things during the earlier time period.  During this past three years, we paid a total of $34,924.92.   The breakdown during this most recent period was $24,113.97 for Veterinarian fees; $5,363.01 for medicines, $3,057.44 for health testing, $2,390.50 for AKC and CKC registrations, fees and supplies like Microchips.

Divided equally among the 38 puppies produced in the earlier period the average cost for those things was $1,192.81 per puppy.  For the latest period, the average cost for Veterinarian fees and related items was $1,247.32 per puppy.

Top 5 Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

Raising children and a puppy can be an awesome experience, yet challenging at the same time if you’re not sure what your doing. Raising a puppy means housebreaking and lots of poop, not unlike raising a child in diapers. The good news is that a puppy’s developmental process happens a lot faster, all within the first year. Sure, the concept of puppies and children seems amazing but can be a lot of work if your not prepared. Success largely depends on your time, previous experience, lifestyle match of the breed of dog you pick and your child’s age.

Puppies are great, but remember they loose their teeth during a teething stage and that sweet 8 week-old angel you got can quickly turn into Cujo for a short period of time. Navigating through this puppy stage with children around and doing it gracefully is the key to success.

It’s all manageable if you’re organized and know how to surf through the housebreaking and chewing phase of puppyhood. Choosing the right breed, size and temperament to match your lifestyle is key!

 

 

There are many breeds and mixes that awesome when raised with children. Success depends on your former experience, time and lifestyle. Choosing the right breed and temperament to match your family and lifestyle is so important. If you and your partner aren’t seasoned dog owners, then choosing certain breeds can be more challenging to raise than others. The following examples are some of easier breeds to manage in terms of size and innate temperament for the first time dog owner that has children. Remember, a puppy is a puppy, no matter what breed you choose!  Mastering a great experience is all in the process of how you raise, train and housebreak your puppy.  Dogs can live a long time, up to 15 years and beyond. So if you’re contemplating getting a puppy for your child, remember it’s your new baby, first.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This breed is a great starter dog for families with children. They must be trained and well socialized. Housebreaking and addressing separation anxiety in puppyhood ( like with all breeds) is important. In general, the King Charles Spaniel has a sweet, loving and easy temperament. They are playful and love to chase birds or butterflies but generally do not possess super high-prey drive.

 

 

Pros:

  • Size is manageable (they average about 12″ to 13″ at the shoulders and weigh about 13-20 lbs) as adults.
  • Love to snuggle and lay in your lap.
  • Are playful but not in your face self assured.
  • Pretty mellow and easy-going with children, other dogs and older people.
  • Great size for traveling. Generally will fit into traveling bags and not take up too much space in the car.
  • Come in many colors. Black and tan, red and white, ruby (red), and tricolor (black tan and white)
  • They are not super territorial in nature, which averts many issues concerning children.
Cons:
  • Can have health problems. Choosing the right breeder is important.
  • Do shed but not tiny needle hairs like pugs and other short haired breeds
  • Are so cute many people do not train them early one. Often resulting with separation anxiety issues.

2. Bichon Frise

A lovely choice for families with young children. This white fluff ball breed is a happy, very cheerful, non-shedding and make great companions. They make great apartment dogs and an easy size for travel, and happy go lucky in nature and generally not hyper. Their nature is playful and intelligent yet very tolerant of children and good with elderly people.

 

 

Pros:

  • Non shedding
  • Cute
  • Oder less
  • Not terribly territorial or yappy
  • fun, loving and ready to play and easy to train

Cons:

  • Regular grooming is a must. Brushing is essential because hair gets matted.
  • Painful hair mats need to be cut out if not groomed properly.
  • Grooming means bath, haircuts and blow drying to keep mats at bay.
  • Hair around the eyes can stain if not cleaned often.
  • $$ -Grooming costs can get expensive and need to be done monthly.
  • They are so cute, many do not formally train them or get them housebroken early in puppyhood. Hence, they can be labeled difficult to housebreak. This is not true. It’s up to the owner to achieve this by understanding how to accomplish this stage during puppyhood.

3. Shorty Jack Russell 

Some people feel that the Jack Russell Terrier is a hyper breed. However, this breed comes in many versions. The short-legged Irish and or English “shorty” jack as they’re referred to can be a calm loving lap dog, with a little zip! Training is key to this breed, yet once trained they are sturdy, lovely playful happy dogs, who can do very well with children. They come with many coat types: smooth, broken and rough. Ironically the rough or long coat version is known to shed less.

 

Pros:

  • Funny looking and come in many colors and crazy cute markings
  • Very smart and easy to train
  • Great travel size 8″ to 12″ at the shoulders and weigh 8 to 15 lbs
  • Many say they are like potato chips.. you can’t have just one
  • Good with children
  • Do well with structure and rules. Training is a must.
  • Can become ball-o-hollics which makes exercising them easy
  • Rugged, athletic and calm all in the same day.
Cons:
  • They shed a lot. The short coats have small needle like hair similar to Labs, Chihuahua’s and Pugs. The broken coats look like they don’t shed as much, but they do. The rough coated ones shed less but look more like a Benji type dog.
  • Must be apart of the family. Not a dog to be kept in the yard alone or to get bored.
  • Training and exercise must be included in your daily schedule from puppyhood through adulthood.

4. Miniature or Standard Poodle

This breed often gets a bad wrap because of their hair cuts, but in reality they are rugged, very smart, sturdy and fun dogs. Not foo-foo at all! Hence, the ever popular Labradoodle hy-bred of Lab- Poodle cross. The real deal comes in many colors, four sizes and is awesome with children. No need to go designer mix.

 

 

Pros:

  • Smart, fun, athletic with an easy going nature
  • Comes in a variety of sizes from a tiny tea cup to Standard big dog size of 70 lbs
  • Easy to train and housebreak if you put the effort into it
  • The toy, miniature or standard sizes are best for families with small children
  • Does not shed
  • You can keep this dog in a puppy cut for life, avoiding the known Poodle cut and stereotype.

 

Cons:

  • Grooming costs can add up. Haircuts needed regularly.
  • Can get ear infections due to floppy ear set. Ear cleaning is important for prevention.
  • Must train. If not they can get anxious and be prone to nervous reactions only due to a lack of understanding and training.

5. French Bulldog

This cute. small sturdy breed can be wonderful with children. Small enough for children to  play with, but a little too heavy for a child to actually pick up. They are awesome apartment dogs and do not need HUGE amounts of exercise comparable to other breeds.  They can weigh anywhere from 18 to 28 lbs as adults.

 

 

Pros:

  • Easy to train if owners are educated to their puppyhood needs.
  • Lovely with children
  • Easy grooming care. Wash and go.
  • Exercise needs are manageable
Cons:
  • Shed
  • They can get gassy and can have delicate stomach issues.
  • Snore when they sleep
  • Tend to drool occasionally
  • Known to have health some issues down the road

Please remember that all pure bred dogs are available in your local shelters and rescues. If choosing a breeder, choose carefully and really do your research!

Shopping For The Perfect Puppy Can Be Love At First Sight. Or Are You Being Scammed?

Looking for LOVE and how we find our best friend has been revolutionized over the last decade. The method of how we find “our dog” has morphed with technology. Finding a specific breed or that perfect “disney-like pup” has orbited into cyber space along with dating. Even in the unconditional love world of wet noses and wags, the internet has served as a double edge sword for many prospective dog owners. Unsuspecting and uneducated would-be dog parents can stumble upon puppy brokers guised within large internet companies that marked their territory by catering to fast demands of love-at-first site, no pun intended.

If you want a Jack Russell with one cute black eye, you can find it, buy it and have it shipped to you. The fast food-style of finding love in our new pup culture has it’s heartbreak. Sometimes years into the relationship of mutt-rimony issue’s can be revealed with health, temperament or impulse buys that become a mismatch of lifestyle. How do I know? As a long time dog trainer and pet expert, I have seen first-hand the issues and help resolve them empathetically.

The good new is that with people like Betsy Saul the co-founder of Petfinder.com the web can also change the face of animal welfare. Over 5 million people visit that site each month. The website is designed to find your designer dog (in a way) just like the other sites. The only difference is that you can really taylor it to you needs and rescue a puppy or older dog of your choice. Choose any color, size, age and even in your own state and viola you can find your match. They facilitate over 2 million adoptions a year. Since the website (and others) have been created, the number of adoptable pets being euthanized has dropped form over 16 million to an estimated 4 million. Congratulations and thank you!

Now that’s love!