Hazards of buying an older dog from a breeder

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Many owners decide to get a dog but don't want to go through puppyhood. Prospective owners might opt for a purebred dog from a breeder but want one that is not a puppy.

Often breeders hold back certain puppies from sale so that they can see how they "turn out" from a show or breeding perspective. In other cases, some puppies just never get sold, or sometimes a puppy was returned.

While the thought process is valid, e.g., not wanting to go through potty training, biting and the like, some beliefs have inherent fallacies.

If you have made a decision to acquire a specific breed dog from a breeder, what might you be getting?

Some undesirable characteristics could include:

  • Lack of socialization outside of its own pack, resulting in fear or aggression toward other dogs.
  • Fear of normal noisy or large things in the environment such as trash cans, garage doors and trucks.
  • Nipping and biting strangers, especially types of people the dog has not been exposed to, such as children.
  • Shyness with new people.
  • No experience with walking on a leash or riding in a car.
  • Lack of real potty training, since it is likely that the dogs at the breeder lived in a kennel rather than a house. Even if they have been potty trained to some degree, they might have been trained on concrete and not on grass, or they might have no clue about how to potty on a leash.
  • Complications from being crated excessively.
  • Hesitance to bond, lack of trust.
  • Bonding too well, which can lead to separation anxiety. "Velcro" dogs bark when the owner is not home, destroy things for attention or out of anxiety, potty in the house, and spin or lick
  • Spay or neutering, if the dog was on the show circuit. If male and un-neutered, expect some marking behavior.
  • Lack of basic obedience training.

If you are lucky when acquiring this dog, he has lived in the breeder's home and has had exposure to kids and other people. He has been taken places other than dog shows.

She has had special attention from people. She has been leash-walked to potty.

By purchasing or adopting from a breeder, you can have the specific breed you want. Make sure the dog is of a size and age that works with your family.

However, just because they are past puppyhood does not mean they are well-trained, secure, self-assured dogs. Most issues can be worked through with time but require patience and training on the new owner's part.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. ajbird@hargray.com

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