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New reasons not to buy a puppy from a pet store

August 11, 2013 26 comments

Puppy Wearing BowIf you’ve heard anything about the connection between puppy mills and pet stores, then you’ve also likely heard about the dangers of buying a puppy from a pet store.

Past studies and stories have shown that puppies purchased from pet stores are more likely to be sick, infested with parasites, and have physiological issues due to poor breeding and inbreeding – something you often see in puppy mill puppies.

Last week, I read an interesting new study that seems to further expound on the dangers of purchasing a puppy from a pet store. This new study focused not on the health of pet store puppies, but on the behavioral differences between dogs bought as puppies in pet stores and those brought from noncommercial breeders. The results were very interesting.

The study: Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders

Sample size:

  • Dogs obtained from pet stores – 413
  • Dogs obtained from a noncommercial breeder – 5,657

Tools used for study and analysis: C-BARQ (Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire)

Results Summary: Dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores had significantly greater aggression towards human family members, unfamiliar people, and other dogs, had greater fear of other dogs and nonsocial stimuli and greater separation-related problems and house soiling issues.

More specifically, the results showed that pet store dogs were:

  • 3 times as likely to have owner-directed aggression (if sexually intact) as were sexually intact dogs acquired from breeder
  • nearly twice as likely to have dog-directed aggression (i.e., aggression towards unfamiliar dogs)
  • 30% to 60% more likely to have stranger-directed aggression, aggression towards other household dogs, fear of dogs, and nonsocial stimuli,  as well as separation-related problems and touch sensitivity.
  • somewhat more excitable, energetic, and attention-seeking
  • generally less trainable, if they did not participate in working or recreational activities
  • had a range of miscellaneous behavioral problems at significantly higher frequencies than did those acquired from breeders (e.g., escaping from the home, sexual mounting of people and objects, and most forms of house-soiling)

All credit given to the authors of “Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders

I doubt these latest results will stop people from buying that cute puppy in the pet shop window, but I hope it will, at the very least, give them pause to think. Caring for a sick puppy is one thing, but dealing with behavioral issues later? Maybe, just maybe, it’s worth reconsidering that purchase. One can only hope.

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