I am friends with a wonderful couple, true dog lovers who just don't "get it" They recently purchased a cocker spaniel puppy, lovely little thing, and because she is "papered" (yeah, I know) they think this means they should breed her cause "boy she must be something." Now, if I were to respond to any ole person on here that thought such a thing, I would have one heck of a rant, but when it is a close friend, it has to be handled a bit more tactfully if I wish to remain friends, and if I want to actually get through to them why they shouldn't do this. I have made a few comments discouraging this plan of theirs, but they have just brushed it off. I know that my opinion on breeding was formed after being influenced by a LOT of information, various articles...just learning. Had I known what I know now, I would never have bred my dogs 15 years ago. Their dog is approaching her first heat, and I know they are thinking it is time (yikes!) so I dont have years and years to try and educate them...and my saying they shouldn't breed her ever, but especially not so young, isn't going to have much effect on them, cause what do I know? So, if anyone has some really well written articles that maybe get to the heart of the matter in an easily understood, succint, and tactful manner, I would really appreciate it. I know going at them with both barrels about how irresponsible it would be will accomplish nothing more than damaging our friendship. As I said, they really, really love their dogs, so I know if they can just be made to uderstand the damage they are doing, they would change their minds.
What's the main reason for them to breed? Maybe to start them off you should show them pictures of puppie mills and the pound.You could even show them the videos on puppy mills, you can find them in youtube. They make me cry everytime. Once catch their attention, tell them why they shouldn't breed and give them some articles.
I really dont KNOW the reason they think they should...I can't get what is their motivation. We have been involved in a large rescue, and they witnessed first hand what that involved-the sick dogs, the huge vet bills, euthanising some that had health and behavior issues... the months of trying to find good homes for the puppies, a few pups that had health problems, moms that wouldn't care for the pups...and the way all of this fun made our house smell! Yet somehow they dont seem to see a connection between THEIR plan and what we went through. i guess because THEY aren't a puppy mill, they think it is ok. THEIR dog is loved and cared for, their dog isn't locked in a cage and bred over and over...they only plan to breed her "one time" then get her spayed...it just baffles me as to how such intelligent, compassionate people can be so...OBTUSE. I just cant seem to get through to them in any tactful way...and maybe if I really laid into them, they would ge tthe idea, but probably it would just make them mad and I would lose some good friends and they would STILL breed the dumb dog!
Moenitz, first of all, if the dog is approaching her first heat, she's still too young. You can be forthright about that by warning about dogs that are too young ignoring or killing their puppies. Secondly, have they done any testing at all? Do they own a male? Have they shown the dog, and finished her? I know there are a lot of things you could tell them, but the trick is how to do it; so as not to ruin your friendship. Do you know their vet? Is he likely to condone this breeding, or will he give them the correct information? If they don't own a male, do they know what they're looking for, and what tests should be done on that male? If it was my friend I would just tell them the truth, in a nice manner. If they're genuine about their love and regard for their dogs they will listen. You can also back your advice up with articles, web sites, and other people. Good luck, let us know how it goes, meanwhile I'll look for sites on the net.
That is soooo scary, I have been lucky in all my breedings, and (knock on wood) haven't had any issues. My first puppy when to his happy home today. I am sad to see him go, but he should have a great home with a pond, he is going to go nuts. He loves water.
Cockers have soooo many allergies and health problems. I would just try to sit them down and explain responible breeding to them. They didn't get the dog from a great breeder, if they didn't have a spay/nueter contract. If they are really your great friends, they will understand you sitting them down and having that conversation. If not, I wouldn't consider then great friends.
No, they didn't get her from a good breeder-they bought her from a flyer they saw at the store- she was in a filthy pen in a barn with dozens of other filthy dogs-they felt sorry for her, and so bought her from ther greedy jerk that created the mess.
They are good friends, but also sort of NEW friends...and I dont feel like we are close enough to really lay it on the line. Very few people that my husband and I BOTH like as a couple, so it is important to me that I dont chase them off with my anti-breeding zeal. ;) The above article that was linked is a good one-more like that would be great if you know of them. I am hoping to find the best of the best and present it to them tactfully-as in, "I know if soemone had told me what I was doing, I would have felt differently, and I think you might too..." They are both super smart people, very kind and they love their dogs to death, take them everywhere...but somehow this very obvious (well, obvious to me) thing has gone over their head. They were actually lamenting that their other dog, who they got from rescue several years ago, was spayed when they got her, cause she would have made such a good momma....argh!!! That nosie you heard just now was me banging my head on the wall in frustration...
I always keep a few in my favorites and even use them in my blog.
My feeling is the more you make people aware the better off it is for the dogs in shelters who could really use a home!
I'm a bit shocked that after rescue someone would still consider "hobby" breeding. Especially a cocker spaniel. As a friend I would suggest having them consider attending a few shows... along with talking with other RESPONSIBLE cocker spaniel breeders.
Your best friend may just be a click away "www.petfinder.com"
Heres a site that just about covers it all. I espescially like this excerpt : " If you are considering breeding or purchasing your dog (do please consider rescuing a dog that already needs a good home), please throughly read ALL the links. If you do not have time to do that much, you do not have time for dogs. "
Moenitz, also try to contact a really good breeder, who will shudder when she hears about this breeding. You could suggest to your friend that she needs a mentor, and that she should really talk to a reputable breeder to get some 'tips'. Perhaps she will understand the risks involved in breeding Cockers. Dusty, that was a really good article, but it is definitely aimed at people who don't have a clue, and I know that was the whole point of posting it. For the starting breeder, or new breeder though, a lot of the nasty and horrific events happening in the article are preventable. As a long time breeder, I can go down the list and see what is , and what is not, probable, possible and extremely unlikely. Just wanted to say this so the relatively new breeders on the forum don't run to the phone to advertise all their dogs.
There are several articles in the link that are very insightful. Alot of good information. The only problem with finding a mentor is that someone that knows nothing of breeding themselves , are not going to know what a good breeder is. They could hook up with someone that does more harm than good. There are articles in there that tell what to look for in finding a good breeder. Anytime anyone is considering breeding, they need to educate themselves as much as possible. Reading is just a start. Then comes finding a mentor because hopefully by then, they have absorbed enough knowledge from reading, that they will understand how to recognize a reputable one........
"No Matter how little money and how few possessions, you own, having a dog makes you rich." - Louis Sabin
I agree with you Dusty. These people are trying to run before they can walk and apparently don't have a hot clue what they're up against.They have apparently done 0 research into the breed, or they would not even consider breeding that girl. Nobody knows what's behind her, and the high rate of damaged Cockers is well known. To take one that was raised in a filthy barn, A.K.A puppy mill, is ludicrous. I do however think that the right mentor is out there, it's a case of finding one, and finding the right person to say "No way should you breed this dog" This was the reason I suggesed a respectable breeder to answer all the obvious questions.
That is a pretty good idea...now finding a reputable breeder is the tough part. We live in puppy mill central, rural Iowa...and our friends do as well, though they are over 100 miles from us, so it isnt like we see them every day-maybe once a month is all. I know they have told me their vet is a moron, so I dont think he will be of much help in that area. I will start doing some looking, see if there are ANY good cocker breeders around here, but I don't have high hopes. I am just amazed that two people who are so freakin brilliant-and really they are-both CEO's of their own tech company-can be so, so, so VERY ignorant. I really appreciate everyones help-mre articles like the first would be of much use I think. I know they respect what they learn from what they would regard as a knowledgable source-and I dont think they would view me as such.
I live in puppy mill Iowa also.... It is astonishing how bad it is around here. I agree with what someone else said: you aren't supposed to breed a dog on her first heat anyway. Tell them that, as if you yourself just "found it out." In reality, good luck trying, but you may not be able to stop them from breeding her. Maybe talk about all the homeless dogs that already exist. ? Good luck with it.....
A point I often make to people who say "I want to have just one litter" - especially when they know NOTHING about the family tree behind their dog...
Ask them what they plan to do if one of their puppies matures to have a severe health issue... or is BORN with one? Maybe find out what the customary health issues for Cocker's are and give them the information regarding that.
I had a Sheltie puppy born last year with a totally random, fluke birth defect. Part of her eyelid actually grew on her eye ball instead of the eye lid. The opthalmologist at Iowa State said he'd only seen 2 cases of it in like 35 years of being a vet (in fact, since I had the surgery done at a teaching hospital I got a lot of "isn't that cool??" - I, of course, did not think so :). The puppy had to have a $900 surgery or she would have gone blind - but the surgery had to be done at 6 months of age. So I kept her, had the surgery done, let her heal up, and gave her to a friend (she was totally normal and healthy post surgery - but without it would have had a less than normal life).
Fluke stuff happens. Even when you DO know the family background of your dogs. If they know NOTHING about her parents, grandparents, etc... for all they know every dog in her family tree has health issues. She may be completely healthy - but if they breed her to another Puppymill/BYB bred Cocker that the stud owner knows nothing about HIS history, the odds of them getting a bunch of sick puppies skyrockets.
I know someone who did this with a Sheltie litter... the woman had contacted me for a stud service. I knew the Puppymill her female came from and told her no, and tried to convince her not to breed her. She fond another random pet owner with a male, bred them, and got a litter of 9 puppies (huge for a Sheltie litter). I then got phone calls from her over the next 2 years as she worked through the problems she had to deal with as puppies showed up with health problems. She'd sold all 9 locally - so these people not only let her know they were sick, one showed up on her door step one afternoon. Most were minor things - but a couple were pretty serious.
I think it's important people who want one litter realize they have to deal with the problems too... Most don't think about the long term aspects of being a breeder...
Unfortunately, people who see true Puppymill set ups and dogs don't just automatically think "Why does anyone breed". In fact, I actually STARTED breeding dogs because I got a puppymill bred Sheltie and thought "I can do this better". I realized after 2-3 litters I was better than the Puppymill, but only by a LITTLE bit :). But that's not how a lot of people think. I imagine your friends are thinking that the puppies will be loved and well cared for - and will be fun. It's hard to get through to people with good hearts that love is only 1/2 the battle. Knowledge is also required - and without that, usually heartache follows.
For me, I've found that the whole "does your dog have testing and a championship" thing rarely makes any sense to pet owners. They are make apt to listen to the "what if you produce puppies with health issues? Are you prepared for that?". What if a puppy has cleft pallette? A Heart Murmur? I know Distichiasis is an issue in Cockers. These are all things they would have to deal with as the breeder before placing puppies. What if a c-section is required? Do they have the funds to be able to pay for that? Or what if Mom's milk goes bad and they have to bottle feed/tube feed puppies? Can they handle that?
Maybe pose it as "I know you'd mentioned wanting to breed your dog". I thought I'd do some research to help you out since this is an area I'm passionate about. Show them the fun parts (like how puppies develop and grow and the phases they go through... when their eyes open, etc...) and then show them the "What if this goes wrong" scenario's. Don't phrase it like they can't handle it... try and pose it with the premise that you just want to help make sure they are prepared just in case.
And you can bring up the age thing when you tell them that the risk of c-section increases in a young female. Puppy rejection also increases.
Another point I always make - Pet females are not as inclined to be good natural mothers as Puppymill/kennel dogs. By making them pets they lose some of that "instinct" sometimes. My girls are all family members first - and having a litter involves 100% participation from me - through the first week. If I leave them in a whelping box with puppies by themselves they feel like it's a jail sentences and will ignore the puppies and get really upset about being excluded from the normal household. (Kennel dogs don't care). For the first week of a new litter, the Mom cares for the puppies, and we take care of her. I sleep on the floor next to her whelping box (often giving ear massages :). She's not left alone for long periods. In fact, my girls whelp and raise puppies in the middle of the dining room. I tried having litters in a secluded area and they got frantic and panicky because they were not a part of the family. A friend of mine who shows but only has 1 litter a year leased a bitch from another friend... the bitch was so used to being a family pet that they had to leave the door to her whelping box open and let her roam the house and go to her babies when she felt like it... she didn't tell me she was doing this until the litter was 4 weeks old - but she'd put the whelping box in a quiet corner of their finished basement away from everyone else... Sienna was NOT happy and kind of only 1/2 cared for the puppies.
So they had better be prepared to have to sit beside the whelping box almost round the clock for the first couple of days at least.
Don't know if any of that helps you!!! I've been in your boat... it's not easy... :)
OH - and in locating a good Cocker Breeder... if you PM me I've got a few show cataloge's sitting around from the last year... I'll see if I can dig through them and find a couple of breeders who are at least active with their dogs outside of breeding... I'm in South Dakota... so I know how the "Puppymill" thing in the midwest works... in Iowa for Shelties you have a couple of the top breeders in the country (show/breeding wise) and then A LOT of puppymills... I also have a friend who is an active member of the Des Moines KC and she would know if there was anyone reputable in that area...
Just another thought that might not occur to your friends. When you breed a dog, it's supposed to be a perfect, or near perfect example of it's breed. For your friends to breed this dog is tantamount to puppy-miller behaviour. I wonder if you can get them to see the comparison.
Some people actually appreciate it when a caring friend tries to save them heartache. I know, as a breeder, I wish someone had taken the time to point me in the right direction when I started out. It would have saved me from having to learn a lot of lessons the hard way. I was eager to learn and wanted to do things responsibly. Most of the educated breeders and "dog friends" I had "minded their own business"...
I love the ostrich mindset... close your eyes, look the other way, and wander through life with a self centered point of view... whatever happened to being kind and neighborly??? I imagine you're the kind of person that would let a friend take a closed road even though you know it's closed so you can "mind your own business"?