Why You Should Never Buy Sheltie Puppies from a Pet Store
By Ann Compton, Sheltie Nation Contributing Writer
Do an internet search on Sheltie puppies and a number of ads are bound to come up featuring sweet Sheltie faces tempting you to click. Although some pet stores still sell puppies, internet sites have nearly replaced the old pet store puppy section. Adding to the convenience of clicking your way to a new furry friend, most of these sites offer to ship the puppy to you as well.
So why should you look for your Sheltie puppy from a breeder, instead of doing it the easy way online, or at a grab-and-go pet store? There are many reasons! Your new puppy will share your life and home for the next 15 years. Start with a healthy puppy who comes with a health guarantee, backed up by generations of careful breeding from a person whose life is dedicated to the puppies he or she sends into the world.
Astonishingly, 99 percent of puppies bought online and from pet stores come from puppy mills, and those mills produce 2 million dogs per year. They are far more likely to end up in shelters than puppies from breeders. Puppy mill puppies come from mothers who are kept in crates and hardly ever see the light of day. They are bred on every heat cycle. Their life expectancy is half that of a mother dog belonging to a breeder or an average family dog.
Online websites and pet stores selling puppies will swear that they don’t get their stock from puppy mills. They do. Ask them to prove otherwise, and they can’t. They will tell you their puppies come from breeders with whom they have a relationship. They don’t. No responsible breeder would list a puppy on an online website or sell one to a pet store.
Shelties are a sensitive breed and reserved by nature. Imagine the temperament of the poor mother dog whose life in a puppy mill is that of a breeding machine – and the inherited temperament of the puppies she produces. These puppies are frequently removed from their mother and littermates far too young. They are not socialized, which is vital for Sheltie puppies, so they are likely to have behavioral problems as well as health issues.
Responsible breeders carefully select their breeding stock. Dam and sire are tested for genetic abnormalities, diseases common to Shelties, and temperament. Mother dogs aren’t usually bred or stud dogs used until at least age 2, or their second heat cycle for females. This allows them time to grow up and mature, both mentally and physically, and to complete health testing.
A breeder knows her dogs and puppies. She will spend the first two months of the puppies’ lives caring for them, watching for any problems, socializing them and teaching them about the world. She will introduce her puppies to different sounds, textures and people so that when they go to their new homes they’re confident and secure in a new environment.
Since a breeder knows the temperament of the dam and sire, she can predict behavior traits and match the best puppy from the litter to your family and lifestyle. When you buy from a breeder, you can visit the puppy’s home and meet his parents. A good breeder will carefully screen prospective homes for her puppies. She will want to spend time with you to be sure her puppy will be placed in a loving home. And she’ll be available to you throughout your puppy’s life to answer questions, help with problems and, in most cases, take the puppy back if you can’t keep it over the course of its lifetime.
The most surprising fact about buying a Sheltie puppy online or from a pet store is that you’ll pay more, frequently as much as double, than you would if you buy your puppy from a breeder.
It doesn’t make sense to pay twice as much for a Sheltie who may have health, temperament or behavioral issues from someone you’ve never met, who you’ll never be able to talk to. When it comes to finding a puppy, let the buyer beware. It’s well worth the time to do the research and find a breeder.