Why pay an exorbitant price for a “brand-name” dog?
Many people think that a purebred or an expensive dog will be easier to train than an mixed breed which is not always the case. Dogs from puppy mills and illegitimate breeders are often taken away from their mothers when they are too young, and so they are not socialized properly and are housed in cramped wire cages, so they can be difficult to housetrain. Different breeds are also not reliably hypo-allergenic or non-shedding. Anyone thinking of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the latest trend of dog breed should first read “Designer dogs: Inside the Criminal Underworld of Crossbreeding” by Madeline Bernstein. The original designer of the Labradoodle now regrets his invention, calling it a “Frankenstein monster.” He states that now the majority of Labradoodles are “either crazy or have a hereditary problem” and are bred mostly “for big bucks.”
Do basic research before adopting a dog, especially if you have not had one before. Instructions on how to train a dog differ on how old the dog is and what background the dog comes from. I didn’t know the background of my dog except for her general age, but she seemed be unfamiliar with children when I first got her, so I was very careful around younger kids. Now she sees them as non-threatening, and she is even very protective of children. I also warn people that despite her small size she doesn’t like strangers to pet her and will bite!
I highly recommend reading Cesar Milan’s (the dog whisperer) books to understand more about how dogs think and react in different situations. They are after all animals and don’t respond to the same cues as human animals do. Other great resources are the ASPCA or local shelters which sometimes offer dog classes and discount veterinary care like neutering and vaccines.
The Pitbull controversy
Pit bull terriers were originally bred for dogfighting when English bulldogs were crossed with terriers, and are still used in dog fighting and other illegal activities today. Some apartment complexes and townships outright ban pitbulls and pitbull mixes which has led to much controversy. Pitbulls and other bully breeds can be wonderful dogs, but have sometimes been abused by bad people and used for bad reasons. The bottom line is that you are responsible for your dog’s behaviour. If your dog injures another, whether or not it has shown aggressive behaviour in the past, you are legally (and ethically) liable.
I’m too busy for a pet
It is important to recognize that pets require a lot of time and attention. If you don’t have the time consider volunteering at the local animal shelter or human society. Another option many shelters have is to be a foster parent for a pet. These are often animals who do not do well in shelter settings or have a medical condition requiring special care. Fostering an animal also increases it’s chance of adoption by socializing it, and can be a nice way to help an animal without the committment.
If you don’t have time but still want to help animals of all kinds, you can also donate to most human societies and other animal welfare orgnizations online:
American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals: aspca.org
American Humane Society: humanesociety.org
World Wildlife Federation: worldwildlife.org
Wildlife Conservation Society: wcs.org