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Questions and Concerns

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Thomas Sanchez
Thomas Sanchez

Where Can You Buy Dogs From

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where can you buy dogs from

Beware of breeders (or citizens) who are willing to donate a dog or puppy to you. Most of the time, despite good intentions, these dogs do not have the temperament for suitable for K-9 work. If you are not experienced with working dogs, you will not be able to raise a puppy properly for K-9 work, so a puppy is a bad idea even if its parents are working dogs. The days of donated dogs are officially over.

Consider imported or professionally raised dogs from European breeding stock. Look for imported dogs between 11 months and 3 years old from an established K-9 vendor with extensive references. At this age, you can select a dog with the needed temperament and drive to be fairly certain it will successfully complete the required training class. Make sure to first assess what your community needs and what options are out there for training the dog.

Single-purpose green dogs are dogs deemed suitable for only one or the other: either a detection-only dog, or perhaps a patrol-only dog. Tracking can normally be trained into any single purpose detection dog as well.

This can be one of the most overlooked by departments starting a K-9 unit. K-9 is a lot of extra work. K-9 handlers must be fit enough to train with the dog, run behind their trailing dogs, as well as to assist their dogs with an apprehension. They must be intelligent to grasp the training theory, and be self-motivated to do the training and health upkeep of the dog. They need to be even-tempered, goal oriented, and open-minded.

My rule of thumb is that if you give a dog to a very productive officer, the dog will enhance his productivity by a factor of two. If you give a dog to a slug, he will be a slug with a dog in his car. Training for dogs, like people, is a fragile skill. If the handler is lazy to begin with, you can be sure he will be lazy about his training and his documentation, potentially opening you up to significant liability for not keeping the dog trained, certified and reliable.

Once you have the handler selected and the funds to purchase a K-9 dog, and you know whether you are going through an academy class or are getting a trained dog from a training facility, the next step is to select the vendor.

The first step is to check references. A good vendor is one who solves problems and stands behind their guarantees. Dogs are living beings, they sometimes get sick and die, and your vendor should have a solid health and trainability guarantee. For a reference, our guarantees at Tarheel Canine for green dogs are two years on congenital health defects, and a trainability guarantee which guarantees the dog can pass the academy class.

Normally, if a dog must be returned for either health or trainability, the vendor will replace the dog with another suitable prospect during the class. For example, if you buy a trained dog rather than a green dog from Tarheel Canine, we give the same two-year health guarantee, but we additionally give a lifetime productivity and temperament guarantee. This means we will replace any dog that is not producing for the agency as long as the upkeep training is properly logged and the handler is following the training protocols he learned in class.

Citation: Sandøe P, Kondrup SV, Bennett PC, Forkman B, Meyer I, Proschowsky HF, et al. (2017) Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0172091.

Competing interests: Helle Friis Proschowsky has a potential conflict of interest in that she works for the Danish Kennel Club, which has clear vested interest in breeding of purebred dogs. However, Helle Friis Proschowsky has had no final say in any matters that could relate to this potential conflict of interest. Also, this potential conflict of interest does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Different explanations have been proposed regarding the apparent paradox, that people buy breeds of dog that are predisposed to diseases and other welfare problems, while at the same time caring deeply about their dogs. One line of thought is that prospective dog owners, prior to acquisition, are not fully aware of the potential problems their dog may face. It is also possible that dog owners simply do not perceive the clinical signs of some inherited disorders as problems, but rather as normal, breed-specific characteristics [12]. Alternatively, it could be that, when choosing a suitable breed, other characteristics of the dog may be considered more important than its health and welfare [13]. Dogs with extreme physical features may possess qualities that matter to their owners to such an extent that they outshine any health and other welfare problems faced by the dogs.

The specific relationship between owner and dog could further explain why certain animals are more likely to become objects of human attraction [25]. In this context, Archer and Monton [22] discovered a positive correlation between owner attachment to their dogs or cats and preferences for images of animals with infant features (large forehead, large and low-lying eyes, and bulging cheeks). Hoffman and others [26] and Serpell [27] also found that some behavioral characteristics are related to levels of owner attachment to their dogs, although Ghirlanda and others [28] found no evidence that breed-related differences in behavior influenced the popularity of different breeds.

More than half of the Cairn Terriers that enter the DDR have a DKC pedigree. The percentage for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and French Bulldogs is 30% and 20% respectively, while less than 10% of Chihuahuas have a DKC pedigree (H. F. Proschowsky, personal communication).

We requisitioned a complete list from the DDR with names and addresses of all persons who had registered one of the four selected dog breeds in the period April 2009 to October 2014. This October 2014 threshold was selected so that the dog would be at least 6 months old at the time of data collection, implying that the dog would be integrated in family life and that possible welfare problems would have been more likely to appear and be observed by the owner. For each breed, a random sample of 750 persons was drawn, resulting in a total sample of N = 3000. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent May 18, 2015 to the 3000 selected persons. The questionnaire could either be answered electronically or by mail. On June 13 a reminder was sent to persons who had not yet responded electronically to the questionnaire or requested a postal questionnaire. The survey was closed for web and postal participation on July 27, 2015.

Permission to receive and use the data was applied for with the board of the DDR and it was granted conditional on permission from the Danish Data Protection Agency. Such permission was applied for, and the Data Protection Agency replied in writing that permission was not required for this kind of study but that we still had to comply with the Danish Data Protection Law. Additionally, we sought ethical and legal advice from a member of the Faculty of Law of the University of Copenhagen on how best to ensure compliance with Danish legislation. On this basis the administrator of the DDR gave us access to names and addresses of relevant dog owners. Prospective participants were contacted by means of a posted letter and, for those who did not respond in the first round, by a reminder letter. In both letters, it was made clear that all participants would remain anonymous and that all information delivered would be treated confidentially. Subsequently all replies were anonymized and the file with names and addresses of Danish dog owners deleted. It was clear that participation was voluntary; and the participants were seen to give their implicit consent by deciding to participate either online or by means of returning a filled out printed questionnaire by post. This is the normal way of proceeding in Denmark for surveys of this kind. At the time when we conducted our study, ethics committees covered only biomedical research and the University of Copenhagen did not have Institutional Review Boards.

The invitation letter specified to the respondent that the study aimed to cast light on the owner-dog relationship and to gain knowledge as to why and how people choose a dog, so that future dog owners could get relevant guidance in their choice of dogs. In the questionnaire, respondents were asked about socio-demographic details, whether he/she had had a pet earlier in life, descriptive details about the dog (e.g. breed, current age, purchase price), possible welfare problems, the choice of dog and breed, their expectations of a good dog, daily life with and care of the dog, expenses of the dog, owner-dog attachment, whether there were other dogs in the household and about intended future procurement of a dog. An overview of the entire questionnaire is provided in Table 2. Respondents were instructed to have the specific dog in mind they had registered with the DDR during the last five years when responding to the dog-related questions. If they had more than one dog of the same breed, which were registered in the same period, they were instructed to have the oldest of these dogs in mind. This was done to make sure that possible respondents that procured a dog of the same breed after October 2014 would not think of that dog.

We calculated response rates for the total sample and for each dog breed, and then conducted a non-response analysis for each breed. In the non-response analysis, it was possible to compare the distribution of region, population density in the household area, and the age of the dog from the sample, with information from the DDR. The highest deviations observed are reported and, for each dog breed, it is reported whether there are statistically significant differences (at the 0.05 level) between the background population (census data from the DDR) and the sample. The NPAR (Chi2) test command in SPSS was used for this analysis. 041b061a72


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