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  • How 2 Buy a Puppy...a personal opinion.

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-27-01 AT 01:39PM (PST)[/font][p]I've had about a dozen people ask me this question privately just this past week. I think lots of breeders get asked this alot & most, like me, probably have a fairly standard answer they give. Here's mine. It's just mine; nothing more than what I would do to avoid the problems I've seen people have.

    I give the same advice to all @puppy buying.Noone much ever follows it, <VBG>but the few that do all tell me it worked for them. The problem is it IS work & required delaying gratification done my way. This is my advice:

    PET PUP: IF you want a pet Dane (that is a dog sold exclusively as a companion & sold on a spay/neuter contract & Limited Registration), buy from someone preferably within driving distance. To find breeders, turn your computer off<G>. Then go to visit 1 breeder a month for AT LEAST SIX MONTHS. Never take your checkbook, never promise to buy & never get in a hurry. There are always more pups, but there is never time to go backwards. Get referrals: compare & contrast. Go slow. Take a year if you need to to FIND a breeder and get on the waiting list for a decent litter (this time frame NOT to get a pup) & expect it to take at least the 6 mo. you've promised yourself you'll commit to looking & learning. Buy in haste & you'll have time to repent at leisure. Learn the territory & you'll know where to look for what you want.

    To me nothing is more important than a pet. A pet dog lives in your house, your heart & your home & is worth the trouble. Further I KNOW that cutting corners too often ends in dissapoitment & even disaster, so I know there isn't always an easier & likely isn't a safer way. Most have to find this out the hard way. Too bad.

    SHOW/BREED PUP: IF you want a show Dane the first thing you do is buy a pet & live with it for at least 2 years while you join the local dog clubs & attend dog shows on a regular basis (that means at least 1 show every 2-3 months). For at least two years, you need to participate in club activities, help out, learn who is who, what is what & what you like & don't like--both about all these people & the breed. (You may think you know this now, but nobody knows anything really about the breed for at least a couple of years as your experience is simply too limited. You've simply seen too few dogs, too few breeders, too few contracts, breedings, shows, etc. to know anything really important yet about the breed, conformation, breeding etc. Accept that's just part of being new-not a comment on who you are.)

    IF & when your pet dane is grown & trained (here is a place to do CGC, even CD, TD, NA, and other performance titles!), then you can decide if spending every other weekend & at least two nites a week training & showing dogs is really your interest in life & where you want to spend your disposable income. Before you know this, IMO, you shouldn't be "experimenting" on dogs. Serious breeders want buyers with a track record if they have serious show prospects, not hopeful newcomers. And no litter IMO deserves to be bred by someone who is learning the ropes with their first dog. Puppies deserve better surely?

    The only possible exception I can see to this would be IF you can find a co-own show (potential?) bitch/dog (more likely dog) that you show to finish for the breeder understanding he is a "finishable pet" who will NOT likely be used at stud or the foundation of your breeding program, but just give you a chance to show a decent, if not first class, animal, so you can gain experience & develop a relationship with the dog's breeder as your mentor. That *sometimes* works. But too often the two involved who were strangers become enemies, so I don't generally recommend it. It's best to first learn about danes & the daneworld BEFORE you haul off & buy a breed-potential dog.

    Learn about varying breeders. Visit them, ask them for events & other breeders to visit & don't plan to actually purchase a pup this year. Compare & contrast. Learn the breed before you start to breed. Start with a pet pup even if you think you want to show/breed. That's my advice. (Lots of others with other advice. ) Mine's not easy to follow, but it's nearly guaranteed to work. cheers, jpY

    PS__I'd love it if others, breeders & buyers alike, would give their own advice, as I'd think that would be quite educational-- as long as <VBG>it doesn't turn into another p*ssing contest between "you say toMAto & I say toMaaTo" <VBG> camps. Let's agree there are more than one description of an elephant amoung all us blind men from the start<G>so we can share the bit of the world we *do* know about with each other. Please?


  • #2
    RE: How 2 Buy a Puppy...a personal opinion.

    To all the newbie's out there, and those who think they aren't newbies anymore. Listen to this message. Let your mind do your thinking and not your heart. Like most people, you may think that nothing bad is going to happen if you buy from a stranger, even someone that comes highly recommended, they are still a stranger. You tell your kids to stay away from strangers, but you will give one hundreds, or thousands of dollars for a family pet or show dog.Get to know your breeder. Make sure that you have a relationship and the same goals before you make a decision. I plan on taking jp's advice, only because it makes good sense.I'm not trying to preach,but I talk from experience. I've been burned once, and I do not plan on putting myself and my family through another disappointment. Think of it this way, Don't you appreciate something more, if you have had to work for it? Don't settle for second best. Don't keep the PM's and BYB's, and some of those in between, in business because they make it so easy to buy. Don't plan on instant gratification, because without the research necessary to find a quality dog from a quality breeder,it could slowly turn into a very emotional and financially draining experience. I know that a breeder cannot guarantee that nothing will ever happen to the baby you plan to add to your family, but why don't you at least increase your odds of a good outcome, by following the advice of the people who have been in the business for years and deal with this kind of stuff everyday. Just my opinion, and I'll get off my soapbox now. Debbie

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    • #3
      Great Advice JPY

      Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful advice..... I am certainly a newbie with only 3+ years of Dane experience (however, my husband has 23+ years) and I for the most part followed JPY's recipe and all I can do now is hope, pray and put in the hard work it takes to put a title on a show prospect.

      As pet or show buyers we need to remember that we need to prove how trustworthy, responsible and dedicated we are to our chosen breed. Raising, training, loving and caring for a Dane is not easy. The breeders that most of us want to buy our Dane family members from have breed that litter with the most planning, love and care possible...they don't want their "babies" going to just anyone! (Most of them, I bet, cry as we drive away with our newest pride and joy.) Just like buyers don't want to buy from someone that doesn't love and care for Great Danes as much as you do. Anything worth having is worth working hard for!!!!!


      ~Stacie

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      • #4
        RE: Great Advice JPY

        This is real nice of both ya'll <g>& I truly appreciate it, but I was hoping less<VBG> for flattery & more for other people's "recipes for success," hard-earned advice, practical do's-n-don't's. All ya'll bought dogs, many would do it different next time--some part of it at least--so what WOULD you do? Also anyone who is thoroughly satisfied with the whole purchase process, etc. share how you made it work for you.

        More than one way to skin a cat...or whatever would be the more PC way to say that these days......? Looking for a thread that will run with "When *I* buy my next Dane, I will..." OR "When I bought my last Dane, I...." Help? I primed the pump, hoping we can build an educational thread 2gether? regards/jpY

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        • #5
          When I buy my next Dane. . .

          When I buy my next Dane, I will NOT do it long-distance. Backing up even further than that, I will NOT be so emotional. We lost out beautiful Dane girl in an awful accident, and my heart was absolutely ripped apart over it. I was having a Dane emergency, which made me an easy target for a smooth-talker. I knew better, but my over-emotional state allowed me to say "OK" when I should have said "Thanks for the info. I'll keep in touch if we decide to get serious."
          I knew enough to ask about health testing and titles and such, but I did not get to form a meaningful relationship with my breeder, because she's clear across the country. Don't get me wrong--everything is as it should be--the shipping was fine and I love my Isaac-boy, but I was hoping that if I wrote a big enough check, the breeder would be best friends with me. Juvenile thinking, I know, but I was so pitiful after we lost Montana. I was snookered the same way buyers of BYB puppies are: they believe paying a high price somehow guarantees high-quality, which is a farce and a hard-learned lesson in this household.
          Next time (years from now, I'm sure, especially since I'm involved with humane and rescue work and will likely fall in love with one of the Lost Danes before I buy a puppy again) I will talk to tons of breeders about a *lot* more than puppy availability. I want to meet someone who will visit with me about everything from puppy raising to obedience training. I want to buy from someone who breeds for brains and trainability (not always the same thing ;-)) and will encourage me in the obedience ring. (Isaac is doing well, but I'd love more support.)I will be willing to travel to meet potential breeders, and not feel obligated to walk away with a puppy if the timimg isn't right or I don't feel like it will be a good working relationship.
          Also next time, I will contact the Dane rescue and club in the area and find out who they say is good. Long after Isaac came to us, I learned the Dane rescue in his birthplace can't stand his breeder. This eats me up inside, and embarrasses me to no end, because I clean up unethical breeders' messes all the time with the humane society here. I do know better than to add to their problems, and next time I will *do* better.
          It all came down to being too emotional and in too much of a hurry. The cats put on an incredible amount of weight right after Montana died, and the vet said, "Sally, I don't know how to tell you this, but these kitties are not Great Danes." We laugh about this now (cats no longer look like basketballs with whiskers) but it shows how needy I was.
          I hope this doesn't make me sound like a weirdo or an ignorant puppy buyer or even worse, that I don't love my puppy. Isaac is fabulous and we imagine Montana picked him out for us. But I should have slowed down and formed a better relationship with his breeder, or found out more so I didn't set myself up for disappointment.
          Hope this helps.
          Sally (who loves Isaac very, very much but would would hunt for him differently if she could do it over.)

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          • #6
            RE: When I buy my next Dane. . .

            Excellent example of buying with your heart, and believe me Sally, I dont think any of us have any doubt how much you love your pup, just that you would do it differently next time.
            Carolyn
            Divine Acres Great Danes
            Divine Acres The Legend "Bruce" 5 1/2 months old..5th generation of DA Danes!
            sigpic

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            • #7
              RE: When I buy my next Dane. . .

              I had put my boxer companion down due to cancer and was faced with a cross-country move. I finally got a committment from my husband that I could get a dane. When we got settled, I started bugging him for my dane. Unfortunately I let him do the searching and we ended up with a BYB 4mo lightly marked harl. I had no regrets although he had skin problems but lost him at 4yrs. I was devastated!

              I immediately started shopping around and check with local clubs and was referred to a breeder/shower a few hours away. I looked at the litter several times, home raised, 4 CH adults in the home, didn't know to ask about testing. My husband wanted a 'show' dog. I didn't care. I like the big goofy one but we ended up with the top 'show prospect' the breeder pointed out. Well, at 9mos he had entropion in both eyes, during surgery, the vet mentioned, did you know he was cryptorchid?? developed cherry eye, had surgery to correct both and neuter. Contacted breeder to get refund stated in contract if more expensive show prospect turned out with defects. She argued that since both testicles were there when we got him we weren't entitled to a refund and the eye surgery wouldn't necessarily eliminate him from showing. Well, her vet finally pointed out to her that she was indeed liable so we got part of our money back.

              Well, he bloated at 2yrs and we couldn't save him. I found out when I called the breeder that except for the 'goofy' puppy I orginally liked, all 8 littermates died by 2yrs of bloat in addition to 2 of her adults that were related.

              I saw her at a dog show a year later and she asked why we never came back to get another dane from her. By that time, I'd switched to mastiffs.

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              • #8
                RE: When I buy my next Dane. . .

                Thank U Sally, "Cujasky" & "JLI." This is exactly what I was hoping for from buyers. It's nice you would take the time & even walk thru a few less-than-lovely memories to help others-how generous! I do think puppy buyers are often inclined to listen very closely to the stories, and may count them as more influential than just general advice, so thanks. Buying pups is something WE ALL HAVE IN COMMON! Maybe a few breeders/rescue folks here will also give their opinions/advice? The different slant that buyers, breeders & rescue folks have on this topic can really help others get a fully formed picture of the territory & the pitfalls, so to speak. me-the education nut-who often thinks information can cure all<G>ills. jpY

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                • #9
                  Another personal opinion

                  When families contact me looking for a pup, my first question is to find out how much they know about Great Danes, their experiences (if any), what they want to do with their dane and what they are expecting. I always encourage buyers to call breeders who they are interested, ask questions, expect answers, keep info on each breeder and compare apples to apples per say. Once the intial interviews are done, settle on 3 or 4 of the "best" breeders and go visit them. See the "how, what, why and how often" of their breeding practices and their raising conditions. Do not make excuses if they are below your expectations and dont expect prices to reflect quality. I know of breeders getting $1500.00 a pup that have never stepped into a show ring but are happy to point out the highly acclaimed pedigree, and others that get $600.00 a pup that I wouldnt take if they gave it to me. Going to visit the breeders is a MUST. I know of many breeders that can talk a blue streak on the phone but you would be astonished at the raising conditions of the animals. Dont buy out of pity or from the heart. Buy with your head on straight and (double) fist full of knowledge on what to expect, dont settle for less, dont be in a hurry, PATIENCE!!!! Talk to the rescues in your area, see who they say to stay away from, talk to your closest Dane club, see who they recomend, but again dont take someones word alone----call and visit the breeder yourself.
                  There are certain things I would expect an ethical/responsible breeder to do:
                  Give you (the buyer) both the pros and cons of the breed
                  Give explicit directions on the proper raising of a dane pup
                  Written contract/guarantee
                  Geneticly test their breeding partners
                  Be involved in Dane clubs promoting the breed
                  Show their breeding stock
                  Be first contact or take back pup if it must be surrendered
                  Be knowledgeable in the breed in all areas
                  Anwser promptly
                  Follow the code of ethics as stated by the GDCA
                  I am sure there is things others can add to this list.

                  Again these are no guarantees of an ethical breeder, but you may be getting closer if you find someone who follows these ideas---visit them to be sure. Feel comfortable with them and their answers.

                  Carolyn
                  Divine Acres Great Danes
                  Divine Acres The Legend "Bruce" 5 1/2 months old..5th generation of DA Danes!
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    RE: How 2 Buy a Puppy...a personal opinion.

                    Just this past week, I was asked the question, "If you were going to buy a dog, where would you go?" The question threw me for a loop and made me think. This person was asking for guidance on which breeders to trust. Believe me, it was tough coming up with names. These were names of people that I have developed respect for over the years, who have accomplished things and reached goals that I'm still striving for. They are the type of people I like to be associated with and am comfortable with and who have over twenty years of experience in the breed.
                    But let me start at the beginning. My journey was one of learning by doing. I bought my first Dane out of the newspaper (okay, I can hear the gasps) twenty six years ago after my husband thought we should have a Marmaduke. The breeder of the puppies was into showing and the only available male in the litter was what she thought show quality. I didn't have a clue of what was expected. My initial thought was "How hard could it be?" Well, I learned how hard it can be. With the purchase of the puppy came training in obedience, training in conformation and joining an all breed club and the local Dane club. I eventually became an obedience instructor. And then a lot of travel. I added a playmate for my boy which I had originally planned on breeding but thankfully never did. As I look back on that, she had temperament issues and a family history that as time went on, was full of nasty stuff. But luck was with me. I finished that first dog, owner-handled. I consider that a great accomplishment. I still thank that dog for what he taught me about the breed. I tried adding another breed and finished a couple of those dogs too. Those championship certificates mean a lot to me. This other breed was actually my first foray into the world of breeding. I held off breeding Danes for eleven years when my champion Dane girl (which was added later) was ready to be bred. I was very lucky to have a mentor who was her breeder. She taught me a lot.
                    To this day, I wouldn't say I'm a hard core all-the-time breeder. I only breed when there is something that I want to keep, hopefully contributing something to the breed and average five years between litters. So getting back to the original question of where I would go to buy my next dog, I would look at various things:
                    1. Years in the breed (over fifteen and preferably more since that would put me with contemporaries at least and at my age, it is nice to discuss dogs that we actually saw back there in the sixth generation of our pedigrees).
                    2. Membership in the parent club and/or an affiliate club.
                    3. Respect and recommendations of others.
                    4. A pedigree that I like and the type of dog that I like. I have never been a proponent of "fad" breeding and feel that this has hurt more than it has helped over the years.
                    5. Health testing. To ignore this is to eventually kill off our beautiful breed.
                    6. A history of owner-handled champions. This carries a lot of weight with me. If someone goes on and on about a dog's accomplishments, the first thing I do is look at the end of the lead. This tells me a lot.
                    7. Honesty and along with that trust.
                    I have found myself talking to quite a number of people over the past few months, answering the comment made by one woman "Gee, breeding dogs is a real money maker" to educating puppy buyers on what questions to ask breeders. On occasion, I have been thanked profusely for taking the time with these people and I started to wonder why. I told them that it was a pleasure for me to talk about the breed that I love and to help as many people as I could. Their answer was that I was one of the few people that would actually talk to them and I was saddened with this piece of news. What does the future hold if we all don't take the time to educate? Where will the next breeders, the next handlers, the next trainers, the next Dane enthusiasts come from? From the puppy mills and the BYBs? I would hope that education would be foremost on our minds.
                    So, JP, I guess I did it all wrong and backwards but believe me, I've learned a lot and am still learning something new every day. Since hindsight is 20/20, well, I'm not sure that I would have changed anything. I've made my mistakes in the past but the real shame would be to repeat them so I'm trying very hard not to do so. But this after all is just my opinion.
                    Jo
                    Hof Kurz Great Danes
                    Ch. Tor RN, CHIC, Ch. Reva CHIC, Can. Ch. J'aime TDI
                    Fawns and Brindles Since 1975
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11304225@N05

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                    • #11
                      RE: How 2 Buy a Puppy...a personal opinion.

                      "I finished that first dog, owner-handled. I consider that a
                      great accomplishment."
                      SO DO I.

                      "So, JP, I guess I did it all wrong and backwards but believe me, I've learned a lot and am still learning something new every day."
                      And thankfully someone reading this will follow your directions for doing it right, surely, thus avoiding some of the pitfalls you mentioned can happen if luck isn't with you? Like you said, it's all about education & thanks for typing all this out (both you & Carolyn), as this is a new way to mentor, surely, and Lord knows we need all the help we can get<G>! So tks2Uboth for caring enuf to type, type, type!

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                      • #12
                        RE: How 2 Buy a Puppy...a personal opinion.

                        We love you jpy - you stand up for what's right in the dane world. You state your honest opinions and live by your words. I have learned more on the website that I ever imagined. Lets keep writing and learning! SOS Sorry so sappy.

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                        • #13
                          My Mantle girl says WOOF

                          My mantle girl was sifting through the posts and, of course, read yours, jp. Upon reading the sentence “To find breeders, turn your computer off<G>”, she hurriedly came into the TV room and woke me by her successive barks. Deciphering her bark, as only I can, she was telling me that she wanted me to help her post a response on the board. Now, who could turn down such a pretty face? I sat in the computer chair and started to type…I’m paraphrasing her woofs by saying, computers are just “another” tool in a well-stocked repertoire of resources in which to locate a good breeder. In tandem with other resources, computers certainly have their place in locating a good breeder in the global community we now live in. After all, without a computer, I would never had known this dreamy-eyed girl drooling beside me even existed. Now, wouldn’t that be a shame My computer-generated Australian import says WOOF

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                          • #14
                            RE: My Mantle girl says WOOF

                            oh, paul, i meant to get up & get out & go actually visit some danes, not to NOT use your computer at all, but get armed with the info there, but not stop there. i do think<G>you knew what i meant & expected me to come back & clear up my personally generated confusion. done:

                            dEaR list(en)ers; dOn'T Not reAd DOL--juSt don't juST read DOL

                            (U asked 4 it--toyota) ROFLMAO!

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                            • #15
                              RE: How 2 Buy a Puppy...a personal opinion.

                              tks jenn-but i'll bet this has more to do with YOUR good nature than<G> any virtue of mine! i find i often hear compliments from what are essentially a whole lot of good people who simply take the time to say good things, & to offer thanks you's, and generally give folks the positive feedback that makes the world go 'round. besides<G> Paul is criticizing me in this same thread; so there's the balance necessary to keep my head from swelling from your kind words, huh? ROFL! regards

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