Doing Your Homework

I read the thread in Rescues and New Homes Needed about the number of people who end up in over their head after getting a basenji based on limited information given on a BYB or puppymill website or at a petstore and thought about how many of my students, I teach high school science, do not do their homework. I think just like my students most people do not want to take the time to do their homework and research a breed or breeders. I often hear from people, "But I only want a pet." This statement frustrates me more than I can express because it is precisely because a person is looking for a pet, a companion, that they should want to put in the time to make the best decision for them and the dog they are getting.

I have done rescue, and I do not agree that it is better for the dog to have been adopted by a "well meaning" person then staying at the pet store. Not only does that purchase only encourage the breeding of more dogs born into those conditions, some of those "well meaning" people do not treat the dogs better than the pet store,and some treat them perhaps worse than the pet store. I helped with one rescue boy who was locked in a 4 ft x 4 ft cage in the back yard and the only human contact he was getting when they family finally decided to surrender him was the maid would go out and feed him once a day.

The issue is not just about whether or not the breed is right for a person either, people also need to research who they get their puppy from. A person should know the major inherited diseases of the breed, how they are tested for, and should ask breeders for the results of these tests on the parents and about the dogs in the pedigree. Even if you are getting "just a pet", you should want it to be a healthy pet. Also, any person who is putting in the amount of time to socialize and raise a litter properly is going to become attached to those puppies and want a connection with those puppies' owners. It should be a major red flag to anyone when a breeder allows their puppies to be placed by a third party, does little or no screening, or does not ask to be kept in touch with. It is also important to keep in touch with your dog's breeder because if something does pop up healthwise, you want to be informed. Having a good breeder is like having 24/7 tech support for your puppy.

So if you have read all the way to the bottom of this, I guess my point is, that I really want people to do their homework, to take time to research the breed and to look for a breeder that takes responsibility for their puppies and works hard to produce healthy, stable tempered puppies and will provide support through out the puppy's life.

You have such good intentions. I just think most people will continue to not do their homework… Sad.

I know that people will continue to not do their homework, just as my students continue to not do their homework. In fact, puppy mills bank on it. I really just felt I needed to say that no matter why a person chooses to add a dog to their family they really should do their homework before bringing one home, getting "just a pet" does not lessen the need for doing your homework. There is a really good reason for doing homework and in the end it does pay off.

a girl in my chemistry class made a comment last week about "dont ever buy a dog from farmland" i said, "did it end up sick?"
she said how did you know?
i said those dogs come from puppy mills
she says "what is a puppy mill?"
i explain, and then she wants to know the difference between a puppy mill and someone i would get a dog from…
a lot of people just dont have a clue, if they did, they would choose to make a better decision.

I just love the quote, "But I don't want to buy a dog from a show breeder, those dogs are too expensive!" I've had to explain many times that those "show breeders" put a lot of time, effort and love (not to mention health screening/testing) into those dogs…"wouldn't you want a healthy pet? a pet that would live a long healthy life? Instead of just settling on any old dog that might die a year later from some heartwrenching, painful condition that left you in debt?!"

I just don't get why people want the "easy" way when it truly is the more difficult.

@annandael:

I just love the quote, "But I don't want to buy a dog from a show breeder, those dogs are too expensive!" I've had to explain many times that those "show breeders" put a lot of time, effort and love (not to mention health screening/testing) into those dogs…"wouldn't you want a healthy pet? a pet that would live a long healthy life? Instead of just settling on any old dog that might die a year later from some heartwrenching, painful condition that left you in debt?!"

I just don't get why people want the "easy" way when it truly is the more difficult.

And,the 'cheaper' argument is just not true! Pet stores are much more expensive than responsible breeders. Most online breeders that I have seen are more expensive than responsible breeders in the midwest.

One thing that I will tell people is that wouldn't you rather have the money that you spend on a puppy go back into a breeding program and thereby helping the breed by being used on health testing with a responsible breeder, rather than having your money being spent on someone's vacation or kids' college tuition as you would with a "back yard" breeder?

I actually have a question about this topic. I had done a lot of research on the type of breed I wanted and ended up adopting rather than getting a puppy. When we were going to buy a puppy (different breed) I was told by a rescuer that pretty much all online breeders (breeders that promote through a website) were puppy mills. She said that any responsible breeder has thier puppies sold before they're born and don't need to advertise. Is this true? I found that very hard to beleive but maybe that's just me being naive.

Ivoss I applaud your comments…unfortunately your audience is probably one of the better informed groups here. The real education needs to be widespread to people who don't make ANY attempts to do research & may never come across this forum.

We as now educated owners need to spread the word & really get out there talking to people about making educated choices. We all go shop at pet stores so let's start educating people 🙂

spitfirek,
this is some info i have figured out over all the basenji searching i have done in the past year(ish)-a lot of it online. the best resource i have found is breeders that i respect.

i imagine a lot of the puppies advertised online are coming from puppy mills and backyard breeders. there are, however, some dogs from very reputable breeders being advertised online. if you find a puppy you like online you just kind of have to do your research to figure out who you are buying from.
if you ask for pics of the sire and dam and you get a "they are down at the barn" for an answer, you know it is not a good idea.
(this happened to me!)
ask for references in the basenji world. as far as good breeders go, everyone knows everyone, it is a rather small community.
oh and a lot of people who advertise, both "good" and bad will have a website listed. go to the website, if they have more than say, 2 breeds of dogs for sale, it is probably a rather irresponsible situation.

@spitfirekrl1:

I actually have a question about this topic. I had done a lot of research on the type of breed I wanted and ended up adopting rather than getting a puppy. When we were going to buy a puppy (different breed) I was told by a rescuer that pretty much all online breeders (breeders that promote through a website) were puppy mills. She said that any responsible breeder has thier puppies sold before they're born and don't need to advertise. Is this true? I found that very hard to beleive but maybe that's just me being naive.

Responsible breeders do have websites and may have a puppy that ended up available for some reason listed on the website but in general what you will see on a responsible breeder's website is a planned litter announcement. Responsible breeders have a waiting list for their puppies before the litter is bred and usually the whole litter will be spoken for unless the litter is unusually large or someone changes their mind for some reason. My personal experience as a breeder, with my first litter the litter I had a started waiting list with 1 spot available when I did the breeding and the 1 spot was filled by the day we did the ultrasound but after the puppies were born 1 person had to decline because of a major life change. I was also at that point recieving many email inquiries a week about the litter. With my second litter I had a full waiting list 2 months before the litter was bred and ended up having not enough puppies for my waiting list. Most breeders in my area also help each other out referring to one another when they do not have a puppy available.

So if you see a webpage with multiple litters of puppies available for sale now, that is a sign of an irresponsible breeder.

Some things to look for when trying to find a responsible breeder on the web.

  • Future Litter Plans are posted with health information, anyone can verify passing OFA and CERF results at http://www.offa.org
  • When an email request is sent, the breeder is able to answer the questions for breeders listed at http://www.basenji.org/learn
  • The breeder should encourage you to meet the breed before you make your decision
  • The breeder should be a member of a breed club either a local club, BCOA or both

@jys1011:

We as now educated owners need to spread the word & really get out there talking to people about making educated choices. We all go shop at pet stores so let's start educating people 🙂

That's a very good point. I have never run into another basenji parent by chance where I live (CA Bay Area). Every single time I took Max out anywhere, people would always ooh and awwh over him and want to know what he was. Whenever anyone expressed an interest in getting one (because of course he looked like a calm, sweet, quiet, well behaved, beautiful little dog)–my first answer was--I don't recommend them unless you love.....and then I would go into all the traits that I loved about mine but many people don't expect (nor want) in a pet. An old friend of mine recently said to me--why are you getting two more when you told me they wouldn't be a good pet? And I had to admit to him--I told him they weren't a good pet--but what I really meant was, they wouldn't be a good pet for him.....because he didn't have enough patience.....

BRAVO Maxboobear!!! Basenjis are not for everyone…this EXACTLY what the announcer said at the Westminster Dog Show!! 😃 😃

There are a lot of responsible, reputable breeders on the web! This is an extensive tool for a lot of breeders. The internet should not be taken as "THE WORD" for any breeder. The job of the potential owner is to get references and to check out those references. Even though many breeders are listed with the AKC/CKC that does not mean they are reputable either. When looking for a puppy look for what you want, but make sure you check out references and the breeder with others as well. This goes for any breed-not just basenji's. And don't ever be afraid to ask questions about the breeder to the breeder. If you've heard something about the breeder ask the breeder about what you've heard. That will give you a clue as to what the breeder is really like.

There is a link on the Basenji Club of Northern California to a great list of questions to ask a potential breeder about their breeding program and their pups they might be selling…. www.norcalbasenjis.org and then to breeder listings….
And remember usually you will only get "good" references.. and yes by all means ask about things you might have heard, but remember some of the things could be brought on by sour grapes... so think carefully before jumping in

@tanza:

There is a link on the Basenji Club of Northern California to a great list of questions to ask a potential breeder about their breeding program and their pups they might be selling…. www.norcalbasenjis.org and then to breeder listings….
And remember usually you will only get "good" references.. and yes by all means ask about things you might have heard, but remember some of the things could be brought on by sour grapes... so think carefully before jumping in

Too true, too true! That's why I said to talk to others and then the breeder themselves. You may find more than what you bargained for . . . or less. And you're right about good references. This is why sometimes the internet can be a good thing. Sometimes things get said that aren't always on the up and up and you can catch it.

@tanza:

There is a link on the Basenji Club of Northern California to a great list of questions to ask a potential breeder about their breeding program and their pups they might be selling…. www.norcalbasenjis.org and then to breeder listings….
And remember usually you will only get "good" references.. and yes by all means ask about things you might have heard, but remember some of the things could be brought on by sour grapes... so think carefully before jumping in

Sour grapes, or two people who just don't like each other for whatever reasons. It helps to keep an open mind when talking to breeders about other breeders. From what I understand, there are breeds that are FAR more prickly than our is. But still, you will have some people that can't separate how they feel personally about someone, from that person's breeding program.

OOOOHHHHHH, Andrea! Prickly? Some of them are downright. . . mmmmmmm. Can't say it!

I thought I'd bump this thread up there as it talks about responsible breeders.

If you are thinking of a Basenji, now's the time to start the research and maybe contact some breeders for information.

All have different ways of screening you as a potential owner. Yes screening YOU! A responsible breeder will check you out even more than you are checking them out. Don't think they don't want you to have a Basenji, they just want to be sure where and with whom the Basenji is going.

The breeder we bought our first B from made us write her an essay, why I want a Basenji. We totally understand now, why this approach was taken.

As Lisa says….do your homework.:)

Thanks for re-posting… it is a great time of year for it... since people will be thinking about maybe a puppy... And make sure any pup you are considering has had their Sire and Dam Fanconi testing done!

When we were first thinking about getting a Basenji, my husband heard horror stories from everyone he spoke to – of course, none of those people had ever owned Basenjis, but they had all "heard". Somehow I still managed to get him to at least take a look at some.

I had done some internet searching and a list of breeders in the Washington state area, and made plans to visit three of them.
The first breeder had a lovely website, w/photos and stories about all of her dogs. She was breeding dogs for show, and had beautiful photos. When we visited her home, it was almost the end for dh. She had WAY too many dogs in a very small home; two litters of puppies {dog total in tiny home was 21!!!}, and one litter was from a 1 yr old bitch, which she'd bred because the owner "really wanted puppies from this bitch but was going to be moving"....., so she bred the pup as a "courtesy" ! The house was filthy.

Dh was about DONE. I begged him to visit the other two breeders anyway, and --- largely because he'd gone behind my back and contacted Sharron H., who told him that a Jumoke visit would be worth the time -- he agreed.
I also contacted the then-president of the Evergreen Basenji Club and she also recommended that I visit Jumoke and Blue Note Basenjis.

Reluctantly, off we went to Woodinville/Seattle. What a difference! Dh was instantly impressed at both homes -- the places were clean, the dogs well-kept, plenty of room for dogs and people.

Bryan at Jumoke had years of experience, answers for every question I could come up with, and ideas/advice for dealing with the Basenji "habits", which was really helpful at putting Dh's mind at ease {somewhat, LOL}, and we decided to go with him. The contract we had to sign was complete, had some stipulations as to the care of the dog {indoor, etc} and allowed for us to return the dog to him if we were unable to keep her. He's also been extremely available to us to answer any questions in the 2.5 yrs since we bought our first B from Jumoke.

Yes, DO your homework. Ask about the breed, but also do ask around about the breeders. If we hadn't done that, I don't think I'd have my two B's right now!

I have found that most breeders won't talk badly about another breeder, BUT they will be less enthusiastic about recommending them, or give vague comments like, "Yes, they've produced some nice dogs".
usually followed by a "Have you looked at So-and-so's dogs too?" Pay attention to tone of voice and body language when breeders talk about other breeders also. I think you can pick up a lot from that alone.

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