Contacting The Breeder - they want to hear from you
If you bought your pet from a reputable, responsible breeder, please contact your breeder first, before placing your animal with anybody else or taking him or her to a shelter. The same goes for animals acquired from rescue organizations, call the organization where you got the animal. This is often written into the contracts you may have signed when you got the animal. Even if the warranties were originally for only a couple of years, and your dog is now 10, call the breeder!
Responsible breeders can not only help with problems, but will most always take back any animal of their breeding, any time, even years later. They truly care about the fates of all the animals they produce. It they themselves cannot take the animal in, they will often arrange for foster care until a good home can be found. This way, you can be more assured that your pet will end up with a person knowledgeable with the breed characteristics, etc... No, you may not get any money refunded. Please do not get into that mind set, money is not the point, is it? The utmost priority is to find an appropriate home for a dog you do not keep. Most responsible breeders cannot afford to pay you back beyond warranties. But your animal will get saved by someone who knows the breed, and can try and get the animal into a good appropriate home.
Do not worry about being judged by the breeder or rescue workers, they are often quite understanding. And, if they are not, if they are judgmental, if they will still help you place your animal, please put aside your pride and work with them anyway. Some breeders and rescue workers have heard too many reasons for giving up an animal too many times, and it's very frustrating for them. This might actually be good sign for you that the breeder truly cares for the animals they produced. Don't forget, your priority is to find a good home for your animal, not your feelings about the breeder or rescue organization, or the breeder's feelings and the rescue worker's feelings about you.
One red flag you might want to look
out for. If a breeder doesn't want your dog back because he or she is neutered
or spayed, don't press the issue, and find another home. If the breeder
is not responsible, but is an irresponsible backyard breeder or puppy mill,
they might only take back dogs that can still be bred to make money off
the puppies. You don't want your dog to be part of this problem, it can
be a miserable existence. Be careful with your AKC papers too, since in
the wrong hands they can be used to falsify other puppies' pedigrees (all
an irresponsible breeder has to do is say that THIS dog goes with THOSE
From a Lhasa Mom, a Lhasa Apso breeder:
Breeders should be available to help someone out if they have a problem with their dog. I got a call from someone whose pup is now 5 years old. They wanted to let me know how their dog was doing. During the conversation they mentioned that one of the family members had developed a problem with allergies, and that for a while they thought that they would have to place the dog in another home or give the dog back to me. I asked them why they didn't call me about the problem and they said that they didn't think I wanted to hear about their allergy problems.
Well, ok, I understand the dog wasn't having a problem but breeders do know a lot about their dogs and over the years have experience with all kinds of things. Problems don't have to do with just the dog, we want to know about family situations.
Another pup owner called once, her son was going to have medical treatment in another city. She had no where to leave her dog for a few months, couldn't take it with her but didn't want to give up the dog. She also couldn't afford boarding for 3 months. I kept the dog for that time and it went back home with them eventually. It gave me time to evaluate the dog, see what it was really like and at the same time help the family out when they were in need. Needless to say I really feel like we are all family now.
I guess what I'm getting at is, let your breeder know when there is a concern of any kind. We like to get photos, letters. We want to know about health problems and well as awards dogs have won. We want to know it all and sometimes we can help even if it isn't really a problem with the dog.
The worst excuse for not contacting a breeder I have heard is " I didn't want them to think I am a bad owner" or " I didn't want to bother them after all these years"
I have one person who visits and calls so much that I sometimes get annoyed but then I think about it and I know I would rather have someone call me everyday to brag about their dog then to have them never tell me anything at all.
Oh BTW, I love hearing from people I place
rescues with also. Nothing makes you feel better than to know that a little
bit of time and care helped to give a little dog a new lease on life.
From a Hope4, a Rescue/Foster person:
Though I am not a breeder when I adopt a dog out I do maintain many of the clauses that a breeder does, and I do make a couple follow up calls to the parents of the adoptee - if I am very concerned, I will stop in to see them; make some kind of excuse - medical records, etc.
This has worked for the dogs because I have gotten calls back about the dog. - Once a woman was going into the hospital for a while having knee surgery, otherwise she would have had to given the dog up, but I kept it for her (for a small fee) for a month while she was in the hospital and recovering.
Another time I was able to re-foster a dog while his parents moved - I kept him for 3 months while they were waiting to move into their new house - in these situations, the first dog would have been without a home, and the second would've been boarded that whole time.
From a Marge, a Golden Retriever Breeder:
I've often found that people sometimes worry that the breeder will think them stupid or a bad home if a problem comes up and become embarrassed about calling the breeder. Especially if it's something that the breeder may have gone over during the conversations with the prospective new owners. Quite the opposite is true, the reason we often go over some of the problems is because we've been there - done that. And maybe want someone else to benefit from our mistakes.
When we place a pup we want to know that the new owner is looking at this dog as a life-time commitment. But we also know that things can change in a situation, and want them to contact us so that we can help them through the situation. Whether it be temporary housing for the dog, re-homing it, training help, whatever it takes.
Because these dogs were put on this planet because I wanted them here. I feel that I have a life time responsibility to them and want to see them happy and healthy for their entire lives.
Comments from others on this statement:
From a Alsley Pug, a Pug Breeder:
I breed pugs -- I don't have a kennel and am not a "professional" breeder, but I do know about my breed and love it when someone calls to tell me about their dog. I am in touch almost daily, via e-mail, with several of the people I have sold pugs to. It makes me feel good to know that I (and my puggies) have created so much joy. Pictures are my favorite. Nothing makes you feel better than to know a pug you sold 5 or more years ago is still thriving in a loving home. If for some reason the people cannot keep their pug I am more than willing to help them find an acceptable alternative. Every animal has the right to be taken care of and loved.
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