It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs?

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It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs?

Postby fictiveLaark » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:47 pm UTC

I have a friend who got a Scottish Terrier and sometime after wards I found out that she bought it from a pet store, and to make it worse, she told me what she paid. I never said anything but behind my very calm eyes I thought to myself, "God damn it! Do you know there are hundreds of perfectly healthy and friendly dogs down at the shelter that are waiting to either be adopted for a fraction of the $1000+ dollars you just spent or be exterminated? But no, you absolutely had to have a dog with a mustache. You would be mortified to be seen walking one of those mongrels they've got at the hound, you needed something exotic!"

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Eastwinn » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:04 am UTC

Some people think that dogs in shelters are all unhealthy or disfigured. This could be the case with your friend.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby poxic » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:08 am UTC

It's about as irrational as vegetarians being upset that people don't care (enough) about factory farming. Omnivores might know that their sale-priced chicken or veal came from animals that were poorly treated. They just don't care, or don't care enough to change their habits.

In other words, your irritation with your friend isn't irrational. It's outside the norms of the culture, though. This culture says it's okay to ignore or not care about an animal's welfare, if it's not happening in front of you. You can eat horribly-treated chickens and buy a designer puppy-mill dog and no one is supposed to confront you about the industries you're supporting.

/you'd better call the cops if you see someone lock their dog in a hot car, though, because mistreating an animal is totally bad and wrong
//cognitive dissonance for the win
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Shivahn » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:55 am UTC

poxic wrote:In other words, your irritation with your friend isn't irrational. It's outside the norms of the culture, though. This culture says it's okay to ignore or not care about an animal's welfare, if it's not happening in front of you. You can eat horribly-treated chickens and buy a designer puppy-mill dog and no one is supposed to confront you about the industries you're supporting.


Yeah, it's unusual to care enough about animals to see these things as wrong. I managed to convince my family to get a non-purebred, but I think they may still have purchased a dog from some breeder somewhere (not a puppy mill) though. And I don't think I could convince anyone in my family to switch to my diet (mammal/avian meat must come from free range, antibiotic free sources) even though it's pretty permissive as far as ethically based diets go.

Anyway, it's entirely rational, but I think it's too late to do anything now, sadly. The best you can do is mention that shelter dogs need homes the next time someone mentions wanting a dog.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby diotimajsh » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:00 am UTC

poxic wrote:This culture says it's okay to ignore or not care about an animal's welfare, if it's not happening in front of you. You can eat horribly-treated chickens and buy a designer puppy-mill dog and no one is supposed to confront you about the industries you're supporting.
True, true. I've always been amazed at the discrepancy between "oh my God that adorbz kitty is being purposefully hurt on that video, we must FIND AND PUNISH THE PERPETRATORS *righteous ire, righteous ire*" and the utter apathy exhibited by meat-eaters the world over. Granted, people in general care less about animals used for food than they do about cats and dogs; but it's still kind of flabbergasting to me, even taking that into account.

Of course, the same feeling applies for humans: as Peter Singer's infamous scenario highlights, people feel moved to help other people when the suffering is right in front of them, not many hundreds of miles away. Out of sight, out of mind. Similarly, imagine the public outrage if one uploaded a video of oneself abusing a child to YouTube; yet, few people are really concerned to make sure that the products they buy weren't created via child-exploitation and the like.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Vaniver » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:12 am UTC

I don't know, that sort of sounds to me like "why are you wasting all this time dating when you could just marry someone desperate for a green card?" Dogs are not interchangeable, and if someone fancies a particular breed I don't begrudge them paying extra to get a dog whose appearance they prefer. (And then there's the issue of psychology.)

Now, there's still an argument that they should have found a reputable breeder instead of buying a dog from a store supplied by puppy mills, but I don't think that argument is worth pursuing very far.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ghavrel » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:47 am UTC

diotimajsh wrote:Granted, people in general care less about animals used for food than they do about cats and dogs; but it's still kind of flabbergasting to me, even taking that into account.


A heartless carnivore would like to point out that this is exactly the point, though. Most people believe there is a distinct moral difference between poorly treating an animal bred for consumption and poorly treating an animal bred for human companionship (Also, cows are stupid and I hate them).

The rest of your post, though, I agree with.

poxic wrote:You can eat horribly-treated chickens and buy a designer puppy-mill dog and no one is supposed to confront you about the industries you're supporting.

Is this actually true, or is it only true for the meaning of "confrontation" that is restricted to organizations like PETA? I don't think it's socially unacceptable to inform people about the poor treatment of livestock or of the abundance of animals in shelters. It is socially unacceptable to get up in people's faces about this, because it is very rude to do so (tautology?). I'm amenable to changing my eating habits so as not to support a cruel industry, but that's not due to people acting condescending about a "meat-eating culture," to quote some acquaintances I once heard doing just that.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby diotimajsh » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:28 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:A heartless carnivore would like to point out that this is exactly the point, though. Most people believe there is a distinct moral difference between poorly treating an animal bred for consumption and poorly treating an animal bred for human companionship (Also, cows are stupid and I hate them).
At the risk of derailing this into a debate about meat-eating, I'm curious what the moral difference is based on, or what explains it. To try to stay relevant to this thread, let me generalize the question: why is some animals' suffering/mistreatment more worthy of concern than others'?

Vaniver wrote:I don't know, that sort of sounds to me like "why are you wasting all this time dating when you could just marry someone desperate for a green card?"
That's an interesting point. It does seem ludicrous to expect a person to "use" themselves for others' gain with respect to relationships. We might make it more drastic and say, "Why are you dating only middle-class individuals when you could significantly improve a homeless person's situation by marrying him/her?" "Why are you only looking for people to marry in developed countries?"
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Zarq » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:51 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:I don't know, that sort of sounds to me like "why are you wasting all this time dating when you could just marry someone desperate for a green card?" Dogs are not interchangeable, and if someone fancies a particular breed I don't begrudge them paying extra to get a dog whose appearance they prefer. (And then there's the issue of psychology.)

Now, there's still an argument that they should have found a reputable breeder instead of buying a dog from a store supplied by puppy mills, but I don't think that argument is worth pursuing very far.


This. Also, there's more to a dog than appearance. There's character, the space it requires, how active it is, how much grooming it requires, how big it gets, ... That's all stuff you can research beforehand if you plan on buying a puppy. Shelters on the other hand generally don't have that much choice, plus a lot of them are not purebreed and they're not that predictable (as in: you can't look it up).
Also, it is a lot easier to train a puppy than to train an adult (or even an adolescent) dog. Ofcourse, there are trained dogs in shelters, but that takes away the fun of training it.

My younger sister got a new dog a couple of months ago, and while appearance was definitely a factor, the factors I listed above were a lot more important.
(We paid 750€ btw, and had to drive 800km. (it was a rather rare race) It was from a breeder though, puppymills are outlawed here.)
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

It's certainly morally correct to be upset at supporting an abusive industry, no matter what its abuses are. However, being upset that your friend spent her money how she wanted to and not how you would have in the same situation is dicier. As for where people get their dogs and which dogs they get, there are so many variables that people really have to be allowed to make the one that works for them.
Did you know your friend was looking for a dog? Did you tell her about where pet store tend to get their puppies? Mention breed rescue organizations (from whence I have gotten all of the Great Danes I have owned)? Being upset in the abstract does little.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Kang » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

I think you shouldn't be upset about people spending money to get the exact pet they want. Maybe it would be a lot more rational to be upset about those people that fill up all the shelters in the first place, i.e. buy that cuuuuute puppy, half a week later realise how it's not for them after all and just want to get rid of it again.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Thesh » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

When I bought my house, there was the friendliest cat outside that was just completely skin and bones, and I took her in. My other cat I found at the shelter. I love them both, but I am seriously considering buying a pure bred russian blue kitten just because I like the breed. Actually, I find cats easier to buy at the shelter than dogs. Where I am, 90% of the dogs seem to be pit bulls and chihuahuas, neither of which are breeds I like very much.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

I always thought that shelters were mostly filled with stray dogs (and cats), that were never owned by anyone, although many are abandoned pets. Outside my apartment we have a feral cat colony; my landlady and neighbors use traps to catch them, and pay to have them neutered/spayed then released.

Thesh, yeah, pit bulls and chihuahuas are monstrosities; I consider it abuse to create a breed of animal that can only give birth via surgery.

Actually, come to think of it, here is a conundrum for you. Which is morally better, to leave an animal in an abusive home, or have it put down? (If the pet isn't adopted, it will be put down)

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Jumble » Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

Zarq wrote:..... There's more to a dog than appearance. There's character, the space it requires, how active it is, how much grooming it requires, how big it gets, ... That's all stuff you can research beforehand if you plan on buying a puppy. )

I think this is a key point. Exhibit A (-> to the right) wasn't bought because of his stupid expression or his comedy ears. The fact is that having rescued two dogs before I became a parent I know for a fact that character is a key feature in a potentially strong animal with teeth. Once I had children I had no choice but to find a breed I could trust. It would have been irresponsible of me as a dog owner and a father to take on an animal that I would then have to throw out of the home because I could not trust it with my children (putting more burden on the dog kennels) or even worse, to allow a dog to harm my children, or someone elses. I loved re-housing dogs in need of a home and I relished understanding and treating the emotional baggage that they usually brought, but I have responsibilities as a dog owner and a parent and I'll be damned if I'm going to feel bad about the fact that I face up to that. If it makes it any better I put a lot of effort into finding a registered breeder with a track record of breeding happy, healthy spaniels. I would never have bought a puppy from a store, but I don't think that was the key issue in this thread.

I'm glad that Thesh raised cat adoption. I've always had cats, and they've always been common moggies. Usually they've been rescued from a hedge. I wouldn't bother with a pedigree cat as no domestic cat is going to harm my kids or my neighbors (beyond the occasional scratch and dumping in the flower border). That said, I wouldn't judge people who really want a pedigree cat - I just can't see the point myself.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ghavrel » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

diotimajsh wrote:At the risk of derailing this into a debate about meat-eating, I'm curious what the moral difference is based on, or what explains it. To try to stay relevant to this thread, let me generalize the question: why is some animals' suffering/mistreatment more worthy of concern than others'?


Good (i.e. tricky) question. Basically, the purpose of the animal justifies its treatment. To an extent. So while it is definitely not kosher to slit your dog's throat and eat it (true in more ways than one), it's okay to do so to, say, a cow. This is also why I am okay (albeit admittedly squeamish) with the use of dogs as food in other nations. It is why they are raised.

That doesn't morally justify cruelty to livestock, of course. I think the issue is what constitutes "poor treatment" changes. I don't expect my cows and chickens to be able to wander around a vast expanse of land entirely at will under the lovely blue skies, but neither do I want them to never take a step in their lives. I think what happens, though, is that people who recognize that "purpose justifies treatment" find it harder to care about what is admittedly cruelty to livestock, because they hold the treatment of livestock to a lower standard.

Not sure if that answers your question. Am tired and hungry, so not writing very well.

Of course, this answer gets into strange territory, because one might be able to advance an argument based off of this that says purebreds must be treated better than other dogs. I suppose my counter to that would be that it's not really an issue. If a purebred is bought for the purpose of being, well, a snot-nosed little priss (I'm a fan of mutts, if you can't tell), then it's going to be treated like a delicate flower regardless. If a purebred is bought for the purpose of being like every other dog, it doesn't have to be held to the snot-nosed priss standard. If a purebred is bought in China, I'll get my chopsticks. Yum.

There is admittedly some cognitive dissonance going on here; I probably wouldn't be able to eat a dog. But I don't think emotional attachment to a certain species invalidates my argument.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby thc » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:22 am UTC

Zarq wrote:This. Also, there's more to a dog than appearance. There's character, the space it requires, how active it is, how much grooming it requires, how big it gets, ... That's all stuff you can research beforehand if you plan on buying a puppy. Shelters on the other hand generally don't have that much choice, plus a lot of them are not purebreed and they're not that predictable (as in: you can't look it up).
Also, it is a lot easier to train a puppy than to train an adult (or even an adolescent) dog. Ofcourse, there are trained dogs in shelters, but that takes away the fun of training it.


You're mis-characterizing the supposed upsides of puppy mill dogs. These dogs have a greater incidence of physical health problems due to genetics as well as general health problems related to being raised in such poor conditions. My sister's puppy mill dog died of autoimmune hemolytic anemia at an early age (I know, anecdotal, but the evidence is not). And if you want to talk about "character", well puppy mill dogs have a higher rate of mental/social problems as well.

A lot of the time, shelters have a very good selection, especially nowadays, when families run in to hard times and have to abandon their pets. The workers there, from what I've seen, generally do a pretty good job of characterizing the dogs for you. They're not going to lie to you, because if the dog has major problems, you'd just take them right back anyway.

As far as trained dogs taking away the fun of training "it" [sic], well, that strikes me as slightly arrogant. Basically, you're saying that you are okay with animals suffering a great deal if it gains you a marginal amount of enjoyment.

On a more general note, yes, dogs are not interchangeable, but neither is pretty much any consumer product. If you buy shoes and clothes from Nike, you are effectively condoning child labor and minimum wage violations.* So if you're okay with that, that's fine, but I think you should expect to be called out on that. This isn't the same as choosing blue or yellow as your favorite color.


*This isn't a discussion about Nike.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Thesh » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:54 am UTC

thc wrote:
Zarq wrote:This. Also, there's more to a dog than appearance. There's character, the space it requires, how active it is, how much grooming it requires, how big it gets, ... That's all stuff you can research beforehand if you plan on buying a puppy. Shelters on the other hand generally don't have that much choice, plus a lot of them are not purebreed and they're not that predictable (as in: you can't look it up).
Also, it is a lot easier to train a puppy than to train an adult (or even an adolescent) dog. Ofcourse, there are trained dogs in shelters, but that takes away the fun of training it.

You're mis-characterizing the supposed upsides of puppy mill dogs. These dogs have a greater incidence of physical health problems due to genetics as well as general health problems related to being raised in such poor conditions. My sister's puppy mill dog died of autoimmune hemolytic anemia at an early age (I know, anecdotal, but the evidence is not). And if you want to talk about "character", well puppy mill dogs have a higher rate of mental/social problems as well.


Well, when you are going for a purebred, you should look for a reputable breeder and try to find someone who is in it because they love the breed and not just for the money. Not all dog breeders are running "puppy mills." Of course, animals from good breeders will typically cost more.

I know there are some breeds of dog such as the golden retriever that are prone to health problems, but a good breeder will try to minimize these risks.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ulc » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:13 am UTC

thc wrote:You're mis-characterizing the supposed upsides of puppy mill dogs. These dogs have a greater incidence of physical health problems due to genetics as well as general health problems related to being raised in such poor conditions. My sister's puppy mill dog died of autoimmune hemolytic anemia at an early age (I know, anecdotal, but the evidence is not). And if you want to talk about "character", well puppy mill dogs have a higher rate of mental/social problems as well.


And you're mis-characterizing breeders.

Puppy mills are horrible, and usually produce horrible dogs. Very prone to health problems, and usually have mental problems as well.

But a good breeder is not a puppy mill. A good breeder is simply someone that have a couple of dogs, and makes sure that they breed with the right mates (often travelling far to get a pure breed mate, with the right qualities to minimize health problems that all races have). All the upsides that Zarq mentions are perfectly true in this case. And personally, I would never get a dog at a shelter - it's a rare thing that you can get to see it's heritage, and often they aren't pure breed, and I would want to know what I'm getting, so I'm sure that I could give it a good life.

But then, in general, most decent breeders expect you to come and visit the litter 2-3 times (in their private home) before allowing you to buy the dog, and often asks a lot of questions, and then decides which if the puppies they'll allow you to buy.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Waylah » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:38 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:I don't know, that sort of sounds to me like "why are you wasting all this time dating when you could just marry someone desperate for a green card?"


Yeah, I agree. another example is "Why are you having a baby when you could become a foster parent for a child in need" - they are two different things.

People get married, have kids, and get pets, not usually out of charity. They might have children, but also donate to a children's charity. I suppose some people might have a puppy, but also donate to an animal shelter.

There is a difference between choosing and buying a little puppy to raise from puppyhood yourself vs. making yourself available to care for a dog out of charity. One isn't better than the other, they are just different.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ghavrel » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:51 am UTC

Waylah wrote:There is a difference between choosing and buying a little puppy to raise from puppyhood yourself vs. making yourself available to care for a dog out of charity. One isn't better than the other, they are just different.

While that's certainly a valid opinion, it's by no means a universally held one. I personally see no advantage to having a purebred, and so the only difference between an adorable little puppy from a breeder and an adorable little puppy from a shelter is about five hundred dollars. That's a lot of dog food!

I don't think people in this thread are arguing necessarily that everyone should go out right now and get a full-grown hound from the pound, so to speak; many of us simply don't see a purebred as being worth the extra time and money when there are so many equally good puppies we could get with ease.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby thc » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:41 am UTC

Ulc wrote:Puppy mills are horrible, and usually produce horrible dogs. Very prone to health problems, and usually have mental problems as well.

But a good breeder is not a puppy mill. A good breeder is simply someone that have a couple of dogs, and makes sure that they breed with the right mates (often travelling far to get a pure breed mate, with the right qualities to minimize health problems that all races have). All the upsides that Zarq mentions are perfectly true in this case. And personally, I would never get a dog at a shelter - it's a rare thing that you can get to see it's heritage, and often they aren't pure breed, and I would want to know what I'm getting, so I'm sure that I could give it a good life.

But then, in general, most decent breeders expect you to come and visit the litter 2-3 times (in their private home) before allowing you to buy the dog, and often asks a lot of questions, and then decides which if the puppies they'll allow you to buy.


Um, I'm not talking about breeders in general, and I actually agree with you, mostly. I'm specifically talking about puppy mills. All the problems I mentioned are specific to puppy mills. (And while genetic problems are often cited as a problem for pure breeds, they're even worse in puppy mills).

There is a difference between choosing and buying a little puppy to raise from puppyhood yourself vs. making yourself available to care for a dog out of charity. One isn't better than the other, they are just different.

One choice is certainly better than the other unless you are saying that all moral beliefs are relative. As an extreme example, would you accept if a million people died so that you could have a slightly better dog? Obviously not, and I don't mean to imply that's the same order of magnitude. But there is pain and suffering going on, and its up to you to choose whether you want to care or not.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:44 pm UTC

thc wrote:
Zarq wrote:This. Also, there's more to a dog than appearance. There's character, the space it requires, how active it is, how much grooming it requires, how big it gets, ... That's all stuff you can research beforehand if you plan on buying a puppy. Shelters on the other hand generally don't have that much choice, plus a lot of them are not purebreed and they're not that predictable (as in: you can't look it up).
Also, it is a lot easier to train a puppy than to train an adult (or even an adolescent) dog. Ofcourse, there are trained dogs in shelters, but that takes away the fun of training it.

(We paid 750€ btw, and had to drive 800km. (it was a rather rare race) It was from a breeder though, puppymills are outlawed here.)


You're mis-characterizing the supposed upsides of puppy mill dogs. These dogs have a greater incidence of physical health problems due to genetics as well as general health problems related to being raised in such poor conditions. My sister's puppy mill dog died of autoimmune hemolytic anemia at an early age (I know, anecdotal, but the evidence is not). And if you want to talk about "character", well puppy mill dogs have a higher rate of mental/social problems as well.


Did you miss where he said that puppy mills are illegal in his country?

Nobody is arguing that puppy mills are a good thing or have any particular benefits over either breeders or rescue dogs.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Iudex » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

From personal experience there are there are a couple of points to support either side
1. I think most people agree that puppy mills are unethical and unnecessary. Reputable breeders and shelters can provide for the supply of puppies and dogs needed. (I am only speaking of countries where dogs are pets)
2. We all seem to agree that on the whole there are reputable breeders out there and they may be unnecessary but not unethical. (talking to the breeder for the last dog I owned she sleeps on the floor of her kitchen to make sure the puppies like people and are taken care of even during the night).
3. Dogs from shelters have some major advantages and disadvantages. They tend to be older, and potentially trained well, but also have the risk of mistreatment, causing disease and psychological damage. These dogs tend to also not be pure breeds which can have advantages (less genetic problems on the whole), but also disadvantages (no idea of mannerism of the breed). Being older also had advantages (probably trained at least somewhat) but also disadvantages (more set if they were trained poorly)

So I think if I am understanding correctly the issue comes down to this, next time we hear of someone wanting a puppy encourage them to get their dog from one of the two sources we consider ethical, and if they are thinking of a dog from a shelter make sure they understand that the dogs are a bit higher risk, but can be a much easier start. Whereas a dog from a breeder is a bit more of a tabula rasa. To answer the original poster's question then it is both yes and no for you to be unreasonable by being outraged. To be upset that he is supporting puppy mills is a reasonable opinion and probably the morally responsible one to take. To be upset he bought a pure-breed dog is probably less reasonable and might need to be tempered into asking why before outrage.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby mosc » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

I don't walk my dogs. I never will. I'm lazy. I've got a fenced in backyard and I just let them out for a few minutes a day. I know this however, and I select a breed that can survive... nay flourish... in that type of environment. It might be tantamount to animal cruelty if I did that to a mutt with a bloodline from a more active breed. Pound puppies are nice and all, but I'm not in the market for a 50-100 pound lab/bull/Sheppard type dog! I also have a 2 year old that likes to touch and a dog with a questionable upbringing and the strength to cause harm is right out of the question even with maintenance requirements out of the equation (which they're not. It's a pet ffs). I don't think anybody should get holier-than-thou with me about my dog purchase without intimately understanding my use case.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby thc » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:43 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Did you miss where he said that puppy mills are illegal in his country?


No I didn't. Zarq quoted this from Vaniver: "Now, there's still an argument that they should have found a reputable breeder instead of buying a dog from a store supplied by puppy mills, but I don't think that argument is worth pursuing very far", ostensibly in agreement.

That's the point I was responding to.

mosc wrote:I don't walk my dogs. I never will. I'm lazy. I've got a fenced in backyard and I just let them out for a few minutes a day. I know this however, and I select a breed that can survive... nay flourish... in that type of environment. It might be tantamount to animal cruelty if I did that to a mutt with a bloodline from a more active breed. Pound puppies are nice and all, but I'm not in the market for a 50-100 pound lab/bull/Sheppard type dog! I also have a 2 year old that likes to touch and a dog with a questionable upbringing and the strength to cause harm is right out of the question even with maintenance requirements out of the equation (which they're not. It's a pet ffs). I don't think anybody should get holier-than-thou with me about my dog purchase without intimately understanding my use case.


I don't think anyone is getting holier-than-thou in this thread. There are of course, valid reasons to get a purebred, like what you've mentioned. From a purely pragmatic view though, buying a dog straight from the pet store is probably not the best idea anyway, if you're worried about the dog's character and/or health. Personally, I do think it's worth the extra time and money to find a reputable breeder and get to know him/her before committing. And it could even be fun, selecting for traits and/or rare hybrids. It's almost like pokemon.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Zarq » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:01 pm UTC

thc wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Did you miss where he said that puppy mills are illegal in his country?


No I didn't. Zarq quoted this from Vaniver: "Now, there's still an argument that they should have found a reputable breeder instead of buying a dog from a store supplied by puppy mills, but I don't think that argument is worth pursuing very far", ostensibly in agreement.

That's the point I was responding to.



I also put something in bold. That was the part I was agreeing on.

As for the breeder-vs-puppymill discussion, I actually do agree that's not a discussion. I'm pretty certain that no-one in this thread is in favor of puppymills, so no conflicting opinions = no discussion, just people nodding in agreement
Sure, we can mention this, but since there's no difference of opinion, we shouldn't be stuck at this for too long but get to the actual discussion, which is "buying dogs vs. adopting dogs".
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby thc » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

Okay, my mistake. I tend to get blindingly passionate when it comes to certain issues :D

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby DSenette » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

what's the purpose of having a purebred dog to begin with? the only thing i can come up with* is that you're wanting a dog for a status symbol or so that you can make money off of the dog in the future (breeding or showing). it's like deciding to participate in rigorous human husbandry to make sure that you get a child that's "genetically pure". just doesn't make sense to me at all.




*my only logical exception to this is when you actually have a working dog, that actually does work. like a hunting dog or a draft dog. But even then it's iffy in my book. Mutts can do herding just as well as purebreds and some of the best hunting dogs i've ever gone out with were mutts to one degree or another
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby eugene » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

Ghavrel wrote:While that's certainly a valid opinion, it's by no means a universally held one. I personally see no advantage to having a purebred, and so the only difference between an adorable little puppy from a breeder and an adorable little puppy from a shelter is about five hundred dollars.

But since you see the other opinion as valid, would you agree that it's OK for people who share that opinion to get any dog they want to?

DSenette wrote:what's the purpose of having a purebred dog to begin with?

As someone mentioned already: purebred dogs have more predictable personality, development patterns such as size and intellect, they have certain appearance standards which people might find aesthetically pleasing, etc.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby mosc » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:07 pm UTC

thc wrote:[I don't think anyone is getting holier-than-thou in this thread. There are of course, valid reasons to get a purebred, like what you've mentioned. From a purely pragmatic view though, buying a dog straight from the pet store is probably not the best idea anyway, if you're worried about the dog's character and/or health. Personally, I do think it's worth the extra time and money to find a reputable breeder and get to know him/her before committing. And it could even be fun, selecting for traits and/or rare hybrids. It's almost like pokemon.


AHEM!!!

DSenette wrote:what's the purpose of having a purebred dog to begin with? the only thing i can come up with* is that you're wanting a dog for a status symbol or so that you can make money off of the dog in the future (breeding or showing). it's like deciding to participate in rigorous human husbandry to make sure that you get a child that's "genetically pure". just doesn't make sense to me at all.

Listen Mr. "holier-than-thou", I answered this exactly already. You seem to not understand the drastic differences in dog breeds in terms of space requirements, eating requirements, grooming requirements, and exercise requirements. Also, the angst you seem to be expressing about breeding itself as some kind of genetic perversion is an entirely different topic and should probably be separated off. Obviously if you don't acknowledge and understand the obvious differences between dog breeds, it will be hard to discuss the purpose of breeding dogs I would think.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ghavrel » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:42 pm UTC

eugene wrote:But since you see the other opinion as valid, would you agree that it's OK for people who share that opinion to get any dog they want to?


Hm. I recognize that people have a different opinion. I don't think, for the most part, that they are correct.

I think the issue of which breeds require exercise is a good one. Temperament seems a little overblown to me, but if you're absolutely convinced that anything other than a purebred golden retriever will eat your children, I'd rather see them with a purebred than with nothing.

I don't think "because I've always wanted a Yorkie" is a good reason.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Vaniver » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:01 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:I don't think "because I've always wanted a Yorkie" is a good reason.
On what metric does that fail to be a good reason?

To put it another way: you are saying "I want X because I want X" isn't a good reason. It's certainly circular, and thus not a good explanation, but that doesn't mean that the person in question does not want X and is not justified in wanting X.

Should you assume, if people are unable or unwilling to articulate their reasons, that they don't have good reasons? I think the answer there is a pretty strong no. Beyond that, it doesn't matter if you think someone's positive associations with a certain breed are justified or unjustified; they have those associations. There is some benefit to examining one's own associations and justifications- even though a dog of a particular breed starred in your favorite childhood movies, that breed may not be well-suited to your life- but it is generally unwelcome and unwise to do that sort of psychoanalysis of other people.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Zarq » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:26 am UTC

To give another argument for "Why do you need a pure-bred?":

While I certainly agree that some standards are purely estethical and sometimes even cruel (chihuahuas being a very good example), some of them are very good.
For example: German Shepherds are genetically prone to some disease called Canine Hip Dysplasia. In order to eliminate that disease, you have to have your dog checked to see if he has it. if he has, you can't breed with him. (Well, you CAN, but you won't get the certificate). To qualify for that certificate, the dog also has to have some other characteristics checked, a major one being character.
So if you buy a pure-bred German Shepherd, it is likely that he is less prone to CHD and that he has the standard German Shepherd character (which should be "loyal, great with kids and other dogs, friendly and non-aggressive").

Ofcourse, I only know that the certificate thing is true in Belgium and the Netherlands. I have no idea about the rest of the world.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby eugene » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:30 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:On what metric does that fail to be a good reason?

I think there are two versions of "I've always wanted a yorkie". One version is, "I gave it a lot of thought and decided that I'm attracted to yorkies, and even though I can't explain why (much like I can't explain why my favorite color is blue), I'm sure this is the only dog I want". Another version is "I didn't give it much thought, but I vaguely remember wanting a yorkie as a child, for reasons now forgotten and probably no longer relevant, but I'm too lazy to think about it so I'll just get one". The first version is a good reason (I think). The second might be argued to be a bad reason, because maybe you really don't care about the breed. In which case you could have adopted a dog from a shelter instead. So if you care about shelter dogs, you might want to urge other people to think things through. Of course, there is also a tradeoff between how much you care about shelter dogs vs. how much do you care about not intruding upon other people's lives.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Vaniver » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:59 am UTC

eugene wrote:I think there are two versions of "I've always wanted a yorkie". One version is, "I gave it a lot of thought and decided that I'm attracted to yorkies, and even though I can't explain why (much like I can't explain why my favorite color is blue), I'm sure this is the only dog I want".
That example seems contradictory. I don't remember ever deciding what my favorite color is, or giving the issue a lot of thought. Indeed, it seems entirely possible my favorite color was randomly chosen at a young age, and then familiarity / identity continuity made me prefer it more, and that continued on to the present day.

It seems that giving things lots of thought is most strongly connected to whether or not you can explain them, since explanations are thoughts arranged for presentation.

The point you raise about laziness I would call self-awareness; if someone thinks they want a Yorkie but really they want a dog like their friend had, they may not know the thing that made their friend's dog great was its personality and that personality is atypical for Yorkies. Good thoughts increase self-awareness, but it's hard to tell the difference between good thoughts and bad thoughts (particularly when looking at other people's notes about themselves).

It may be reasonable to suspect that self-awareness is connected to language ability / articulation of thoughts; but I would not link the two and would try to keep the ideas separate. Someone buying a dog because they're not self-aware is problematic because they're not self-aware, not because they're buying a dog.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ghavrel » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:20 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:It may be reasonable to suspect that self-awareness is connected to language ability / articulation of thoughts; but I would not link the two and would try to keep the ideas separate. Someone buying a dog because they're not self-aware is problematic because they're not self-aware, not because they're buying a dog.


Quite the contrary; it's problematic because their lack of self-awareness has a harmful opportunity cost. They could have helped out a shelter dog, but their lack of self-awareness prevented them from doing so.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ulc » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:28 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:I think the issue of which breeds require exercise is a good one. Temperament seems a little overblown to me, but if you're absolutely convinced that anything other than a purebred golden retriever will eat your children, I'd rather see them with a purebred than with nothing.

I don't think "because I've always wanted a Yorkie" is a good reason.


I think you'll find that a lot of people that spend the cash to get a purebreed knows why they are doing it, to mention a few very good reasons:

How active they are? Can I have them in a apartment, or do they need a big yard and plenty of other exercise.
Temperament. It's not a case of "eaten children", but temperament depends a lot on breed.
How are they going to get? This matters quite a lot.
How much experience does the dog require of the owner? I don't know if you've ever met a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but that is a example of a breed that should absolutely not be in the hands of a inexperienced dog owner. Not even in a mixed heritage (and since Rhodesian Ridgebacks tends to be fucking Houdini's, they aren't all that uncommon in mutts)
How much grooming time is expect of the owner? If I can't put in 20 min. per day, I likely shouldn't get a golden retriever.
Genetic diseases, with a known breed, I know what the risks are, and if I buy from a reputable breeder, I'll know if the parents suffered from anything.

With a mutt, most of those are up in the wind.

With a grown mutt, most of those can be figured out, but then you face the disadvantage of the dog being more set in it's potential bad habits. And in a shelter, a lot of the dogs are there because the previous owner was a poor trainer, and then gave up when the bad habits got out of hand.
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ghavrel » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:53 am UTC

Ulc wrote:How active they are? Can I have them in a apartment, or do they need a big yard and plenty of other exercise.


Maybe it's just my country origins speaking, but this really doesn't seem like something you need to know much about to figure out. But the apartment thing is something that I've never had to consider (see: country origins). We already had plenty of space to let our mutts run about. It's just that I've never seen a mutt with a temperament that was distinct from its training. By this I mean that all of the poorly-behaved dogs I've met have been poorly trained, and all of the well-behaved dogs I've met have had good trainers. I guess what I am trying to say here is that the unknown temperament of mutts seems to be pretty wildly exaggerated.

All of my evidence is entirely anecdotal. But it's "con'try wisdom," so it counts for somethin', y'hear?
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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby eugene » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:15 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:It's just that I've never seen a mutt with a temperament that was distinct from its training. By this I mean that all of the poorly-behaved dogs I've met have been poorly trained, and all of the well-behaved dogs I've met have had good trainers. I guess what I am trying to say here is that the unknown temperament of mutts seems to be pretty wildly exaggerated.

You seem to equate "temperament" with "behavior". If you mean that the dog doesn't pee in the house and doesn't bark at the wind, then yes, this is probably mostly due to training. But there are somewhat more subtle personality traits which some people care about. For example, as someone mentioned, if you get a purebred German, you have a decent chance of him growing up to be smart and loyal. If you get a mixed breed, then, even if he looks a lot like a German, he is much more likely to have different personality traits, maybe sneakiness and cowardliness. You can correct them by training, but (a) you will have to spend much more time (which you might not have or might not want to spend that way), and (b) this will only work up to a point. If you just want to get a dog for the kids, this is not a big deal, you will learn to live with this personality and will love the dog anyway. But if you specifically want a dog with a certain personality, then it might be a wise investment to pay the extra money and get a purebred one.

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Re: It is irrational for me to be upset when people buy dogs

Postby Ulc » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:47 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:Maybe it's just my country origins speaking, but this really doesn't seem like something you need to know much about to figure out. But the apartment thing is something that I've never had to consider (see: country origins). We already had plenty of space to let our mutts run about. It's just that I've never seen a mutt with a temperament that was distinct from its training. By this I mean that all of the poorly-behaved dogs I've met have been poorly trained, and all of the well-behaved dogs I've met have had good trainers. I guess what I am trying to say here is that the unknown temperament of mutts seems to be pretty wildly exaggerated.

All of my evidence is entirely anecdotal. But it's "con'try wisdom," so it counts for somethin', y'hear?


None the less, it is a huge deal - keeping a dog with activity levels like a cocker spaniel, rhodesian or something like that in a apartment is pretty much tantamount to animal cruelty. Most terriers on the other hand do just fine in a apartment.

You also seem to equating temperament with behaviour, it is not the same. How well behaved they are, depends almost entirely on the trainer. Their temperament is distinct from this, and much more breed dependant. It has more to do with how they initially react to strangers, how territorial they are and so on.
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