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So, we've been searching for a golden retriever puppy to add to our family of four (two adults, two children). Today we visited a golden breeder within an hour of our home who has some lovely puppies available with lots of Gold-Rush in both parents. There are health clearances for everything going back several generations. Anyway, while playing with the puppies and talking to this breeder, he started giving us puppy advice, which turned into something of a rant about dog health. Some of the things he said are things I've wondered about in the past but had never heard from another breeder, and I'd like some help evaluating it:

1) He said puppy's first shots are important, but he doesn't believe in over-vaccinating. (I get that...same with my human children...)

2) Then he said "all these flea and tick treatments we put on dogs, would you put it on your kids?" I said no. He said, "Then why put it on a dog? It's poison. And then people come back when their dog's five and want to know why it developed cancer."

3) He then said "The same goes with heart worm medications. That stuff is linked to cancer too."

4) He also said the spray they give to dogs for kennel cough causes jaw cancer.

Then he said, "I tell people, you've been giving your dog these poisons, don't come back to me asking why your dog gets cancer at the age of five. It's your own fault."

He felt very passionate, you could tell, by his tone and his body language. He was venting, and I wondered if he was talking from experience--if previous clients were reporting cancer at young ages.

I was a bit dumbfounded. What do you all make of it? Should a breeder be telling clients not to use these various treatments? Are there natural alternatives to them that are genuinely effective? And just because it's a "natural" alternative, does that make it truly safe?

Most importantly, would you buy a puppy from this breeder if you were in this situation? Something about it just felt...like sour grapes...
 

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Another thing he said that got me wondering...

He said, "These dogs don't need exercise. They'll get all the exercise they need while you work with them. Don't walk them to death. You'll ruin their hips. Their hips aren't fully developed until 18 months. If you overdo it, you'll ruin their hips, and then you'll be calling me. And I'll tell you it's your own fault."

I honestly don't know what to think.
 

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So, the breeder is saying that if you vaccinate, give flea/tick/heartworm meds, and walk your dog, he is not responsible for early cancer or hip problems???? What else is he not going to be responsible for? Ask to see his health guarantee and contract. Is the contract and/or health guarantee void if you don't keep your puppy in a bubble?

I would not buy from this breeder.. obviously he won't be a great resource if health issues arise.. if you maintain a good relationship with the breeder you choose, they are a GREAT resource. Is this someone you can maintain a good breeder-buyer relationship with? He doesn't even seem like a nice guy..

FWIW, I do use natural flea and tick preventatives. I would not mess around with heartworm meds though, if you live in where heartworm is common.
 

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So, the breeder is saying that if you vaccinate, give flea/tick/heartworm meds, and walk your dog, he is not responsible for early cancer or hip problems???? What else is he not going to be responsible for? Ask to see his health guarantee and contract. Is the contract and/or health guarantee void if you don't keep your puppy in a bubble?

I would not buy from this breeder.. obviously he won't be a great resource if health issues arise.. if you maintain a good relationship with the breeder you choose, they are a GREAT resource. Is this someone you can maintain a good breeder-buyer relationship with? He doesn't even seem like a nice guy..
No, I don't think I could maintain a relationship with this guy. He was almost hostile just talking about it, and it wasn't even stuff we'd asked about. Very odd. I think we're going to have to keep looking for a puppy. :(
 

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I only do heartworm during the spring/summer time. I don't ever put my dogs in a kennel, if I cannot take the dog with me I do not go. If I am away on biz trip my family stays home with the dog.
As far as the hip problems I think he is correct. I do not allow the zoomies and the walks are moderate. IMHO one should not put bunch of supplements in the puppy and allow them to injure themselves in extensive walks, runs and agility at a young age.
Your first two years should be concentrated on obedience training, very mild agility training if you pursue that and moderate retrieving training if you are hunting with your dog.
As far as this breeder I am not sure that it was very tactful for him to says these things to you as you described them. I would ask more questions regarding longevity and causes of death in his pups. On another hand if he is afraid you will be "poisoning" and "over exercising" he pup why would he sell them to anyone who would not "abide" by his "standards". Have you seen the contract?
 
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FWIW, I do use natural flea and tick preventatives. I would not mess around with heartworm meds though, if you live in where heartworm is common.
This area is bad for both fleas and ticks...I mean, terrible. I'll definitely look into natural treatments for them. Is there are particular one you'd recommend?

Regarding heartworms, I know several people in my area whose rescue dogs have heartworms and are being treated.

But all that said, I don't want to poison my dog.
 

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I only do heartworm during the spring/summer time. I don't ever put my dogs in a kennel, if I cannot take the dog with me I do not go. If I am away on biz trip my family stays home with the dog.
As far as the hip problems I think he is correct. I do not allow the zoomies and the walks are moderate. IMHO one should not put bunch of supplements in the puppy and allow them to injure themselves in extensive walks, runs and agility at a young age.
Your first two years should be concentrated on obedience training, very mild agility training if you pursue that and moderate retrieving training if you are hunting with your dog.
As far as this breeder I am not sure that it was very tactful for him to says these things to you as you described them. I would ask more questions regarding longevity and causes of death in his pups. On another hand if he is afraid you will be "poisoning" and "over exercising" he pup why would he sell them to anyone who would not "abide" by his "standards". Have you seen the contract?
No, it really didn't get that far to actually see a contract. He did email me the pedigrees of the dogs, but he did not offer to show me a contract. He was ready to clip the fur on one to mark it for us and take a $750 deposit, but we said we'd think about it instead. My husband and I both felt very noncommittal after talking with him. We're both very reluctant to jump on anything first pass.

What he said about the hips sounded legit to me, and to be honest, I've often felt the same way about medications humans pump ourselves full of...if we're not killing ourselves with our medications, pesticides in foods, etc. But is there any alternative for the standard heartworm preventative meds?

And regarding longevity in his dogs, I did not talk with him about that yet because he seemed so hostile just brushing the subject. I'm rather non-confrontational. If someone gets worked up and confrontational that easily, I'd just as soon walk away and do business elsewhere.

I did, however, research the sire and dam on k9data.com, and the dogs in the ancestry lived on average looks like 8 or 9 years. A few lived longer. The youngest was, I believe 6. That one died from an inverted intestine, and that was I think three generations back from the puppies. Not many causes of death were listed in any of the pedigrees--only one other, some sort of cancer in a 7-year-old.

But it really doesn't matter. I don't think I could work with this man.
 

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I only do heartworm during the spring/summer time.
Oh, and this reminded me--we did this with our Boxer at the vet's recommendation, and I felt very comfortable with that. I'd forgotten about that. I'm so glad you mentioned it. Our Boxer died five years ago from cancer, so we've only been to the vet with our cat in the last while. I wonder if our vet would still recommend it.
 

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While I agree over exercising can be bad for the hips, the breeder is saying your dog doesn't need exercise at all, which I don't agree with. Keep walks on natural surfaces, stay off concrete, and don't go overboard. I was probably the most paranoid doggy mom about hips. I followed the 5 mins per month rule, so a 5 month old puppy should not walk more than 25 mins, 30 mins at 6 months, etc. I also always let my pup go at her own pace so it's not a repetitive motion for 25+ minutes. I also kept running to a minimum, did not let Molly jump (carried her in and out of the car), and she did not use stairs until she was 6 months old..I would carry her. That was probably overboard.

As for natural flea and tick preventatives, I use apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon a day) and a product called Earth Animal Herbal Internal Flea and Tick Powder. I don't do heartworm (although I may in the summer). I have asked two vets about this, and they both said the generally don't push heartworm meds in our area because it's very rare and they have only seen it in dogs who have travelled outside of the PNW or come from other areas. Talk to your vet about it.


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I think you made up your mind :)
Funny how sometimes you click, sometimes you don't at all and sometimes it takes a couple tries.
I was like that with the trainer; I joined because a friend joined with his dog so my heart was not into it. I went there and we clashed in the first day. I was going to either just quit or go and have a talk with her. Instead I wrote down questions I had and emailed them to her. She replied back and I was in complete agreement with her.

If I may, I would suggest you email this breeder your questions just like you did on the forum. Allow him couple days to respond and take it from there.
 

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I think you've made a smart choice.... I would not buy from this breeder after that kind of rant either. It sounds to me as though both things may be a problem within his line and he finds it easier to blame the puppy owners rather than try to find and address the real problems.

If your research is correct -- it sounds to me as though the longevity in his line may be below average. There are breeders out there that are striving for longevity -- although as we say with everything, the best they can do is stack the odds, it's not a guarantee that every dog will make it in to their teens. Specifically regarding the flea/tick preventative, there's actually a pretty good thread about exactly that going on right now -- http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-health-anatomy-physiology-breed-standard/161417-dos-donts-about-preventing-tick-bites-lyme.htm As for heartworm -- the way the past two winters have been down here, I've personally been giving Heartguard year round. Last winter it never really hit a true deep freeze here in Charlotte and this year it happened so late in the season it was only a matter of a very short time before it warmed right back up. Not sure if it's ever truly wintery enough down here to safely give it for only part of the year (I've only been here just over 2 years) though I did only give it for 6 months of the year when I lived in NJ and IN.

Regarding the hips -- smart exercise restriction is important, as others have pointed out.... but to suggest you NEVER exercise your puppy is a recipe for disaster! Forced exercise (like running with you on a leash), yes. But ALL exercise? Absolutely not! Your pup needs socialization, training on appropriate leash walking and the exercise that goes along with it. Keeping to soft surfaces and within a reasonable amount of time are great but that's a big stretch from there to never doing it. Hip dysplasia is primarily a genetic disorder... walking a puppy (within reason) is not going to cause hip dysplasia in an otherwise healthy dog.

So the breeder search continues... good luck! When you find the right breeder, all this work will be well worth it!

Julie, Jersey and Oz
 

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Welcome to the Forum. :wavey:

...I did, however, research the sire and dam on k9data.com, and the dogs in the ancestry lived on average looks like 8 or 9 years. A few lived longer. The youngest was, I believe 6. That one died from an inverted intestine, and that was I think three generations back from the puppies. Not many causes of death were listed in any of the pedigrees--only one other, some sort of cancer in a 7-year-old.

But it really doesn't matter. I don't think I could work with this man.
You have your answer right here. Even with the cancer that plagues the breed, average life expectancy in Goldens is around 10-12 years now. The k9data evidence suggests that the breeder has a problem and the things he told you suggest that he knows it.

Sadly, though, there is truth in what he says about flea and tick treatments. They are poison and they do cause problems for many animals - enough so that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is studying them. I learned about this when Frontline Plus became a clear trigger for my Charlie's seizures. As with many things in life, there is a trade-off ... a balancing of risks that we have to assess. Tick borne disease is a serious threat to many dogs, especially in places where Lyme disease is prevalent, and fleas also carry disease. We still use Frontline Plus on our dogs for that reason, despite what I know about the problems it can cause. These are concerns to discuss with your vet and by all means look for less toxic products that control the insect pests.

As for the breeder, never buy a pup from someone with whom you are not comfortable talking about any important health issue. The breeder should be your friend and ally and should not ever brush off your questions or get angry when you ask questions with courtesy.

Good luck with your search.
 

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I've been using flea and tick topical on my dogs ever since they came out , they all lived to their natural age except our golden who died at 7 , the others 15, 17, 13. So I see no connection concerning the flea and tick topicals. I'm not an expert but just saying with me and my family members and friend who all use some topical or another seem to all have good luck with it.
 

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Just wondering how many dogs this guy had on his property & does he do anything with them other than breed them? Clearances are the bare minimum for a reputable breeder but that alone doesn't make one reputable. Keep searching, it sounds like you can do better.
 

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Would I buy a puppy from him? Absolutely not. He sounds like the kinda breeder that will blame you for any health problem that might occur. Make you feel bad for something you did.

Those statements are sooo far fetched!!! Being in the south, we need hw prevention year around. So, he thinks a dog getting HW disease is okay?

Walk away. I would also ask to see his contract.
 

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I think I might have a suspicion of who the breeder is and if so, he does show his dogs.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. :wavey:
The breeder should be your friend and ally and should not ever brush off your questions or get angry when you ask questions with courtesy.

Good luck with your search.

I agree fully. My breeder advised against flea and tick meds because they're all about doing things with natural stuff but in the area where I live with deer ticks all over i just can't justify the risk of not using a preventative.
 

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I have to admit that I have concerns about giving heartworm, flea & tick treatments and all the chemicals on the yard. I'm also concerned about the perservatives in the vaccines, not the vaccine itself.
But I also live in an area where heartworm is a huge concern. Fleas and ticks love our hot weather. We stopped the chemicals on the yard and now we have dirt.
In a household with children, a pup will get lots of activity during a normal day. So you do want to be careful about overworking a pup. The concrete is more of an issue than the length of the walk - the pups will usually tell you when it is enough.
 

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Just wondering how many dogs this guy had on his property & does he do anything with them other than breed them? Clearances are the bare minimum for a reputable breeder but that alone doesn't make one reputable. Keep searching, it sounds like you can do better.
Actually, it's interesting that you asked about that. On k9data.com, they used that same Gold-Rush stud to make with, I believe 9 other females all registered to this breeder. I don't believe that was all his females. While there, I noticed that the building he pulled the puppies from had probably 10 runs behind it, and when I walked down the side of the building with my kids to see some chickens, most of those runs had dogs in them. I don't know if they were all females. The pedigrees he emailed to me do list champions, all the way back on the stud, and he's a champion. The dam is not a champion, and you have to go back three generations on that line to find a champion registered to that breeder. Looks like he mostly bred to champions, but didn't produce any.


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I glazed over after the first couple items he told you....

I absolutely would not go with this breeder. I guarantee that this is somebody who will find excuses if anything should go wrong with the puppy - excuses to put the blame on you versus admitting anything that put the blame on him or his breeding.

FWIW - I'm terrified of my dogs developing a preventable disease - like distemper, rabies, and heartworm disease. We live in Michigan, where the state "bird" is the mosquito. The area where I live is marshlands and lakes. I'm walking distance to 3 lakes and the rest is marshy. We also have a heavily treed lot, which again means mosquitoes and bats and racoons and squirrels - all which carry preventable diseases.

Exercise is something that you need to give a lot of consideration as a dog owner. Fat dogs are more likely to develop cancer - just like fat people are. And when it comes to developing joints and muscles, these dogs need to be built up and kept in great shape. This doesn't mean overexercising young dogs. My Bertie only walked 1 mile a day with me and Jacks until he was well past that "big growth". And then I gradually lengthened the walks until both dogs are going 3 miles a day. And I'll be honest - I upped that mileage faster with Bertie, because going shorter walks per day was not enough for Jacks.

1 mile is a 15-20 minute walk. 3 miles is about 45-60 minutes. We have to walk on asphalt, because we have no sidewalks and the people in this area use chemicals on their lawns. As long as you aren't running with the dogs or "forcing" them to walk beyond their tolerance level, it will not harm them or their joints.

Running around the yard - they are more likely to injure their bones or muscles. But again, they are dogs. They need that kind of exercise in addition to walks (which is calmer and steadier exercise). It burns off energy and keeps them very happy. Because my dogs run around on their own (not related to retrieving stuff), it actually is all unforced exercise.

Zoomies - btw, are safer outside than in the house. My dogs all zoomied into their teens. It's an expression of joy from them.
 
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