Pet Store Puppies More Prone to Behavioral Problems

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Evidence shows that puppies purchased from pet stores are more likely to display behavioral problems later in life, according to a groundbreaking University of Pennsylvania study.

Frank McMillan, director of well-being studies at the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah and a co-author of the paper, told the Penn Current that he was curious about behavioral problems in pet-store puppies after a similar study two years ago that focused on puppies from commercial breeding facilities. Most puppies in pet stores are from these puppy mills.

McMillan said the results of the study are grim. "The problems span so many different types of behaviors, and the differences are rather extreme for some of the behaviors."

Pet-store puppies fared worse in 12 of 14 behavioral variables measured and failed to score better on any measure.

"I wasn't expecting the effects to be so across-the-board bad," said James Serpell of the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine, and one of the study's co-authors.

A number of factors contribute to poor behavior in pet-store puppies. Their mothers may suffer greater stress breeding in puppy mills, where the puppies are often weaned and separated from their litters too early and are not properly socialized.

These puppies grow up to display unusual aggression toward their owners and other dogs, as well as an increased risk for running away. Neutered pet-store dogs were more well-behaved, but still more aggressive than neutered non-commercial dogs.

McMillan and Serpell said that at least until the reasons behind the behavioral problems in these dogs are better understood, they recommend not purchasing puppies from pet stores.


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Well, if you're STUPID ENOUGH after all the media hype, to BUY A DOG AT A PET STORE, usually for TRIPLE the price of a breeder or rescue, then you DESERVE the sick, behavior problem puppy you will get. In today's day and age, you have to be a REAL DUMMY to buy a puppy from a pet store. Unless your head is in the sand. No matter how cute they look in the store, which is what the pet stores try to do, remember the abuse and neglect the parents went thru at the puppy mill. It's so sad. You can find ANY PEDIGREE breed on and rescue the breed of your choice. ADOPT, never SHOP. And always spay and neuter your pet. 1-4 dogs at City Shelters are pedigree so don't think because a dog is pedigree it won't end up at a City Shelter.

May 21 2013 at 6:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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