There are times new members come on to Doberman Talk, and I truly hope these individuals are trolls. I'm not sure why people troll Doberman boards of all places, but it happens. But, why do I hope they're trolls? Because they disregard things that members, members who are more experienced and learned and all of that than I, who have had the infinite heartbreak of their dogs being sick and dying too early, and only want the best for the breed, and the best for individual puppies. And those new people? They say "You guys are too serious." They say "It's just a dog."
I mean, yes. It is "just a dog". But don't you want the best dog? Don't you want the dog who will last you the longest, have a great temperament, have the fewest health problems?
Not every state has a law about it, but in general, people seem to agree that it's a good idea for puppies to stay with their littermates and dams until they're 6 weeks old, if not longer. This is crucial socialization time, good bite inhibition learning time, that kind of thing. I know what it's like to want a puppy NOW, but sometimes that 6 week puppy isn't the milk breathed angel you'd like, while the 8 week old puppy isn't either, you're stacking the deck in your favor. I actually, while fruitlessly trying to indicate to a new puppy buyer that perhaps they were making a mistake, found a neat layout of puppy developmental stages.
I hoped that person was a troll. I tried anyway, explaining a bit why I feel health testing is so important, and titling, especially because I didn't know any better when we bought Elka. I should have, but I didn't. I don't regret having her. She's practically perfect in every way, as is a dog's duty, but I regret supporting her breeder. I regret not being fully prepared, and I worry about what the future will bring for her health. She might just be fine. I really want that to be the case. A problem with trying to reason with "lol, just a dog" people (and/or trolls) is that when every member of a message board is doing it, it feels as though you're being ganged up on. Then we get the "You guys are too serious! You're all so mean!" and people flounce. But, y'know, I prefer that to a bad breeder cranking out puppies who may be sick.
A member of Doberman Talk who recently lost her dog got her from a breeder who kept the untested, untitled dam and inadequately fed and bedded litter in an unheated trailer, and gave the puppy to said member because it was assumed the puppy was dying. While it wasn't true at the time (though she did have a head injury and an already healed broken bone), it turned out that she had severe brain damage, and was never quite "right" anyway, noticeably. And she had to be put to sleep this last week, as she'd gone downhill and been having seizures. This member did not pay for this dog, though she did try to save her. This is an extreme case, yes, but it seems only extreme cases, and only personal sorrow, actually make people listen.
I know it's hard to deal with know it alls. I'm sometimes a know it all, and I'm sorry. I guess that's one thing blogging is for? But sometimes, know it alls really do know something important, and they're so desperate for the sake of...whatever. An innocent puppy. A dam who's bred every heat. Something. They're desperate for a cycle like that to end, for somebody to see sense, to help in that small way, across the Internet. And that's why they try. And that's why I'm adding my voice. People who declare they'd never buy from puppy mills still sometimes buy from "backyard breeders", and while that's a step, it's still sometimes not far enough. The United Doberman Club has a Puppy Buying Guide that's a nice read, that talks about different titles, and health testing, and ethics, and questions you should ask breeders. Even if you aren't in the market for a Doberman, it's a useful checklist. Many breeds have this problem, of breeders who make money off the back of their dogs rather than to maintain the breed ideal.