People decide they want to get a puppy. They feel the time is right – they’ve been planning this for a long time. They research breeds and zero in on one that sounds like a good match for their lifestyle. All sounds good – you’re thinking… Yes, so far so good.
Problem is: they’ve spent all this time working on making the right decision about when? and what? – and now with those two parts of the equation settled, they want their puppy immediately! And, where do they end up getting this puppy that they so carefully thought about getting? Are you beginning to see where I’m headed? Who’s always breeding and ready with a puppy? Yes – a puppy mill. A place that continuouly breeds their brood bitches everytime they come into season with no regard whatsoever to genetics and in poor sanitary conditions.
Because I always get my dogs from breeders that I know personally and because I’m surrounded by dog people who do the same, I often forget that such unscrupulous establishments exist. They were, however, brought to mind this week. In the space of just 3 days, I ran into 2 people (asking me about training issues) that had bought their new, adorable, much-loved puppies at such a “kennel.”
Inevitably, when I ask folks like this what breeder they got their puppy from, they answer me in an apologetic tone, I’m afraid it was a puppy mill – but they had just what I wanted and she’s very sweet. And, I wanted to get her right now. Sometimes, without my asking, they’ll even tell me how much they payed for the puppy, which is always much more then they would have payed had they purchased their puppy from a reputable breeder.
Why, I ask, do people who have carefully waited for the right time to get a dog and researched breeds to find the perfect lifestyle match, not expend the same amount of energy to select a breeder?
No – the breeder may not have a puppy right now, or even in the next 3 or 4 months for you to take home. That’s because this breeder doesn’t breed one litter after another; that’s because this breeder carefully plans a genetically sound litter. This breeder does not charge an outrageous price for this well-bred puppy because she is not in the business of mass-producing dogs. She may breed only 1 or 2 litters a year. And – those puppies, most likely, will already have homes before they are born because people who have carefully researched breeders have called her and asked her many questions about her breeding practices and have put their name on her waitiing list. If her list is very long, ask her to recommend a fellow breeder who might be expecting a litter in the near future. I can guarantee that she will set you in the right direction.
Bringing a puppy into your home is a lifelong committment. Chances are, if your dog is healthy, you will have a wonderful companion for 12+ years. Please, do your homework. Puppymills are able to stay in business only because there are people out there purchasing dogs from them. They need to be stopped – and will be stopped – if people carefully do their homework. Start by visiting the breeder directory on the American Kennel Club web site: www.akc.org. The site contains a wealth of information about dogs.