The Pandemic Puppy Problem.

It’s not often I would say that a puppy is a problem, but during lockdown there seemed to be a massive puppy boom which saw a surge in backyard breeders and puppy farms and ridiculous inflated prices. In fact just yesterday someone shared an advert they’d seen for malinois X cavapoo puppies selling for an eye watering £2500!! Let that sink in…… hard to swallow isn’t it, more so because a cavapoo is a cavalier king Charles spaniel crossed with a poodle (so already a cross breed) then crossed with a mali. So the puppies are essentially mongrels. Now I love a good cross breed, I think they are fab dogs. However to purposely cross those breeds simply make money is so wrong and unethical. I would bet all I own that those dogs weren’t health tested and I wonder how much consideration went in to the temperament of the bitch or indeed the possible structural issues those puppies would have.. Breeding dogs is so much more than just getting a dog and a bitch hopping on the good foot and doing the bad thing. 

The Kennel Club released some research this week with some stats that just make me weep.

Worrying Statistics

It shows that a massive 41% of those who bought a puppy in lockdown did so because they wanted a lockdown companion. I get that, I really do, because lots of people want dogs but don’t have them because they are at work all day. However the lockdown seemed a great opportunity as more people were home more, with 63% of people saying they believed lockdown was the perfect time to get a puppy. 

The massive problem with this was not the people wanting puppies, it was the lowlife puppy farm breeders seeing an opportunity to make lots of money without caring too much about the welfare of the dogs or indeed the suitability of those buying a puppy. 

A good breeder will rarely make any real money on puppies as they pour so much time, energy and money into making sure the puppies they produce are happy, healthy and well cared for. They will then assess any new owners to make sure the puppy matches the people it’s going to. 

Puppy farms are a huge problem in the U.K and Ireland

Puppy farms and backyard breeders don’t do this, they simply exploit animals and sell to anyone who turns up with the money. 

Here are some very worrying stats…..

27% of people paid money before actually seeing the puppy.

A scary 42% didn’t see the puppy’s breeding environment, in real life or by video call.

An eye watering 83% weren’t asked any questions by the breeder to ascertain suitability (this one really makes me sad)

 25% of people did less than 2 hours research into buying a puppy and which left them open to scams and puppy farm breeders. In fact 24% think there puppy came from a puppy farm. 

1 in 5 said they hadn’t fully considered the long term commitment of a puppy and a very sad 18% said they didn’t know how their dog would be cared for once they went back to work. 

I’ve already seen adverts for lockdown puppies being rehomed 🙁

We saw it coming.

The thing is, those of us who are canine professionals saw this coming and we couldn’t stop it. So many puppies have had a bad start on puppy farms and so many families didn’t really know what they were getting in to. I can imagine a lot of those poor people had to deal with health problems in the puppies they bought, all because they simply didn’t know the best way to go about it. 

A dog is for life, not just until you have a baby or move or change jobs!

Buying or adopting a new puppy should be something you research and consider for a long time before you actually go and get one. You have to be sure you can afford the long term commitment of a puppy, the food, the vet bills, the insurance, training, dog walkers, boarding kennels or home boarding, how active you are, the breed that will suit your lifestyle…. It’s a big decision. 

I very much would have liked a puppy during lockdown, but I know it is the wrong time for me and I want a puppy who will come to me healthy and happy. Good breeders have waiting lists and will interview you to decide whether or not you are suitable. 

It’s a mine field and it breaks my heart to think of the poor dogs languishing in puppy farms, with no quality of life being forced to produce litter after litter until their bodies are spent.

Then there’s the heart break of getting a puppy home only to realise it’s sick and in need of a vet. A lot die of parvo once they’re home. Most of those puppies will have some sort of behavioural issue too. 

Dogs deserve better, we deserve education!

My bonny Brae as a pup back in 2010

There’s a massive issue in this country with puppy farms and dogs ending up in rescues due to behavioural issues. We need to educate people on what to look for and what to avoid when looking to get a puppy. Dogs are living, breathing, feeling animals and frankly they deserve better.

I offer Turbo Training Walks for young and adolescent dogs to help owners deal with the trials and tribulations of puppy training. I meet up with new puppy owners and we discuss the plan for training and socialising their new puppy. I then take pups out on 30 minute solo walks to teach them all the basics they need to become well balanced adults. I hope in the future to offer a consultation service so that people can get advice BEFORE they get a puppy, so they avoid the pitfalls of puppy purchasing, Watch this space!!

Thanks for reading guys!

Tam. 

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