We have just finished one set of puppy classes and begun our next course, and it has been another lovely group of growing dogs and caring owners. Most of the pups arrive with the inbuilt confidence which is essential for a family dog to really thrive.
On the recent ‘Watchdog’ programme on BBC1 we witnessed a puppy farmer selling poorly puppies to anyone prepared to part with cash, only to find that the puppy they bought was severely ill, undersocialised and destined for a lifetime of special needs. In this case the RSPCA later raided the premises, finding dying and dead puppies as well as the problematic living ones.
Whilst the programme made it clear that the sellers of these poor quality pups were at fault, I still come across owners that carried on with the purchase. They say they felt sorry for the puppy and wanted to get the puppy away from the horrible place. They do not realise that all they are doing is making room for another puppy to take its place. They are paying someone who really does not love dogs to just breed more poorly pups in future.
I notice that in my ‘day’ job working in behaviour practice, there seem to be a greater number of dogs that have come from these places. At times the owners have been lied to, told the mother of the pups had ‘died’ or was ‘at the groomers’.
It is time we understood, and spread the word, that if we really love dogs we must walk away from these places and their convincing stories.
A vet friend of mine has started to say ‘See the pups suckling’; in other words, you will only know if the mother dog is really that of the pups if you see them feeding from her. Unscrupulous breeders will buy a litter of pups from an agent and sell them on, pretending their own dog is the mum when she is not, or could even be a he!
Please do NOT breed puppies yourself. Your dog does not need a litter of puppies to ‘calm her down’, nor do your kids ‘need’ to witness the magic of birth, nor does the world need yet more dogs in it. Volunteer at one of our animal shelters for a few weeks and work with those dogs that have been bred by well meaning people just like you, passed onto rescue when lifestyles change.
If you really love dogs, do your research before buying, and leave breeding to the experts.