Lockdown lunacy – who’s really paying the price for puppies?

All dog professionals will have seen a sharp spike in the acquisition of puppies during the period of lockdown, as families have more time on their hands and believe that they will have more time to put into training a dog.

However, this has led to massive spike in what is referred to as ‘dog fishing’. The Dog’s Trust defines this phrase as meaning: To mislead someone into buying a dog which may not be what it seems.’

There are horrific stories of dogs being kept in barbaric conditions in puppy farms all over the UK, as well as ‘breeders’ offering to even courier pups to their new homes!

There are steps that you can take, as a potential owner, to deter these profiteering assholes (canine specific term) from continuing to trade in helpless, sick and frightened dogs:

1. ALWAYS see the puppy at home with its mother – this may have to be via video call during the coronavirus restrictions, but you should see them together at least a couple of times, a few weeks apart.

2. Ask questions – lots of them. What kind of home does the mother come from, what is known about the father? What experience do the sellers have of breeding dogs, what steps have they taken to get the puppies checked by the vet, plans for inoculations, what do they know about the breed, and so on…

If you have any suspicions about the answers that are being given – go with your gut, and don’t buy from that seller.

3. Don’t pay any money up front until you have actually seen the puppy.

4. If you are asked to take collection of the puppy at a service station or public place when you are quite prepared to travel to the home/kennel – walk away. You should be able to see the puppy in its original environment – if the seller doesn’t want you to see that, there’s good reason.

5. Don’t pay ‘over the odds’ – there are dogs in shelters all over the country and abroad that are desperate for a forever home that you can get for a fraction of the price – many of them puppies. Spend that extra money on quality training and nutrition for that dog – and have a more enjoyable relationship with him/her as a result.

If you come across a suspicious seller – you can report them to Trading Standards.

If you are struggling to find the perfect puppy for you – or don’t know where to start – my podcast “What to Consider when Getting A Dog” may help – you can listen to that here.

And remember – that puppy will still be there when this lockdown life subsides – wherever that may be – so make sure that you work with your dog to build confidence and resilience so they now how to cope when the house is left empty once more....

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