Thinking of buying a dog? Some tips to help you #BePuppywise

dogs, Lockdown, puppies -

Thinking of buying a dog? Some tips to help you #BePuppywise

The coronavirus pandemic in the UK saw many of spending a lot of time at home and re-evaluating what is important, and for many of us, this meant getting a dog. But for some folks, things didn’t always go so well. During lockdown many puppies were bought online using ‘click-and-collect’ or ‘click-and-drop’ services, Many dogs were not viewed with their parents or even seen or examined properly before being purchased and the Kennel Club reports that this system of puppy buying has become the ‘norm’ as an alarming legacy of lockdown. Last autumn they conducted their #BePuppywise survey in order to establish the extent of the issue and raise awareness of the kind of problems that can arise from buying a puppy online.

The survey revealed some alarming facts and figures around new trends in puppy buying:

  • Half of dog owners who ‘clicked and collected’ a puppy during the pandemic would be happy to do it again, even though restrictions have eased – reversing years of campaigning to change damaging puppy buying habits
  • A quarter of respondents believe that post-lockdown, it’s still ‘normal’ and ‘easier’ to meet a puppy virtually rather than in person, before purchase 
  • Six out of ten owners who had their dog delivered to their door, and almost half who didn’t see their puppy with its mum, said they would buy a dog in the same way in the future
  • And more than 20% of new owners admit that they didn't perform crucial doggy ‘life admin’, such as registering their pup with a vet, getting insurance, socialising their puppy with other dogs, people or day-to-day situations – mirroring other bad habits picked up during lockdown 

Speaking about the findings, Chief Executive of the Kennel Club, Mark Beazley, explained why these habits MUST be reversed:

“It’s understandable that many of us may have developed some fairly harmless bad habits during multiple lockdowns, such as ordering one too many takeaways, getting up late or having multiple deliveries to our doors,  but when it comes to puppy buying, these bad habits must be reversed.

“Whilst the message about always seeing a puppy with its mum, in its home environment, seemed to have finally got through and was reinforced in new laws in 2020, this research shows the pandemic’s alarming impact on the way people expect to buy a puppy, with many now seeing virtual puppy buying, ‘click and collect’ or pup deliveries as the norm – taking us backwards in terms of dog welfare and responsible puppy buying.

“Of course there is nothing wrong with seeing an advert for a puppy online, but we’re urging potential owners to ‘be puppywise’ and always then see the puppy interacting with its mum, in its home environment in real life, as lockdown restrictions are no longer in place. If a breeder is offering to deliver the pup to your house or asking to take money from you before you’ve even seen the pup, alarm bells should be ringing. Scammers, rogue breeders and cruel puppy traders can, and will, cash in on this dangerous virtual puppy buying world, with devastating consequences for dogs. "

Puppies photo by Elena Mozhvilo on UnsplashPuppies photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Preparing for a puppy

Before you invest in a pup of your own, make sure that you have the time, money, energy and effort required. Welcoming a puppy into your home can often be as exhausting as having a child and it can take some adjusting as they learn to become used to you and their new surroundings and begin to establish a routine. Dogs require a lot of time and attention – particularly when they are young. I know it’s a cliché, but where do you see yourself in five years? Will there be room in your life for a dog if you start a family, move away or have to travel for work?

Cute pup photo by Zoritsa Valova on UnsplashCute pup photo by Zoritsa Valova on Unsplash

Choosing the right dog for you

If you’ve not owned a dog before, then you really need to get the right breed to suit your lifestyle and personality. Don’t simply get one because it looks cute or your friend has one. Some dogs that are great in later life can be full of beans when they are puppies and very challenging, particularly intelligent breeds which need a lot training and enrichment activities.

Choose a reputable breeder

According to the #BePuppywise survey, 24% of respondents admitted that they were unable to find a reputable breeder and found their pups on social media or through buying and selling websites.

If you have your heart set on a particular breed but you’re having trouble tracking one down. Wait. Don’t rush into something or buy a dog – or even worse have it delivered – without meeting it first, seeing it with it’s parents and having a good chat with the breeder to ensure that everything is above board. You are not ‘rescuing’ a puppy-farmed pup by buying it, you are simply encouraging the puppy farmers to breed more pups and exploit more people.

The Kennel Club has an assured breeder scheme so if you’re buying a pedigree pup you can locate a breeder there and know that they are regularly inspected and the dogs are all certified healthy. Your vet may also have some good suggestions for local breeders and which type of breed are better suited to your lifestyle too.

The Kennel Club suggest the following signs may indicate that you are dealing with a rogue breeder or puppy farm:

  • They won’t let you see the puppy, its mother and littermates
  • They won’t show you where the puppy was raised, or they ask to meet you away from their premises
  • They have placed adverts on multiple websites and seem keen to make a 'quick sale'
  • They show no interest in you and have not asked about your experience with dogs or your situation
  • They don’t appear to know much about the dog or dogs in general and can’t answer your questions easily or thoroughly

Pup photo by Undine Tackmann on UnsplashPup photo by Undine Tackmann on Unsplash

A responsible breeder will answer all of your questions and put you at ease. They want their puppies to go to a good home and be well cared for. If the person you are buying your puppy from is evasive or makes excuses for you to not see the pup at least one of their parents, walk away.

If you’re still keen to get a pup, the Kennel Club has put together a load of really useful information on their #BePuppywise page, with a step-by-step guide to getting a dog, a planner to help you establish a routine with your puppy and some tips for finding a puppy or an assured breeder. Their find a puppy service also helps you find a rescue pup by location and other filters, so it is well worth a look:

Main photo, puppy in flowers, by Zoritsa Valova on Unsplash

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