Although there are many breeders who are caring and diligent selling through the internet, it is also an outlet for the selling of puppies bred at puppy farms by unscrupulous greedy people who care nothing for the well being of the bitch or her puppies. These people can be very clever in disguising how these little puppies came into the world, so be extremely careful when researching where and whom you get your new puppy from as you might be unwittingly supporting this appalling trade. Check out telephone numbers and addresses, you may see the number show up a great deal pointing to lots of trade activity. Dealers can have many phone numbers (burner phones) to prevent this, so this shouldn’t be your only investigation.

As a behaviourist I am extremely passionate about this as I unfortunately get to see first hand the damage that has been caused within the early weeks with puppies being removed from their mothers too early which then has a huge impact on their adolescent and adult behaviours. Fearfulness, aggression, lack of confidence, separation anxiety just to start with, let alone the effects of malnutrition on their physical and mental development to them. The breeding bitch’s of these puppies lead a terrible life with no medical care, comfort or kindness being bred from relentlessly.

Please research and research some more, ask lots of questions, see the puppy with it’s mum. See the dad if possible too. View the environment the puppy has been bought up in more than once. A reputable breeder will be only too happy to oblige with your requirements and they will also ask about you and your home life too as they should care about where their puppies are going to.

Consider the breed traits your puppy may develop, whether full pedigree or cross breed. Some crossed breeds can bring out the best qualities of the parentage but other crosses just do not mix well! and problems develop as your puppy does. Be very honest with yourself, ensure you have the right lifestyle and home environment for the breed you are interested in, seek advice from people that work with dogs if you are unsure.

Consider the time, commitment and cost of owning a dog for what could be 10 years or more.

These costs include

  • Food
  • Equipment (bed, bowls, walking equipment, combs, brushes, toys)
  • Dog training costs
  • General Health Veterinary costs
  • Pet Insurance
  • Grooming expenses
  • Holiday care
  • Dog walkers

If you are sure then of getting a dog as an addition to your family fully educate yourself on the following before you purchase;

Cross checks and Red Flags

  • You have found your ideal puppy, ask lots of questions, genuine breeders are only too happy to spend time talking to you .
  • See mum with her puppies, if via video check out the markings of the mum and her puppies, make notes on these and then ensure it is the same litter you are seeing and turning up to buy. Mum should have full milk teats for feeding her puppies and will have a relationship bond with her off spring. Do not believe any story telling  ‘Mum is not available as the puppies are being a nuisance to her, or mum is fed up of the puppies’.  Mum should always be there but have areas to be able to move away from her puppies when she wants to as this is part of the weaning process.
  • Check on the Kennel Club website for what health checks are recommended for the breed then ask to see the test results for each parents.
  • When collecting your puppy, how ever much you want to it, it best not to take your children with you. If you get an uneasy feeling about the situation, documentation is not in order, the home environment is ringing alarm bells then it is much more stressful to walk away at that point when your children are not there falling in love with the cute bundles of fur.
  • When collecting your puppy you should be provided with all the documents, if you are not, or told they will be given at a later date, be very suspicious.
  • Kennel Club Registration Document – these can be forged so it should not be the only document you are supplied with.
  • Microchip document – This will be first registered to the breeder which then gets transferred over to the new owners details.
  • Vaccination card and puppy health check details. These are always supplied by the veterinary at the appointment, do not listen to stories regarding no documents. Call the veterinary and verify or walk away then and there.
  • Don’t fall for the ‘meet half way’ to collect your puppy arrangement, the dealer certainly will not be traveling half way, a few minutes away more like!
  • Don’t pay by cash, even if you are offered a better deal, no paper trail is what the dealers aim for.
  • The illegal import of puppies into the country has risen dramatically, some puppies being bought for as little as 65 euros from the breeder then imported and sold for £2000. If you purchase one of these puppies the dealer has cash to purchase and sell on another 30 puppies and so it goes on.
  • If your puppy is imported and aged 9-10 weeks this is a huge RED FLAG. Puppies are required to have their rabies injections before entering the country and then cannot be imported for a further three to five weeks afterwards therefore any puppy you purchase from aboard should be no less then 15-16 weeks of age.
  • Puppy traders will often set up home situations with only one or two puppies and no Mum, saying all the other puppies have gone already. Ask to see pictures of the puppy with their litter mates. No pictures no sale!

Be a savvy consumer and wean out the good breeders from the profit making puppy dealers. It will only take one of the above to start your enquiries and then you will discover a host of other aspects which don not ring true. It will only be this that will ever make these people stop as it’s becomes too difficult to shift their live merchandise. In the short term there will be some heartbreaking casualties along the way but for the long term this change must take place to stop this cruel trading of dogs in the future.  If you are at all concerned about the sellers, conditions or wellbeing of the dogs or puppies you see then report it to the local authority and the local RSPCA and  DO NOT buy.