Puppies are extremely cute and appealing, and designed to pull on the heartstrings and generate an emotional response in humans that makes us want to take care of them and take them home. The feelings that seeing a puppy can generate can almost be likened to maternal and paternal urges, and for some people, they very much are; being akin to the overwhelming desire to have a child, or the protective and nurturing instincts that parents feel for their young.
This means that for many people who decide to get a puppy or that find meeting a certain puppy or type of dog suddenly opens up the floodgates to all of these feelings, the desire to buy a puppy immediately and take it home as soon as possible can be almost overwhelming.
However, all of those feelings that result in impulse-buying of puppies might seem too powerful to ignore, but they’re not doing you – or your future puppy – any favours. If puppy ownership is right for you now (and not forgetting that within a year, your puppy will turn into a rather different adult dog that may live for 12 years or far longer in some cases) it will still be right for you in a few weeks, or months, or even years sometimes.
When you are able to reach the objective position of having done your research, determined dog ownership is viable and suitable for you, and having learned all you need to know about what type of puppy to get and what owning a dog of that type means, you’re ready to start puppy shopping, and not before.
However, a frightening number of new puppy owners bypass all of this entirely, and go more or less directly from “I’d like a puppy” to taking a puppy home just as soon as they can find and purchase one.
But how common is this, and what sort of problems can it cause? Kennel Club research from the first six months of 2020 holds some alarming answers to these questions. Read on to learn five frightening facts about puppy impulse-buying in the UK.
The process of deciding you want a dog, ensuring this is a sound choice, picking what type of dog you want, and determining that it is a good pick for you can all take weeks if done conscientiously, before you even get as far as beginning your search for the specific puppy you’ll eventually take home.
This latter stage can take even longer, involving a lot of browsing adverts, ruling out unsuitable options, contacting breeders and talking to them in depth, viewing litters, returning to view again, taking your time, and making an informed choice. At least, that’s how it should be done; but the Kennel Club’s research indicates that 25% of puppy buyers go from starting their search to having made their selection within just two hours from start to finish.
This not only increases the risks of falling for online puppy buying scams but also means that such buyers won’t be making proper assessments of the breeders and sellers of such pups, much less the pups themselves, and could be choosing a pup of unknown or undesirable provenance quite unwittingly.
Following on from the inevitable consequence of not doing enough research before choosing a breeder, almost 30% of puppy buyers state after the fact that the puppy that they chose and bought could potentially have begun life as a farmed puppy, as they did not have the knowledge or insights required to spot the warning signs when they made their purchase.
There is no shortcut available when it comes to avoiding buying a farmed puppy, so find out why you should avoid doing so and how to protect yourself against buying a puppy being sold under false pretences here and here.
The Kennel Club’s research also indicates that one in three, or over a third of all puppy buyers don’t know how to find reputable sellers or tell the difference between them and scammers, or people misrepresenting puppies or knowingly selling puppies under false pretences.
They also admitted to not knowing how to identify the warning signs of a scam in the making, particularly the various Covid-19 related scams that duped a large number of would-be puppy buyers into sending money remotely for litters that didn’t even exist due to lockdown and social distancing making claims of an inability to provide viewings of litters in person more plausible.
Puppy buyers who spent less than an hour doing their research and picking a puppy were highly likely to fail to ask questions about the health of the litter and parent dogs, including questions about hereditary health and breed-specific health testing.
83%, in fact, did not ask for evidence of the appropriate heath test results relevant for the breed for the parents of the litter they bought from.
Seeing a litter with its dam is integral to both making a sound choice and avoiding buying a farmed puppy, and yet 44% of puppy buyers who spent less than an hour researching their purchase admit that they didn’t see the puppy they bought interacting with its mother.
This is a huge red flag for puppy farming and generally unscrupulous breeding practices, and one that people who undertake the appropriate amount of research before buying are highly unlikely to make in their turn.