Pets4Homes always recommends that when buying a puppy as a family pet, you make sure you get your puppy from a seller who makes sure that their puppies have been socialised from a very early age and are raised in their home environment, have interacted with their litter mates and are used to people, children and general household life. Puppies that haven't been raised in a home environment may develop behavioural issues, have temperamental problems, be difficult to housetrain and find adjusting to family life hard.
However, back as recently as a couple of decades ago, it was not at all uncommon for breeders and general dog owners who had a litter to raise their dogs (and so, pups) outside, in a kennel, outbuilding or other external structure. While this still happens today in a some situations-such as sometimes with farm-bred collies, and other working dog types-it is reasonably rare for most people to raise a litter or keep their dogs outside within a domestic situation. Even in the case of “back yard breeders” who, as the name implies, often would have historically bred their dogs outside, this is today again fairly uncommon.
However that said, it is not outside of the realms of possibility that if you are looking to buy a pup, you may find yourself viewing a litter kept kennelled outside, particularly as mentioned if you are buying a farm dog or working/petdog. However, there are some additional factors that you should consider if you find yourself going down this route.
In this article, we will look at some of the potential problems and considerations that you should bear in mind if you are considering buying a puppy that has been largely raised outside. Read on to learn more.
Pups that are born and raised outside when the weather is warm and mild, and/or that have had a lot of care and attention paid to keeping their outside accommodation warm and comfortable should have the same healthy start to life as any other pup. However, raising a pup from birth outside means that they will be more susceptible to temperature changes-even in warm weather, it often gest quite cold overnight-and this can compromise their immune systems, which are delicate and still developing at such a young age.
Check that both the dam and all of the litter are robust, healthy and at the right weight for their age-if any of the pups appear sickly, too small, or otherwise not in great health, it is better to make your excuses and leave.
Additionally, pups and dogs outside are exponentially more likely to come into contact with potential health threats from wildlife such as rats and foxes, who may spread fleas and diseases.
A litter that lives within a family home will automatically have much more contact with people than dogs that live outside, even if their owners spend a lot of time outside with them. This may mean that an outdoor litter will be more wary and less used to people, which can make it hard to get a handle on their personalities, and make bonding with the pup more challenging.
By the time an indoor puppy has reached three months old and is ready to be sold or homed, they may well already be house trained or at least getting to grips with the basics of not pooping where you eat and sleep! However, pups raised in a yard or outbuildings likely won’t have a clue about this, which means that you will have to start from scratch when you do get them home.
Pups need plenty of socialisation with both other dogs and people, and when it comes to pups raised outside, they may well already be used to the presence of other adult dogs. However, this may mean that when you first get them and start taking them out, they will be meeting strange dogs for the first time, in a new situation and whilst still settling in.
As long as you take pains to expose your pup to lots of other dogs and work on their socialisation while they are still young, this does not have to be a problem-but it is something to bear in mind.
A pup raised outdoors or one that has not spent a lot of time indoors will almost certainly be more challenging to bring home than one that is used to living inside. The pup may find it too warm at first, and also they will have no concept of where to toilet, what not to play with and chew, or what they are allowed to do and where they can and cannot go.
Again, none of these things are insurmountable problems, but you should ensure that you are aware of the challenges, and have a plan for how to proceed.
As mentioned, the term “back yard breeder” essentially came into being to describe pups and litters raised outside, often literally in a back yard. Ask yourself why the owner or breeder keeps their animals outside of the house-is it because they are working dogs, which will generally live outside all of their lives? Or is there a chance that the breeder or owner is unscrupulous and involved in puppy farming, perhaps not even having bred the litter at home at all?
Assess these factors critically when considering a purchase, and if you have any concerns, report the breeder to your local council licencing department, and also to us, if the advert was found on our Pets4Homes website.