Tips When You’re Getting A New Dog
As with most of our needs, the internet is both a wonderful source and a truly dreadful one for finding a dog. Many dog shelters such as Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have superb sites, not just showing the dogs needing homes but also describing their temperaments and the potential problems you inherit when you acquire one. Some purebred breeder websites are excellent but they can also be dressed to appear to be caring and conscientious when in fact they are fronts for commercial puppy mills.
Be especially suspicious if a breeder you have found via a website or by any other means offers to deliver a pup to you, either for your convenience or because they just happen to be coming to London. From our experience these people are often middlemen for commercial puppy mills where pups usually have been raised in the absence of healthy socialising. Be very wary of most pet shops in greater London. While there certainly are some that source dogs from reputable breeders, most, according to welfare organisation surveys, get their pups from commercial puppy mills where pups are raised in medically and emotionally appalling circumstances. Be equally wary of newspaper ads. Conscientious breeders rely on reputation and word-of-mouth to sell their pups. The best breeders invariably have waiting lists and never need to advertise their stock. Be especially wary of newspaper ads for new litters. These are often fronts for puppy mills. They are also the preferred method that “back garden” breeders use, people who breed their dogs primarily to earn a little extra income. Reliable amateur breeders usually have homes for their pups before their bitch is bred and, if they don’t have enough homes, advertise on their vet’s notice board. Our nurses use their contacts with other veterinary nurses in London to track the availability of pups from these reliable homes. And finally, should we even mention the pub? I’m afraid we should because we still do see pups bought through meetings at the pub. Almost invariably, they are Staffies or Staffie crosses, lucky dogs to end up with people we know, but almost invariably they arrive with fellow travellers, internal and external parasites.