Viewing entries tagged
dog breeding

Puppy Farming interview part one

Comment

Puppy Farming interview part one

Below is part one of two of an interview with Hannah Greeno about puppy farming,  how to find puppies responsibly and what to avoid when looking. Conducted by Priya Bassi.

 

PB: How would you define and describe puppy farms (also known as puppy mills)?

HG: I would describe puppy farms as commercial producers and suppliers of puppies with their sole interest being monetary gain. Purposefully disregarding the health and welfare requirements, both physical and mental, of the dogs and any puppies produced.

 

PB: What do you think the main cause of the increasing popularity of puppy farming in the United Kingdom is? And what other factors do you think encourages puppy farming?

HG: I think the main cause of the increasing popularity of puppy farming in the UK is the current culture of impulse buying and consumerism which is supported and encouraged by the mainstream media. The public are able to purchase a puppy online the same way they would a television or their weekly shop. Or walk into a pet shop and buy 'the puppy in the window' with little to no advice given or questions asked. On a larger scale, unhappy people sometimes buy dogs impulsively in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

 

PB: Some argue that the media/internet is responsible for the increase in demand for puppies from mills as people are able to advertise the dogs online so that the true wellbeing of the dogs is unknown. However there is a counter argument that the media is important as it can bring awareness to the issue in a positive way through things such as online petitions. What role do you think the media/internet plays in puppy farming; is it necessary or unnecessary, is it more positive or negative?

HG: As with many issues, the key to solving the problem of puppy farming is education. The media and internet can be useful in serving this purpose. It is necessary to use the media and internet to create and spread awareness about these issues. However, currently I would say this medium is more negative than positive due to the following examples:

Instagram/facebook

Celebrity dogs

Advertising campaigns

Memes

Youtube

Film, eg. 101 Dalmatians, Men in Black etc.

 

PB: Do you find yourself getting a lot of inquires about how to avoid buying a puppy from a puppy farm?

HG: Unfortunately I don't get many inquiries from people looking to avoid buying their puppy from a puppy farm, unless they have been referred to me by a previous client.

Roughly 1 in 4 puppies I see are from a puppy dealer. A puppy dealer is someone who buys in puppies from the puppy farm in order to sell them on for profit. It has been known that this type of person will purposefully keep the puppies in very poor conditions so as to tug on the heart strings of customers, leading them to buy them the whole litter in an attempt to 'rescue' them. This is quick money for the dealer, who then replaces the puppies with more to sell and so it goes on.

 

PB: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to buy a dog that could help them avoid buying from a puppy mill?

HG: I set up my business to help combat puppy farming so I provide a service called Canine Needs Puppy Match. This allows me to guide a client through the puppy buying process step by step right from the beginning to avoid many of the mistakes that people commonly make. It does so much more than prevent people buying from puppy farms, but elements included that combat this problem are:

Responsible breeder sourcing – going to the right websites to find BREEDERS not adverts.

Interviews – Conduct telephone interviews to ensure they are actually a responsible breeder, I usually do this on behalf of my clients as I know the right questions to ask. I then expect the breeder to want to interview my client.

Home testing – I conduct a series of tests at the breeders home. Do not even go and see the puppies before meeting the mother first, if the mother is not perfect, go home.

The best guarantee for preventing puppy farming is dog rescue.

Comment

Introducing house training routine primary

Comment

Introducing house training routine primary

Many of my clients will contact me for help with toilet training their new puppy. If you have purchased a puppy from a reputable breeder, your pup should already be house trained by the time you collect at around 8 weeks old. The breeder should then provide you with a routine so that you are able to maintain the house training schedule in your own home, minimising any accidents.

You can see details of an example primary puppy routine below, which is used from 4-6 weeks of age to implement house training and weaning. Please always supervise your puppies when in the garden. If you don't have a safe, enclosed, private garden, you shouldn't be breeding dogs.

7am out to toilet in garden with Mum for 15 minutes

715am food and play 15 mins

730am sleep in whelping box without Mum (Mum break)

9am out to toilet in garden with Mum for 15 mins

915am food and play 15mins

930am sleep in whelping box with Mum

11am out to toilet with Mum

1115am food and play

1130am sleep in whelping box (mum break)

 

1pm out to toilet with mum and dad (or similar)

115pm play and food

130pm Sleep in whelping box with mum

3pm out to toilet with mum and dad

315pm food and play

330pm sleep in whelping box (mum break)

5pm out to toilet with mum and dad

515pm food and play

530pm sleep in whelping box with mum

 

7pm out toilet with mum

715pm cuddles and food

730pm sleep in whelping box (mum break)

9pm out to toilet with mum

915pm playtime

930pm sleep on humans

11pm out to toilet

1115pm bedtime with mum

Comment

The Oodle-noodle-poo Conundrum

Comment

The Oodle-noodle-poo Conundrum

Many people come to me to asking for help when it comes to finding the right dog for them, which is fantastic and why I set up the Canine Needs Puppy Match service in the first place.

Canine Needs Puppy Match - To guide people away from making the common mistakes when adding a dog to their life, which more often than not, leads to the dog ending up in rehoming centres, feeling lost and confused.

However, I would like to address the Poodle cross craze. A growing number of people, and by now it really is about 1 in 3 clients, contact me asking for help finding them find a Cockapoo/Maltipoo/Labradoodle/udon noodle doodle etc. I would like to present here the common problems I see with this craze in my everyday work life as an urban dog trainer and behaviourist.

Man creates Frankendoodle

Firstly, let's look briefly at the history of how all of this began. Mr. Wally Conron of Australia worked for the Royal Guide Dog Association. A blind lady needed a guide dog but her husband was allergic to dogs. Mr. Conron took on the task and set about attempting to train the Standard Poodle, for the task. 33 dogs and 3 years later, he was running out of time. In desperation, Mr. Conron crossed a Standard Poodle with his best female Labrador and 3 pups were born. After sending hair and saliva samples of the 3 pups to the husband, only one of the litter was non allergenic. However, Mr. Conron had trouble finding guide dog foster homes for the hybrid puppies, even with a long list of available foster homes, people only wanted to foster purebred dogs. So Mr. Conron asked the PR team to go to the press and tell them a new dog had been created called the Labradoodle, well, then the phone didn't stop ringing.

When asked if Mr. Conron is proud of creating the Labradoodle he says “No! Not in the slightest” when interviewed, he goes on to say “All these backyard breeders have jumped on the bandwagon, and they're crossing any kind of dog with a poodle. They're selling them for more than a purebred is worth and they're not going into the backgrounds of the parents of the dogs. There are so many Poodle crosses having fits, problems with their eyes, hips and elbows and a lot have epilepsy. I opened a Pandora's box, that's what I did. I released a Frankenstein. So many people are just breeding for the money. So many of these dogs have physical problems, and a lot of them are just crazy.”

The name game

Mr. Conron's PR gimmick took off all over the word. The cockapoos had already come about by accident in America in the 50's though had little popularity. But all of a sudden there were goldendoodles, shihpoos, schnoodles, maltipoos and anything else you could think of. The label 'designer dog' was added to make them sound more compelling and raise the price tag further. You can almost guarantee that anyone using these made up marketing names for their litter of puppies is an irresponsible breeder and solely breeding dogs for the money.

Puppy Farming (very briefly)

Due to the high demand of these 'designer poodle crosses' coupled with their high price tag, these dogs are most commonly produced in puppy farm like environments (commercially produced with little or no care for welfare of pups or parents). Some are then sold on to 'dealers' who pose as families in a home environment, usually making excuses as to why the mother cannot be seen with the puppies and saying everything they think you want to hear. There are worse cases of these dealers or farmers keeping puppies alive but near death so as when potential buyers visit they have to buy ('rescue') the whole litter because they couldn't possibly bear to leave them there. The sad fact is, that this is a technique they use to make the money, as soon as those puppies are gone they are quickly replaced with more sick puppies and all the well-meaning buyer did was fund the cruelty. I guess you could say its similar to the child beggars in India that are made disabled to earn more money from the tourists.

Poodle history

The Standard Poodle originated in Germany as a hunting retriever (often ducks) in marshes, swamps and lakes. This 'rough, tough' water retrieving breed was known as far back as 1665 for their intelligence, skill and daring, this coupled with their trainability, led to them becoming stars of the circus. The smaller Poodles are known for their playfulness, self-confidence and protective nature. The Kennel Club advises an hour a day is enough exercise for this breed. The Poodle is ranked the second most intelligent dog out of all the dog breeds, a high amount of mental activity will be required.

Now here's what the above paragraph actually means. The Poodle is a swamp dog. The irony here is that many people think a poodle cross is a good match for them because they are known to shed less hair, in theory making them ideal for lovely, clean urban households. In fact the opposite is true. Even for allergy sufferers, crossing any breed of dog with a poodle doesn't necessarily make it hypoallergenic because there is no consistency in crossbred litters.

With every dog breed it is crucial that you are able to satisfy their genetic instincts. For a Poodle this means that you must provide your dog with access to a swamp-like environment, they love mud, muddy puddles, water, swimming and generally getting very dirty. Their coats are usually unnaturally curly so mud doesn't fall off nor can it be wiped off with a towel for example, most poodle type owners have car travel crates, hosepipes in the garden and a side gate. To satisfy the retrieving instinct of the Poodle, you must play fetch with them, ideally in their muddy, swamp environment.

The intelligence of a Poodle is very high, however for most modern urban families this can work more as a curse than a blessing. They don't cope well with being left alone or left out of activities, which for many families is impractical. This intelligence doesn't allow for making many mistakes. If the Poodle learns a trick in say 2 repititions that also means if you make a mistake twice, your dog has learned that pattern of behaviour too, causing extreme behaviour problems very quickly. This is often why I see such extreme separation problems in Poodle based dogs.

In short, the poodle gene is not a match for the houseproud or families whose members are at work and school all day. They would, however be a great match for dog enthusiasts, those who would have lots and lots of time to spend with their Poodle type in the muddy forests playing games.

Poodle crossed with working dogs

The Standard Poodle is a working retriever breed, the miniature and toy variations are bred to be companion versions however still possess many of the working traits. When you cross this type of dog with other working dogs such as commonly, the Spaniel, Labrador or Golden Retriever, you do not get a companion animal. If all working instincts are satisfied almost daily then you may have a working dog that also excels as a companion. Many people think these dogs look cute or teddybear like which further fuels the contradiction. The Labradoodle for example is the dog type that is most commonly seen in court cases in the UK due to their needs not being met properly, lack of training and general out of control behaviour that is commonly seen within the first two years of the dogs life.

Poodle crossed with companion dogs

There are many breeds of dog that have been bred as a companion dog for humans. The ancient Italian Greyhound from Pompeii for example is a small companion dog very much suited for modern urban lifestyles as that is what it was bred for all that time ago. Other ancient breeds such as the Maltese (350BC) and the Shih Tzu (800BC) have been developed to perfectly suit the role of a companion dog and already shed very little and are often suitable for allergy sufferers. Ask yourself then, why would you cross it with a Poodle? What benefits does that bring? By now you should be aware of the pitfalls, but to summarise just in case:

  • The Poodle is a swamp dog that requires regular access to muddy water.

  • The Poodle is ranked the second most intelligent dog breed and so needs almost constant attention or else behaviour problems develop.

  • The Poodle crosses are almost always produced in puppy farms or just for the money.

  • Puppy farmed puppies usually have many and serious health and behaviour problems.

  • With cross breeding there is no consistency so you don't know what your getting.

  • With cross breeding there is often little effort put into testing the parents health and temperament prior to breeding.

  • If you are set on this type of dog, please wait for one to arrive at an adoption centre near you.

For more information please get in touch or look out for future blog posts on topics such as puppy farming and what's wrong with buying dogs from the internet, purebred vs crossbred and a new initiative that Canine Needs will be rolling out across the UK.

Comment