How much is that doggy in the window?
So our new puppy is 7 weeks old, for many people looking to add a puppy to their family this is around the point that they first have contact with whoever they were buying from, increasingly this is after seeing an advert online advertising puppies for sale.
There are pitfalls with this method. From an emotional point of view we have a saying, you see em, you’ll buy em. It is a well documented effect that puppies have on humans, known as the baby schema effect, this is a release of dopamine and oxytocin in the brain when we see baby mammals. Because human babies are helpless for many months a biological urge to respond in a caring way when we see certain features is an evolutionary advantage for the species, visual cues like a soft round body shape, large rounded eyes and a small nose and mouth trigger this response. So when that baby is in front of you or even when you are looking at a photo or video, you may not be best placed to make an objective decision. Particularly if the puppy looks like it is in trouble or in a bad situation. This is just what the dealers in puppy farmed or illegally imported puppies trade on. Your compassionate desire to help that poor baby can fund and invest in this dreadful practice, meaning more babies will suffer as a result. Although here in the UK , campaigners successfully fought for and won ‘Lucys Law’ an addition to the animal welfare act which should ensure that puppies and kittens are sold in their place of birth, in the presence of their mother, and not sold or resold by a third party. Sadly at present, the wholesale farming and importing of puppies for commercial sale is a multi million pound industry and the events of 2020 saw the figures involved rise dramatically along with demand.
We also need to consider what preparations need to be made, think how long we take to get ready to add a baby human to our family. Usually we get several months to emotionally and practically prepare for this infant addition. We may read and take classes to help us learn skills, we form social groups to provide a network of help and support, we arrange the house to make it safe, we plan sufficient time off work and arrange care so our babies are never left vulnerable and alone, we set up the professional team that will help us with health concerns and to monitor the infants development, we begin to arrange for their education and how they will integrate into the world. Why do we think that our puppies will need less in order to grow into well adjusted healthy adults?
For us the relationship with our breeder actually began around 10 years ago, 2 years before we were lucky enough to buy our baby Poppet from her (picture above). Good breeders have a waiting list of potential families and a selection process. This means that in most cases all puppies will be spoken for by the time the litter is born. So by the time we went to meet our new baby we had seen several generations of the breeders dogs, we had a knowledge about her experience and her ethics, and we had had the chance to build a relationship with her.
Why is this important?
It’s a relationship that should last at least for the lifetime of the dog. A good breeder will be the first and most reliable safety net for the dogs they breed and their new families. They love and care for those dogs for their whole lives. For ethical breeders, puppies are not a product, they are extended family.
In part 2 I will start to look at the preparations we are making to help our new baby arrive and become part of our family. ☺️