As I sip my cinnamon hazelnut coffee and rotate between social media platforms I notice a real trend in lies, exaggerations and misrepresentations. It is not new, in fact you can scroll though my past posts to see I’ve touched on many of these topics in great detail. I balance between dog breeders, dog education and dog training groups/pages, and it is everywhere.
Dog Training: At this time dog training is unregulated. That means anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and offer half assed advice or even charge you to “train” your dog. Being a dog owner who successfully trained your dog to walk on a leash and sit does not make you a trainer any more than changing your own oil makes you a mechanic or removing a splinter makes you a doctor. Dog trainers should have knowledge and experience in not just dog training but at least basic dog behavior. Some trainers choose certification courses, some trainers are self taught and use a mentor, while some watch a few YouTube videos. From adverse trainers to so called balance trainers to positive reinforcement trainers (often called force free) the philosophies and style vary not just between the type of training style but with the individual trainer as well. Please, please choose your trainer carefully.
Dog Breeding: I’m learning dog breeding is highly competitive. It’s as if breeders want to be THE ONLY ONE. Convincing protentional buyers that they are THE BEST AND ONLY OPTION means they basically become used car sales men and say whatever it takes to make that sale. I refuse to play this game. People can charge 3000 for a puppy with mediocre bloodlines, no genetic or health testing and not actively show and that’s honestly not my business. I wish you well. But if people are lying about testing, lying about puppy raising programs, lying about vetting, lying about the “socialization/training”, then that pisses me off. They hide behind the internet and that makes it’s hard to verify breeders are in fact doing what they say. So PLEASE PLEASE if testing, vetting, puppy raising programs (Puppy Culture. Avidog, Badass Breeder, etc.) and/or socialization is important ask for proof. Paperwork, certifications, receipts, videos of them doing the protocols/training/socialization, etc. I can give you a hint, Puppy Culture is not just sound desensitization and toys in pen, in fact that is the least important parts of it. Socialization is so so so much more than your puppy meeting kids and seeing a cat. NOTE: You can get a healthy puppy that’s not raised with specific programs. Often breeders have the experience and knowledge to preform similar protocols without investing in programs, but they SHOULD NOT LIE about it.
*Unfortunately, Puppy Culture (the powerful first 12 weeks that can shape your puppy) is becoming a marketing scam. Breeders say they use it to not just be competitive but to justify prices. Puppy Culture is not a casual program that you can just “say” you do, in fact many breeders discuss how time consuming it is and how they have to work to hard to get it all in. It is especially hard if they have multiple litters or work fulltime. Because there is no certification to prove we use Puppy Culture, we as Puppy Culture breeders are encouraged to document and make available to our puppy parents, video and or live feeds of us working with our litters. It is really the only way to know your breeder is in fact using the program. Please look at the website to see just how detailed the program is and or join the Puppy Culture Facebook group to ask Jane, the creator or other admin how to best verify a breeder is using Puppy Culture. Another great option is to purchase the Puppy Culture program yourself and follow along to ensure your breeder is doing the work!
*In addition to the above programs I have also completed Avidog Puppy Socialization course for breeders and owners and I have read The Ultimate Badass Breeder’s Guide. I have completed VSA Fundamentals of Dog Training and Behavior Course and plan on investing in the Dog Training Certification course this Summer/Fall. I continue my education by independent study (books, online webinars, etc.).