There is a subject that is debated and which, personally, revolts me: the puppy salon industry.
With the start of the school year, we are entering a period where many exhibitions and many shows will take place, including those of the pet shows, more particularly, the puppy shows.
Why are puppy shows so bad?
Liquorice, bought compulsively at a salon
It all starts in 2017.
Marie decides with her spouse to go to a puppy salon.
They actually plan to adopt a dog, but the idea is not for now.
In a responsible approach until now, they simply want to go to this show to get more information from breeders to find out which dog would suit them best.
Arrived on the spot, it is not far from a hundred puppies which are exposed, the ones on the others.
Cages barely 1 meter by 2, with 6 puppies in each of them… Right from the start, seeing this, I find it hard to imagine that this kind of living room takes into account the well-being of the dog …
Marie therefore goes around the living room, and approaches a breeder who has several types of dogs, including Australian Shepherds. Fan of this breed since childhood, she wants to find out about the compatibility between her daily life and this type of dog.
Well-honed business techniques
As a general rule, puppy shows are considered a sales space – a bit like a market – where you have to sell as much “goods” as possible.
Some unscrupulous breeders do not hesitate to use trickery to sell you their dogs.
Arrived in front of the stand, Marie and her companion are immediately attacked by the breeder.
Seeing that Marie is interested in the last Australian Shepherd he has left, neither one nor two, he grabs the puppy and puts him in Marie’s arms.
1st commercial technique: put the puppy in your arms, so that you become attached to it.
Marie instantly fell in love with this puppy. After all, it’s the breed she’s dreamed of since she was little, this ball of fur is barely three months old and already licks her face…
Barely 30 seconds later, the breeder snatches the puppy from his arms, puts him back in the pen and says to him:
“This is the last puppy I have left of this breed, and there are already two other couples in the works. If I were you, I wouldn’t hang around!”
2nd commercial technique: play on urgency.
That’s it, you fell in love, the impression that the current has passed well between you and the little animal, and you are told that you may not get it.
Marie, completely confused, tries to find out.
After all, that’s what she had come to the base for.
The breeder barely listens to his questions, and tells him that, of course, this is the dog he needs.
3rd commercial technique: make you believe that the dog in question is completely adapted to your way of life, even if it is not true.
“Do you live in an apartment and work 8 hours a day? No problem, the Australian Shepherd is independent, as long as you run him home from work, it’s not a problem…”
All the questions Marie asks herself are minimized to encourage her to buy.
But Marie finds herself even more confused when the breeder says to her:
“He’s the last of the litter, his brothers and sisters all left in a very short time… But he’s a little smaller than the others, so he can’t be confirmed at the LOF. If you take it, we can review its price!”
4th commercial technique: once you have turned the sale to your advantage, you play on the price.
At this stage, the breeder offers Marie to take the puppy back in his arms, and announces that the price will be reduced by €300.
Under the influence of emotion, and the manipulation having taken place so well, Marie cracks, and finds herself completing the papers for the purchase of the puppy.
That’s when the trouble begins
Here, Marie is (the happy?) owner of Réglisse, a young Australian shepherd.
However, the days go by and Réglisse is far from being in great shape.
Marie goes to her veterinarian for basic checks when you have just acquired a puppy, and there, the verdict is final.
Liquorice is underweight and, on top of that, he has contracted kennel cough. (The breeder having nevertheless certified that he had been vaccinated.)
During a puppy show, animals are most likely to contract diseases such as kennel cough, parvovirus etc. Indeed, as they can be carried and stroked like soft toys by everyone, it does not No wonder diseases are transmitted…
Licorice is therefore treated against this disease, it happens to be cured, but however, weight gain is difficult.
The weeks pass, and Marie notices, in addition, a limp in the rear axle of her puppy.
Another visit to the veterinarian, X-rays are taken and it turns out that Réglisse has hip and elbow dysplasia, obviously hereditary.
Marie tries to contact the breeder, repeatedly, without success, or, when he deigns to answer, she is sent on the roses.
The operation is inevitable for Réglisse if he wishes to have a normal dog’s life. Only, this kind of operation is expensive, and when the defect is hereditary, the breeder is supposed to support part of the operation.
The breeder being unscrupulous, the only arrangement he proposes to Marie is the exchange of dogs – it is shocking, but this kind of practice does exist. The puppy is then only seen as a toy with a “satisfied or exchanged” guarantee…
Marie, being very attached to her puppy, preferred to take charge of the operation, and decided not to contact the breeder, who was far too dishonest for her.
Months pass, Réglisse has an operation, he does rehabilitation, the costs pile up.
Marie, although she loves her puppy above all else, wonders if she made the right choice, she begins to regret this “compulsive” purchase and realizes the commercial manipulation of which she has been the victim. This kind of reflection is quite normal after so many ordeals.
Unfortunately, it is in this type of situation that some owners give up and decide to entrust their dog to shelters.
The years have passed, and today, Réglisse is doing well, even if he is a very sensitive dog: victim of allergies, repeated digestive disorders…
Marie had to change her whole daily life to be able to take better care of her loulou, but at present, she is happy with the progress they have made.
Unfortunately, Liquorice is not an isolated case
When Marie told me the story of Réglisse, I decided to find out about this kind of practice, about puppy shows in general, and what was my surprise…
There are tons of stories like Marie’s.
Between the owners who, once at home, realize that their dog has an electronic chip identified in the countries of the East – even though the breeder assured them that the puppy was French, or the owners who find themselves with puppies that link illnesses to illnesses…
There are many scams.
Puppy fairs: the ideal place to finance factory breeding
As I told you, puppy fairs are above all considered places of profit: there is an entrance fee, puppies are for sale at exorbitant prices and visitors are very strongly encouraged…
Good breeders don’t go to puppy shows, and for 2 reasons.
First, because their seriousness and their reputation allow them to have their puppies adopted without going through a salon. They don’t need those kinds of trading techniques.
Then, because exhibiting at a trade show is expensive. To finance this operation, these breeders must sell as many puppies as possible. Result: they let anyone buy their animals, as long as they pay.
The best advice I can give you:
Do not go to puppy shows!
If you plan to acquire a puppy, go directly to the farms, or to shelters, where you can see for yourself the living conditions of your future puppy.
Here are some criteria to take into account, to make sure that you are not in a “factory breeding”, and thus be sure not to finance the trade of mistreated animals:
- Is the breeding place clean and well maintained? Ideally, puppies should be raised in a domestic environment. If it is a kennel, it should be free of any dirt and should be comfortable enough.
- Are the parents visible on site? If the breeder tells you that the parents are not visible: leave. The minimum is to be able to meet the mother. Her behavior will say a lot about the type of breeding you are in: if she is tired, fearful, even aggressive with her own puppies, change places. It must be a female dog used for mass breeding.
- Are there several breeds offered for purchase? If the breeding in which you are located offers a large number of different breeds, this may arouse your suspicions. If in addition to that, none of the parents are visible, that says a lot about the way of working of this breeding.
- Does the puppy look clean, healthy, and old enough to be adopted? If the puppy in front of you is dirty, emaciated and less than 8 weeks old, run away from this breeding.
- Does the breeder ask you questions about your way of life? If he doesn’t, it’s a safe bet that the well-being of these dogs doesn’t matter. An honest breeder attached to his dogs will make sure to place them in families that correspond to them.
- Is the breeding registered with the Société Centrale Canine? Even if this is not a sufficient criterion, you are still guaranteed to have a dog at the ‘LOF’. I don’t say that for prestige, or for the ‘fashionable’ aspect, but above all because the dogs registered with the LOF have “healthy” genes.
Of course, one of the best options remains for me the adoption of dogs via animal protection associations, there are so many abandoned dogs in France and looking for a new family…
But I completely understand those who want a dog of a very particular breed. The whole thing is to ensure the honesty of these farms.