Lockdown Puppies - Is now the right time?
Thursday 19th November 2020 - Lauren H
My living room has a full length window. And boy, have I seen many puppies ‘walking’ past. When I say walking, I mean gingerly hopping and stopping to smell all the new and exciting scents of the world. It has brought much joy to me seeing puppies in all shapes and sizes learning how to walk with this new contraption attached to their collar or harness.
I couldn’t think of anything better to discuss as my first blog post. For someone who works within the Canine industry, and as a consumer looking to purchase a puppy in the near future. It is a minefield out there searching for the right breeder and the right puppy. At the best of times. However, as you are all aware, we are in the middle of the second wave of a global pandemic. So how does this affect your decision to purchase a puppy and how does it affect your puppy too?
The demand for puppies has seen a significant increase, with prices more than doubled since the averages in 2019 (BBC, 2020). When you look at the average price of a Cocker Spaniel in 2019 at around £800, compared to the sky high rate of £2,100 in 2020. To me, this rings alarm bells.
So why now? I’m sure many of you are having the same discussion at home with your families when exploring the idea of getting a puppy. The most obvious argument is that of course we are all at home more, we are heading out for more family walks at the weekends, and we have more time on our hands to spend with your new furry friend.
Things to consider when purchasing a puppy during the pandemic:
We are all hoping things will go back to normal at some point within your dog’s lifetime, (hoping for sooner rather than later!). Will you have time to exercise your dog twice daily, possibly more dependant on the breed you choose? Will they be happy to be left alone?
Are you buying your puppy on an impulse decision? Have you done the correct research?
Research into the right breed for you and your lifestyle. Then find a reputable breeder. Be wary of online sales on sites such as Pets 4 Homes, Facebook and Gumtree.
Are your local puppy socialisation classes still open? Your local groomers still open?
Let’s talk about breeders for a moment. How do you know that the breeder you’re going to is reputable and not breeding for the wrong reasons? It all starts with your research. Use the Kennel Club website to search for reputable breeders in your area. These breeders have been inspected by the Kennel Club and have passed the relevant checks to ensure your puppies are coming from a reliable source. Another site which does the same is ‘Champ Dogs’. Just because the breeder is not registered with the Kennel Club, doesn’t mean they are not reputable.
No reputable breeder will charge over the odds for a puppy.
The current guidelines state ‘You will be unable to visit a breeder or rescue centre in person to view an animal in its home environment before buying or adopting it.’ (GOV.UK, 2020). It then goes on to mention, that you may choose a puppy remotely and that the breeder/adoption shelter should deliver the puppy when it is ready to be re-homed. You must consider the pitfalls of this process before heading down this route. You may not be able to see the environment in which the puppies are growing up in, you may not be able to see a bond between puppy and mother and your puppy cannot ‘choose you’ as it were. There are currently no decisions made on when you may be able to go and visit a litter of puppies.
Choosing the right breed for you and your lifestyle is paramount. It can be so easy to get caught up in the looks or the temperament of the puppy, rather than the reality. I think we can all be a little guilty of this. So when Lockdown is over and restrictions allow, go out and spend some time with the breed of your choice. Visit breeders in your area to spend time with them so you can build a relationship with both your breeder and the breed. If you know someone with your breed of choice, arrange a visit and a walk. It will give you a good idea of what life could be like. Find out the negatives and the positives. Then when visiting a breeder, you should be asking the right questions including health testing, about the parents and about the breed.
Buying a puppy during lockdown can be a little different for your puppy too. Imagine this for a moment. You come home to your new family. Every day for months, you build a relationship with these new family members. Life is great, you spend every day, all day with your favourite people. Suddenly, Mum & Dad get called back to work. Your fun siblings go back to school. So now what? Your puppy could develop ‘Separation Anxiety'. This can make leaving your puppy at home for any length of time a little difficult. Consider leaving your puppy on their own periodically during the day whilst you’re at home to allow them to adjust to not having you around. In addition to this, can your puppy meet new people and other dogs at the moment? Socialisation is very important in your puppy’s development. So ask your local trainers and socialisation classes, are they still operating during Lockdown? Grooming presents the same question. Your puppy may need regular grooming as frequent as 4 weekly. Taking your puppy to the groomers after the pandemic may not give your puppy the best chance to get used to the process and your groomer. So get in touch. Take it from a groomer, I will never see your call as a nuisance. I welcome all the questions you may have.
However I must say, buying a puppy during Lockdown is not a negative. It may be just the right time for you. Your circumstances may be better than ever to accommodate a puppy. Starting this new chapter of your life with a new addition to the family is the best gift you could have been given during these really difficult times. Now is the time to do all you can during some strange times for both you and your puppy, to ensure that when things go back to normal, life isn’t so different for them.
Thank you to those who have read this far on. To help those with my knowledge means the most to me. If you have any further queries or questions, I’m more than happy to help.
Paws & kisses,