I watch my new litter of Dalmatian puppies as they grow into the loving companions they were bred and born to be, and I think about my responsibility as their breeder to ensure their new homes are “furever” ones. In addition to the socialization and enrichment they each desire and require, and will receive, it’s also my job to find the right people for each puppy. But how best to do that?
Well, I think that brings us to the seemingly “dirty word” of advertising. I think many in the dog fancy associate advertising with merchandise, and we would never consider our puppies as such. Back in the day, it was considered taboo to place an ad in the newspaper, and now it’s verboten to seek homes online. “We needn’t stoop to that level in order to place puppies,” we think.
I think part of the stigma arises because the Internet is where so many of the shady, back-alley dealings by those dastardly puppy-millers occur. There are all sorts of sites that cater to pet sales—and yes, irresponsible breeders are indeed thriving there. However, we need to realize that online is where people look for everything these days—including their puppies and dogs. Rescue organizations have embraced the Internet; it’s time reputable breeders do likewise.
If we don’t use the Internet as the tool it can be, we, in essence, are giving free rein to those less-than-reputable breeders to peddle their wares. Without any real alternatives for the people seeking a healthy, well-bred dog, the bad breeders are thriving online. If they’re the only ones online, then they’re the only ones whom people who are seeking will be finding.
We need to make our presence known online so that people who do want to buy—yes, buy (that’s not a dirty word, either)—will have the option of finding us. Hopefully then they will see the difference between our healthy, well-bred puppies and ones born and reared in sometimes horrible conditions.
Yes, there will always be people for whom the dollar is the bottom line. However, there are also a lot of people out there looking to find the quality puppies we have to offer. We need to make ourselves available. Let’s not let our pride get in the way of finding the homes our puppies deserve.
The times are a’changin’, and we must realize we need to change with them in order to stay relevant in today’s world. I admit I can be fairly “technically challenged” when it comes to many online activities, but in my opinion it’s critically important that we do whatever we must in order to find the best homes available for our puppies.
Additionally, thanks to the Internet, the world has become a much smaller place. Because I’ve used the Internet, I’ve placed my puppies in outstanding homes quite literally from sea to shining sea. And in addition to the new friends I make, it’s so easy to stay in touch, watching our babies develop into beloved family members.
Let’s not be intimidated about our brave new world’s technology, or so prideful because we don’t need to advertise our litters, that we allow these great homes to slip away to irresponsible breeders.