Earlier this month, the picture of an adorable little puppy – named Pandora and thought to be a cross between a Siberian husky and a Pomeranian – captured the hearts of thousands following an online appeal. Pandora was found under a hedge near a main road and was taken in by the Merseyside Dogs Home. Their appeal for information garnered over 750,000 hits and 500 offers of a home, but the concern is wider than this one dog.
It has been reported that Pandora may be just one of thousands of puppies illegally smuggled into the country every year. Some of these dogs are not properly vaccinated, increasing the rabies risk in the country, some are not old enough to leave their mother, and many are mistreated on the journey.
The rise of puppy smuggling raises a very important question for anybody who’s about to become a responsible canine owner – where do you find your future loyal companion, and how do you know that they’re healthy, happy, and right for you?
Firstly, you must assess your own lifestyle – naturally, you must be sure that you have enough time, space and energy to look after a dog, but there’s more to it than this. Different breeds can have very different temperaments, so it’s important to choose a breed that will suit you, your family and your home. For example, if you have neighbours who are likely to be disturbed, you would be best avoiding breeds which are known for excessive barking!
Once you know what kind of breeds might be suitable, you can then start looking for a puppy. In order to avoid dealing with puppy smugglers, puppy farmers or other disreputable breeders, the best advice is simply to ensure that you see the puppy with their mother and the rest of the litter before you agree to home them. They should be at least eight weeks old before they can be taken away – leaving the mother earlier can lead to issues. You should also ask for copies of their health and vaccination records. If you’re looking for a pedigree dog, you can also check on the breeder’s registration – the Kennel Club is the most often used scheme, but there are others.
You may alternatively be able to offer a home to a puppy like Pandora at a rescue centre. Sadly, there are many reasons for puppies to end up at a rescue home, from being found abandoned to being turned in by families unable to cope. That is, after all, why it is necessary to say every year that a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas. In these cases, the puppy may have some issues associated with their presence in the rescue centre, but you will be able to discuss their needs with the rescue centre’s team and visit them to ensure that you are a good fit for each other.
Whether you choose to rehome a puppy from a rescue centre or get one from a breeder, it is important to ensure that you offer them the best possible start in life. Here at CK9 Training we offer puppy training classes in Surrey which will help you to teach your puppy good behaviour and help to socialise them with other dogs. For more information, contact us on 07739 815 265.