The Power of Face to Face

Had a wonderful time at a small, specialty conformation show this weekend. Enjoyed reconnecting with my “tribe” of breeders, exchanging news, ribbing each other, bantering about our dogs, our hormonal states, our children and what wormer seemed to work best with that last litter of puppies. In the familiar bustle of preparation ( hurry up and wait!),  the laughter and the borrowing of shears and spray bottles, it was easy to overlook the newcomers hovering by themselves ringside and tentatively wandering through our set up areas. Occasionally, some – braver than others – would come up and introduce themselves and ask about puppies or club information. Most watched quietly from the wings and finally wandered off back to the agility rings or their cars.

In retrospect, I realize we, both as a club and as individual breeders, missed an opportunity to connect with interested potential puppy buyers, those new to our breed  and those just curious about the games breeders play. There they were – standing there – wide open to an invitation to join our “tribe” or at a minimum to feel less alienated from breeders as a group ( our image could surely use a face lift).

And we blew it – we let an opportunity  to educate, inform and connect pass by.

An opportunity for the public to meet local, ethical, reputable breeders face to face.

An opportunity for the public to actually pet the breeding stock they might then choose to get their next puppy  from.

It’s these kinds of opportunities that brokers and puppy mills don’t have. This is where our strength lies. This, our local presence, is what we need to capitalize on if we are going to try to help keep pet breeding out of disreputable hands. And dogs out of shelters.

So, given how busy we are at shows, how much we enjoy catching up with each other, how distracted by the competition and the camaraderie we are – is there a way we can do a better job of not leaving the public feeling like outsiders at our events?  Continue reading

IN your backyard breeders. Huh?

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http://goldenretriever.newyorkpuppiesforsale.com/

Massachusetts Puppies For Sale.com

 

Discovered these sites last week. Seems that they exist in most states for most breeds. Take a few minutes to poke around on this site and it will be obvious to an experienced breeder that this is a puppy broker and that although the insinuation is that these pups are locally bred, they do ( to their credit, I suppose) state that the pups come from an “exclusive national network of the finest” breeders and not necessarily from the state headlined.

They position themselves as knowledgeable, ethical breeders right in your backyard, but, although its easy to list Codes of Ethics, anti-puppy mill rhetoric and generally talk the talk, there is one thing they can’t do and that is to be, quite literally right in the client’s neighborhood. Visit-able, able to lend a hand, answer calls with crate training questions, eager recipients of cute photos and stories ( who else cares like Grandparents!). Providing family raised puppies, sold DIRECTLY to their new owners ( no middle men need apply).

Hmmm…knowledgeable, ethical breeders right in one’s backyard….that’s something we know something about. We just might have to redefine what the term “backyard breeder” means! Maybe we are the real “IN your backyard” breeders. Seems I know a bunch of breeders who could fill that niche for real!  Continue reading