I think my local pet store might be selling dogs from puppy mills. How can I find out?
Almost all pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Ask the pet store employee to show you the paperwork identifying the puppys breeder and origins. If he or she refuses to do so or is reluctant to show you the paperwork, consider that a red flag. If you do inspect the paperwork, you may notice that the puppy has been shipped from out of state, often by a “broker” service. These are just a few indications that the stores dog may have come from a puppy mill. The bottom line is that responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores; they want to meet their puppy buyers in person and do not sell their puppies to the first person who shows up with cash in hand.
) How to house-train your dog
After puppy mill dogs are adopted into human households, almost all these dogs have urination and bowel movement “accidents” in the home. But we must realize that bodily eliminations inside the house are not accidents at all to the puppy mill dog; in fact, to these dogs, this is perfectly normal behavior.
Dogs in puppy mills are neither taught nor expected to eliminate in any special area. They go wherever they want to, whenever they want to. The concept of “holding it” is completely unknown to them. To make matters worse, most of these dogs are very fearful, so training them to do anything — even with strictly positive techniques — can make them even more fearful.
Your puppy mill dog is not the “normal” dog that all the dog-training books have been written for. All of the usual instructions — what to do if you catch them in the act, how to use crate confinement as a tool, even the strategy of praising the dog profusely when he does his business outside — may be different when it comes to house-training a puppy mill dog.
For puppy mill dogs, the basic rule is this: Reward the good, distract from the bad. “Distract” means directing the dog’s mind away from the undesirable behavior that he’s involved in. Punishment is never a good idea when house-training a dog, but it can be even more harmful for the fragile and sensitive emotional make-up of rescued puppy mill dogs, impeding and even reversing any progress they are gaining in trusting people.
Where can I find a list of known puppy mills?
For many reasons, the HSUS does not publish a list of known puppy mills. There are literally thousands of puppy mills in existence all over the country and most of them are not required to register with any one agency. There are so many unregulated puppy mills that to publish a list of the known or “problem” mills may give the public a false impression that any establishment that is not on the list is “safe.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, some problematic puppy mills have been known to change their names and locations frequently to evade their reputations. We do publish an annual report on problem puppy mills, but it represents only a sampling of examples.