What if my puppy is from a puppy mill? A Complete Guide

Pet Store Puppies are Usually from Mills

This has become common knowledge over the years. Puppies in pet stores are usually from puppy mills. They are usually unhealthy and uncared for.

They may be cute to look at but it is not recommended to buy a dog from one of these businesses.

) How to introduce your dog to your home

You will almost certainly adjust to your new dog well before he adjusts to you, your family, and your household. By far the strongest emotion ruling the puppy mill dog’s life is fear. Because of this, one of the strongest inclinations for newly adopted puppy mill dogs is to hide — behind, under, farther away — in any way that lessens the fear. The hiding can be for days or weeks, with the dog coming out only at night to get some food and water. When a puppy mill dog enters your home, your most important job is to protect him from things that frighten him.


  • Be patient.
  • Bring your puppy mill dog into your house in the crate you’ve obtained for her. (Important note: Many puppy mill dogs are terrified of crates and cages, which is understandable because they’ve spent virtually their entire lives — and unpleasant lives at that — in such enclosures. For these dogs, use of a crate will likely have to be omitted from any steps during the adjustment phase to the new home.)
  • Provide a safe haven for your dog as she ad­justs to her new home. Ideally, give her a quiet room to herself, where she can adjust without threats and disruptions for the first few days. This could be a bathroom, utility room, base­ment, or guest bedroom. After “dog-proofing” the room (as you would “child-proof” for a child), set the dog in her crate in the room and open the door of the crate. Place a bowl of water and a little dry and canned food in the room not far from the crate. Put newspapers or piddle pads (available at pet stores) on the other side of the room. Then leave her alone and just peek in on her occasionally for the next few hours. Fully expect to find that your dog has urinated or had a bowel movement in the room.
  • After a few days in his own room, bring the dog in his crate to an area of the house that has some human activity, but not a lot. The crate should either sit backed up into a corner or be shielded with towels or blankets draped over its top, sides and back end to give the dog a sense of safety behind him. The door to the crate should be left partially open. Here, the dog can feel some security in his crate but begin to be exposed to the all-new experiences of a human household. Things we take for granted, such as telephones ringing, someone knocking on a door, sounds from the TV, clinking of dishes being set on the table or washed, the noise of a vacuum cleaner, and humans talking, are all very foreign to rescued puppy mill dogs and take some get­ting used to.
  • Next, set up the exercise pen in a room so that your dog can safely venture out of her crate but still feel somewhat protected. The pen also prevents the dog from going into parts of the house that you or she are not quite ready for.
  • Always try to move slowly when around your puppy mill dog. Sudden and fast movements can be very frightening.
  • Minimize loud and sudden noises, since they also can be very frightening.
  • It’s now well known among rescue groups that puppy mill dogs often trust new dogs before they trust new people. In fact, having another friendly and compatible dog in the house is what adopters tell us is the single most effective thing you can do to rehabilitate the adopted puppy mill dog. (See “How to introduce your new dog to your other dogs.”) If you do not have another dog, try to have your friends, relatives, or neighbors bring their dogs over (if they are friendly and well-social­ized) and allow your dog to spend as much time as possible with them.
  • At night, having your dog sleep next to your bed can help him adjust to you in a non-threatening way. This may not be suitable for all adopters or the dogs themselves, so each adopter must decide which nighttime sleeping arrangement is best.
  • Don’t:

  • Allow anything to threaten or frighten your dog when he is in his safe place. You want him to learn that, in his safe place, nothing bad happens, which then allows him to feel more relaxed at all times because he knows he can always go to his safe place. (With that said, the dog shouldn’t remain in his crate all the time. See “How to help your dog progress without causing harm.”)
  • They Focus on More Than One Breed

    Puppies arent sold like a “big box store.” You shouldnt be able to find multiple different breeds all under one roof. A reputable breeder generally only focuses on one or two specific types of breeds, so if you encounter a breeder who purports to be a “one-stop shop” for lots of types of dogs, be wary.

    What is a Puppy Mill?

    Countless dogs are bred over and over again in puppy mills around the world, often in horrible conditions with no veterinary care.

    And when these dogs are no longer able to produce puppies for profit, their value disappears.

    Those of us who are horrified by the conditions at puppy mills have seen a lot of good signs of progress over the past few years — stronger laws, more active opposition from animal organizations, public outcry for reform. But, sadly, puppy mills are still in operation.