Dog Behavior and Training, puppies, Responsible Breeding

How to socialize puppies – for three easy payments.


Sell toys. Sell whelping boxes. Sell your book. Sell your lectures. Do NOT claim that for a mere $69.99, a mysterious door will open and you are going to make us a better breeder than every other breeder – but you won’t tell us why or how… at least not until we give you our paypal. But once you HAVE the paypal, we can be SchmancyBreeders (TM) and SchmancyTrainers (R) that use InterestBoxes (TM) because InterestBoxes (TM) are so much better than a cardboard box and some empty water bottles.

Ian Dunbar has been giving this stuff away for years. Go read Dog Star Daily. Free yourself from (TM)s and (R)s. Introduce your puppies to at least fifty friendly strangers before they leave your house, and tell your buyers that they must meet fifty more before they’re twelve weeks old. STOP raising them in tiny bare x-pens. Make their world rich and interesting and include at least one new surface, challenge, smell, temperature, or other sense per day. Let them get away from their own feces, for pete’s sake. And get them the heck out of your house when they are puppies. Stop keeping half or the whole litter.

You do those things, and you are doing GREAT. If you want to pay a bunch of money to be in a club of people who discuss those things in greater depth, that is AWESOME. Go for it. But don’t think that a paywall makes you a better breeder, or $200 makes your puppies better puppies, than someone with an empty box, some water bottles, and a lap.

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  • Reply Rachel July 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I’m *avidly* interested in whether or not I’ve guessed the particular brand you’re targeting with your “interest boxes.” 😉 😉 😉

    • Reply Joanna Kimball July 28, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      There are more than one. Probably more than several 😉

      And my respect for the breeders who have contributed to the programs means I am not going to single one out. But having respect for those breeders doesn’t mean I am OK with the “What’s behind door number one” sales tactics or weird cult-developing. I saw someone say today that because of PROGRAM NAMELESS, her puppies don’t misbehave anymore! They can be trusted to be left for hours!

      Now of course the program sellers don’t give those kind of promises, but the way it is structured, it creates a special society of access, where (among many other things) common and time-tested training methods are given new, odd names that make them sound like something innovative and special. For example, instead of lying down, we’ll call it NEEPING, triggering scores of people labeling pictures of puppies lying down with “Just teaching this simple neeping has changed my puppies’ entire lives!” It creates magical thinking on the part of participants. Lying down never really struck them as very interesting, but Wow! Neeping! Every time their puppies do something well, it’s because of the teachings of the guru. Every time their puppies don’t do something well, they must not be adhering to the teaching well enough.

      It is starting to FREAK ME THE HECK OUT. If I see one more picture of someone crowing because their puppies are neeping, I’m going to screech.

  • Reply Rachel July 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Our society is rife with magic thinking. It’s enough to make me want to pull my hair out.

  • Reply Liz July 29, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Truly excellent post! You verbalized some niggling thoughts that I’ve been chewing over in my mind for a while now. Our motto when raising puppies has always been – something new, almost every day, but balance that with a secure, safe and clean environment for the puppies and their dam. I think we can throw too much at baby puppies and overwhelm them, so we need to be careful of going too far in that direction.

  • Reply Ruth July 31, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I’d somehow missed that one. Probably a good thing over all……..

  • Reply Claudia August 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    So true, but that is the way all these sales work nowadays. It is not creating an article for the need of the client but creating the need. So maybe someone who doesn’t buy this stuff feels like a bad breeder or bad pet owner. I think however that it is directed more to first time puppy owners who don’t want to make a mistake and do everything for their pet. Actually I have seen some youtube videos with these things in action and the first idea was to take the inspiration and make this myself – I would have never spent 70 € for this. However I prefer to make the puppies go to the garden to play whenever it is possible. – more space and more fun.

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