3. Lack of Education/Knowledge is a Significant Cause of Dogs Relinquished into Shelters
Interesting, though not surprising, was the data in these studies related to dog owners’ lack of knowledge about their dogs. Researchers asked a series of questions of dog owners who were relinquishing their dog related to their general knowledge of pet care and behavior and the results were disturbing.
The knowledge deficits of people relinquishing dogs might contribute to unrealistic expectations and inappropriate actions by owners in an attempt to solve a problematic behavior.
Among the most common reasons given for relinquishing a dog were the following:
Purchasing a dog through a reputable breeder mitigates most, if not all, of these reasons. A reputable breeder not only asks for, but often requires, the dog be sent back to her should the buyer be unable to keep the dog.
Secondly, if you are a buyer with any of these red flags, a reputable breeder will likely not sell you a puppy in the first place.
Circumspection is their insurance policy against the uninformed or unprepared. Reputable dog breeders reserve the right to select only the best of the best homes for their puppies and to deny anyone whom they question. And, as such, dogs purchased through a reputable breeder are NOT the ones relinquished to shelters.
Whether you choose to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder or rescue one is your choice. Both are fine choices.
But, unfortunately for the #AdoptDontShop folks, neither choice is correlated to why dogs are surrendered and what we need to do to prevent it.
Education is the answer, not a boycott of reputable dog breeders.
The third fallacy of dog rescue.
5. Dog Owners’ Lack Commitment with No Skin in the Game
#AdoptDontShop’ers like to bring up the evil that is the exchange of money for a puppy or dog.
To them, the purchase of a puppy from a breeder is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme devised to line the pockets of the breeder. Whereas, the minimal financial cost of adoption from a shelter is a means to an end. A worthy investment in a higher calling.
“…in life it is often the tiny details that end up being the most important.”
84.1% of people who relinquished their dog into a shelter reportedly paid $100 or less for the dog.
$100 or less!
Dogs obtained at no cost and with little effort are at increased risk of relinquishment, reflecting a lack of value to the dog owner and a lower level of attachment or commitment.
Some might call these bargain puppies, but I call them victims. Victims of an immediate gratification culture bloated with entitlements, and a lack of commitment to anything that requires work.
A final analogy to drive my point home.
Imagine you just bought a $2500 television and it stops working. What do you do?
Now imagine your friend gives you their old television and after a week it, too, stops working.
Most people are completely comfortable with setting FREE TO GOOD HOME TV out by the curb, yet are inclined to move Heaven and Earth to fix $2500 TV. Why?
It’s about investment. Skin in the game.
The work required to land a terrific and reputable dog breeder is not for the faint of heart. It takes time and commitment. It takes patience and resolve.
So, to all the #AdoptDontShop’ers who believe ALL breeders are bad I ask,
Is it better that I obtain a dog for free or spend a little time and money to make sure I have skin in the game? Which, do you think, results in a higher level of commitment?
The fifth fallacy of dog rescue.
**NOTE: I am not suggesting that people who choose the rescue route are not investing in their dog. Most of the dog owners I know who have chosen to rescue a dog spend countless hours and dollars to ensure their dog is well cared for. This is directed toward those who use #AdoptDontShop as a means to denigrate ALL breeders, not just backyard breeders and puppy mills. These data prove that with minimal investment, you get minimal commitment. That is not always true. But it is true a statistically significant amount of the time.