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Top 10 Ways to Buy a Doberman From a Puppy Mill

  1. BE DESPERATE TO GET A PUPPYThis is the most basic of all rules of negotiations or shopping. If you are desperate for something, you will compromise. If you compromise, you will lower your standards. If you lower your standards, you will be taken advantage of. The fact there is “a Doberman puppy” available doesn’t mean that it was bred ethically, that it is healthy, or that it is even purebred – especially if you haven’t seen a pedigree or a certificate of registration. If you make the right decision, you may have a Doberman for over 10 years. Take your time and wait to get a puppy from the right breeder.

  2. GIVE A DEPOSIT EARLYBy far the most common pitfall. You feel so happy to hear a breeder will “put you on the priority list,” you just send a deposit. Then, responses from the breeder start to be slow, sometimes non-existent. Why would you send a $500 deposit to someone you never met and only spoke to a handful of times on the phone? Why should any responsible breeder even accept a deposit from a potential home that hasn’t been thoroughly screened and interviewed? NEVER send a deposit until you’ve crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s, and much less because the breeder tells you “he just had a cancellation” or “has one puppy left available.”

  3. SAVE A PUPPY FROM DOOMYou visit a breeder. The place turns out to be a disgusting, dirty, unhealthy puppy mill operation. But you feel so bad for the puppies, you decide to immediately rescue one from further abuse. Congratulations, you just supported a puppy mill, and gifted yourself with endless worries and a $1K short-term vet bill, as well as potentially additional long-term medical costs. Will those puppies eventually be sold? Yes. But not before the breeder has to slash 75% off the price to convince someone to finally take the puppy. The consequence will either be the breeder taking much better care of the puppies in the future, or no longer breeding because his/her only priority is money.

  4. CARE ABOUT INSTAGRAM/FB PICSThere are more puppy mills and backyard breeders than there are responsible and reputable breeders on social media. Why? Because puppy mills and backyard breeders need that edge, and because many people are easily impressed by cute pictures and videos. Make no mistakes about it: the biggest known Doberman puppy mill in Canada (in Central-Eastern Ontario) has the best-looking Instagram account, and they’re killing it. Selling pups for over $4K, without cropping, dewclaws still on, no health clearances or titles on the parents, horrible online reviews, no breeder support, and the list goes on. But people still get scammed into paying that much money for sub-quality Dobermans because of cute litter pictures – that may not even be of an actual current litter – videos and funny smile emojis in text messages. These people are smart; sadly, they don’t use it for building a sound breeding program and conducting themselves ethically.

  5. BELIEVE WITHOUT SEEINGAnyone can say the litter parents have titles and health clearances; even puppy mills. But the proof is in the pudding. It is fine for a breeder not to send electronic copies of registration certificates, titles and health clearances, as they may be falsified and used by puppy mills. But if you ask to see them in person, an ethical breeder should always be able to produce them. Do note that the microchip number on the paperwork should match the one in the dog, and this is where it gets tricky; nobody carries a chip reader around, so a visit to the vet may be needed. But if your level of trust with the breeder makes it such you need that reassurance, you likely do not want to deal with this breeder in the first place.

  6. ACCEPT TO BE RUSHED Ethical breeders are not desperate to place their puppies. Instead, they take a considerable amount of time to screen potential homes, sometimes even telling them they may not be ready to home a puppy altogether. Puppy mill breeders will mention the need for a deposit early in the communications – possibly in the first couple of phone calls or emails – and will imply that a decision has to be made “now” or imminently, or the opportunity to get a puppy will be lost. They will accept a deposit from anyone, possibly without meeting or even screening the applicant. Once they got the money, they don’t care if the home was never ready and the puppy ends up at a kill shelter, because they do not provide breeder support after placement.

  7. DISREGARD ONLINE REVIEWSYou don’t need to hire a private investigator to find out whether the breeder you are dealing with is responsible, reputable and ethical. Be smart, because they are too. Google search for the breeder’s REAL name, the kennel name, the phone number and the email. Some puppy mill breeders have had so many bad reviews online that they stopped using their kennel name when advertising a litter or communicating with potential homes. And their own name has been mentioned so much in the same reviews that they start using nickname instead of their own! Do your homework. A good place to start is DobermanTalk.com.

  8. DON’T TRUST YOUR INSTINCTSIt may be the first time you search for a puppy, but you are not stupid. DO trust your instincts, they will serve you well. Your 6th sense tells you something is off? Do NOT ignore it; walk away. You will get a puppy; it’s just a matter of time before you find the right breeder.

  9. BELIEVE IN PURE LUCKThe oldest trick in the book. Puppy mill breeders will tell you they just got a cancellation, or only one last puppy is available for placement. Nope. They just want your deposit, and they’ll take it without properly meeting you or even screening you. Worst case scenario for them, they’ll sell you one of them sub-quality puppies. Best case scenario for them, you’ll find out they are a puppy mill, and will accept to lose your deposit.

  10. IGNORE RED FLAGSAll of the above are red flags. If you willfully decide to ignore them, you will be supporting a puppy mill, as well as suffering the consequences for years to come.