The Internet has changed how we live our lives. We use it to keep in touch with friends and family, to do our daily banking, research purchases, and to buy ‘stuff’. Books, music, cars, jewelry, furniture, appliances, clothes – it does not matter what it is, you can buy it over the internet and have it delivered to your front door in a matter of days. Like the Sears-Roebuck catalog of the 1800’s, the Internet is the fastest, easiest way to make a major purchase with half the fun is waiting for it to come in the mail.
But should we be buying our dogs online? Dogs are like family and many are loved and doted upon more then the average child. Should the Internet shopping phenomenon include our living, breathing, slobbering, and shedding best friends?
Research Breeds and Breeders Online
One thing the Internet has done for us in every subject is our ability to research a subject. It is so easy to learn about a subject, any subject, on sites such as Wikipedia that no longer are encyclopedias required. Want to know about the ancient Greek scholar and poet Philitas of Cos? Easy. There is an entire page dedicated to him. What about what day of the year is the official day of the tartan? Turn to the Internet (just for the record, it is April 6th).
For dog aficionados, it has made it extremely easy to learn about the various breeds and to help find a breeder. Looking for specific traits in your next pet? Learn what breeds best suit apartment living, require moderate exercise only, or are great with children, all under one tidy package. It can also help you find out what medical conditions are prevalent in certain breeds, great information to have upfront when choosing a breed.
Once you find a list of breeds you feel would best suit your lifestyle and needs, then you start the job of researching local breeders and discussing specifics about their dogs. With a little extra research, you can find out whether the breeder is a careful, honest type who puts their time, energy, and resources into bettering their chosen breed or whether it is a money making scheme for them.
In general, the Internet has made finding and choosing a breed and breeder far easier then traditional methods. In many ways, we already buy dogs online but what about actually purchasing a pup over the Internet?
Buying Dogs Online
Not every breeder who sells a puppy online runs a puppy mill. In fact, very few are high volume puppy millers because they would rather hide behind a storefront and remain anonymous then face an owner, angry at being misled, themselves. Think of it as a money laundering. The guy actually doing the laundering never does the crime that requires the money to be cleaned. Instead, he stays in the background doing his despicable thing under the perceived safety of the criminal front man.
The Internet has given breeders a tool with which to market their puppies and dogs. Most reputable breeders either show or work their dogs. Their website is not just a means to sell puppies but more to showcase and highlight their kennel’s wins and achievements. Like someone trying to sell a unique handmade piece of jewelry online, the Internet is a tool to reach potential customers, not a means with which to ‘flog your wares’.
Reputable breeders do sell puppies online but will ask the exact same questions they would ask you if you called or visited the kennel in person. The will want to know your canine background, what plans you have for the pet, and what kind of lifestyle you and their puppy will be sharing together. They will not have a litter ‘ready to go’ whenever you contact them and you will probably be forced to sit on a waiting list. You will receive proper documentation of registration for your pup and proof of both parentage and the health of the parents before you take possession of the pup. You will also sign a contract with the breeder and be given a health guarantee.
Although the thought of buying dogs online may seem odd or even abhorrent to some, the possible benefits can actually make for a more worry free purchase. Obviously research and common sense are required to make sure you ‘get what you pay for’ (same as anything else on the net), ‘buyer beware’ can help you find the perfect pet for your family!