Four Ways to Help Dogs in a Buy-It-Now World

By Rita Rice, NADBR VP of Research

After 25 years in the dog world, I can tell you that many dogs are bought in haste. Some buyers don’t go to a rescue or a breeder because they’re unwilling to put up with the scrutiny that well-run rescues and quality breeders require before a dog goes home with a new owner, or they want a dog or puppy now and don’t want to wait for a breeder or a rescue to have the type of dog they want.

I wish people approached getting a companion animal with the care it deserves, but many don’t. Nor are all “buy-it-now” owners bad. Some, frankly, are just Type A personalities, people who know they will be responsible dog owners but who won’t answer 5 pages of questions.

Other prospective dog owners are simply accustomed to being able to get what they want today. They have a buy-it-now mentality and don’t understand the work it takes to match dog to owner or to breed and socialize a puppy properly.

Human nature dictates that some human beings will get a puppy where it’s easiest. If a puppy of the desired breed isn’t easy to find locally, the buy-it-now person turns to Google or Craigslist to find their new puppy. Despite how happy the puppies look on the website or Facebook page, I can tell you from years in rescue these photos don’t always represent the true conditions in which the puppy was raised, and that many do not become happy, healthy, well-adjusted dogs.

The stories about online puppy sales gone bad are legion. By the time the vet bills start rolling in, the hasty buyer has learned that consumer protection laws are nonexistent in the Ukraine (or whatever country the puppy came from) and that puppy buyers have no recourse. Check out the Facebook page Puppies for Sale for a few of these stories.

Some people will read about these bad breeders and conclude dog breeding should be outlawed. Of course, that position ignores that most dog breeders in the US are responsible, that their work has preserved many of the breeds we love, and that shelters and rescues wouldn’t be able to meet the demand for dogs for long if all breeding stopped.

Dog breeding will continue because people want dogs. So, which will do the most to ensure that breeding dogs are treated well? Passing a ban in a city or a town that stops a pet store or two from selling dogs, or focusing on setting and enforcing sensible standards for all dog breeders?

Trying to control where puppies are sold just moves the problem out of sight. It does not improve conditions for dogs or ensure a supply of healthy well-bred puppies. Instead of trying to limit sales outlets, we should focus on improving the care and conditions of ALL dogs.  Only setting care and conditions for “commercial” breeders ignores the many litters of puppies that are bred in your local neighborhood by people who don’t consider themselves to be “breeders,” by families who sell them to make a quick few hundred dollars, and who don’t follow up on puppies or consider their fate when that “buy-it-now” home decides they no longer want the dog.

Here are four ways we can help all dogs. First, we can support well run local rescues. Second, we can support dog breeders who meet those standards. Third, we can support standards for dog breeding and enforcement of them by supporting responsible breeders and responsible rescues, and helping our friends learn enough to do the same. Finally, we can insist that cases of genuine neglect of dogs or cruelty to dogs be prosecuted vigorously.

Post by National Alliance for Dog Breeding Reform VP Rita Rice. To learn more, visit