How Much is that Doggie in the Window?


puppy mill

Who could resist those adorable little puppies at the pet store? Most of them are just tiny little huggable fur-balls just waiting for you to take them home where you can enjoy them and cherish them for the next 10 to 15 years, right? Wrong!! Pet stores that sell puppies are overwhelmingly the customers of puppy mills. These dogs are bred under filthy conditions and are so mistreated that it makes me tremble just to write this piece.

Undercover Investigation

Dateline NBC went undercover several years ago and aired an episode that exposed the Puppy Mill industry. They followed the transport of hundreds of puppies from several puppy mills and tracked all of them to pet stores around the country. Many of the puppies died during transport.

And what about the surviving puppies? They deserve to be rescued from the unfortunate life they led at the pet store; forced to eliminate where they sleep and eat and stuck in a tiny cage nearly 24 hours a day. These puppies didn’t ask to be born, so why not rescue them? Sadly, it is true that these pups are innocent victims of a crime against living, breathing creatures. However, if you rescue (buy) one of these pups you are inadvertently keeping this cruel industry alive. Plus, the vast majority of these puppies have an unusually high number of health issues, many of them are extremely costly and the pup may still end up dying. I have noticed lately that some pet stores “guarantee” the health of the puppy and will pay for treatment up to a certain age. This doesn’t change the fact that if the puppy was bred in a puppy mill, some unscrupulous individual still profited from the sale of the pup.

Poor Health and Hard to Train

I have personally worked with many unsuspecting clients who hire me to train their puppies who they just cannot seem to get house-trained. Despite the very best efforts with crate training, puppy mill dogs lack the natural instinct to keep their den clean. Clients who are patient and dedicated do eventually manage to succeed with the potty training, but these poor pups are already way behind the norm with respects to their future prognosis for training and socialization. The reason is because their genetic make-up will be pre-disposed to shyness, fear and health problems, which means it will take twice the time and effort to get them trained and socialized to grow into healthy and emotionally stable dogs.

For more information about Puppy Mills, just Google it. You will find more than you bargained for.

What can you do to help?

• Never buy a dog from a Pet Store that sells animals.

• Many Pet Stores host various rescue groups that will hold pet adoptions, this is a great way to find a great pet.

• There are many pure breed pets waiting to be adopted. If you are looking for a specific breed, check with the pure breed rescue groups –

• If you do go through a breeder, check back to our site for our upcoming article on “How to find a good (reputable) breeder”.

• You can speak out against puppy mills by contacting your congressman and politely asking them to support policies that protect animals and prevent puppy mills from operating in your state. You can find your state representatives by visiting the following sites: and .


Photo: iStock


Susan Giordano is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and owner of K9U Training. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Susan graduated from Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws Intern Academy, one of the country’s most respected and comprehensive dog trainer programs. Susan believes in doing no harm, emotionally or physically. Dog training should be fun and pain-free for all involved, dogs and humans. To learn more about Susan, please visit