Why Aren’t Young People Getting Into Dogs: Part Two

I promise part two will be a bit more exciting and maybe one can consider, a tiny bit biased. The second installment of Why aren’t young people getting into dogs? Is that sometimes breeders do a great job at discouraging young people who want to buy a dog.
You’re probably thinking, what? That’s totally crazy, I didn’t have any issue getting my dog. Well I’m glad it wasn’t an act of congress for you to get your dog – really I am. I’m also very jealous as well.
I decided at 17 I wanted to show dogs. I wanted either an Akita or a Shiba Inu, I decided on the Shiba due to size and a more even temperament. I called up a breeder and we were to meet at a local handling class. I showed up, we chatted and that was it. I made contact several times over the course of maybe 4 months but she wasn’t interested in selling me a puppy or teaching me to handle dogs. Luckily an amazing Samoyed breeder took me under her wing, taught me to handle dogs, allowed me to show her dogs, and sold me my first show dog. We are still great friends.
After finishing Chi I started looking around out of state for a Shiba breeder as well as making contact again with the local breeder. The local breeder was concerned that I would move away to college and leave my dog behind. Even after I assured that a) I wasn’t moving out anytime soon b) I had no plans to go to college and c) I wouldn’t leave any of my animals behind. She told me she would put me on her waiting list and would let me know when a litter was in the works. I was so happy that finally I was able to be put on a waiting list for a Shiba! I’ll say here, sadly, I never heard back from her.
Slightly discouraged, I returned my attention to an out of state breeder. I went on the NSCA website and started looking at different websites, deciding which dogs I liked best. I emailed many breeders with dog people references to prove to them I was very serious about getting a Shiba – very few even bothered to return my messages. Most weren’t willing to part with a pick bitch. Yes, I get it – it’s a lot to ask but I’ll be darned if I spend a lot of money on a mediocre finishable dog. I want to start a bloodline. I was not trying to play catch up or spend more money for another better dog later on. The out of state people that emailed me back replied that I would be put on a waiting list. I never heard from any of them.
Finally I got a promising return email, kept in contact, pestered the crap out of her with my million questions, and waited 2 years for my chance to own a Shiba. They say good things come to those who wait – I couldn’t be happier with Nekora! We finished with 4 majors, a group 4 placing in regular groups at 11 months old, and we are currently starting our agility career. She’s smart, willing to learn, adventurous, and gets along with all my critters! Plus she’s my favorite color to boot.
But back to the subject, who would go through all of this to get a dog? Wouldn’t it be easier to go get one from a newspaper, pet store, or shelter? 2 of the 3 choices would be cheaper initially, and I think all 3 would be less frustrating and time consuming. To think this was to get a show dog – something that has the breeder’s name on it and would bring some kind of bragging rights. This wasn’t just a couch potato pet, this was a dog that was going to do something, make a name for herself! Isn’t that what a breeder wants, to promote their breeding and breed of choice, a chance to pass on the torch to a younger person who has the breed’s best interest in mind? No one lives forever my friends.
Young people need more encouragement and friendliness to save our sport and preserve the breeds we all love. We’re competing against buy here/pay here/here they are, no lines no waiting pet stores, cheap newspaper puppies, #adoptdontshop rescues and we are losing. We need to be welcoming to everyone interested in our breed and sport. We don’t have to sell them a puppy but we should take the chance and try to guide and educate them. You’ll never know what you will accomplish. The worst case scenario is that people leave you feeling like they met a friend who shared their love of dogs with them.

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