Puppy Mill Dogs
These dogs can be so sweet and adorable looking, that people adopt these dogs without fully understanding just *what* they are in for. The rehab process is exhausting and can be frustrating. It CAN be done, but you will need lots of love, patience and time.
These dogs are breeding stock. That’s it. They have not been loved and have not known love. This is the biggest difference between a normal pet and these dogs. In the mill, they are not cared for, other than to feed. They are not held, they are not petted, they are not played with, they are not comforted when they are afraid, they get nothing more than 4 wire walls and food. The only goal for a puppy mill operator is to make money from puppies. Therefore, the emotional well being of the breeding stock is not considered. Mill breeding dogs never leave their wire cage. Never. So just imagine the fear when leaving the only 4 walls they have ever known. They are terrified!! If a dog cannot or does not produce good sized litters, or maybe does not produce the best color puppies……OR maybe the mill is going out of business…..whatever the reason….when the dog is no longer “needed”, the dogs are “disposed of(shot or drowned usually) BUT sometimes, just sometimes…….IF they are lucky, they get in to Rescue. When Rescue gets one of these dogs, we have many issues to overcome.
First and foremost, we must test temperament. Dogs that are THIS terrified and will generally fall into one of two catagory’s.
*They just emotionally shut down from fear. They will go stiff-legged from fear, and can most often be handled. OR
*They are so scared they will bite when handled. Sadly, due to obvious risks, we no longer will try and rehab dogs that will bite. In reality we have rehabilitated many puppy mill dogs and not one has had a mean bone in their body. Fortunately MSPMSR has not had any biters.
What can you expect?
1)They are NOT excited to see you.
(2)They are not used to being around people. Your “touch” is terrifying. Some will shake violently from fear. Others will defecate from fear.
(3)They have never been outdoors, seen sunshine, seen an airplane, or seen a car or truck drive by.
(4)They have never been in a house, heard a television set, radio or a phone ring.They have never stood on grass or carpeting. (and it is usually frightening to them at first)
(5)They have never ridden in a car.
(6)Large, open spaces scare them. They will try and seek refuge in small dark places. You may have to forcefully pull them out of their crate.
(7)They only time they may have been handled by a person is to: tattoo their ear, shave them down, or “pressure hose” them once a year. (the law in some states requires these things)
(8)They have never walked on a leash. (many have never had a collar on)They have never seen nor learned how to climb stairs.
(9)They have no idea what “treats” are. (a very useful thing when training)
(10)They have no idea how to drink from a bowl.
(11)Most of these dogs are in need of medical care: Ear infections, worms, mites, bad teeth and in need of being spayed or neutered.
(12)Most are out of shape and fat from no exercise or underweight. All have been fed very bad dog food to keep the cost down.
(13)They will NOT come when you call them. In fact they will do all they can to get away from you. That is why a fenced yard is so important for these dogs. Here in rescue, we must often keep the dog on a leash IN the fenced yard, so that we may catch the dog when it is time to come back in the house. A mill dog loose in a fenced yard can be impossible to “catch”.
(14)They do not know their name (Most are only known by a number) And IF the dog has been traded or auctioned to a different mill, often the ear tip is just “cut off” to remove the tattoo from the former mill, and a new tattoo is placed in the other ear.
(15)Oh….and NO, they are not housetrained.
Fortunately, most dogs are friendly by nature and want attention. So these dogs do respond well to kindness and love and it just takes a lot of time and patience to gain their trust and teach them how to be a house pet. We begin training as soon as we get the dog in. However, this rehab process can take about a year to complete and is usually continued in a permanent home in 3 months.
These dogs will turn around, and they eventually do become more normal. But it takes a lot of time and patience. All rehabilitation volunteers have said that the transformation is amazing and an incredible thing to see. The most rewarding things are subtle: A tail wag, a bark, they come to you, put their paws on your legs, play with other dogs, pick up a toy, and seeing them cuddling on a soft spot in your house brings tears to their eyes.
Once they act like a dog they should have been all along, they become the most devoted and loving companion and are often called velcro dogs. They will never leave your side and they will always want to know where you are at all times.
Many never leave their foster home because the love dedication has gone so far and deep and they can’t bear to give them up. We have lots of failed fosters of mill dogs and we are proud of it. Though, hopefully they will go in a new home so we can continue on to the next one and not lose all our foster homes.
If you would like to foster a puppymill dog please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as we need all the help we can get to give these dogs the home they deserve and keep saving the ones that aren’t living a dogs life.