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That's the title of a NY Times article this week. The regulars here at PF are aware of this situation, but for newcomers in search of a puppy companion, please be careful. Excerpt:

"Sylvia Lopez, who was laid off from her job this year because of the pandemic, saw an adorable pug puppy named Ted online. For $400, a price advertised as a promotion, she bought the puppy, and then paid more than $800 to have it flown from Virginia to her home in Texas, where she and her family were in quarantine.

"Thousands of dollars later, after additional fees and a crate payment, the emails from the “breeder” and the recommended “courier company” abruptly stopped. Voice mail and text messages were not returned. Ted never arrived, and Ms. Lopez’s requests for a refund were met with silence." ...

..."The scammers’ tactics are evolving. Many now use mobile payment apps like Zelle and CashApp, replacing wire transfers. They often use fake online forms to process credit card information. Then, when the cardholder gets an error message, they ask for electronic funds and often use the credit card information to fund their scams, the bureau said"
. (continue article at the NY Times link).

Also check out this article from PetScams.com, "Coronavirus Puppy scams increase during Lockdown".

Several months ago my own brother and his wife went through this. After calling around a half dozen Craigslist ads that were obviously scams or of the too good to be true category, he gave up. One of the ploys they use is the ad said the puppy was located in his area. After calling the shell game was on.

Now the puppy was several states away b/c the owner claimed in an email or text that he had a work assignment and was out of town. He said wasn't looking for a big profit and would charge only travel costs and maybe a small amount. My brother responded with something like, "No problem! My brother/uncle/whatever is a K9 officer and lives in that city and can pick it up since he'll be visiting me soon."

Prior to that he visited every shelter in his area for a small puppy or young dog that wouldn't exceed 30 lbs. The wait list was long and none ever came available. I lucked up and found a puppy in the Washington Post classified; people have to pay to run those ads with a credit/debit card. Scammers typically do not pay for ads in local newspapers. The breeder was close enough to visit her home. She was legit, and he went home with a Westie pup next day.

If any of you new potential buyers are looking for a well-bred poodle puppy, please use the search bar or ask us on PF if we've heard of a breeder you're considering.

Also please read Rose n Poos thread stickied at the top of this section, "Breeder's Listed by Location Plus Additional Resources", which these breeders have had done DNA and other health testing on their sire/dam. This is highly desirable to downright critical. Many also show their dogs and have them involved in sports activities. The list is not comprehensive of all good breeders, but is an excellent start. Also read through the threads in this section where you now, Finding the Right Puppy & Breeder, as some members have mentioned their favorite breeders.

I would say good luck but finding a well-bred poodle is hard enough, and harder with the pandemic and all these scammers robbing people of their hard-earned money. So take your time even though it's hard to wait for just the right little puppy, and with a little luck thrown in, you may find him or her in early to mid-2021.

Happy holidays! ⛄

Vita
 

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It is concerning that scammers might pretend to be another, legitimate, breeder. It's pretty easy to pop up a web site with some photos swiped from elsewhere. Good breeders are part of a community. Check with that community. Every region has a breed club which will have the real contact information for local members. Breeders on Facebook friend each other. There is usually a history of posts in which people congratulate each other over show wins and coo over new puppies. Look for histories going back a few years.
 

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Here is where real and meaningful development and then enforcement of more rigorous control of platforms like FB and such need to happen as seems to be creeping into the online world in other content area given recent increase of labels on non-factual tweets and some of the restrictions FB is starting to put in place (even if they are just putting these cosmetic policies in place to avoid more government imposed rules. The damage these things do to people isn't just monetary, but emotional too.
 
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Dog theft is also on the rise.
This is what really scares me right now. Especially since I have an intact male poodle, I feel like he is the ideal dog to steal from someone wanting to start a mill with doodles. I'll feel a bit better once he is neutered, but I feel downright paranoid these days. My dog ending up in a breeding mill is my worst nightmare.
 

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This is what really scares me right now. Especially since I have an intact male poodle, I feel like he is the ideal dog to steal from someone wanting to start a mill with doodles. I'll feel a bit better once he is neutered, but I feel downright paranoid these days. My dog ending up in a breeding mill is my worst nightmare.
I thought the same about my girl. Their are many thefts going on around my area. Lone women walking dogs, being the main target in broad daylight!!
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Navigating the world of getting a dog is ridiculously hard. About 9 months ago I knew nothing, I just wanted a dog, been wanting a dog but the right time seemed to coincide with the pandemic. I also first sifted through a few scams, yes, I went on Craigslist... one of the scams was an advertisement of puppies in my area and when I contacted them, they said they were across the country, in Los Angeles, and had to ship the puppies. Yeah, right, no one wants cute, cheap puppies in LA? Scam warning bells right away. Eventually I went through the AKC listing of breeders when I ended up getting my pup, before I found PF. Even then, some breeders didn't respond, some had waiting lists into 2022 (this was around June/July of this year). Does my pup hit all the PF points listed when looking for a breeder? Not all.

But I can understand really desperately wanting a dog. Even before going on craigslist, I contacted shelters, when I mentioned needing a low-shedding dog, they didn't want to deal with me because of possible allergies (I was okay with adopting a doodle from the shelter as long as I could test my allergies against them but the shelter nope out really quickly from giving me a chance - they say adopt, don't shop but don't even try to match someone with allergies to some breeds with a dog they aren't allergic too - by the way, I first had mild allergies to my poodle but after 6 weeks they are basically non-existent).

When I went to breed rescues, one said I've never had a dog before and denied me, another only had senior minis (which need love and a home but I wanted an active dog for hiking), and a third denied me because I was single (so far my single self has been doing fine with Fenris, though I do miss sleep sometimes). The whole finding a dog adventure is stressful, the waiting for a puppy is stressful, trying to sift through the scams, the puppy mills, the breeders, etc. is stressful. It made the first few sleepless weeks with my puppy feel easy.

So I completely get the people falling for these scams, they just want a dog to love and take care of. And there is soooo much misinformation out there.
 

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We want a puppy, NOW, or a dog NOW. The NOW requirement is what leads folks to poor choices, scams. You don’t get Amazon next day, Prime delivery on pets. Hasn’t the pandemic taught us patience? Sadly, it hasn’t even taught us about masks, so maybe not. (P.S. I want my vaccine NOW, but according to the NYT’s model, I’m in line with over 400K more ethically deserving folks ahead of me.). I digress. But my point is there is a line, or it’s too good to be true or healthy for the dogs,with poodles. If your experience is the exception, buy a lottery ticket! Winner!
 

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There are many people who sadly don’t understand the importance of getting a pup that’s had a good start in life and sourced from a reputable breeder. As such polls like this show!
Sadly a lot of people see it as a dogs a dogs no matter where you get it from
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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There are many people who sadly don’t understand the importance of getting a pup that’s had a good start in life and sourced from a reputable breeder. As such polls like this show!
Sadly a lot of people see it as a dogs a dogs no matter where you get it from
So let me try and explain this since this was me like 6+ months ago, at least the way I was thinking (just an explanation of what I thought before I started doing research), though I wouldn't have gone to a puppy mill but would have been okay with a random person breeding their pet or adopting a random poodle (my views have changed a lot but I still wanted to provide some perspective). It's ignorance and the general reputation of a show breeder (because most reputable breeders tend to be tied to either showing or dog sports, which honestly I had no idea existed until I started doing research so pretty much dog shows). What I thought a show breeder was, was someone who cared about looks above all else and was willing to maim (such as tail or ear docking which I equated to female or male circumcision, removing a part of a body of an infant for mostly if not entirely cosmetic reasons) for aesthetics. Actually, I still don't like tail docking, it bothers me that it's the norm in the US (this is probably the European in me though). It's actually also why it even took me so long to start researching breeders because the back-then me found the whole idea of dog showing to be on par with child beauty pageants, not as bad as puppy mills but also an abhorrent practice where dogs are mistreated. It seemed a rescue or someone's accidental litter (which I now know that puppy mills like to pass puppies off as accidental on craigslist but I didn't back then) was the most ethical way of getting a puppy and not support either system. And the information wasn't just there after a quick google search. I searched and researched for months before finding accurate information. So, for someone who doesn't care about looks, who may even find docking to be unethical, and the way that dog showing (especially with poodles) is portrayed as shallow and vain, it's easy to see why someone not willing to research and challenge their preconceptions because all they want is an ordinary family dog (not a fancy show dog) would fall into this trap. I also think the general mantra of adopt don't shop contributes to this by spreading the idea that any dog would work for you, so it's easier to generalize that any puppy would work as well. Because if that older mutt in the shelter is just fine, then this puppy mutt will be as well (and of course everyone "knows" that pure bred dogs are just inbred and have so many health issues, which I heard a million times since getting my spoo already).

Again, another disclaimer, I realize my above post has uninformed opinions and arguments, and that's the point. When you don't know better, any opinions and arguments are based of off general knowledge and preconceived notions. We also know that a lot of people in our world aren't willing to be challenged or are curious enough to dig deeper into issues or have time to really dig deep. I'm not excusing them, just explaining why I think some of the situations arise like this.
 

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Honestly, I was very well informed of what good breeding is and why it is important. It has been a special interest of mine for years even though I was not financially in the place for a long time to act on my ambition to get a dog.

I was REALLY taken by surprise by how hard it was for me to find a breeder that I liked. My biggest problem was not related to COVID that much as my biggest issue was just finding the damn breeders in the first place, regardless of whether they had anything available or not.

There is so much about finding a reputable breeder that is so counterintuitive. I see a lot of people complain that the breeders that they are contacting are unprofessional and are not running their business well. But that's exactly it, they are not a business, and everything that I look for in a business (good website, information on pricing, large selection) is exactly the opposite of what I look for in a breeder and in many ways in a rescue too.

I think that covid has demonstrated once and for all that good breeding does not respond to the market. If a baker sells all of his bread before noon several days in a row they will simply increase their production. If the breeder that I have chosen had done the same in response to the surge of puppy demand due to covid, she would have had to breed bitches who were either too young or too old. Puppy buyers need to be more aware of this.

But saying so, I must admit that its getting harder and harder to convince people to go for a responsible breeder because of the waiting lists. Waiting 1 or 2 years when you have already set your heart on the idea of getting a dog is really difficult.

My poor fiance trusts me with the task of finding a puppy from a breeder. But he says almost everyday that he wishes that we had the poodle already. We have been waiting since April and the dam hasn't even come into heat yet. Its been especially hard since our foster dog got adopted. and with us spending christmas alone away from family we feel very strongly that there is a poodle shaped hole in our home and hearts.

I think that if I hadn't had the knowledge that I had before covid and before we decided to get a dog then I wouldn't be going through this much hassle to find a pet.
 

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Honestly, I was very well informed of what good breeding is and why it is important. It has been a special interest of mine for years even though I was not financially in the place for a long time to act on my ambition to get a dog.

I was REALLY taken by surprise by how hard it was for me to find a breeder that I liked. My biggest problem was not related to COVID that much as my biggest issue was just finding the damn breeders in the first place, regardless of whether they had anything available or not.

There is so much about finding a reputable breeder that is so counterintituative. I see a lot of people complain that the breeders that they are contacting are unprofessional and are not running their business well. But thats exactly it, they are not a business, and everything that I look for in a business (good website, information on pricing, large selection) is exactly the opposite of what I look for in a breeder and in many ways in a rescue too.

I think that covid has demonstrated once and for all that good breeding does not respond to the market. If a baker sells all of his bread before noon several days in a row they will simply increase their production. If the breeder that I have chosen had done the same in response to the surge of puppy demand due to covid, she would have had to breed bitches who were either too young or too old. Puppy buyers need to be more aware of this.

But saying so, I must admit that its getting harder and harder to convince people to go for a responsible breeder because of the waiting lists. Waiting 1 or 2 years when you have already set your heart on the idea of getting a dog is really difficult.

My poor fiance trusts me with the task of finding a puppy from a breeder. But he says almost everyday that he wishes that we had the poodle already. We have been waiting since April and the dam hasn't even come into heat yet. Its been especially hard since our foster dog got adopted. and with us spending christmas alone away from family we feel very strongly that there is a poodle shaped hole in our home and hearts.

I think that if I hadn't had the knowledge that I had before covid and before we decided to get a dog then I wouldn't be going through this much hassle to find a pet.
I have had the same frustrating experience finding good breeders and I think that during this pandemic few people have the patience to go through the process. This forum has been very helpful in educating me about what to look for in a breeder but actually finding those that meet the standards has not been easy. In my search since the summer, the major stumbling block has been finding breeders who consistently post their dogs' test results on OFA or even have the basic screens done on ALL their dogs. I've been using the OFA postings as my way of vetting breeders, but it doesn't really work. It's possible that the results are not posted but the tests have in fact been done, but so far in conversations with breeders they don't want to release the results, either until the litter is on the ground and you have made a deposit or when the puppy is picked up. That doesn't really work for me. I don't understand the lack of transparency. But then I second guess myself and ask whether I am being too rigid---does it really matter that the 4-year-old dam hasn't had her hips tested or that no eye exam has been done in several years on the sire, etc. I have found one breeder who posts all the results on all her dogs---she does CHIC+ level screenings on all her dogs---and I am on her "short list" for a litter being born soon. In our single hour-long conversation, we seemed to hit it off and I really feel confident about her practices, so I am putting all my eggs in this basket. But I also now know from prior experience that doesn't mean that I will actually get a dog from the litter. They could go to other breeders, to previous litter owners or their friends, to family members or friends of family members, or even be kept back for showing and breeding. It's a real roller coaster ride of waiting, getting hopes up, getting hopes dashed, etc. So I can understand why people fall for the instant gratification. Especially this year, we are all in search and in need of joy!
 

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If I were a top notch breeder, I would probably choose NOT to breed during the pandemic. I admit I may be wrong, but I very seldom see any wanna-be poodle owner to be, or other other well bred dog owner to be, who sounds like they really care about excellent training, or socialization, or preparation for showing or agility, or Service Dog training, or anything else that might demonstrate improving the breed at this time.

Sadly most wanna-be dog owners right now just want something to love them because they are lonesome, or be a plaything for their kids, or for one of their other dogs to distract them, or some pure bred dog they can brag about, etc. I certainly hope I am wrong, but that is all I have seen recently.

Please, if you are an excellent breeder of top quality poodles or other pure bred dogs, and you have a different perspective, please try to convince me otherwise.

I mean, really, why is anyone 'desperately wanting a dog' ?
 

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If I were a top notch breeder, I would probably choose NOT to breed during the pandemic. I admit I may be wrong, but I very seldom see any wanna-be poodle owner to be, or other other well bred dog owner to be, who sounds like they really care about excellent training, or socialization, or preparation for showing or agility, or Service Dog training, or anything else that might demonstrate improving the breed at this time.

Sadly most wanna-be dog owners right now just want something to love them because they are lonesome, or be a plaything for their kids, or for one of their other dogs to distract them, or some pure bred dog they can brag about, etc. I certainly hope I am wrong, but that is all I have seen recently.

Please, if you are an excellent breeder of top quality poodles or other pure bred dogs, and you have a different perspective, please try to convince me otherwise.

I mean, really, why is anyone 'desperately wanting a dog' ?
In my personal opinion whether or not a breeder should be breeding during the pandemic depends very much on their own particular situation. Is their access to veterinary care restricted due to a lockdown for example? Or are they in such a high risk category that socialising the puppies even within the restrictions set would be too risky? those are things that breeders have to evaluate themselves, as well as considering the puppy buyers, especially inexperienced ones. Troubles socialising and accessing groomers are all really serious concerns for growing puppies.

However, time doesn't stand still in a pandemic. Bitches have a relatively short period in their life where its safe to breed them. At least when you are doing so responsibly. Deciding not to breed right now for many responsible breeders would mean losing certain dogs from their breeding lines completely. Now whether that is a huge sacrifice or not depends on the dogs in question. Indeed I think many breeders have paused or stopped at the moment.

I also think that its easier for small-breed breeders who will only have to find appropriate homes for 2 or 3 puppies. But any responsible breeder is going to have a waiting list and I doubt that anyone who is on a waiting list for 6 months or even a year can be considered to be impulsive. But saying so if I was a inexperienced breeder, maybe planning my first or second litter I would probably pause because the pandemic just makes everything very complicated. If I already had 20 years of experienced I would probably feel more comfortable continuing.
 
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