Dog Behavior ProblemsDog Training Tips & Advice

What is a puppy mill?

What is a puppy mill?   The term “puppy mill” was developed to describe dog breeders that choose profit over the welfare and health of their dogs.  If you were to Google images of a puppy  mill,  the sight can be quite grotesque, causing the average pet owner an overwhelming sense of sadness and anger. Do not mix puppy mill with  the term “backyard breeder.”   A back yard breeder is simply a person who breeds a few litters a year with no real knowledge of the breed and confirmation, the pregnancy can also be an accident.  Statistics show there are over 10,000 puppy mills located throughout the United States producing over a half a million puppies per year!  According to the Humane Society of the United States only 3,000 of those mills are regulated through the Department of Agriculture. Puppy mills often sell their dogs to pet stores, online, or directly to the public through farmers markets, and online and paper classifieds.

The commercial dog breeding industry began during the era of World War I. Due to food shortages many farmers began breeding rabbits for the meat to their communities as well as soldiers during this time of US crisis.  This sustained our country through the great depression and on through World Ware II, leaving lots of empty rabbit huts and cages when other meats became easily available to the public. As the country got back on the feet on our workforce began to grow the USDA suggested the farmers to breed dogs to put their old rabbit farms to good use! This began the chain of pet stores as well as huge retail giants like Sears began selling pet dogs!  So began the the business of high volume commercial dog breeding.

We appreciate our clients adopting and rescuing older puppy mill dogs! Common dog behaviors clients and professional dog trainer’s observed with these dogs include: lack of socialization from the outside world, fear of humans, neurotic behaviors, potty training or house breaking issues, resource guarding food, and doesn’t play with other dogs.  Pet owners must understand many of these dogs have never seen the outside of a cage, they are used for back to back breeding and then tossed to the wayside when they cannot produce anymore. Many times the only humane interaction puppy mill dogs receive is a hand placing a food bowl in their cage.  Receiving true loving human affection is foreign to these dogs.  These dogs are locked in cages and have to try to amuse themselves  by pacing, barking, or staring at nothing for some sort of stimulation. Puppy mill dogs are left in cages not let out to potty so they learn to soil their cages and are often covered in it, this leads to huge set backs for house breaking. Puppy mill dogs are often neglected due of the cost of good nutrition and are left hungry and eating poor quality food, which leads to resource guarding food and bones.  However you must have a positive outlook because the older dogs can be fixed with the help from a professional dog trainer.

Clients are under the misconception that is a purchase a puppy I should not have the behavior issues listed above.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Many puppies are pulled from their mother way to early, they never learn the language of dogs which can often result in the pups growing up displaying traits of dog aggression and inappropriate play. Due to inbreeding many of these puppies have chronic medical conditions with eyes, ears, and skin, as well as strange behaviors and difficulty learning appropriate behaviors and obedience commands. These puppies are still difficult to house break because they are taught from birth to urinate and defecate where they eat and sleep.  But with a lot of patience and professional guidance these puppies can become great family members!

So how can you help stop puppy mills and educated the public? Here is a list put together by Pet Advisor:


Question breeders and pet stores

Urge pet stores to support local shelters and rescue groups instead of chasing dollar signs

Educate family and friends about puppy mills

Share links, post, and stories to make the general public aware.

Talk to legislators and local law enforcement to strengthen, enforce laws and penalties against puppy mills

Inspect breeders thoroughly and report them if they raise a red flag.

Organize fundraisers, meetings, and shelter adoptions to decrease value of puppy mills

No more profits for puppy mills and the pet stores that support them.


For any tips or training inquiries please contact Highland Canine Training LLC @ 1866-200-2207 or !




Leave a Reply