The Humane culture of the joined States estimates that over 2 million puppies are marketed per year from puppy mills. This staggering statistic doesn’t also account for adult puppy mill dogs that room dumped at shelters and embraced out.

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In other words, it’s very likely that you understand a puppy mill dog.

While rescuing a puppy mill dog is a great step once done through trusted shelters or rescues, there’s a lot you should consider prior to taking ~ above a puppy mill pooch.

After spending time functioning at Denver Dumb friends League, the fourth-largest animal shelter in the U.S., I’ve watched firsthand just how hard it can be to take on and job-related with puppy mill dogs.

Let’s look at the challenges of adopting a puppy mill rescue dog to help you decision if you’re up for the challenge.

Frequently asked Questions around Puppy Mill Dogs

Let’s start off v some rapid-fire questions and answers around puppy mill dogs. The way, we’re every on the exact same page!

What Is a Puppy Mill?

The term puppy mill defines a large-scale breeding operation. Think of a farm, but specifically for dogs. Some puppy mills specialization in one or two breeds, while others develop mixed breeds and designer mixes.

Smaller dogs are regularly stacked on optimal of each other in cages, whereas bigger dogs might be in open-air runs.

The greatest hallmark of a puppy mill is its emphasis ~ above profit and volume end the welfare and also health of the dogs.


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The second study found that “The odds the displaying destructiveness, too much barking, fearfulness on walks, reactivity to noises, toy possessiveness, food possessiveness and also attention-seeking were significantly greater because that the dog that had been gotten rid of from the litter earlier throughout the socialisation period.”

Of course, part puppy mill dogs space sweet as can be and don’t have any kind of behavior troubles — yet don’t count on it.

What to Know prior to Adopting a Puppy Mill Rescue Dog

For the function of this article, i’m going come assume the we’re talking about adopting an adult puppy mill dog native a rescue or shelter. If you’ve rescued a puppy, you may see several of the exact same things — or you may be able to counteract some results with good socialization.

1. Mean a long Road because that Housetraining

Housetraining puppy mill dogs deserve to be exceptionally difficult. These dogs, indigenous a young age, are required to live in tiny cages with their very own excrement. Once a dog learns the it’s OK to sleep in her very own poo, it’s very hard to break the habit.

Patience, diligence, and also lots that treats can teach your puppy mill dog to “go” outside, however this might take month or even years. V adult puppy mill dogs, you might never totally potty train her dog.


2. Her Puppy Mill Dog Might always Be Skittish the Strangers and new Things.

There’s a lot that we have the right to do to aid teach your dog come be an ext confident around brand-new things.

Reward-based training and learning concept tell us that we deserve to reward our dogs because that noticing “scary things,” and also over time the food rewards will decrease your dog’s fear of those things.

But the hard, and also it’s a lengthy road.

For part puppy mill dogs, the human being is simply too scary to ever before feel confident through strangers and new things. As soon as they action outside, lock inundated with scary things — the whole world is favor a haunted house.

Given what we know about stress hormones and also the emerging brain, it’s most likely that puppy mill dogs have physically and chemically different brains 보다 dogs with healthy and balanced puppyhoods.

3. You need Patience, Treats, and much more Patience.

Unfortunately, puppy mill rescue dogs need an ext than just love. Giving this dogs space and enabling them to lull themselves is incredibly important.

Try no to take it personal if your new puppy mill dog is fear of you – it may take longer to earn your trust than with normal dogs. In most cases, your puppy mill dog will ultimately bond with you – yet this can take months fairly than hours.

Of course, time won’t heal every wounds because that these dogs. Allow your new dog change to she life, however be certain to usage treats to show her that things space nice. Usage the procedures outlined in our write-up on socializing aggressive dog to teach your new dog the the people isn’t therefore scary.

With puppy mill dogs, it’s important to think in terms of weeks, months, or years for fixing actions problems — not hrs or days.

The “treat and retreat” method is among the most crucial training skills for owners of puppy mill dogs. This technique involves tossing treats behind a fear dog so the she it s okay to retreat native the scary thing once she go to obtain it. That much more effective 보다 trying to coax her in the direction of the scary thing!


Years of poor diet deserve to also an outcome in deficiencies, delicate bones, kidney issues, liver issues, and also much more. Cataracts and also eye concerns are common.

Shoddy genetics thanks to haphazard reproduction can result in many of other expensive veterinary measures ranging indigenous correcting i know good dysplasia and luxating patellas come soft palate surgery for short-nosed dogs.

Giving a puppy mill dog suitable veterinary care is a noble and also beautiful point to execute — however it have the right to be expensive. Store this in mental if you’re no in a position to put considerable finances into your dog’s vet care.

5. Your Puppy Mill Dog might Be much more Comfortable with a Buddy

Puppy mill dog are usually used come being around other dog 24/7.

While I definitely don’t recommend acquiring a second dog just to benefit your struggling puppy mill dog (you should only acquire a new dog if the whole family desires a second dog), a socially savvy dog companion deserve to do wonders to bring your worried puppy mill pooch the end of her shell.


At the sanctuary I offered to work at, we frequently used friendly dog to help teach fearful puppy mill dog to be more confident. Friend may be able to do the exact same if you have friends through social dog or if you already have a second dog.

Of course, not all puppy mill dog love various other dogs. But since most puppy mill pooches are increased side-by-side with other pups, girlfriend can regularly use their need for canine companionship to your advantage!

6. Part Puppy Mill Dogs struggle with healthy and balanced Relationships

Some owners really struggle to connect emotionally through their brand-new puppy mill dogs.

It have the right to be devastating to have actually a new dog that’s afraid the you (and terrified of your vacuum, and also plastic bags, and also the beeping microwave, and also just about everything else). It’s difficult not to take this personally. This lack of emotional link can do it also harder to attend to health or behavior issues.

On the upper and lower reversal side, part puppy mill rescue dogs end up being borderline obsessed with their owners. They space constantly clingy with their owners and also experience full-on panic when left alone. These dog may advantage from canine behavioral medication.

Separation anxiety and general distress at gift left alone is extremely typical in puppy mill dogs, and it’s other you’ll likely need to work-related on through a reliable dog behaviorist.

7. Rehabilitating A Puppy Mill Dog deserve to Be incredibly Rewarding

It’s not all doom and also gloom. Rehabilitating a puppy mill dog is among the best learning experience that numerous dog owners deserve to take on.

Helping a embarrassy dog come the end of she shell, earning her trust, and teaching her the the people is in reality a nice location makes her heart thrive to three times that size.

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If you up for the challenge, adopting a puppy mill rescue dog is just one of the most amazing things you deserve to do together a dog owner. Just be certain that you understand what you’re getting into so that you and also your dog room both set up because that success.

What execute you love around your puppy mill rescue dog? What go you get rid of together? let us recognize in the comments!