Updated: Feb 29
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Sometimes I feel like we make new breeders feel like the overweight teen with acne and social anxiety paging through Vogue or a Victoria's Secret catalogue.
In the smaller breeder community in which I tend to live we have high standards and high expectations (often contrary to the perception of some outside of it). Standards for health clearances, for temperament, for puppy rearing practices, for knowledge of disease and coat and color genetics, and more.
And I'm glad we do. But we need to remember that we all started out with nothing, knowing nothing. We had to build our programs and our knowledge, and that didn't happen overnight.
We worked—and continue to work—hard at it. We are right fully proud of it. But we are still learning and growing. And we need to remember what it was like getting started. How confusing, how hard, how expensive, how discouraging at times.
When new people come to our community looking for advice, we can berate them and humiliate them and tell them how awful and stupid they are because they don't know anything. And they will go away and never learn a thing other than how horrible dog breeders are to them. And they are right.
Or we can embrace them and help them understand that there's a big learning curve. There's a lot to do. We may even need to take the time to convince them that they need to do these important things. But we can be there to help them. We can show them all of the things they need to do to have best practices, to produce excellent puppies. And we can understand that this doesn't happen at once, it doesn't happen overnight and we can be there for them as they discover and learn.
And there are days I'm not sure if I'm the seasoned pro or the newbie. So please be nice to me. And the other newbies out there.
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