I remember going through my divorce thinking, who in the world is going to date somebody with so many dogs? I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find a mate — I’m a little picky — but more so, I knew I needed to find someone who could love me and my dogs.
When I first met Bill, I had 7 females bred and inadequate facilities. It was like a huge bait’n switch. Things seemed calm, I just had a lot of adult dogs…but then the puppies came, litter after litter. It all started a mere six weeks after we started dating.
I am often surprised he stayed.
If you’re a dog breeder and you’re single, but looking for a companion who will love you – and the slightly chaotic life of being a dog breeder – then you’re in luck. Today, for a little fun, I’m going to discuss the ideal significant others for dog breeders.
First on the list: veterinarians. Being with a veterinarian gives you the hook up on some considerable knowledge and skills, not to mention an easier time with health testing. With any live animal things happen. With live BABY animals, things are even more likely to happen, and with litters the size that dogs have, there’s a higher probability still. It would be so convenient and ideal to have the encyclopedia of knowledge that a veterinarian brings sitting at your dinner table each night.
As a side benefit, they will always have a job, because veterinarians are in very high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. You won’t have to worry your sweetheart’s skillset will leave them struggling for employment. And while most don’t get paid enough money for what they do, they will bring in a nice paycheck. Pair that with your dog income and it’s a match made in heaven.
If you do date or marry a veterinarian, you’ll need to be patient when they need to stay late at the clinic or work odd hours, as you know, their skills are in high demand. So, as a good supportive mate, you’ll need to share them a little.
While a veterinarian is great, don’t brush off a vet tech. Vet techs finish school much sooner, have a more flexible schedule than a vet, and are fairly well-versed from just being immersed in the veterinary world. As a bonus, they’ll usually have the personal numbers of veterinarians should you need to ask a few favors. You’ll probably get priority at the veterinary clinic and, I’ll be honest, I think vet techs usually have better style with their scrubs – not that fashion is everything, but it certainly is fun.
Vet techs, like veterinarians, will always have a job, too. Vets simply can’t do it all on their own. The pay isn’t as high as some jobs, but it’s not low either.
There is a chance both a veterinarian and vet tech partner will bring home viruses or bacteria that can infect your puppies, so it will be beneficial to have a good laundry and shoe sanitation routine. Your love will be trained on this, so it’s more a matter of making the system at home.
While medical assistance is fantastic, it becomes less necessary as you get better and better with your puppies. My preventative measures and natural remedies today prevent many of the vet visits that I took in my earlier years as a breeder.
If you’d prefer to have someone who is with dogs on a daily basis, consider a dog trainer. Dog trainers wonderfully complement dog breeding. Training is one of the most difficult things buyers deal with after taking their puppy home. House training, manners, and basic obedience, like recall, are so impactful to the success of your buyers. Having a trainer as a significant other allows you to provide excellent service to your buyers.
Not to mention your own personal dogs will be very well trained, making them excellent ambassadors to your program. Imagine your significant other using your main stud as a neutral dog he takes with him to train other dogs, taking enrichment and management of your stud off your plate AND helping advertise how wonderful your dogs are. Your buyers will swoon meeting such a well-trained dog and will want one for themselves.
As an added benefit, a trainer and breeder tag team is ideal for an added source of steady training clients. You could sell a puppy plus training package at the time of purchase for a discount and set your buyers up for success. Additionally, your trainer significant other will know your dogs in and out and be the best at training them, quirks and all.
You might even work as a team with the puppies to start them on some basic commands by the time they are ready to go home.
The downsides to being with a dog trainer are few. Again, there is potential for them to bring home viruses or bacteria, but less so than a vet, because people don’t care much to train their dog if he’s sick. There is potential for a lot of dog traffic at your home if your partner trains from there, but you’ll have a wonderful flexible schedule together, making it easy to travel or go grocery shopping when the grocery store is least busy.
If your trainer partner feels your breed is annoying or difficult to train, that could create some tension in the relationship, but ultimately, the chance of marrying someone who doesn’t understand your breed selection will be unlikely. The breed we select is a reflection of ourselves, so if they didn’t like your breed, they probably wouldn’t like you.
Moving on to groomers. A groomer significant other would be ideal if your dogs require a lot of upkeep. It’s a lot to manage grooming an entire kennel, so having a professional groomer enjoy the dinner you cooked is so helpful. Groomers, like trainers, also have flexible schedules, especially if you set them up with a nice grooming setup in the garage. Not only will they help with the grooming needs of your puppies, but if your owners are local you’ll have some built-in customers. Having well-groomed dogs is ideal for pictures on your website and general marketing. It also boosts a buyer’s impression upon meeting your breeder dogs.
A groomer meets lots of dogs in the area and can help you network with other breeders and potentially new buyers. And, as a side benefit, you won’t have to do any nail-trimming yourself.
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Boarding Facility Owners/Managers
Next, consider dating a dog boarding facility owner or manager. Having someone who understands what it takes to safely manage multiple dogs is so crucial to dog breeding. In contrast, when you have someone who doesn’t understand what it takes to safely manage so many dogs, it becomes a hazard. For example, in the beginning, before my kids were old enough to understand and before I’d built my facilities, my kids didn’t have a great understanding of our home’s back, sliding-glass door. In fact, we had many a close-call when they accidentally let out a stud dog while another stud was out. With someone who understands this dynamic professionally, you’ll have two sets of eyes diligently working to keep everyone safe.
Boarding facility people also understand sanitation and ease of cleaning, and they don’t care all that much about barking – which is ideal. As a bonus, if they already have a facility, it would be easy to bring your breeding program there or expand it to accommodate your breeding program.
You can offer boarding to your buyers and, again, have some built-in clients for the boarding facility. People and their dogs will constantly come and go and word about your dogs will get out locally. Everyone will know what you breed, and where.
As a downside, your program will always be on display, meaning it’ll need to be extra clean and organized, but that’s not too big of a deal when you have two people working together to make it so.
You’ll potentially see new diseases brought onto your property, so you should be cognizant of that and have separate areas for boarded and breeding dogs to exercise and, of course, separate your puppies. However, it would be nice to simultaneously improve both facilities with your profit, making for a very professional-looking program.
Boarding facility owners generally live on the property with their facility, so while neither of you will necessarily get a true break from work, you’ll both share in the understanding of living the job together, and that can bring you closer — maybe closer in psychosis, but closer nonetheless.
A significant other like this will have a more difficult time leaving the job, especially if there are no other employees, but once you have an employee or two you can trust, leaving should be simpler once your facilities and procedures are in place. You might also be able to get a good employee to clean your puppy pens in addition to the other pens, and that could be a VERY exciting side benefit.
Another great partner to select as a dog breeder is a pet-store owner. Pet store owners generally get the best pricing on all things dog food, treats, toys, and all the accessories like crates and beds and the like. The savings from getting items wholesale would be wonderful for your program, not to mention for hooking up your buyers when they purchase a puppy. They get a discount, you make a little more money; it’s a win-win.
When I added dog food to the gun shop, it was great for my buyers. We coordinated pick up at the gun shop where I spent most of my time, allowing flexibility of scheduling, but also giving them a deadline to get to me. I didn’t have people coming at 8 pm to meet me at the store. It was also great because not only did I get fantastic pricing on dog food, but I also always had FRESH dog food. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to unload a fresh pallet of dog food, you know it smells different. It smells good I think – although I’m also weird. My dogs loved the fresh food and it was just a little extra benefit for them.
I also didn’t need to have my facilities picture perfect all the time since I met people at the store, which was helpful when my kids were little. It was always clean enough so the dogs were healthy, but not always in the way that’s pretty for puppy buyers taking pictures of their new puppy.
You don’t want to give your buyers lots of things with their new puppy because you want them to add the value of the purchase of the puppy items to the puppy in their mind, so having a pet store owner partner allows the best of both worlds: you can have them get all the best products you recommend AND they can pay for them, adding the value to the dog in their mind.
You can also benefit your partner because you understand dogs and their needs and can help pick up a few shifts here or there during peak times or seasons. Your knowledge of dogs and products as a dog breeder will carry authority and help your partner to make more sales and set his customers up for success.
Another Dog Breeder
Next on the list is another dog breeder. This can be wonderful, or a nightmare…I’m not sure where the idea of doodles came from, but maybe it was from two lovers who had a golden and a poodle. If you know, send me an email at [email protected], I’d love to know the origin story of doodles.
The greatest thing about being with another dog breeder is they get it. They get the late nights, the wacky schedule, working with puppy buyers, and everything else that goes into it.
If you have competing breeds, it could be a difficulty or a blessing. An oops litter won’t just be unplanned, it’ll carry the risk of a cross. You might have philosophical differences too, which could lead to competition. If you can discuss these differences it’ll bring you closer and improve both your programs. If your dogs need very different things, that can be difficult to manage together, like raising Yorkies and German Shepherds. It could also create some unique financial discussions if one breed is making considerably more money than the other. Which breed would you prioritize finances and facilities?
In an ideal world you’d merge and consider yourselves a breeding team, both working together with your strong areas – although I highly recommend you split poop duty. Nothing creates resentment like cleaning up someone else’s crap.
People who work in the same field get married all the time, and the challenges they face are often balanced by the passion they share.
Sometimes you’ll convert a person into being a dog breeder and it’ll become “our program” instead of “my program.” I remember the first time I heard Bill in conversation with a guy say, “We breed bird dogs.” It made my heart melt, nothing says ‘love’ like taking on someone else’s chaos and dog hair and considering them their own.
Last, but not least, a construction worker. I remember the day. Bill’s eyes were wide, but he tried to remain calm as he was flooded with dog chaos. He slowly, but gently looked me square in the eyes and said, “You need facilities.” I swooned. Now, I may be a little partial to construction guys since being with Bill, but hear me out. Building facilities is complicated and important and, when they work, they make all the difference in the world. Aside from getting discounts on construction services and hook ups from buddies, a construction partner knows better ways to design facilities, not just how to lay them out, but the variety of materials that can be used.
I only knew how to build with wood. I grew up in a home that was constantly under construction, so I knew framing, insulation, and the like, but wood with dogs is a mess, nearly impossible to sanitize. While Bill knows how to frame with wood, he knew all the products and suggested I build my facilities with concrete blocks— which may seem obvious to you, but was an “ah-ha” moment for me.
Construction partners also get access to lots of great tools and machinery. We have a booming forklift that can easily carry 2000-pound pallets of dog food to the backyard. Sometimes we scoop dog food into the backhoe bucket for faster disposal.
Not to mention that your facilities will look a whole lot nicer when done by a professional. I remember I did a lot of things by myself before I had Bill around, and I was proud of the things I did…until I saw his quality of work and realized, “Oh, that’s why he’s a professional.” There’s just a difference that comes from someone who has learned all the little techniques and methods, not to mention they usually have great shoulders.
If you are lucky enough to win the heart of someone in these professions, remember they’re your love and not your workhorse. Always consider their well-being when you ask for help in their profession. Remember, they just spent the whole day doing that job, and now they’re home, ready to relax, and while they want to help you, it can be irritating for them to get back into their work mind after they’re already spent for the day.
With patience, support, and understanding, a balance can always be found, and it ensures you don’t become the “mechanic’s wife” who often, but not always, has the broken car because he’s so tired at the end of the day he doesn’t have the energy to work on yours.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of dog breeder dating satire. I certainly don’t think you should reduce your dating to the above pool, but I would be remiss to fail to recognize the benefit of having Bill in construction and friends in these other dog professions. We simply can’t do it all ourselves, so building a network of people that genuinely care about each other and ALSO have skills in these areas makes the process of dog breeding less exhausting and lonely.
Thank you for listening to another episode of the Honest Dog Breeder Podcast, with me, your host, Julie Swan. I hope you got a little chuckle out of today’s episode and I’d love to know, what’s the profession of your significant other? Has it helped you in your breeding program, even if initially unforeseen?