The pet overpopulation crisis is described as a surplus of companion animals. The only way to reduce this overpopulation is to prevent the 'oops litter' by spaying and neutering pets and to prevent the people who are mass producing them, the puppy mills. This requires a grass roots educational effort on the importance of spaying and neutering and a solution to the mass breeding issue.

Dog Trainers are in an excellent position to educate pet owners. If the dog training community can take advantages of opportunities to educate the public, pet overpopulation may be a story that we tell our grandchildren one day “(Risen p 26 2007)

So as a dog trainer what approach would I take to help educate the public?  Well first and foremost I would encourage people to look at animal shelters as a source for their new dog.  I would help them select the right dog and then make training affordable to them so the companion animal they rescue can live happily by their side, in their home. Let’s be honest, highly trained dogs do not usually end up in shelters. This does not mean that a shelter dog is a bad choice, whether you adopt and older dog or buys a puppy if you want to ensure a long term constructive relationship some training is a must.

Secondly I would help pet dog owners understand that just because 'Toby" is a delightful dog does not mean he is a superior being from which to breed. Reputable breeders usually sell the puppies that they do not wish to continue breeding from because the puppy has a fault. These puppies are usually sold as pet dogs and come with spay and neuter contracts to ensure the gene fault is not continued.

If you breed your pet dog think about their puppies and their puppies puppies and so on. Then think about all the pure-bred dogs in rescue organizations. Somebody bred these puppies thinking they would end up in great homes. If that was the case there would not be thousands of then in breed rescue groups, local animal control facilities and humane societies.

Do what is right and  leave the breeding to the experts. Spay or neuter your companion animal and do not overlook that some of the 'best' dogs have come from shelter environments, they were somebody else s cast off. There is no humane way to kill, euthanize, an animal.

Riesen. M  Journal of Applied Companion Animal Behavior Vol. 1., No. 1. 2007 .