craigslist puppies?

Within the past few months, I've had a boon of clients with puppies and dogs adopted through the online networking site craigslist. People list everything on craigslist from job listings to personal ads to items for sale including the kitchen sink (literally). There is little regulation of the millions of self-published ads on the site, other than ads being removed if fraud is reported.

Some dogs from craigslist were "free to good homes" while others were purchased or include a mysterious "rehoming fee" from private individuals. Many pups younger than 8 weeks old, in critical socialization periods and have already had a least one "owner" with ads that include similar phrases such as "moving and can't keep" or "son/daughter allergic".

Surprisingly, one local animal shelter is also on the craigslist bandwagon, posting ads that either include phrases of desperation, "last day for Spot" or highlighting potentially serious behavioral issues "does not do well with children or strangers".

A part of me always got the creeps from craigslist, even before these puppies/dogs started appearing in my classes and private consultations. I'm seeing behavioral issues of one degree or another in every craigslist puppy/dog. One puppy particularly that is lacking any degree of sociability and bites without warning when touched or handled at seven weeks old.

From my perspective, a great majority of the craigslist ads raise red flags that most unsuspecting dog lovers would not pick up on. We, the dog training community, needs to ramp up our efforts to educate the public at large on adopting sound, social puppies and dogs and the importance of early socialization and training.

I'm very curious about other people's experiences with dogs coming from craigslist and suggestions on how we, as dog trainers, can help.