You might think this article is about myths that different breeds of dogs and cats have around them. Nope. We are going to talk about the myths surrounding kennel and cattery life that breeders create themselves.
They are the ones that bring constant anxiety into a breeder's life – they prevent us from making plans, create uncertainty and switch our attention and efforts from the main goals to minor issues. There are not that many of those myths but they are so prevailing that sometimes they seems like an integral part of breeding and running a kennel or cattery. Because those are firm beliefs. But what's more important, they are false beliefs.

In this article we will talk about typical false beliefs in detail, as well as discuss the reasons and solutions.

What false beliefs are most common?
We will not analyze all existing false beliefs. There are quite a few of them but most are more or less similar and have the same algorithm to solve the issue. Here are the main ones.
he most common myth about experience is that it is very hard for young breeders to sell their first litters. Young breeders don't have a name or reputation, nobody has heard about them. They don't have the advantage of attending a lot of shows and winning a lot of prizes.

Who will even choose a puppy or a kitten from a young breeder? – is the question they ask. And this is exactly the reason why aspiring breeders usually wait for a few years to have their first litter, even though they had enough knowledge and drive the moment they registered their kennel or cattery. But the negative experience and veteran stories about the hardships of finding owners that even famous breeders have stop them in their tracks.

In rality, the hardships have nothing to do with experience. It is the matter of promoting your kennel or cattery in advance before the mating and birth of puppies or kittens.
And the challenges that experienced breeders have selling their litters result from another false belief about experience. And it's "I have been working for a long time with the breed, everybody knows me."

Who is everybody? And how do breeders come to the idea that everybody knows them when even Google doesn't know about them? By the way, Google is the first thing a modern customer and future owner will go to. That's a small insight for you right here.
But then these confident breeders don't get more future owners while still staying more and more convinced of their amazing reputation.
Breed belief
These might be my favorite because they are so diverse while also being typical and easy to overcome.
Breeders are convinced that each breed has more popular varieties – due to color patterns or coat types – and impossible to sell varieties.
For example, every cat or dog breed that has a variety of colors, also has a certain color that is more in demand. According to breeders, this popularity is defined by future owners and not breeders themselves.
Why does it happen? Maybe, because Internet is flooded with this color and there's no information that breed standard has other colors? Is it truly future owners' fault that after looking at all the photos and reading all not so detailed posts, they saw this particular color in 99% of the cases? And then after checking a breeder's page, they see – again! – this color being showcased? Because what? Right, the breeder is convinced that this color is the most popular.
And there are myriads of such beliefs. Every breed has its own – hairless vs powderpuff; fluffy vs standard; long tail vs bobtail. This list goes on forever. The only common thing they have is the solution that depends solely on the breeder's actions.
Before working with breeders during Marketing for Breeders course, I rarely heard that a location or a region can influence the demand or the pricing in a kennel or cattery. But after the start of the course it became clear that more than half of the participats are convinced that the challenges they face – low visibility of their kennel/cattery, not being able to find owners, feeling anxious about raising prices or even not getting an opportunity to establish decent average prices – are directly connected to the location of their kennel or cattery. And those were people from different European and CIS countries, from different regions – both big metropolitan areas and distant rural communities.
Some of the breeders were convinced that the goals they had set within the course would be hard to achieve because of that. But we accomplished everything, and no region was in the way of that. For some it was even an advantage because their remote location allowed them to occupy a whole niche. Because if you change the approach and build your promotion correctly, the only thing that the region of your kennel or cattery can really influence is logistics. And even logistics isn't a critical factor when you have a proper promotion and know how to attract future owners.

The beliefs about demand for puppies and kittens being seasonal are the most popular and as old as time.
This includes seasons of the year, vacations and holiday schedules, fiscal year and tax season, and Canadian geese migration patterns. Did Canadian geese and fiscal year make you smile? Well, the geese are the only one I haven't actually heard from the breeders before. All the other reasons above are the actual beliefs that breeders have about why their sales fail and puppies wait for their owners longer. In reality, there are future owners that want to get a puppy or a kitten while they are on vacation, and not the other way around. Besides, there are conscious and responsible future owners that are willing to wait for a puppy or kitten from your kennel or cattery even if it takes more than half a year.

The only thing that has been truly seasonal is the pandemic. The market has changed indeed, and the demand for pets has increased significantly.
The major headache all breeders have is puppies and kittens staying and waiting for too long. This pain is so strong that they start felling it in the first weeks after a litter is born and only strong-willed ones can survive the first month.

But if after two months somebody doesn't have owners, the pain turns into panic. And here comes urgent advertising and mass posting and on top of that all – a picture of a three-month-old signed "Still looking for a good home! Reasonable price!" while the voices in their head keep saying "everybody wants them small and cheap" on repeat.
Only when you start asking breeders what exactly was done beforehand to avoid this headache along with the forced but necessary price dumping, it turns out – nothing. Because breeders feel that they have nothing to show before the puppies or kittens arrive and while the little ones are growing, there's nothing to tell about. So when the time they are overgrown comes and the breeders start advertising these puppies and kittens, future owners are suddenly not in any rush to come calling after the first announcements.

By the way, fighting these beliefs happened to be a hard job. It took time to convince experienced breeders that there is no reason to panic. Instead, there is a clear algorithm that is worth using to prepare for a litter birth. Young breeders had easier time accepting that. The algorithm that allows a breeder to wait for a litter birth knowing that they already have people in line, or that they will have these people as soon as they make a small post "the puppies (or kittens) are born!" The only hard part of the algorithm is preparing in advance so that you don't have to go through a pile of tasks after.
Moreover, there's even an algorithm that allows to deal with even more pressing issues. We have had so many people coming to the course with the issue of litters waiting for too long or having adolescent dogs or cats. And most of them got a waiting list for the next birth.

The same is true for a belief about adolescents which a breeder leaves in a kennel or cattery to raise. Marketing tools allow you to find an owner who might want a more grown pet in case this puppy or kitten didn't meet breeder's expectations. And you will be confident about the wellbeing and happiness of this puppy or kitten.
Advertising beliefs
These beliefs are very different from others because they give hope and lead to a bitter disappointment at the same time.
Breeders are convinced that paid adds in social media work as long as you launch them. There are even successful examples and stories from other breeders who made it work. But the disappointment is very bitter when those who decide to pay for the adds don't have any results but money spent. As a rule, everybody prefers to hold this back, so the number of those who believe in a "magical add button" grows, along with the number of those disappointed by it.
It's hard for me to say where this belief about online promotion comes from. The belief that it's enough to have a logo and everything will work out. That if you have an Instagram account with thousands of followers and numerous likes on Facebook, owners will find you on their own. All of them are false. In the best case, they aren't very harmful. In the worst case, they create a false feeling that your kennel or cattery is popular.
Yes, social media, branding, a site and a logo are the marketing tools that are necessary for online promotion. But as with any other tools, you need to know how to use them.

Why do false beliefs appear?
Short answer: all those false beliefs are created by breeders themselves.
They come to life based on survivor bias (when conclusions are made using invalid data) because breeders are sharing their observations and personal experiences.
Even myths about seasonal demand or color preferences appeared because of breeders and not customers.
In reality, all these beliefs are far-fetched. A future owner when starting the search for their breed (we talked about this in Groundhog Day) isn't driven by seasons, colors or breeder's experience. They are interested in how to find a breeder or a kennel/cattery for a specific breed.
On the other hand, breeders, who are convinced that nobody needs puppies or kittens off-season, are waiting for the season to begin or for the babies to grow up a little before announcing they even have puppies or kittens. And the chance that this moment will coincide with a potential owner on a search is zero to none.
Meaning, without understanding promotion mechanisms breeders keep making the same mistakes while looking for owners and advertising their breeds and litters. They get disappointed and this confirms their false beliefs further. Which in turn passes the beliefs on and on. Wash, rinse, repeat. Young breeders watch how more experienced people promote their kennels/catteries and litters, and then make same mistakes absorbing the same false beliefs.

How to get rid of false beliefs?
I could say that getting rid of the influence these beliefs have on a breeder's life and work is easy. But this wouldn't be true. Because this requires breeders to work on themselves and on learning online promotion tools.
Why on themselves? Because they will need to discover themselves and their kennel or cattery from a completely new side. From the side that future owners can see. And you would need not only to discover but also make sure that future owners can find you, can see you and then want to stay with you.
We seriously underestimate the part that preliminary contact plays while it's one of the secrets of successful promotion. It's proper presentation, history and portfolio that can successfully guarantee your visibility and not a logo. Logo is an accessory. A smart portfolio is not only about photos, it's about presenting yourself, your dogs and cats, your breed and your kennel or cattery to a bigger audience. A beautiful portfolio will always attract audience, but a proper one will always attract YOUR audience that will stay with you. This has been tested out by the breeders in our course.
And smart promotion requires marketing tools that will create it. Do you need to have a marketing degree for that? No. Using marketing tools in cynology and felinology is relatively simple, but also has its particularities. And you will hardly hear about them in a university marketing class. I am sure that only a breeder understands the specifics of kennel or cattery operation and can adapt marketing to breeders' needs. And that is the secret of our course – combining marketing and breeding. It's the understanding of all ins and outs as a breeder that gave me this opportunity.
By the way, initially in the fall of 2019 the idea for this project was born thanks to a false belief of one breeder I know who was convinced that it's impossible to find suitable owners for big polytocous breeds – like Dogue de Bordeaux – within two weeks.

Back then I helped her to solve this problem and this case helped me realize how understanding marketing can be useful for breeders. Half a year later this breeder sent me a photo of a puppy from that litter who won the first prize as Best in Show in a European dog show.

And now two years after the launch of the course I am looking at sites and social media accounts of my alumni and listening to their stories of how their lives have changed after the course and how owners come flocking to them. And they never mention their previous beliefs in these stories.
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