"Maybe, I should close my kennel?" Every experienced breeder has asked themselves this. Why is that? Have they stopped loving their breed? For every true breeder breeding is not a job, it's a life style, a cause you dedicate the most precious thing you have – your free time. The cause that intertwines with your life so closely that it's not so easy to just pluck it out and throw away.
What is actually behind this burnout?
In 99% of the cases it's the exhaustion from the routine tasks that needed to be done yesterday and accumulated stress from knowing what's ahead of you when you have a litter of puppies or kittens coming. As a result, you are tired of the crazy pace where there's no time for rest, only running in circles.

A typical breeder's Groundhog Day: plan a litter, deliver puppies or kittens, raise the litter, remember that you need to advertise and negotiate with potential owners, sell, keep helping with recommendations and advice. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Let's see why this stressful lifestyle even occurs in the first place.
We will start from afar, working up to the answer.

In the reality of the modern, rapidly changing world the process of buying something has changed. The amount of spontaneous buys like "I see it, I like it, I get it" has reduced significantly. The events of the past few years, like the pandemic and switching to online, have only sped up the development of this trend giving potential customers an opportunity to shop for options without personal communication or any commitment on either side. As a result, the majority of people prefer to shop purposefully, carefully weighing their decisions and studying the goods and the amount of offers available, along with the seller's reputation. This has influenced all areas of our lives. Even more so, the lives of breeders and future pet owners who are scupulously choosing a member of their family.
Talking about our field, we can say that future owners research everything beforehand – what breed they want or where they can find puppies of this breed. They also evaluate breeders by their reputation and reliability. Obviously, owners who have this approach to choosing a puppy or a kitten have a higher level of responsibility than impulse buyers. They research the specifics of a breed, weighing all pros and cons, and come for a puppy or kitten with a clear understanding of how much time and effort they need to spend on pet care. Any breeder would love to have such owners for their protégés.
Buy also, when it comes to getting a puppy or a kitten, quite often you come across impulse buyers. They are those who liked a picture on the internet or a neighbor's dog of the same breed and then googled your ad with an intention to buy. And then... "Why is it so expensive? Can I come, have a look? What if it doesn't work, can I return it? Send me videos and photos, I'll think about about and let you know in a week."
In addition, they have no knowledge of breed's specifics and no understanding of the level of responsibility one has for a future pet. Every customer like that is exhausting. Those conversations are a waste of time and effort. Most of the time they get rejected anyway by breeders themselves for not meeting the criteria of a good owner. In the end, only one or two out of ten get to the point of actual sale.
As a result, breeders waste precious time and nerves on the whole process and get disappointed in one of the key parts of breeding – owners.
All that especially applies to polytocous breeds when you start mentally preparing yourself for the process of looking for owners while waiting for the litter to arrive and are already panicking in advance because you expect most of them to be the impulse buyers.

How does all that correlate with the burnout from breeding, you might ask?
It's a direct correlation.

Because a kennel or cattery aside, every breeder has a family, a job and their everyday life with all the tasks, problems, and joys. The majority of breeders have this routine: while there are no litters, they pay attention to their family, work, etc. As soon as the litter is born, they switch to raising it and looking for owners. Considering that the workload increases significantly after babies are born while other responsibilities don't go anywhere, this additional task of advertising your litter becomes even harder.
When puppies or kittens reach four months and they still don't have permanent homes, breeders now have more work to raise proper teenage puppies and kittens. And then you have the additional stress of not being able to find owners that will meet your expectations.
Finally, after all puppies and kittens have left for their respective homes, breeders dive back into the family, work and their adult dogs trying to compensate for the lost time. This vicious circle goes on and on, from litter to litter. Gradually, you acuumulate the burnout. From the intention to fulfill an interesting mating to the fear that part of the litter will stay with you forever or will just wait for too long. This running in circles leads to the inevitable thought – maybe, I should close my kennel or cattery? Why do I even need all this when, instead of being a breeder, I am turning into a seller who is desperately trying to show the value of my puppies or kittens to a random person? And then apathy comes.
But what if we cut out the exhausting part, where we are looking for future owners, from the process?

Just imagine this for a second: a breeder is raising their litter in peace, not wasting any time on posting photos and finding the best angles; not picking any weird calls about unexpected viewings this weekend and definitely not answering half-accusing questions about the prices.
A breeder is simply raising a much-anticipated litter, then delivers babies to their owners on a proper and convenient timeline. Then chooses a perspective puppy or kitten to raise themselves knowing that even if something goes wrong, this puppy or kitten will have a loving home.
Let's also imagine that all those owners waiting for puppies and kittens have a clear understanding of all the specifics of pet care and raising this breed, have no doubts about the value of the puppy or kitten, and don't try to dictate their terms.
In this scenario, any breeder won't have a single thought about closing their kennel or cattery because they have everything they need to be secure about the future and about the relevance of their beloved occupation which they put so much energy in.
What should a breeder do so that there wasn't even a question about burnout ever again?
In a nutshell, you need to get rid of the common practice of kennel or cattery promotion known as "needed yesterday" and include those tasks into your daily routine. It's much simpler than it seems. And it's definitely easier, more productive and peaceful than trying to promote your kennel or cattery while racing against the clock.
This change of promotion algorithm leads not only to a change in that vicious litter-to-litter circle, but also to saving resources – physical and financial. A nice bonus, on top of the peace of mind and satisfaction from doing what you love, is being able to refocus your energy to solving other objectives.
The important thing to understand is that all breeders will eventually get to the point of changing the algorithm. Some will do it sooner than later, others will take more time. But those who don't want to change will be forced to spend even more time and effort – or to quit. Because the world isn't standing in place, and when you move with it, among the first ones to do so, you reach your maximum efficiency.
Let's circle back to the beginning of our conversation about customers. Precisely, to the shift in buying trends from impulse buys to more considerate purchases, and to mindful buyers and their search algorithm.
Their search is substantially different from an impulse buyer who is looking to get a puppy or a kitten today and right now.
A mindful owner spends more than two days on their research, and they don't start with sale adds. They start with researching information about the breed and its specifics. They do it in advance while also getting to know kennels (or catteries) and breeders they find in the process. Can they find you? Something tells me, they can't unless they get to the fifth page of GoogleSearch results. Even when kennel (or cattery) or breeder is shown on the first page of search results, they don't have the information that a future owner needs. They have a Facebook/Instagram page with a month-old pictures of puppies or kittens. Maybe, there's also an archaic website with general statements and show results. But that's not what a mindful customer comes for, and it's definitely not something that will help them remember you.
Their next search would be "kennel/breeder of this breed." Great if they get you in results, but what if they don't? Notice how these two searches didn't have "puppy" or "buy" in them? Still, the potential customer is already in the process of making a decision.
Only their last search would be "where to buy". And even this is not a given. Because if during the previous searches they got results with the same kennel or cattery that have provided all the information over and over again, the place to buy is obvious. And most owners will be willing to wait for a puppy or kitten from this breeder for as long as necessary. First of all, because it is not an impulse buy. They know that puppies and kittens are not some sort of "always in stock" goods. Second, the information provided by the breeder was convincing and credible.

So what exactly does a breeder need to change in the algorithm?
In short, the order in which they present information about their breed, their animals, their breeding process, and themselves. They need to become available when a future owner is searching for a breed. To create their own pool of people interested in their breed before a litter is born.
Yes, this will require you to completely reorganize the way you look for future owners. But this will also result in mindful, truly interested people coming to you. It will save you from the endless empty calls and requests. It gives you an opportunity to choose owners – yes, as a breeder, you choose too – in peace, according to your preferences. Moreover, it will allow you to create a type of owners you want to come to you.
What happens if the algorithm doesn't change? The best case scenario, you are forever living in the Groudhog Day. In the worst case, you get physically and emotionally burned out and start asking yourself – should I close my kennel or cattery? Even if you don't change your algorithm, others will. They will take a free niche and the number of available mindful owners will reduce.
Of course, most breeders have a very vague idea of how to make this change right, with minimal costs. Some think that launching paid ads is the change of the algorithm. But I have two pieces of news for you – one good, the other even better.
First, breeders can go ahead and scratch paid ads from their list of expenses since their effectiveness for breeders is zero.
Second, the process of switching to a new promotion algorithm has been tested and turned out to be very effective. The successful cases of our alumni are the direct proof of that.
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It is a platform dedicated to ethican dog and cat breeders worldwide. It is all about the new approach toward the online promotion of the breeding program and ongoing support for responsible breeders who love their breed and do their best to develop their kennel.
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