What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “Dog flipping?” At one time, I would have imagined a small, fluffy white dog dancing on its hind legs before doing a backflip. Now, however, my mental picture is very different and very disturbing. Dog flipping is the term for acquiring a dog for free or very inexpensively and re-selling the dog quickly for a profit. There is no thought given for the welfare of the dog, and the dogs are often placed into very bad situations.

Dog flippers are interested in making a profit. The first part of their plan involves getting dogs for free, or very inexpensively. They troll Craigslist, Facebook groups and newspaper ads to find dogs. “Free to a good home” ads are their favorites, and they go to great lengths to assure you they’ll provide a wonderful home for your dogs. This is a profitable business for them, so they are prepared to give you the answers you want to hear. They talk about the wonderful home they’ll provide for your dog, often mention children that will love the dog, big fenced yards and lots of time to spend with the dog. They work hard to sound like the perfect home for the pet you’re attempting to place. Another tactic of flippers is to place “hard luck” ads on Craigslist, claiming to have lost a beloved dog due to unfortunate circumstances and begging for another dog to love, despite the fact that they can’t afford an adoption fee.

Dogs acquired by flippers face an uncertain future. The lucky ones are sold, at a profit, into another home; the kind you thought the dog was getting initially. Those fortunate dogs are in the minority though. Purebred, intact females are often sold to high volume breeders and used as breeders; forced to live in small pens or cages and produce litter after litter until incapable of producing, then disposed of. Other dogs, and many mixed breeds, are accumulated and sold to research facilities, or to those who will use them as bait dogs in the training of fighting dogs. The flippers typically keep the dogs in very poor conditions between the time they acquire the dogs and when they place them.

If you need to rehome your dog, how do you prevent him from ending up in the hands of a flipper? The most important rule is to never give your dog to someone you don’t know personally. If you advertise your dog in any venue, make sure you name an adoption fee. A minimum fee of $25 to $50 should be charged for any dog. Purebred dogs should have a higher fee, to minimize potential profits. Having your pet spayed or neutered prior to advertising them is also a good idea. Good pet homes will appreciate having this detail taken care of, while this will make the dog less attractive to those wishing to profit from him. Use a low-cost spay/neuter clinic and roll the cost into the adoption fee.

If you’re willing to put even more effort into rehoming your dog, ask the potential adopter for references, including their current or previous veterinarian. Call the references and ask questions. Another great idea is to conduct a home visit. Go to the home and see the conditions your dog will be living in. Make sure you get the address early in the conversation, long before you mention your desire to conduct a home visit, so you can’t be misdirected to a different home. If the potential adopter is not willing to let you come to their home, don’t turn your dog over to them.

Your dog depends on you to provide a lifetime of love. Before placing your dog, evaluate the situation and look for a way to honor your commitment to him by keeping him in the home that he loves. Putting effort into solving the issues that make you want to place him can make both of you happy. If you’re forced to place him, give yourself plenty of time to do the job properly. Charge a reasonable adoption fee, ask lots of questions, and find a home where your dog can be someone else’s best friend.


Karlene Turkington, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, is a lifelong animal lover who has been training dogs for over 20 years. Readers are welcomed to send their questions to: info@TrainMyK-9.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for possible inclusion in future columns. Information provided here is a basic overview of issues. Specific health or behavioral concerns should be discussed with your veterinarian or qualified animal trainer or behaviorist.