Responsible breeders answer buyers’ questions, responsible buyers answer breeder’s questions. A great breeder isn’t after the highest bidder but rather tries to find the best new home for the puppies. There is only one way to find out, it is by asking the potential buyer some clear questions – by email, over the phone or during a visit, it does not really matter.
If the clients are bothered or getting annoyed, they do not deserve to welcome a dog in the first place; they should understand that as a responsible dog breeder, you want to place your puppies in the best families possible. You are the expert here – and they are evaluated as carefully as they evaluate you.
Why do you want a dog?
What kind of breeder does not want to know why his dog’s new home wants a companion? This is where you start to know the intentions behind the new owners and can make sure they are picking the right dog for themselves. Use your common sense and experience to know if the client is trustworthy and does not want a Christmas gift that will end up in a shelter a year later.
Why have you chosen this breed?
Once your understand the reasons behind the need for a dog, you can narrow it down to why they are going for this breed specifically. You should know your breed by heart, its ins and outs so you can genuinely inform your potential buyer about the dog and whether or not this breed is really suited to their needs and expectations. Evaluate the owner’s lifestyle and make sure it is compatible with your dog.
Who is responsible for the dog's care?
Because owning a dog is not just a privilege – it’s also a huge responsibility to bear over time. Daily care and attention, monthly check ups and punctual emergencies, it is not always easy. Who is in charge of all the duties inherent to welcoming a pet in a household? Responsibilities can be shared but it should be clear from day 1 so when any situation arises, people will deal with it promptly and efficiently.
Do you have the time to meet the demanding needs of the puppy/dog for feeding, training and exercise?
Some breeds require more exercise than others, and within a litter, some puppies will need more training than others. Inform the potential owner and see if they can handle the workload that comes bundled with any puppy. Feeding a dog is not about scooping kibble out of a bag, it is making sure the food is enjoyed by your dog. Training is not just about potty training, it is offering your companion the best socialisation possible. Exercise can be playing fetch with some breeds but some working dogs will need a lot more than a sprint to fulfil their daily exercise requirements. You know your breed and your dogs more than anyone else, you better let your potential owners know before they get overwhelmed with the tasks at hand.
Are there any children? If so, how old are they? How would they be instructed in the care of the dog?
Children love dogs and most dogs love children but extra caution is needed when there is a baby or a child in the house. Explain how the children should be told to behave around the dog and make sure the potential owners have the experience or, at least, the knowledge to deal with hypothetical situations (even the worst ones) such as the dog becoming aggressive towards the child. It is best for your reputation and your dogs to anticipate any issue that could occur in the future.
Does anyone in the household have allergies?
People planning to welcome a dog usually know whether or not there is someone with allergies but it costs 30 seconds to ask. While no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, there are a number of breeds that are much more compatible with the allergy sufferers.
These almost hypoallergenic dog breeds include:
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Bichon Frise
- Coton de Tulear
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Small Schnauzer
- Giant Schnauzer
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- American Hairless Terrier
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Spanish Water Dog
- Spanish Water Dog
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
Are you committed to the grooming and health maintenance?
It is know by all experienced and passionate dog breeders that these little (sometimes huge) companions require grooming and an attentive eye on their health and fitness level. It takes time, effort and at times a lot of money to keep your puppy and dog healthy. It is a facet new dog owners underestimate but you have to make sure they leave you fully aware of what they are entitled to with this particular dog breed and with this particular dog.
What is your attitude toward training and obedience?
Whether your are selling an apartment dog or a herding bitch, you have to learn more about the potential owner’s training plan: the basic education, the obedience, the time allowed for it and their overall attitude toward all of it. If you have tips, share them; if you have warnings, warn them.
Make sure the future dog owner is well aware of the modern ways to socialize a dog to avoid undesired problematic behaviors at a later stage in life.
How often is someone at home?
We are talking about the Man’s bestfriend, certainly not a selfish loner. Be sure that your dog’s home will give it enough attention, love and quality time on a daily basis. A dog without its master is a sad dog so if they work all day, they must endeavour to get the puppy used to this routine from day 1. A dog will react badly if the first weeks are spent with their master non-stop, and suddenly, the master disappears 10 hours a day. We all have to work and it is ok, just make sure they can give the puppy and dog enough time keep it fulfilled.
Will you have time to walk and play with the dog?
Quality time is not synonym with presence time! Being in the same house is very different to actively playing with the dog and paying attention to its reactions and needs. Rain, heat waves, snow, ice, work, dinner with friends, cinema, date… these are only few reasons why one would not want to go out to walk and play with his dog, but guess what, one has to go out and do it with pleasure! It may not be exciting every day but sacrifices must be made and the dog has to be walked and stimulated, regardless of its owner’s imperatives and mood swings.
Are you aware of the costs involved in veterinary care, buying quality dog food, boarding the dog when away, annual license fees, etc?
Last but not least, perhaps the most underestimated difficulty when buying a new dog is the expenses it represents on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. From veterinary costs and dog insurances, to licensing fees, a pet owner will have to get money out of his pocket and it can sometimes go up very quickly if the owner really care for its companion.