The Puppy Pack is given by the breeder to the new puppy’s owner at the time of the sale. It is prepared by the breeder of the dog and contains toys, samples, leaflets, and anything the new owner might find useful.
“I don’t know what’s in the box, but I love it because unopened gifts contain hope”, said Jarod Kintz.
The idea behind it is to thank the client for the faith put in your work and to allow them to discover new products and items they perhaps never heard of. Every puppy pack is different depending on the breeder’s intention, the dog breed, the price paid for the dog, etc.
However, this is what we think should always be given to new owners when they come to pick up their new friends for life. Your objective while adding all these items is to put a BIG SMILE on their face when they open it!
Documents and Paperwork
Buy a dozen of folders or use your Kennel Club’s puppy wallets and have one ready at the time of the sale.
Contract of Sale for the Puppy
Every responsible dog breeder should seal each transaction and sale of a puppy with a puppy sale contract. Each puppy or adult dog that you sell, or buy, should come with well-written and relevant contractual clauses that both parties understand and agree to.
A puppy sale contract is important to protect the buyer and the seller and makes sure whatever was promised and agreed gets respected over time. As the buyer of a puppy, you want to make sure the breeder is legally bound to the DNA test results he provided for example. And as the seller or breeder, you want the buyer to respect the breeding agreement of the bitch he is purchasing from you, such as the need for the new owner to have your written approval before any mating.
Each of your puppy’s heritage is what makes a good breeder great! If you breed pedigree dogs, your buyer most likely wants to know about the previous generations. You may have already given them the family tree before they come to pick the pup up, but you definitely should add it to the puppy pack.
If your dog is registered with any registry (e.g., Kennel Club, ISDS), you may ask these organizations for an official pedigree certificate. If not, you can make it yourself on Word.
Dog's Registration Certificate
Only litters registered with official institutions (National Breed Clubs, Kennel Clubs, Working Dog Clubs, etc) will have a registration certificate, usually with its unique registration number. The basic one being the Kennel Club registration form, but if you are breeding crossbred dogs, you may not be able to register your puppies in these. It is your job to know which associations and federations, dogs from your specific breed can be registered with.
For example, if you are breeding Border Collies for herding, you will value a registration with the International Sheep Dog Society a lot more than with the Kennel Club. If you are breeding a designer dog breed, you may want to register your dog with American Canine Hybrid Club. However, be extremely careful as many “Clubs” are simply here to cash in on registration fees and have no real added value for registered dogs and breeders.
Identification of Your Dog
Requirements in terms of dog identification vary for each country. Lately, most western countries are turning to a mandatory microchipping of each dog with the owner keeping the identity papers. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, require that every dog in a public place wears a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it or a plate or badge attached to it.
There are other identification mediums, with Genotyping being on the rise amongst breeders. Also called canine DNA profiling, genotyping is used to establish a secure, permanent identity for your dog in case of theft, loss or simply to prove filiation in the future. DNA Profiles also serve as a tool for breeders who need to keep DNA Profile records of their breeding stock (dams and sires) in case a parentage verification of their offspring is ever needed in the future. Many registries keep records of DNA Profiles to verify pedigrees.
Health Screenings & DNA tests
The second you inform your potential buyers that the litter’s parents and/or the puppies themselves have been screen for a particular medical condition, or DNA cleared for a hereditary disease, you must provide the original or a copy of the results, regardless of the outcome (positive or negative).
Too many breeders simply put the fact that the puppies are clear of several common breed-specific health issues. Then, a few months or years down the line, the puppy owner rings the breeder’s doorbell to get proof of the results as their own vet contradicted these promises.
Anticipate and provide everything to the buyer, and the contract should mention these documents and the fact that despite all your tests, you cannot guarantee that other conditions may occur in the future.
Vet Visits & Medical Activities
A bit like the aforementioned health screenings and tests, you want to put in writing every vet-related activity the puppy has been through up to the date you are giving it away to its new owner.
First, it is valuable for the puppy’s new owner, so they can continue where you stopped, but also for you so the owner knows every medical activity about this puppy and can’t turn around in few years saying you did not do this test or that inoculation.
I believe, such a list should include:
- all the vaccines the pup already had
- the boosters left or recommended in the near future
- the deworming product used, the dates it has been given and what’s left to do to finish the course
- the vet visits and examinations the puppy/litter went through, with the vet’s conclusions
- any other medical-related information
Being transparent is the best gift you can give a new owner, and not only when everything is at your advantage. Even if your vet has noticed the puppy has teary eyes, it won’t make the new owner give up on him, instead, it will let the new owner tackle the issue from day 1! If the owner changes his or her mind, even better, you know they don’t deserve having one of your dogs.
Make sure you include any whelping form if you have kept track of your litter’s growth.
A Personal Letter With Your Best Wishes
Perhaps what too few dog breeders do… Write a little card with some encouragement and wish all the best to the owner and the puppy in their new forever relationship.
It is cheap, it is very touching, and more than everything, it is priceless and heartwarming. Please, do it. It means so much.
For The Puppy's Sake
Many items must be included in the Puppy Pack to help the transition from your familiar environment to the puppy’s new home. The last situation both the new owner and you want to face is having mental stress for the now lonely puppy who finds himself with new people, in a new space, with new everything…
By providing objects with the scent of the mother and littermates, the puppy will feel much less distressed. Great examples of items to add to ease the transition would be a towel they slept on or a duvet. If the pup loved playing with a specific toy, perhaps give it to the new owner. It will help the leaving puppy settling down in his new forever home.
What matters as much, but physically this time, is to provide at least a week supply of the dog food you used.
Have a piece of paper ready with the brand, the reference, and any details so your client can find the very same food to start with. So make sure they know and have enough of your food for the first days. You can also send them a little email reminder a few days before their visit.
If he or she wants to change the brand and the type of nutrition, they should do it gradually over a few days.
The Perfect Puppy Pack Is Full Of Toys & Goodies
This is where you can let your imagination roam free by adding items that cost very little but will make a difference for your client and his puppy. Here are some examples of common and less common toys and goodies that are found in the perfect puppy pack.
Water & Food Bowls
If your customers are paying thousands for one of your pups, you want to offer personalized and engraved water and food bowls. They might not even use them but the gesture counts and it can always be used punctually. They are not super expensive and Etsy has so many customizations available!
For cheaper options, plastic and stainless steel food bowls are available on Amazon or eBay. You can buy them in bulk and put a couple in each puppy pack.
Make your puppy owners realize you are an in-the-know dog breeder by giving them a little bag of the newest healthier tastiest puppy treats! Not necessarily expensive, there are a huge range of treats in most stores. Amazon, too, has some great products. Just one bag is enough, and it will probably help the new owner calm the puppy down on their way back home.
Selection of Toys
This is the most exciting part, the dog and puppy toys. Sure, you could just do with a squeaky plush toy and some sort of rubber frisbee, but what about spending the same amount of money and getting unique and unusual toys?
Puppies need to teeth so you can and should add a teething toy or two, and a nice plush toy so your puppy can cuddle it when he misses you! This is a huge business, there is not much to pick from, you just need to decide on a few items and order ten or more of each.
Educational Materials (Books & DVDs) On The Breed
This is a great addition that most breeders do not even think of! Unless the buyer is a super experienced owner already, you should offer a book or DVD on the breed! Books are cheap and they are super informative, they will give the new puppy owner the keys for understanding the dog better.
If you sell dogs from a working line, you perhaps want to add a book on the job to get the owner interested. Many border collies come from working lines but many owners don’t herd at all yet, they would appreciate a book on border collies and herding! When a buyer picks a breed, they want and should know its purpose, history, and future!
Obviously, Amazon is the best spot to find every book on every breed!
Promotional & Samples
Leaflets are usually a good addition and they cost you nothing. Simply contact dog companies from different horizons and let them know you responsibly breed quality dogs and want to ask them for some promotional supports that you could add to your puppy packs.
Dog food manufacturers, pet insurance companies, online stores, smaller-scale dog professionals (groomers, trainers…) and any other business you may think of. The good thing is that they will usually look after you and send you free bags of food, samples, and discounts so you keep promoting them. This is a must for all professional breeders!