For people who breed dogs as a business or breed their own dogs on a regular basis, sussing out the potential buyers that come to view your litters becomes almost second nature, and something that happens naturally when discussing things with those who come to view.
However, if you are a first time dog breeder or just breed the occasional litter from your own pet, knowing how to pick the right new owners for your dog’s litter can be a challenge, and you will likely be very invested in the whole process and want to make sure that your pups go to good homes that will care for them properly and take care of them for life.
If you are planning to breed from your dog or have a litter that will soon be ready for sale, read on for some tips and advice on how to pick the right new homes for your pups.
Everyone who has a litter for sale will almost always have at least one set of visitors who decide for one reason or another that the pups that you have on offer are not the right pick for them. This is totally fine and something that you should respect, as buying a puppy is a big decision! However, breeders of pedigree puppies might also find that they run into another type of puppy viewer; those that just want to play with the pups, and that have no intention of actually buying!
When you take initial enquiries over the phone for your litter, make sure that the callers know what type and sex of puppies you have available, the standard (pet or show) of your litter and the asking price, and assess the level of interest from how engaged and well informed your caller is. If they don’t seem to know what you are selling and just want to come and see some puppies, this should soon become apparent!
When your potential buyers speak to you before viewing and when they are actually there, both you and them should have a significant amount of questions for each other, opening a dialogue about what you are selling and what it is that they want to buy.
If you are selling show quality puppies that you want their future owners to show and exhibit, it is important to find out if your viewers are simply looking for a pet, not a show dog, in which case the pick of the litter might not be the right choice for them, or they might find a better match with a different litter. Similarly, if they want a show-quality dog and your own offerings are simply great pets, you are unlikely to have a match.
You shouldn’t rule out a buyer who either has not owned a dog of the breed that you are selling before or that has never actually owned a dog at all, provided that such a person is well informed about what they are getting into, and has done a lot of research.
If discussion with the viewer indicates that they are poorly informed about factors such as the energy levels of the dog, their intelligence levels, how to train them and good ways to manage them, they are not well enough informed to consider buying one of your pups, and will need to go away and do some more research.
If you want to ensure that your pups have a good home and a happy life, you will need to take steps to ensure that the people viewing them intend to do exactly what they say they will, in terms of exercising them properly, spaying and neutering if agreed, and taking care of any other promises or agreements that you make with them.
The first stage of this involves verifying that they are who they say they are, and once you have an agreement in principle to buy, before you take a deposit from your buyer, ask to see some I.D. and take a copy of it. The details on their I.D. should of course match the name and address that they have given you!
While your viewers may wish to spend some time alone with the litter, you should supervise and watch their interactions with the litter carefully during the initial stages, as this can tell you a lot about the buyer, their experience, how good they are with dogs and how they will handle your pups.
If the buyer approaches the dam before the pups, waits for the dam to get comfortable with them and spends some time observing before interacting with the pups, this is a good sign, while someone who barges straight in and grabs a puppy away from the dam may not be experienced enough or of the right type of personality to be a good pick for owning a newly weaned pup.
If the dam is not comfortable with the viewer, or they seem to be teasing the pups or handling them too roughly, politely end the meeting.
Take this opportunity as well to find out how your potential buyer plans to train their pup; if they don’t really seem to have given it any thought, or seem to be a proponent of negative reinforcement training, it is better to find out now before the buying process gets any further along.
If you are selling working dogs rather than pets, such as a working Springer spaniel from a working line that you wish to go to future working homes, it is important to find out about this from the buyers, and also, what they plan to do with the pups as they grow older.
If your potential buyers want to breed dogs themselves, are you happy with this, or will you only allow them to go to homes that will neuter them? If your dog’s line includes dogs that are great at agility or canine sports, do you want the pup’s home to be people that will do things like this with them?
While you cannot ever be totally sure that what your buyer is saying is 100% true, encourage them to tell you about their plans, and you can decide from there if they match with yours, and sound realistic.
It is a good idea to make a formal, contractual agreement with your puppy buyers regarding what will happen to the pup if they find that they cannot care for it anymore, need to rehome it when it is older, or simply change their minds. Many breeders ask for first refusal on rehoming the pup if it should come to this, and you should agree clearly with your buyers if this will be the case, and how the financial side of things will be handled.