If you are a professional and responsible breeder, you are probably already very adept at sussing out the people who come to view your puppies with a view to buying them, and judging if the people looking at your dogs are responsible and suitable owners.
However, if you are a hobbyist breeder or for some reason need to sell or re-home an adult dog, it can be difficult to know what to look for as the desirable traits in the potential new owner, to ensure that you are as sure as you can be that they will make suitable and responsible owners.
If you are looking to re-home a dog or sell or re-home a litter of puppies and are not sure how to tell if the people interested in it are going to make good canine parents that you can feel confident in, read on for our tips on what to look for.
While most potential puppy owners will view a variety of litters before settling upon the dog that is perfect for them, it is important to suss out if the people viewing your dogs are genuinely in the market to buy (even if not from you) rather than simply taking the opportunity to come and play with some cute puppies.
While it is thankfully relatively uncommon, there are unscrupulous people out there who will present themselves to you as a private family looking for a pet dog, when in reality they have other plans- such as buying the dog for someone else, planning to use the dog for intensive breeding, or even more nefarious purposes. If you get to the point where you are considering a sale, ask to see I.D. and do what you can to make sure that what your potential buyers have said matches up with the facts of their situation.
Whether your viewers are first-time dog owners or have owned dogs before, it is important to ask some questions to establish that the potential new owners have a good basic understanding of the needs of dogs in general, such as correct food, exercise, not being left alone for long periods of time, and good training and health care for dogs.
Different breeds and types of dogs have very different needs, and it is important that the potential buyer has a good understanding of what these are for the type of dog that they are viewing. They should be able to speak knowledgably about the specific traits and requirements of the breed you are selling, even if this comes from theoretical research rather than prior ownership of the breed. Check this out by asking questions such as “what do you think the exercise requirements of this breed are?” and expect to receive a well thought out answer.
Even experienced dog owners will have a lot of questions about their potential new dog or puppy, such as the history of the lineage, the health, what the dogs eat and how they have been cared for so far. If your potential buyer does not seem inquisitive about these things and doesn’t take steps to ask the type of questions that are necessary to make an informed decision to buy, this is a potential warning sign.
It is not unusual to meet only one member of the family, or just the adult members only for a first viewing, but if your viewers are serious about having a dog from you, every member of the family (other than very young children) should meet the dog or puppy in question at least once. This will allow you to see how the family gets on with the dog, and that they are all on board with the decision to buy.
It can be difficult to establish exactly what someone’s personal situation is in order to ascertain if they will be suitable owners with a relatively stable lifestyle, but there are a few warning signs to look out for. A newly paired couple or a family with their first child on the way will probably face a lot of change and challenges over the coming months, which might mean that taking on a dog is something that will later become as decision they will regret.
Again, judging whether or not a person or family are financially able to care for a dog for the long term is not all that simple, and you should never judge your viewers on the way that they dress or the car that they drive! But you should talk to your potential buyers to ascertain whether or not they understand what the costs involved are for the puppy or dog they are viewing, if they understand how much it will eat as an adult, what veterinary treatment costs, and if they are able to look after the dog for the long term.
Simply observing how your potential buyers interact with your puppy or dog will go a long way towards telling you whether or not the way they talk to and handle your dog is something that you will be happy with. As well as this, ask them about how they intend to train the dog, manage it on a day-to-day basis, and make provision for the dog while they are at work or away.
Remember that simply agreeing to a viewing does not mean that you are obligated to sell or give your puppy or dog to the first person that comes along. Don’t be afraid to say no, or that you want some time to consider things, if you are not sure about a buyer. You do not owe anybody a dog simply because you have one available, and the responsible and caring buyer will be happy to allow you time to consider your offers, or find out more about the family that wishes to buy or adopt the dog or puppy in question.