Making contact: how to get in touch with a dog breeder
We generally think we know how to apply for a job, don’t we? We reflect on our skills and aspirations and craft these into a CV. We then put together a carefully worded application form, which is relevant to the job for which we are applying. I was talking about this process with my son this week and we were agreeing that it is a challenging and time-consuming process.
I have worked in HR for many years and have seen many variations in the quality of applications. You can tell straight away whether someone is committed to the job, or if they have just sent out a generic ‘give us a job, any job’ application.
You may have already read some of my posts about the challenges of being a Responsible Breeder. What I haven’t really talked about so much is the challenge of finding suitable homes for the puppies.
Of course a Puppy Farmer doesn’t really care who has his puppies – he’s just breeding dogs to make money. They are a commodity, nothing more.
But if you care about the dog you are bringing into your home, wouldn’t you want to find the right one for you? Wouldn’t you want to ‘apply’ for a dog from someone who equally cares about who you are?
How would you feel if you received a message like this?
“Hi, I saw that you breed border collies, I wondered if you had a litter? Thanks”
What would you say? I honestly try to reply to every enquiry I receive, but really, what can I say to this person, whoever they are? No. Why should I say anything else? Even if I did have a litter, why would I bother to reply to this message?
When you contact a breeder, you need to let them know who you are. At the very least, you might tell them your name! But actually, if you really want a puppy, you need to sell yourself to the breeders. By contrast with the message I received, I also had a phone call from someone. He was keen to tell me all about himself, his family and his previous dog. I told him that I wasn’t going to have a litter for a while, but he was keen to wait for the right dog, from the right breeder. He had already done some research and asked some great questions. (He’s got through to the next round :))
What should you say?
Here my list of a few points that you might say to a breeder, just by way of introduction:
- Your name, where you live, your circumstances – do you work full time? Who lives with you? Do you have children?
- Your current and previous dog ownership
- What you are looking for in a dog?
- When you want to have a dog – this year or next, not too specific
- What you would like to do with your dog
What should you NOT say?
Equally, there are a few ‘no-nos’ when you make contact with a breeder:
- I want a puppy now, or on a specific date (it’s not an exact science!)
- Specifying colour or markings – I want a black one
- Asking for unusual characteristics – I want one with blue eyes
- Saying you have a 2 year-old child (too young, really)
- Wanting a puppy before your old dog dies. Old dogs don’t take well to puppies.
Breeders talk to each other
Breeding dogs responsibly is quite a specialist ‘job’. There are not that many Assured Breeders around and we know each other! This is partly because we need to find non-related dogs to breed with and partly because we give each other support and advice.
This means that we help each other out when we have litters, sending along good homes once we have found homes for our pups. We also tell each other if someone seems unsuitable! So be warned, even if you think you are making a casual enquiry, you might be jeopardising your chances with a number of breeders.
A final thought
“Dogs owned by people who spent more than an hour researching where to buy them from are likely to live twice as long as those who spent under 20 minutes choosing a puppy, with mean mortality ages of 8.8 and 4.3 respectively.” (Taken from the KC report ‘Collaboration is the Key – the Way Forward for Breeding Regulations’). As a result of buying from puppy farms, people claim to have suffered emotional and financial hardship, the KC report.
Ask for help?
You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice. I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues. Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.
If you are a breeder, you can talk to me about how I vet my puppy owners, together with advice on the information I provide to my puppy homes. CONTACT ME for more information?
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