We can help to educate prospective owners before they get a new puppy or dog—likewise, breeders can be educated too about ways they can properly screen their buyers.
We must help spread the word to the public about responsible dog ownership—and that message includes educating people about the homework that should be done before they get a new puppy or dog. As breeders, we also must educate ourselves about properly screening prospective owners, to help ensure that our pups go to good, permanent homes.
Following are things that we should educate prospective owners about.
Buy from an AKC Breeder of Merit. This title is given only to those breeders who comply with the specific health screening for their breed, register entire litters with the AKC (ensuring that each buyer receives a registration for their puppy), and abide by the rules and regulations of the AKC for maintaining accurate records and breeding healthy animals.
Buy from a breeder who belongs to and supports the programs of the national organization for the breed.
Ask if the breeder is a signer of the national club’s Breeders Code of Ethics.
Ask if the seller provides a sales contract. This contract should include:
The right to take the new puppy to the veterinarian of your choice for a thorough examination, with a full right to return the puppy for a full cash refund should the veterinarian find anything that is not right with the puppy within 48 hours.
The names and registration numbers of both the sire and dam of the puppy.
Full contact information for the breeder/seller of the puppy.
These are just a few of the things that will be included in a good sales contract.
Next are considerations of what we need to be sure to do as breeders. Before having a conversation with prospective buyers out of our local area, we should send and have them complete a puppy application form. The form should include a list of things that you as a breeder would like to know about the prospective home.
I am sure you will think of many more to include, but here are six points to begin with:
Is the size of your yard large enough to accommodate this breed?
Have you ever owned a dog of this breed?
How many animals do you currently own?
Please provide the name and contact information of your current vet as a reference, if possible.
Do you plan to take your new dog to puppy classes for socialization?
What future do you plan for this new addition to the family? (Please indicate all that apply.)
To be a companion
To compete in AKC events (please circle all that apply: conformation, agility, obedience, herding, rally, tracking)
Other activities: __________________
Knowing the above will help you determine if the person will be a good home, as well as which puppy from the litter might be the best “fit.”
—Helen Gleason, German Shepherd Dog Club of America