I'd ask them about their past record with pets, and under what possible circumstances might they be compelled to rehome an animal. I consider it a lifelong commitment, but apparently many people do not.
I'm often amazed at how easily people will get rid of a dog rather than try behavioral therapy & training, or accept the dog for what he or she is and find a way to work it out. Also, if you need to relocate, ONLY MOVE TO A PLACE THAT PERMIT ANIMALS. It's not that hard!!
I think the number one thing that all buyers should do is RESEARCH their prospective breed(s) thouroughly and not to buy on a whim. Buyers need to make sure that that particular breed is right for thier lifestyle, that they are capable of caring for the dog properly, that everyone in the home agrees on getting a dog, etc. Then once the decision is made to actually look for a dog, they should research multiple breeders, attend shows/working events, visit breeders/owners, etc.
I know the average pet buyer doesn't really care about pedigrees, paperwork, etc. but I think if more "buyers" knew the dangers of buying from BYB's, etc. they would really reconsider and research a bit more into the subject. If more buyers realized that buying from BYB's could result in high medical expenses, unhealthy dogs, fearful, ill tempered dogs, no real guarantee to cover them, the dog and the breeder, etc,.. people would definitely put more thought into who they bought a dog from.
The breeder we got Maggie from asked us lots of questions. I'll try to list the ones I remember...
Did we research the breed of dog we're interested in? Why did we choose this breed? What are we going to do with her? (pet, hunting, show?) Do we have a fenced yard? Do we have kids? Do we have other pets? Are we going to crate train her?
Those are the main ones I remember. When we bought her, we signed an agreement stating that we would not breed her (that's on her AKC registration, too). We also were required to take her to our vet within 3 days, and if we would ever get rid of her, we have to give her back to the breeder. She still contacts us about once a week by email to see how Maggie is doing.
Well, I try to put myself in the breeder's position. If my dog had babies, I'm sure I would be very careful as well, to ensure that none of them wound up neglected or sent to the pound. Considering the population of unwanted pets, you can't reasonably assume that every single person who wants a dog is responsible and prepared, especially in the case of more high-maintence breeds. So, personally I expect plenty of questions from any breeder.
How hard is it to feed the breeders the answers they want to hear?
If someone is dumb enough not to give the "right" answers, then I guess they should not be having a dog anyway.
Assuming they give the correct contact info and address to begin with, or notify the breeder of their new address when they move, how many breeders can realistically know if they are being told the whole truth and can successfully enforce a contract on a buyer 2000 miles away?
Unless they actually go to the home of the buyer and interview their family, neighbors and friends, and do a background check on them, and do a surprise visits after the they buy the pup, all a breeder often have to rely is the buyers’ word that their intentions are pure.
Very true, they can say anything they want when you ask the questions> i generally have spoke to potential buyers via e-mail and telephone at least a dozen times before they evr get to the point of meeting the puppy, you really have to learn to be a good judge of character, and the extra questions to ask. I think everyone gets duped a few times before they really start getting better at it, but really there is no sworn by guarantee, just have to trust instincts. I ask all the questions listed above and more. If buyers are not willing to share what there intentions, experience, etc. is for the puppy, then I dont sell them a pup. I too keep in touch afterwards. Buyers need to research the breed they are interested in buying, be familiar with the standard, general health, appearance, genetic dispositions, Ask the breeder questions as well, what are their breeding goals (improving the breed, for fun, family hobby, for the money) though no one has ever used that latter one, but thats a red flag. Ask about the genetic history of the parents, do they offer a health guarantee, I say if they are not comfortable enough with their breedings to offer a guarantee, I wouldnt purchase, how long have they been in this breed. There are alot of things to ask, I'm sure someone can offer some more ideas.
The one question that upsets me the most is the fenced back yard. We have a back yard with out a fence and the dogs just don't spend time there. I walk them regularly. And what if I livd in an apartment, would I be rejected from a breeder for my home. I totally understand why they are asking, but mabe there should be questions that focus on the new owners knowledge and experience. How many of us know someone who owns a dog that you know really should not have it. They don't exercise it or train it. We see that in the clinic, they will come in with a beautiful pure bred puppy, that you know looks better than your typical pet store job. And the owners a big time jerk, and don't act like they really want the puppy or want to take care of it. Or they are completely clueless, I would love to call these Breeders and ask some questions of my own.
As for the fenced yard, I think obviously she was concerned about the safety of the dog. As it turns out, we DON'T have a fenced yard, but she sold us the pup, anyway. We live out in the country, have no really close neighbors, and our driveway is almost 1/2 mile long. So there's not much danger of Maggie chasing a ball or a rabbit and running out onto the road. But I could understand if we lived in the suburbs on a busy road with a small yard and no fence.
I agree that a fenced yard is not absolutely necessary for many breeds. We never had a fence when I was growing up. Our schnauzer got a massive amount of exercise just running with me outside on a lead, or just racing all over the house with his toys. Occasionally we let him wander around the backyard on a very long tether so he could eradicate the mole population.
Sometimes I have to go with my gut feeling about someone. If a person feels " put off" by my questions or thinks I'm nosey to bad!! ( haven't had that happen yet). I have raised these pups and love them all and it's my job as a breeder to find them a great home that they will love ,and the pup I'm selling will be a good match for the new owners too, and they will be happy as well as the pup. My questions are mostly are you ready for a puppy and all the peeing, chewing, crying? Have you researched this breed and know their needs and behavior? Do you have the time to train this pup so that it will grow up to be a good dog? I explain the costs of spay, heartworm, flea etc. I would not sell a pup to someone that thought I was being nosey by asking these questions. You don't want to have to worry after the fact, that you made the right choice for your pup.
I have never turned anyone down simply for the No fenced yard reason. The question is more based along the lines of...if they have one or are they going to be taking out on a leash when it goes out. Its more to get a start to see what their situation is and educate from there .....clarify you cant take an 8 week old puppy to a new home, open the door, set it outside and leave it out there alone and expect it not to wander away. There is no "right" answer, just an honest answer so we have something to work from.
When I started breeding I was of the mindset that I didn't want to be one of those nosy breeders. So I didn't ask half the questions that I do now. After I got burned by a couple of people who didn't disclose important information that they should have I started understanding why good breeders are nosy. (one puppy went to a family that wasn't supposed to have dogs in the house they were renting - for example).
My theory now, not only is the person buying/adopting a puppy from me letting part of me into their lives, but I am letting them into MY life. How can I offer Lifetime Breeder Support like I want to, if the person I sell a dog to is someone I hope I never have to deal with again? There needs to be a good working relationship between us. I happen to think that when a breeder asks you a lot of questions (because I have been on the buyer's side of the fence too) that shows that they care where their puppies go. This also means that they most likely care about the level of attention the puppy received while in their care. I want my puppies to go to homes that will provide AT LEAST the level of care that I provide my dogs. I'm not people hypocritical. I have 25 dogs (some breeders, some are rescues that are altered) and if I can expect a certain standard from myself for the care of 25 dogs - I think someone else can handle it for just one. I choose for those little lives to enter the world when I breed a litter and I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that they are well cared for and well loved.
The fencing issue - I don't REQUIRE fencing - but I PREFER it. If someone doesn't want to fence their yard or lives in an apartment I expect the puppy/dog to be on a leash - and I will make it known when they are looking at a puppy. WHY? Again, I got burned. One of my puppy families called me 3 months after they got their puppy looking for a new one, because the first was hit by a car. They thought he was trained and let him out the front door. He shot into the road after a piece of paper and was hit by a truck. Some breeds I think you can get by without a fence. Some breeds, like Aussies, they need good sturdy fencing or a good leash, otherwise you are gambling with their lives every time they go outside. I will sell/place a puppy with someone who doesn't have fencing if they are willing to explain to me how they plan to provide adequate excercise and if I feel that they understand that a dog is not fully trained to the point where it will 100% respond with distractions until it is over a year old.
I place all my puppies through internet ads. I still place quite a few in my area (people who find me on the internet) - in fact I just spent 2 weeks "babysitting" one of my 6 month old puppies. But in my area, since it is the midwest with a lot of ranchers and farmers, a lot of folks aren't willing to pay $500 for a puppy. They'll take the $100 from down the street, not caring that it doesn't have it's shots, isn't well socialized, and may have health issues. My price is also lower than that of other breeders throughout the country for the same breed. So I can offer affordable puppies that are excellent quality. I have only had problems with a handful of buyer's (mainly before I started asking questions) and an equal amount were people in my area as to the people who were hundreds of miles away. People in your area can move too and you'll never know. The really slick folks can lie just as well to your face as they can over the phone - and I personally think that very few people will allow you to visit their home before they buy a puppy. I've visited some of my puppy homes AFTER the fact and never been disappointed. Part of it is instinct. You need to know the answer to the question before you ask it - and don't back down.
Even though you have to look at the well being of your puppies (always 1st!!!) you still have to look at the "market" as well. BUT I have found the the folks that won't answer my questions aren't worth placing a puppy with - and if they aren't going to answer my questions, then they aren't going to want to sign my 6 page contract, and they aren't going to be okay with the spay/neuter contract that I sell almost all my puppies on. I can compromise ALL my morals and sell a lot of puppies very quickly - or I can hold on to my values and sell to families that I have confidence in and will enjoy talking with for years. I happen to know a breeder in my area that I have basically run out of business and she is now brokering almost all of her puppies and only breeding half what she was. She asks HALF what I ask for my puppies, gives full registration with all her puppies, and doesn't ask any questions. Ironically, people would rather have one of my puppies.... Take the time to explain why a health guarantee is important, and why having something in writing is nice. Tell the buyer what you do that most other breeders don't. Don't be afraid to explain why YOU would rather have one of your puppies!
I breed Irish setters, and when wewould have prospetive owners come look at puppies, we ask them all sorts of questions to determine if they are prepared to have an irish setter in the house. All our breeding stock have had thorough health checks, including OFA, and having their eyes checked. We also have DNA records on some of our dogs. All our dogs have up to date vaccinnations, and we will not breed our male to a bitch that does not have all the same information.
As a breeder you have a right to refuse to sell a person a puppy if you don't feel right about it. If you are truly in the profession to improve your breed and not just to make money, then it shouldn't matter if you need to keep the puppy a little longer in order to find it a good home.