AKC Judge on breed referrals, contracts, breed health, and how breeders turn off puppy buyers with strings, contracts, forced spay or neuter, etc...
SELLING PET PUPPIES
What Not To Do When Selling A Pet Puppy
E. Katie Gammill, Multi-Group AKC Judge, Exhibition Editor
People looking for a pet puppy are often appalled at the price and strings attached for a simple pet. Ill-timed comments, complicated contracts, forced spay or neuter and lectures on breed health can “make or break” a sale.
Time and again, prospective buyers say “thanks” and turn to less demanding pet breeders. This “foot in the mouth disease” literally snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
In all breeds, there are breed rescues, breeder referrals, and breed reference people for parent clubs. My experience revealed there are specific circles that receive referrals and the other breeders can go pound salt!
I sent an e-mail from a friend’s computer regarding two dogs for sale to be considered for reference. The response I got was “please send specifics”. It was obvious the person did NOT read the body of the e-mail as it contained the sex, color, size, quality, certifications, address, phone number, e-mail and web page. It appeared there was no intention of my request going any further than the immediate circle of the breeder referral persons involved. Therefore, the potential buyer interested in an obedience, agility, or conformation dog is held hostage until one such dog becomes available at a preset price from the pre-determined circle.
Through the grapevine, a buyer, thrilled to have found a puppy available, was going to pick her up. The next day she called again, asking questions regarding certifications and genetic problems. The breeder referral person had insinuated in a round about way that this particular breeder was perhaps someone NOT to approach. This caused unnecessary concerns in the mind of the buyer. Lucky for her, she went anyway and the result was the certifications were on file and the buyer was thrilled with the new puppy.
Who wants to worry about genetic problems and additional vet bills? Who wants damaged goods? Let’s face it, 8 out of 10 puppies sold are healthy, happy, and simply pets! We have yet to breed the perfect dog, or child. By cautioning potential buyers of all the “pitfalls” of ANY breed, the buyer can be quickly turned off.
Add that to complicated breeder contracts and exorbitant prices, and is it any wonder a buyer doesn’t want to buy “a pig in a poke?” All of these demands to provide unsolicited information overload the pet buyer. You become YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY!
Many closed circles of breeders will not let a specific breed be sold as a pet without strings attached. Being a breeder referral person for two all -breed clubs, I can assure you from the horror stories I hear, many sellers shoot themselves in the foot from the get-go! Thus, the buyer goes to the Internet and promptly finds a local farmer, puppy mill, or backyard breeder who just wants to sell those puppies NOW!
The Humane Shelter marketing techniques far exceed those of the breeder. Breeders know a Rottweiler/German shepherd/Corgi cross shelter dog IS NOT healthier than a pure bred. Designer dogs, cross-breeding, or just plain mutts-mongrels allows health problems not from one breed, but from three breeds but the shelter people either don’t know or won’t say. They also don’t say this dog may be a cast off, have behavior problems, or may grow up to be so big it can be saddled and ridden throughout the apartment. How many shelter dogs are returned?
Shelters tug at your heart strings. It’s a “feel good” thing that works! Future pet owners pay exorbitant adoption fees and spay and neuter fees. They have more invested in their “mutt” than in a pure bred puppy that guarantees temperament, size, coat, health, and adaptability. Compare that to the purebred dog breeder who offers certifications, pedigrees, socialization skills, mentoring advice, and stands behind each and every puppy they sell with a return policy.
As a breed referral person, I suggest people go to the AKC website so they understand the initial purpose of the breed. There they can read about size, temperament, adaptability, coat, and housing requirements.
The pet buyer’s concerns are NOT always a breeders concern. They just want the basic facts. They don’t want a $2500.00 pet. Pedigrees mean nothing, and suggesting health concerns sets a puppy up to fail. If a buyer wants breeding stock or a conformation dog, these issues should be taken into consideration. Otherwise, it should be a “Don’t ask, don’t tell policy”. If you are a breed referral person take time to know the breeders. “Live and let live”.
If there is a pure bred puppy available, let’s get it into a quality home with a responsible pet owner where is will be a loved and cherished for a lifetime.
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