By: Christopher “Bully the Kid” Bennett
It seems that everything in life requires references. Whether you are buying a house, a car, or applying for a job it seems that anything requiring a commitment is going to need someone to vouch for you.
The dog world is not the exception and more often than not responsible breeders are requiring potential puppy buyers to present a list of references. This is of course to put the seller at ease that the individual that is taking the pup home as a family member is who they appear to be when they show up smiling and kissing cold puppy noses.
In a way references are a weird thing. After all, you are asking for references because you want someone to vouch for a complete stranger, but the vouching comes from another complete stranger. Perhaps we need a reference for our references when it comes to selling puppies, taking strangers opinions of other strangers doesn’t sound like it makes a puppy any safer.
So that being said the key to referencing a reference for a potential puppy home, begins in what the reference is suppose to provide.
Here are three individuals that we recommend should be on your reference list:
The first reference that I like to call is the family veterinarian.
Now if your potential buyer does not own other pets, this may be difficult. If that’s the case I still like to ask if the new owner has considered a vet for their new pup. Assuming that the potential buyer does have a vet, the information you really want to hear is if they have a good relationship, and if the vet would recommend them for a new pup.
If the vet is particularly fourth coming, I would try to find out a few more details about your puppy owner. Is there dog up to date on shots, particularly rabies and heart worm preventatives. The fact is if an owner stays on top of these and flea preventative it shows a sign of responsible ownership and commitment to their animals health and well being. After all these are the minimal requirements for most pet owners. If they are currently doing this for their pets they will most likely continue to do it for the pup you sell them.
If said vet has put down two or three pets from neglectful accidents, or from incidents that could have been avoided, perhaps this is not the right fit for your bundle of joy.
Veterinarians are also great references because you can see how long an owner has been a responsible owner. Of course taking in consideration that having multiple vets is not necessarily a red flag. Many shots and vaccinations can be given at home, and now there are several low cost rabies clinics across many major cities, that seeing an actual vet at an actual vet office is not as uncommon as it was years ago, so some great homes won’t actually have a family vet.
Previous breeders or rescues
The next reference that makes our list is previous breeders or rescues that have adopted a pup to your potential family. There are few better references than someone that has already done the very thing you are about to do. A breeder that has sold a puppy to a family already, will be more than honest and you will find out a lot from the discussion with that former breeder. How they cared for the dog, if they kept in touch, did they overbreed the animal.
Families that update their former breeders are great and it will definitely allow the new breeder/ or rescue to be more comfortable with their decision to place a pup in a particular home. The other breeder/rescue can also let you know of any promises that were not fulfilled or contract requirements that were broken.
If you are requiring that your pup be altered in a certain amount of time and they inform you that the buyer never performed the operation on their pet they purchased previously, it will raise bright red flags in regards to honoring your requirements.
Super great reviews and responses from this breeder though, are definitely golden stars in the eyes of the new puppy placer. The fact that the buyer and breeder are still in touch, or not in touch at all, will speak volumes as well!
The last reference is often my favorite, especially with previous long time dog owners. The neighbor reference! Just the look on a potential buyers face when you ask for it, is usually priceless! Neighbors are generally the ones who know if they have well behaved dogs, if the pick up poop, if the dog is kept inside, or outside in the elements. The good neighbor reference is extremely valuable, and in some cases Held above the other two references.
I put the neighbor vouching as the highest of the high, based on the honest feedback! If they love their neighbors dog, then usually it means the individual is a great owner and the puppy will be well taken care of. Now a bad neighbor reference is hard to get as the individual will know if they have a personal fence feud with the neighborhood watch team.
Getting the information needed to contact a neighbor that will speak ill of the potential puppy buyer may be next to impossible! However, sometimes the neighbor whom they think is going to give them a shining recommendation turns out to be the honest Abe of owners and the information is far more damaging!
References are great tools, but the truth is it will come down to how you feel about your puppies new home. If you feel great, you will rarely go wrong. However, if you feel hesitant and something isn’t sitting well with you, asking for references will aid you in making the best decision for the puppy.
Remember you are the last line of defense in making sure that this puppy goes to a forever home and not end up as one of the thousands of puppies that are abandoned and left to be euthanized at Animal Controls and Humane Societies around the country. Use due diligence in placing puppies and finding perfect placements. Bumps in the road happen, but it’s up to you to identify a sinkhole from a speed bump!
Do you have a screening process when selling puppies? Comment below to share your screening process.