by Judy Threlfall
As soon as your puppies start opening their eyes and toddling around, you should begin to notice distinct differences in their temperaments. Some puppies are more laid back, while others may resemble the Energizer Bunny«. Information you gather as they grow and mature will be helpful in placing the puppy in a home that fits.
The breeder should determine what home will best suit a puppy. If you have a somewhat reserved puppy in your litter, you will most likely not want to place that puppy in a home with lively children running about. A puppy with a very outgoing personality would likely be a better fit for the active family.
When prospective owners come to visit, you as the breeder should have some general questions to ask. In general, I recommend asking the questions in the normal course of conversation, and not in questionnaire format. Having a questionnaire can sometimes turn the best of future owners off.
Sit down, relax, and begin to talk about the breed. You may ask if they have done any research and if so what did they learn? Have they had this particular breed before or have they owned another breed? You may tell them how long you have been involved with the breed and what qualities this breed has that really won you over.
If you have been involved in showing your dogs, share with them how much you enjoyed it; however, don’t get too involved in telling them every win and show your dog won. To the average John Q Public all this “show talk” could end up sounding like a foreign language to them, or worse, bragging.
You may want to talk about your dogs' schedules, feeding times, housetraining tips, exercise requirements, etc. Usually, when you discuss these topics, you will find the family responding with their ideas for taking care of the puppy. Most prospective owners will want advice from an experienced breeder.
If you feel comfortable in trusting one of your puppies to the care of this family, you will need to talk about the requirements for obtaining one of your puppies. Usually, the breeder will have a mock up of their contract, including fees, health guarantee, return policy, etc. This would be a good time to discuss the care packet you send home with your puppies. As a breeder you should also provide a list of items they will most likely need when they take their puppy home.
If arrangements are made for the family to obtain one of your puppies, you should follow-up in a day or two to answer any additional questions the family may have. You should also make yourself available should they wish to contact you by telephone or email.
Placing puppies in the right home can be a very rewarding experience. Every year, I receive Christmas cards and birthday cards on the puppies’ birthdays; usually these cards have the puppy’s family gathered around the Christmas tree or they are sitting in a favorite person’s lap. These cards pull on my heart strings and remind me of the little lump in the whelping box vigorously nursing its mother, and trusting me to place him or her in the right home.