Vetting Puppy Buyers
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  • T

    Question for all of you who have placed dogs/puppies out of the country. How do you assess a potential buyer who lives far from you? We have always placed dogs with people who were local to us or, if not, were recommended by another breeder. We can meet the family, judge their reaction to our dogs and our Basenjis' reactions to them, see their home situation if necessary, etc. But we received a call from a person who lives in Mexico and is interested in a puppy. While Mexico is not that far from Texas, it's far enough to make a casual visit a bit daunting…

    I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc!

    Terry

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  • @Terry:

    Question for all of you who have placed dogs/puppies out of the country. How do you assess a potential buyer who lives far from you? We have always placed dogs with people who were local to us or, if not, were recommended by another breeder. We can meet the family, judge their reaction to our dogs and our Basenjis' reactions to them, see their home situation if necessary, etc. But we received a call from a person who lives in Mexico and is interested in a puppy. While Mexico is not that far from Texas, it's far enough to make a casual visit a bit daunting…
    Terry

    Interesting question Terry…. As of yet, I have not had that problem. But then I don't breed very often, so placements have not been a problem in keep mostly local. If in the US, I would try and have that person visit either a home with Basenjis or another breeder that might be close enough for their gut feel. Not sure what I would do in the case of out of the country. You might want to try and talk to breeders that might have done that placement. Brenda Cassell comes to mind and might have ideas (even though she is out of the breed at this point). But I am pretty sure she would share with you, at least I would hope so. I know that the Jones girls have placed in Mexico and might share thoughts. Pictures of the home might at least give you some idea....

    I, like Terry would like to hear others thoughts on this subject.

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  • I am a born skeptic and although I am not a breeder I would feel uncomfortable placing a puppy into a home when you 1: haven't been able to meet them or 2: haven't been "vetted" by someone you know. It is so easy for a breeder to sell a puppy on a spay/ neuter contract but hard to enforce once the puppy leaves you. People can make themselves seem like exactly what you want until they get what they want. It is completely your decision but for me, just the fact that you have clearly thought enough about this topic to post it, that you are uneasy with it. There are plenty of homes that you can feel good about placing a puppy. Just my opinion and again, for me the glass is always half empty. I'm not a breeder so I hope this gives you something to think about

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  • @Chealsie508:

    I am a born skeptic and although I am not a breeder I would feel uncomfortable placing a puppy into a home when you 1: haven't been able to meet them or 2: haven't been "vetted" by someone you know. It is so easy for a breeder to sell a puppy on a spay/ neuter contract but hard to enforce once the puppy leaves you. People can make themselves seem like exactly what you want until they get what they want. It is completely your decision but for me, just the fact that you have clearly thought enough about this topic to post it, that you are uneasy with it. There are plenty of homes that you can feel good about placing a puppy. Just my opinion and again, for me the glass is always half empty. I'm not a breeder so I hope this gives you something to think about

    You have some very good points, but consider this…. if you discount "long distance" placements you could be missing some very great homes. As far as this goes, anyone considering a Tanza pup needs to personally come and pick up that puppy. To me, that says volumes on their character... not that it is the only thing, but the willingness to fly to get their pup from "where ever" does count. I would not ship a puppy under any conditions.... as baggage without the owner or me as the breeder going along. And I would be hard pressed to ship as baggage even if I was along (or the potential owner)... I know there are some airlines depending on the country that require all dogs as baggage...

    And I know there are breeders here that ship all the time... their choice, just not mine

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  • Agreed. You normally know Basenji people when you talk to them. I was asked to collect my pup from my distance breeder, which of course I was going to do anyway. It's a good sign, besides the pup costs peanuts to take under the seat if you go and get them yourself.

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  • I agree, you never want to count someone out just because you don't know them but hey have to be willing to get to know you and not just hope they will send you a puppy and be done with the breeder.

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  • First Basenji's

    Can I tack on a question about breeders' screening practices that I've been wondering for some time?
    It's not exactly related to Terry's question, but it's related to the topic.

    We say that responsible breeders screen their prospective buyers and help educate to make sure that inquiring families are as good a fit for the Basenji, just as much as the buyer is screening the breeder to make sure they're getting a puppy from someone they can trust.

    What does a breeder do if they just get "bad feelings" about a potential buyer – maybe they say straight out that they're looking for a breeding partner for a pet they already have, or they're insistent on training methods that the breeder doesn't agree with, or they have a track record of previous pets that have all met with unfortunate ends -- gotten stolen or lost or hit by a car, etc.

    How does a breeder negotiate the desire to protect her pups and her line, and educate the potential buyer, yet also discourage the buyer from turning to a puppy mill or other sources to get their puppy if no "responsible" breeder would sell to them? In other words, are there people who are just not fit to own a Basenji, and if so, how do you deal with those people?

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  • You can never 'just tell'. I've learned that. I had a lovely young lady come and pick up a puppy who lived in another province. She waited over 2 years for a puppy. It was a lovely home, good references, they were checked out, etc. Yes, she flew in for the puppy and stayed over the weekend. The puppy came back to me at 10 months (it should have been sent back far, far sooner) emaciated and not house-broken, scared stiff and is still scared of new situations and he becomes stressed easily. He's also a lovely little boy who loves to cuddle and have fun-he just isn't quite sure how.

    I'm lucky, I got him back, several others are not so lucky. So, you can't ever, ever tell. You do your best and hope for the best and try to put in place some sort of conditions.

    For the issues of bad feelings about someone, I just say, in the nicest way possible, that perhaps this is not the dog for you and try to point out all the bad things and steer them towards another breed. There is only one person I have had to tell outright that they will never get a puppy from me and that this is not the breed for them.

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  • @curlytails:

    Can I tack on a question about breeders' screening practices that I've been wondering for some time?
    What does a breeder do if they just get "bad feelings" about a potential buyer – maybe they say straight out that they're looking for a breeding partner for a pet they already have, or they're insistent on training methods that the breeder doesn't agree with, or they have a track record of previous pets that have all met with unfortunate ends -- gotten stolen or lost or hit by a car, etc.

    How does a breeder negotiate the desire to protect her pups and her line, and educate the potential buyer, yet also discourage the buyer from turning to a puppy mill or other sources to get their puppy if no "responsible" breeder would sell to them? In other words, are there people who are just not fit to own a Basenji, and if so, how do you deal with those people?

    If I have a bad feeling about a potential buyer, I will not place a pup with them unless they can do something to change that feeling. If they say straight out looking to breed and/or unacceptable training methods, I just tell them that I don't think that a Tanza Basenji is right for them. And I tell them that I am just not comfortable placing a Tanza Basenji with them do to….(and spell it out). I have had people visit where you can tell right off one of the adults have not "bought into" getting a puppy and the other adult is still trying to talk them into it. I will not place a puppy unless the entire family is on board. Also, honestly if they have ill manner children that the parents clearly have not taught them respect for animals, I will not place a puppy with them.

    But I will always tell them my reasons, they might not want to hear it, but I tell them anyway.

    As Arlene pointed out, sometimes you get fooled... but usually if you go with your gut, it works out.

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  • I have to congratulate all of you wonderful basenji breeders out there. I can just imagine how often you must have to protect your puppies by not letting them go to various people/homes. I did a home visit for someone wanting to rescue a basenji. I walked into the townhouse and just knew it was not going to work. Then I asked questions and found out the perspective owner would have the basenji caged up for most of the day. All she really wanted was a running companion, on HER time.

    The good breeders I have come to know in person and on this forum spend a great deal of time when placing their pups. I'm so happy to know there are people out there like you guys.

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  • First Basenji's

    I was also thinking in terms of rescue, too. I've done one home visit for someone who already had a Basenji and so was already knowledgeable. I went to her house not with the mindset to judge or look for someone who keeps their dog exactly the way I keep mine, but to understand where she was coming from, what she wanted out of a Basenji adoption, if her expectations were reasonable and if it would be a good fit, etc. Rescuers are certainly just as interested in good placement, but obviously our stakes are different from breeders (for starters, no BRAT basenji is ever adopted out unaltered).

    Basenjis draw a lot of people for their "barklessness" or their "hypo-allergenic" qualities or their beauty, size, etc. Simple ignorance is relatively easy to fix – I would be much less leery of first-time owners who were naive yet willing to be educated. On the other hand, when someone has a pretty set lifestyle, and they're much too certain about things are going to go, I think that's when my guard goes up. It seems like Basenjis really teach you to act on their terms, so just because something worked for every other dog you might have known, it might not work with THIS case. And one has to be flexible in that regard.

    I was thinking about this because of my other breed too. Shibas are getting so popular, they frequently attract people whom I personally find appalling and a poor candidate for this or any other dog. People seldom question their own choice in a breed, they just figure they'll get what they want, and they can buy one online or at the local pet store "hassle-free." It doesn't take much to turn a potential adopter or buyer away and to a less responsible breeder when the sea is full of sharks.

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  • I have been quite lucky with all the dogs I have placed out of the country.
    The guy in Mexico flew up to my home in Oregon to visit us and the dogs… then when it was puppy time I shipped the puppy to him in Iowa where he was finishing up school and moving back to Mexico. The dog lived a wonderful life until a stupid pit bull killed her.

    All my dog owners overseas [Finland, France, Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia] and Canada are fabulous.. never an issue.

    The only BAD issue I had was when I sold a dog to a breeder that did not follow the contract and I found my bitch on puppyfind.com. I was lucky and Kelli Harmon, Kiroja, drove several hours in the snow and talked the lady down in price and bought the bitch back for me…. she had recently been spayed, but had been sold by the first buyer INTACT.
    I rarely hold grudges, but this is one thing I will NEVER forgive these folks for... especially when I tried to buy the bitch back for more money than I sold her as I really wanted her shown and finished [like they agreed to do but didn't]. They lied. They breached our contract. There was NO reason for it… they bought her for $750 from me, resold her for $350... yet would not sell her back to me for $1,000. Stupid. Just plain stupid.

    Get references... email their references... people that provide them are generally good upstanding people. You will find the rare person that might not think you will call them [and boy are they surprised when you tell them you won't sell to them based on their references]. LOL

    Good luck!

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  • T

    Thank you everyone for your comments and advice! We have had extensive e-mail contact with the potential buyer, and he has called us on the phone several times. I do have a good feeling about him, but feelings just aren't always enough… He is willing to make the 8 hour drive here to get the puppy, I think that's a good indicator that he's serious. But, enforcing a contract is difficult enough when you are near the buyer, I can imagine it would be virtually impossible when they are in another country!
    Thanks Kathy and Arlene, I especially appreciated your input as I know you have sold internationally.

    Terry

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  • It is not only hard for the breeders I think, also for the new puppy owner that lives far away it's hard! :)

    After months of searching we found our breeder for Enya, in Mia from Yulara.
    She is a great breeder and she keeps us updated about everything!
    We get lots of pictures, we are emailing eachother and called after the birth with her.
    We would have loved to visit them before the mating, after birth once and when we pick up our girl but we do have a ship and we do have to sail and we have our family to take care of so we only be able to fly in for two days when we can pick her up at Sweden.
    We are going to pick up our little girl together (husband and I) and we will fly, it's a 2 hours fly and our girl can stay at our lap (in a travel basket) so that is much better dan a super long drive.
    My parents will stay at our home to take care of all the animals and our son.

    Everything comes down to trusting eachother, we have the luck we knew Mia as a breeder from the internet and from lots of friends but we wished we were able to show ourselfe before the mating to show her the family our gilr will be living in.
    This is our first time to get a puppie that far away and I think we are very lucky with Mia as our breeder.

    There is much feeling in email too I think, both breeder and buyer must be able to answer all questions, talk about every detail, about themselfe etc.
    And the way someone talkes about things already shows a bit of personality.

    We will be breeding too in the future (I hope) and when someone far away wants a puppie, I would get in touch by phone and email much.
    Do a little bit of reasearch, and I won't just ship a puppie.
    They have to pick up their puppie by themselfse (or when there is a good reason, visit us once before and I will bring the puppie)
    There are much questions that you can use to see if they are serious, but in the end, it comes down to trust.
    Follow your feeling, that is so important!

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  • @Chealsie508:

    I am a born skeptic and although I am not a breeder I would feel uncomfortable placing a puppy into a home when you 1: haven't been able to meet them or 2: haven't been "vetted" by someone you know. It is so easy for a breeder to sell a puppy on a spay/ neuter contract but hard to enforce once the puppy leaves you. People can make themselves seem like exactly what you want until they get what they want.

    I'm also not a breeder, but have friends who are. And I have seen this equation from the other side, twice as a puppy buyer (in both cases I visited, met the parents of the pups, had conversations with the breeders, etc.) and three times adopting older dogs. On one occasion the dog was shipped to me from Washington State…...but that was set up between the breeder in Washington who was looking for a home for a returned dog of hers and a breeder I had previously purchased a pup from, and who went with me to pick up the dog at the airport!

    I think it is best to have personal contact if you can, but you can get a fairly good "feel" for people by talking to them. Internet may work for an initial connection, but I would want telephone contact at the very least. I agree with Chealsie508 that "People can make themselves seem like exactly what you want until they get what they want." My close friend who breeds Pyrenees has had situations that seemed ideal turn out to be anything but, and on other occasions placements that she was a bit concerned about turned out to be just great. When in doubt, going with your instincts may work, but not always. No guarantees, and it is very difficult to enforce contracts once the dog is out of your hands.

    Once upon a time I thought I might sell a horse or two. Nope. Couldn't do it. Still got 'em, and they will die here. Glad I never bred my bitch! :)

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