You’ve been through it all, choosing a stud, caring for your dog through the pregnancy and whelping, until finally your darling litter of puppies is finally here. Now the hard part – helping them find their forever home. Will their new owner be responsible, do they realize the responsibility they are taking on? Or will the puppy arrive back on your doorstep 6 months later when the novelty wears off? Here are some questions to ask interested buyers to help you decide the best owners for your pups.
1. Do you have experience with dogs? And in particular with this breed?
General experience with dogs is one thing, there can be a vast difference in the taking care of a Chihuahua versus a German Shepherd. Is the buyer aware of the energy requirements, emotional, feeding and grooming needs of this breed?
2. Can you afford a dog?
Dogs cost a lot! There are vet appointments, grooming sessions, obedience classes, food bills, basic expenses like leads and collars and possibly dog walking costs. If you go away on holiday can you afford dog boarding kennel fees?
3. How long will the puppy be alone each day?
A puppy requires a lot of time and attention, as well as frequent potty breaks and regular small meals. Once fully grown, some dogs can cope with spending some time alone while others will fret and possibly become destructive.
4. Do you have kids? If yes, what age are they?
A dog can be a wonderful companion for a child, but it needs to be the right dog. Some breeds are more tolerant of small children and rough play, others are more suited to older children.
5. Do you have a garden / secure space for the dog? Are you renting? If in an apartment building, are there any restrictions on dog ownership?
Not every breed of dog needs a private garden, but those that do may need fencing of up to 6 feet high. If the potential owner is renting, is their landlord aware? It may be a good idea to get a contact number for the landlord and make sure. Also, not all condos allow dogs, or have restrictions on the size of dog.
6. Do you have other pets?
If there is already a dog in the home there may be territorial issues as the puppy matures, especially if same sex. And if they have 5 dogs already – do they really have the time and energy for another?
7. Will the dog live inside or outside?
Some breeds of dog can live outdoors but some will not be able to cope. Great Danes can freeze to death in cold weather. Bulldogs can overheat in the heat.
8. Is anyone in your family allergic to dogs?
This one may seem like an obvious question but not every potential dog owner has thought this one through!
9. Are you aware of and prepared for the time involved in training and socializing a dog, as well as the responsibility of daily walks?
Training a puppy is a lot of work, they need to be potty trained in the home as well as introduced to every possible situation in the outside world to ensure they grow up to be balanced, happy dogs. Also, a high energy dog who is not being exercised enough can become frustrated, destructive and possibly dangerous.
10. Are you planning on insuring your puppy?
It may not seem worth it in the beginning, but suppose your puppy is hit by a car? Or develops a serious lifelong health condition? Will you be able to afford the initial and ongoing medical bills?
Spending the time asking potential buyers these questions could save you both a lot of future heartache. Best of luck!