Another Ontario breeder has had dogs stolen by vistors who pretended to be potential puppy buyers. This isn’t the first time this has happened – years back, a Bulldog breeder in California lost almost every dog in their house to people who had come to ‘meet the dogs’ a few days before, and the infamous home invading Yorkie thieves gained access to the house by posing as potential purchasers. An American Eskimo breeder in Northern Ontario had a litter of puppies stolen from right out of her kitchen, and we ourselves had a puppy stolen from inside of our house – while I was at home alone with my children.
This rise in dogs stolen from right inside our homes has left a lot of breeders feeling paranoid – and a lot of puppy buyers feeling confused.
For years, we’ve told potential buyers that visiting the home of the breeder they are considering purchasing a puppy from is a great way to choose a quality breeder – and it is. Unfortunately, it’s also less and less common to find breeders willing to let possible buyers drop over for just a ‘meet the dogs’ visit.
Can you blame us? After all, we don’t know you – and we don’t know if your intent is to sincerely meet us and our dogs, or if you have something more nefarious in mind. Are you ‘casing’ us, trying to find out where the dogs live and what access points there might be? Are you checking to see if our doors are secure, and if there’s a gun safe sitting in our family room? As breeders, we just don’t know – and we’re all of us more and more paranoid about the possibility that your innocuous visit can turn into a house emptied of its pets.
As puppy buyers, however, it’s not unusual to want to meet the possible parents of your future puppy, in advance of picking that puppy up. As breeders, it’s also common for us to want to meet you, as well. An initial impression can go a long way to convincing us that you are the right family for one of our precious kids.
What kind of compromise can we all make, to create an atmosphere where both sets of parties get what they need?
A few options are available.
I ask all potential puppy buyers to fill out a rather detailed questionaire, and I ask that those people who want to do a ‘meet the dogs’ visit fill one out, as well. This questionaire contains information on where you live, where you work, what vet you use – and much more, as well. You can rest assured that I’m double checking it all, before anyone walks in the door. We also take down licence plate numbers of all visitors, as sort of a back up, ‘just in case’ measure. Anyone refusing to fill out a pre visit application form is welcome to not do so – and equally welcome to not visit us.
A less intrusive option is to come and meet your potential breeders at a dog show. I do this quite frequently, even though it can sometimes lead to confused moments as I juggle ring times, visitors and an arm band that doesn’t want to stay on. Inevitably, there’s downtime after classes where we can all sit, talk and get to know each other better. It’s almost always true that whatever dog I have with me is going to me somehow related to whatever future litter I’m planning, so at the very least, show visitors get to meet some of our extended family.
Potential puppy buyers are right to want to meet with breeders in advance – but breeders are also right to want to protect their homes, and their dogs. It’s up to all of us to try to compromise on a solution that will leave us all safe and feeling comfortable with each other.