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What to tell potential puppy buyers


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#1 Cynthia P

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:26 AM

Since I regulary run in open trials, train people and have a working sheep farm I get inquiries for puppies. They go somewhat like this:

Hi, my name is ???? I am looking for a border collie puppy (or border or bc or what ever). I would be a good owner because....

Oh and my preference is for a merle, blue merle female. Can you tell me when you will have a litter of those?

UMMM, like never? ok, one of our bitches dam's was a merle and we have 2 different red dogs; In fact i had someone already wanting to breed to our red dog, and he is only 9 months old. He hasn't had anything done, we've barely had him on sheep!

I am running out of polite things to say.

Plus we breed like once every three years, so I guess I could just say, nothing planned, thanks so much...and they will go buy from a candy colored breeder...So I am torn, what do you say?

Cynthia

#2 Maralynn

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:45 AM

"Merles tend to have more health issues so we aviod breeding for that color" (which they do when you have the double merle...)

As far as the red dog if you can't go into breeding for the work, then just go with the "he's much too young, we want to be sure of his health and genetics before he is bred"

If you're getting lots of questions perhaps you can have contact info handy for a couple of rescues/good working breeders.

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#3 Smalahundur

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:39 AM

Well, I am in no position to breed, just taking my first steps learning to train a stockdog, but i would know what to say to such people were I in your position: "Goodbye".

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#4 D'Elle

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:55 AM

Well, I am in no position to breed, just taking my first steps learning to train a stockdog, but i would know what to say to such people were I in your position: "Goodbye".

The problem, as I see it, with that response and others like it, is that it is rude, and there goes a missed opportunity. The result may very well be be that the person will assume all stockdog people are rude and stuck-up, and will probably never again ask someone at a trial about puppies, instead heading to the internet to buy from a puppy mill. That person may also tell others not to bother asking anyone at a stockdog trial about dogs or puppies, and show them how easy it was to buy one online and have it shipped.

The opportunity is there to, while only taking up a bit longer than "goodbye" takes, direct the person toward rescue. I often have strangers come up to me and want to know where to get dogs like mine. I suggest that they read some things on these boards to get informed, and then if they really still want one, contact a rescue, and I give that website information. And I explain briefly why rescue is the best way to go, especially if they want "a blue merle female" or some such.

It only takes a few minutes of my time and may be at the least planting a seed; at best it might head someone off from unwittingly supporting the vast and grim cruelty of a puppy mill. I figure it is an excellent use of my time.
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#5 Smalahundur

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:10 PM

DŽElle, I was not that serious ;) .
I would reserve the "goodbye" response to people that do not want to learn (there are more of those than you think), and wonŽt take no for an answer, as the OP said she was running out of polite replies.

Anyone who dares to show any interest in border collie stockwork around me is in for a loooong conversation :D

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#6 Jim Kling

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:49 PM

Try to engage them, maybe. Ask them why they want a merle color. Then ask them what they want in a dog, behavior, what they want to do with it. then explain why your dogs are likely to be a better fit for their purposes than a puppy mill puppy.

If their eyes begin to glaze over, trot out the "goodbye." You've done your best.
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#7 Maja

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:59 PM

From the dumb question series: If a person wants a dog for e.g. agility, is committed to provide it with sufficient mental and physical exercise, is not planning to breed, has called a working stock dog breeder to buy a pup, and also happens to like blue merle. What's wrong with that person?

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#8 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:35 PM

From the dumb question series: If a person wants a dog for e.g. agility, is committed to provide it with sufficient mental and physical exercise, is not planning to breed, has called a working stock dog breeder to buy a pup, and also happens to like blue merle. What's wrong with that person?

Maja


Nothing, really. I'd say they're simply uneducated. They should be asked why they want to limit themselves to just one color, and told that working stockdog breeders do not focus on color. They should be reminded that, if they want the best qualities of a border collie, they might have to wait a long time before finding an available pup in the color they want. Meanwhile, (one could tell them,) they may miss out on a lot of chances for a good pup, if they restrict themselves to a certain, uncommon-to-working-lines color.

Them's my thoughts, anyhow. :)

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#9 Maja

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:44 PM

Makes sense. Thanks.
Maja

#10 OurBoys

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 03:07 PM

I like Gloria's reply.

In regards to anyone asking for stud service I would ask them how long has their bitch been working stock? If they don't you could always tell them "I'm sorry but I only offer stud service to working dogs". If they do, you could get some more details. If you don't like what you hear, you could use the "He's too young" excuse.

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#11 gcv-border

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:39 PM

I like Gloria's reply.

In regards to anyone asking for stud service I would ask them how long has their bitch been working stock? If they don't you could always tell them "I'm sorry but I only offer stud service to working dogs". If they do, you could get some more details. If you don't like what you hear, you could use the "He's too young" excuse.


It all depends on how you view the person asking about your BCs. I am sure that you can get a feel from your conversation with this person how receptive they may be to a tactful, serious discussion about your breeding philosophy (breed for working ability regardless of the color, breed only when you want another puppy?,etc.)

I would start with saying "Yes, you do appear to be a good dog owner. When I breed my dogs, I want to be able to produce the best dogs I can and I love placing them in great homes. My approach is .... or The type of dog I strive to produce is ...." and then you can go into some of the considerations you mentioned in your OP. If they start interrupting you and selling themselves vs. listening to you, you may not want to deal with them as a potential puppy buyer.

I think that "OurBoys" response regarding stud service was good. You might also mention that you do not breed your dogs until they are proven workers - which reinforces the philosophy of breeding for working ability.

I think that if you are tactful, but honest, many people (i.e. the ones who want a puppy yesterday or want a candy-color) will self-select out of your buyer pool.

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#12 Cynthia P

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:31 PM

We do of course tell them Duke (aka red dog) is too young and has barely been started on stock. The quesitons of course arise from those I wouldn't consider breeding either my husband's open dog or our pup to. Both have great lines and John's open dog has his strengths and weanknesses (is that a word).

I really do need a stock answer to the I want a merle or red dog as I tend to get frustrated rather than educating. We have a couple of good rescues here in Ontario and we need to promote them more.

Thanks for the support guys, i'm just at my whits end with requests for pups from many that should go the rescue route. The other issue is that we have a very large breeder nearby that does mainly AKC and CKC confirmation. her puppies go for $1500 to $1800 and she will sell to anyone.. I've worked several of them in lessons and some are ok and others are downright bad on stock from either no interest or bowling up the middle of them with no sense of balance.

So when I turn down puppy buyers they go down the road to some "well bred" show dogs. It sucks!

Cynthia

#13 JaderBug

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:18 PM

I think that "OurBoys" response regarding stud service was good. You might also mention that you do not breed your dogs until they are proven workers - which reinforces the philosophy of breeding for working ability.


What would be a way to communicate that this is the rule and not the exception? I could easily see some potential puppy buyers/producers just rolling their eyes and thinking something like "What a quack! He/she is missing out on a ton of money for being all picky like that."

I somewhat feel as though situations like this would be very hard if not impossible to educate, more so that the people would just see a closed door and choose a different route. Unless you were really able to start holding a conversation with them, past "Are you breeding?"

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#14 Shoofly

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:06 AM

I wonder sometimes if we ought to have a handout we can give people, something ABCA or USBCHA could provide, maybe available for download on a website, that sort of thing. Something that details what and why and how to get a puppy from the right places, red flags, etc. Something like that might even be available already for all i know. But i do know this - 1992, when my old bc mix died, i wanted another bc. I knew squat about the breed. I picked up the local paper, called a number from an ad that listed bl/wh and merles, and had to ask "what's a merle" because i'd never even heard of one. That lousy backyard breeder changed my life though, because she'd photocopied the first chapter of "The Versatile Border Collie" to hand out to puppy buyers, and in it, there was the usual line about finding a job for the dogs and off i went to obedience classes which led to herding lessons, and now here i am.

It can be a pain in the neck but i try to be gentle with the uninitiated - you just never know where it'll go.
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#15 Maja

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:10 AM

I agree with you Robin.
Maja

#16 gcv-border

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 02:36 PM

I wonder sometimes if we ought to have a handout we can give people, something ABCA or USBCHA could provide, maybe available for download on a website, that sort of thing. Something that details what and why and how to get a puppy from the right places, red flags, etc. Something like that might even be available already for all i know. But i do know this - 1992, when my old bc mix died, i wanted another bc. I knew squat about the breed. I picked up the local paper, called a number from an ad that listed bl/wh and merles, and had to ask "what's a merle" because i'd never even heard of one. That lousy backyard breeder changed my life though, because she'd photocopied the first chapter of "The Versatile Border Collie" to hand out to puppy buyers, and in it, there was the usual line about finding a job for the dogs and off i went to obedience classes which led to herding lessons, and now here i am.

It can be a pain in the neck but i try to be gentle with the uninitiated - you just never know where it'll go.


Robin,
Thank you. I was thinking the exact same thing.

Cindy, you could have a handout ready to "hand out" to the inquiring public. It would answer the FAQs that you encounter. And if you produced it yourself, you could also list the local/regional rescues, their websites and reasons why a rescue dog could be a good match. The advantage to a handout is that it is visual and it is a take-away. People can refer to it after they leave the event, whereas the salient issues from your conversation can be easily forgotten - and off they go to the BYB.

Jovi

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#17 rushdoggie

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 03:12 PM

I wonder what would happen if you simply said: "I am sorry, but I only breed occasionally, and only for working ability, and not color. Breeding for colors is not really a responsible way to breed Border Collies." If they then were open to asking at that point you could expand on what you mean, and if they were closed minded they could walk away.

I agree that its an opportunity to educate and I never mind educating so long as the person listening is interested. And if you get tired of telling people the same stuff over and over (I understand, I get that way listening to people at work or at the vets waiting room say stupid stuff that shows they have no understanding of basic dog behavior and I want to help the dogs) carry some pamphlets or a card with a website from here on it. I carry business cards from my dog trainers facility in my purse now.

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#18 terrecar

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 04:09 PM

I wonder what would happen if you simply said: "I am sorry, but I only breed occasionally, and only for working ability, and not color. Breeding for colors is not really a responsible way to breed Border Collies." If they then were open to asking at that point you could expand on what you mean, and if they were closed minded they could walk away.

I agree that its an opportunity to educate and I never mind educating so long as the person listening is interested. And if you get tired of telling people the same stuff over and over (I understand, I get that way listening to people at work or at the vets waiting room say stupid stuff that shows they have no understanding of basic dog behavior and I want to help the dogs) carry some pamphlets or a card with a website from here on it. I carry business cards from my dog trainers facility in my purse now.



I almost posted a reply, but you pretty much gave the best answer IMO. Couldn't have said it better myself.

#19 geonni banner

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 04:47 PM

What I was thinking was, (if it's OK with Eileen) to cut and paste "Tips on Getting a Border Collie" from the sticky at the top of the forum. Take a couple copies with you to trials and give them to people who ask about pups. Refer them to the Boards for more info. Mention that any pups you produce will probably have working homes waiting for them. Leave them with the statement that getting the right Border Collie pup from a breeder of working dogs will take time and research, but will be worth the effort, so as to end up with a dog that fits them for physical, behavioral and ethical reasons.


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#20 SS Cressa

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:55 PM

Dont have much time to write...

But if the people are taking the initiative of going with a working breeder. Most other breeds its not a insult to say "I am looking for... a breed with X color or gender(I perfer black and whites females). If you dont have what they are looking for why not just point them to a good breeder who does?

If a person is contacting a breeder there is a good chance they do NOT want a "rescue". Do you know any of the foster homes that are fostering some dog? You could always NOT bring up the fact they are "rescues" but say something along the lines of I know "so and so" has a merle looking for a home and give them the contact info of the rescue person. Give them names and make it a person and not an faceless organization.


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