Once you have found the right breeder for you, the next few steps in the process of getting a new dog may come as a surprise if you’ve never worked with a breeder before. The first of these steps is when the breeder evaluates you.
It’s the breeder’s job to make sure that their puppies are going to the best homes possible and to owners that will be responsible, loving and caring to their animals. This is just one area that sets the good breeders apart from the unethical breeders.
While every breeder completes this screening process differently, here are some things to expect:
An initial interview
Many breeders will require you to answer a few questions before getting started. Good Dog makes this process easy by allowing you to fill out a quick and fun application to any breeder on our platform. Some breeders may choose to extend this interview process by asking you to answer a few more questions or by choosing to interview you over the phone.
Because the breeder is trying to evaluate if you will make a good dog owner, they will typically ask about:
- The location of where you live. This is to determine if you live in a more urban or suburban setting and if that correlates well with the breed of dog you’ve shown interest in.
- The size of your home and any relevant details. Do you live in an apartment? A condo? A 3-bedroom home? Does your landlord allow animals? What’s the estimated square footage? Do you have a backyard? Does it have a fence? These are all the types of questions you can expect about your home; since your potential new puppy will need adequate space to grow, learn and exercise, breeders want to ensure your home is ready for a dog.
- Your work schedule. This question is especially important when you’ll be bringing home a young puppy. They require lots of hours of attention and training. Breeders will want to know the amount of time you’ll be able to spend with your new dog; if your work schedule keeps you out of the house for many hours, be prepared to have a plan in place for your puppy’s care.
- Your past experience in owning dogs or other animals. This can demonstrate your responsibility levels and ability to put in time with an animal.
- Your reasons for getting a dog. Breeders are certainly not trying to trick you with this, or any, question. Maybe you want a dog for more overall companionship, or maybe you want your child to have a buddy or learn responsibility. Dogs are not just accessories or toys, and breeders want to know that the family or person buying a dog from them will treat them as well as possible.
- Do you have any children? Breeders will want to know how many kids you have and what their ages are. This is because puppies entering a chaotic environment, or one where the adults are already caring for multiple young ones, may have less of a chance of getting the time and attention necessary to help them grow into healthy and happy dogs, which can be especially problematic for certain breeds. This information can also help the breeder determine which member of their upcoming litter would be best for your circumstances.
- Your plans for training, exercise and accommodations. It’s important that new dog owners understand all that will be required of them. For example, do you know where your dog will sleep? Where will it play? Will you enroll them in a puppy training school or hire a trainer to come to your house? Think through how you will manage caring for your new dog before applying to buy one.
- Do you understand the overall cost of owning a dog? Not only do dogs bought from breeders cost more because they are responsibly raised [LINK], but owning and taking care of a dog is a long-term commitment. Breeders will want to know if you can not only afford to buy the dog but if you are prepared for the cost (i.e. food, veterinary costs, toys, dog walking services, etc) before bringing a dog home.
These are the most common questions and topics breeders will bring up when interviewing prospective new dog owners. It helps them determine which dog is right for you, or if they don’t consider you to be ready to bring a dog responsibly into your life.
They will also be sure to ask about your preferences about the puppies themselves. At this point in the process, the breeder may not have members of a litter ready to go to a new home, or their waiting list is already full. They will still want to know what size, coloring and temperament you’re looking for in a dog, as they will want to take that into consideration when matching you up with one when puppies are available. Being more lenient in your preferences will decrease the overall waiting time.