by Steve & Jean McAdams
Peggy Helming’s article on puppy placements touched on many true and necessary things that breeders should do before placing a puppy. We have gone through the same cycle that she describes, and also learned that it is far more productive to ask open ended questions.
We listen to our gut feelings about people, too. The few times that we did not go with our initial feelings, we regretted it. (There’s a reason you get a gut reaction.) This has caused us to be more cautious. We have the advantage of being a small breeding kennel and we are very selective as to where our puppies go.
Another major consideration in selling a puppy is to be able to offer support to the new owners and to continue helping them as they are raising the puppy. We have been fortunate because the majority of our puppies tend to go home with people that we know or friends of friends. On those occasions when they are going to someone we do not know, we do background checks.
We spend quite a bit of time educating our puppy buyers about health checks—what they are and why they are done. We explain the certification process as well as general information about why health checks are done for the Newfoundland breed as a whole.
We spend a lot of time with our puppies in order to know them—each one has a unique personality. We try to match the personality of the puppy with the personality of the people. We feel our primary responsibility is to select the very best home for each puppy. Puppy buyers often call and ask where they are on a waiting list. We explain that we focus on finding the right home for each puppy, rather than finding a puppy for a buyer.
As Peggy mentions, it is important to make certain that each family member is interested in the breed. It is difficult to put a puppy where only one person in the family really wants the dog. It has to be the consensus of everyone in the family that this is the breed for them. If someone comes to see our puppies, and the Newfoundland is one of two breeds they are considering, we encourage them to go look at the other breed.
As prospective puppy buyers are solidifying their decision about adding a Newfoundland to their family, we encourage them to go to dog shows, other dog events, to visit other kennels, and meet other dogs. This gives them and us more confidence that they are making the right decision. It isn’t enough just to read books and research the breed on the internet. We also recommend that puppy buyers become members of their local regional club and to be active in Newf events. This becomes a good support network, allowing new owners to ask questions and learn from other Newf people.
Friends have asked, “How can you ever give up a puppy?” In truth, it is never easy, but we often jest that once people take home one of our pups, they join our Newfoundland family. The bittersweet good-bye is soon replaced by the satisfaction that each pup becomes a happy member of their new home.
reprinted from Newf Tide 3Q 2000