I have always been a firm believer in allowing people to come to my home, to view and choose their new baby. Several events over the last few years have caused me to change my thinking and my policy on home visits. I understand my new policy may upset some people, however, through experience this is the best way I can manage my time and peace of mind when it comes to my dogs. I have decided to not allow strangers into my home anymore, for the sake of privacy and safety, for myself, my family and my dogs. This is not just an excuse, because I have something to "hide". I certainly have heard that before, but in fact I have many good reasons for this decision.
Puppy diseases are easily spread by even the most casual contact. The best breeders will not allow their puppies to be seen or handled until the puppy has had it's first shots, usually not before 6 weeks of age. This is a very good reason for meeting at another location, as good breeders must do everything in their power to keep their home disease free. Unless the breeder is also a public groomer or boarding kennel, they may not carry the type of insurance that would protect them from minor lawsuits. This can be a problem when people insist on bringing a small child or their current dog to see the puppies. Children have been known to wander around the breeder's home, peering into kitchen cabinets, even attempting to enter bedrooms, basements and garages!
Careless parents have handed small puppies to a child, only to have the child drop the puppy and break it's leg! I've had people get angry with me and refuse to buy a puppy from me because I wouldn't bring a litter of 5 week old puppies out for their 2 year old child to play with and choose the one "he liked best". I was shocked that somebody could even think of something so ludicrous, let alone expect me to do it. I was very relieved that one of my puppies would not be going to that kind of home. A buyer usually does not realize the number of inquiries a breeder, who has puppies for sale, can get every day. Some people just want to see what the puppies look like, with no intention of buying a puppy. Breeders have outside jobs, family obligations and, of course, the dogs. Some people, after getting the breeder's address, will just show up with no warning. They do not seem to understand that they are in a breeders HOME, and do not respect the breeder's privacy. There are also some people who do not know when to leave. The breeder may have to go to work, cook supper, answer the phone or any number of life's activities.
Then there is the breeder's biggest nightmare - thieves and/or other criminals! Breeders have had puppies stolen from their home when they went to answer the phone while the "prospective" buyers were looking at the puppies. Others have lost puppies after showing the puppies, only to have the "buyer" return when the owner was not home, to break in and steal all the puppies. Even more disturbing, some have had their home robbed of personal property several days after showing the puppies. I’ve had friends that have been assaulted or worse, all because they had a puppy for sale and allowed someone to come to their home. THIS HAPPENS MORE THAN YOU THINK! The AKC has just recently, published an article warning that "Breeders need to be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers".
Last, but not least, don't forget poor Bobbie Jo Stinnett, the girl in Missouri that was murdered in 2004, and had her unborn child cut out of her womb, all because she allowed some woman to come to her home to see a puppy she had for sale. And more recently, the Yorkie puppies that were stolen at gunpoint, from a home in Los Angeles on 3/3/07. It's not worth it to me, I'd rather lose a sale than lose my dogs or my life.
I do, however, meet all of my customers at public places & also at my parent's home which is not far from our home. Customers can see & interact there, with any puppy that they may be interested in. I bring the puppy only, not my adult dogs, as I do not want them exposed to outside germs and then returned to my kennel. It can also be traumatizing to an adult dog, especially the mother, to meet new people when she is still nursing her puppies. Mothers can be very overprotective of their young. Pictures will have to suffice on viewing the parents in most scenarios. We do not allow viewing of the puppies until they are at least 6 weeks of age so they have their first set of vaccinations.
There are NO EXCEPTIONS regardless of who you are, what articles you may have read warning against breeders not showing you the environment their puppies are raised in, or how far you have to drive, so please don't ask. I am licensed & inspected by my State as well as inspected by the AKC & they make sure my dogs & puppies are well taken care of. My vet also comes here yearly. I do not need the general public coming here just to "check up on things" when I have professionals doing that (which is also their job) nor do I have the time or want to possibly risk my family's safety. We only allow visits to serious buyers who have either put down a deposit on a puppy already or to those who have corresponded with me quite a bit & are serious about adding one of our puppies to their home.
Although some people may not agree with my policy on this issue, I hope they can at least understand my reasons for making this decision. I am VERY protective of my animals when it comes to their health and well being and will not risk their health and safety, nor my own, for any reason.