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Old 12-02-2012, 10:05 AM
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Default Breeder Questionnaires

How do you feel about breeders using questionnaires? Do you prefer them as a means of first communication or do you have a different preference? What kind of questions do you like seeing on a questionnaire? What kind of questions do you feel uncomfortable answering? Is there anything about a questionnaire that would completely turn you off of that breeder?
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:21 AM
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I use one. It is long, but for the people looking, I figure if they can't take ten minutes to answer some basic questions, then they can go elsewhere. They're not going to buy a dog every day (I hope) and the questions are ones that screen out a lot of things quickly and so on. Then I have it all on paper and can keep things straight, and use that later on.

A friend of mine does that and then when she has the litter and experienced friends coming to play with puppies and such, she's got them printed out with her own notes. In some cases it's other people reading the answers who have made comments that have changed things good or bad.

I'll still phone people and talk in person of course, but it saves forgetting to ask things that might sound rude, like do you have kids and how old are they.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:26 AM
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I honestly like questionnaires. I think it gives a good way for breeders to weed out people they absolutely know they wouldn't sell a puppy to (though I also think they NEED to respond to the failed questionnaires and explain WHY the person failed), as well as giving a starting point when phone/email conversations start. They already have some info on what the person is looking for and how that fits with their breeding program.

I would prefer them as first means of communication, I think it's less scary then just shooting a regular email, because I never know what to say in those!

Fine answering about lifestyle, previous experience with dogs, WHY you want that type of dog. Fine with answering a lot of stuff, pretty much.

I don't want to be asked what my annual income is. Because I don't think it has a whole lot of bearing on whether I get a puppy. Eventually you are going to start actually talking to the breeder, and through that they would learn that even though I don't make $100,000 a year, my dogs are never going to suffer from lack or care because of finances.

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Is there anything about a questionnaire that would completely turn you off of that breeder?
I looked into Boston Terriers a couple years ago and was turned off to the entire community through their questionnaires. They were terribly long, and most of it wasn't even questions, but paragraphs about how you HAD to feed raw, and COULD NOT vaccinate your puppy, and COULD NOT let them have access to stairs until they were adults, etc. Then at the end of each paragraph it said "Do you agree to this?" and you had to check yes or no. THAT was a huge turn off.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:26 AM
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My breeder uses a questionnaire... and truth be told, I pre-screen the applicants. I actually based the questionnaire on the application we use for rescue. We like it, because it's a way to get a feel for people before they're told when the next litter is due, etc.

It's not required that anyone fill out the questionnaire, but it has served as a great first point of contact for potential buyers who are web-savvy.

Here's our questionnaire - asterisked items are required.

http://brudadobes.webs.com/puppyquestionnaire.htm
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:41 AM
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I don't bother with the 'how much do you make' but do ask 'are you prepared for the finances related to owning a dog for 15 years' and 'would you be able to handle a medical emergency with a dog, realizing that they are not covered by health care' (in Alberta/Canada, so if something happens to a human, it's generally covered - my idiot brother got a dog that was eating canned pasta as a diet and asked me who to call for a number for the dog for health care).
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YodelDogs View Post
How do you feel about breeders using questionnaires? Do you prefer them as a means of first communication or do you have a different preference? What kind of questions do you like seeing on a questionnaire? What kind of questions do you feel uncomfortable answering? Is there anything about a questionnaire that would completely turn you off of that breeder?
I love questionnaires. It's so much easier for me to answer questions than for me to have an open email and kind of try to explain/describe myself.

I much prefer them as a means of first communication. They get the awkward "what do I say/how do I introduce myself/tell them this" out of the way so that when you do talk, you can get to the real stuff and feel like they kind of know you already

Questions I like: I like seeing "what is your average day like" "WHEN do you want to bring a puppy home/timeline for adding a dog" (hate it when that isn't included) "What would you consider your training method/do you plan to attend puppy training classes/if puppy did _______ what would your response be training wise?" (Shows the breeder cares about training etc..) "where will the puppy spend it's day?" "How do you plan on exercising your dog?" "Any activities you would like to do?"

and my personal favorite ever was "Describe your ideal dog" I thought it was such a great question and I had such fun answering!

I have heard of breeders wanting background checks and frankly if they want to include the cost in puppy price..then whatever fine lol

I do not like seeing "How much do you make a year?"/other financial questions, anything involving my credit score/social security number/etc..etc.., marital status (because seriously..who cares?) fence height (again..who cares. If you are selling pups to people that plan to leave the dog in the yard unattended then frankly..you've got bigger problems)
Home square footage. Seriously..when did that start measuring good ownership material?

I HATE references. I mean the very idea of a breeder calling my friends/family/co-workers and asking them what kind of dog owner I am just..wierds me out. Vet? I understand. Trainer? Landlord? fine. But personal references for buying a dog just rubs me the wrong way.

I do not like the color question. It just..encourages the idea of people choosing pups based on colors and it just seems silly to me. Puppies aren't made to order and you should be choosing based on temperament.


Deal breakers: Social security/credit score/other ridiculous personal things, references other than dog related ones (like vet, trainer, landlord) sorry but you don't need to talk to my friends or my mother.

I saw one application that DEMANDED a reference from your employer so they could be contacted. Sorry, you are not talking to my boss. No way, no how.

Blanket statements are my ultimate deal breaker. "We do not sell puppies to people with children under 12, people who rent, people with fence heights below 6 feet, people under 30, people who don't work from home etc.."
even if none of the blanket statements apply to me.. I don't want to work with a breeder who just groups people up like that. It's a bad attitude.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:22 PM
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I seem to be in the minority here in that I love e-mailing breeders. I also find filling out questionnaires to be interesting and enjoy that too. But I wouldn't want to fill out a questionnaire in place of e-mailing the breeder. The questionnaire is great for answering very important questions clearly so the breeder can easily reference to it when choosing a puppy for me (assuming they approve of my answers), but the body of the e-mail is where I tell them a little about who I am, what I like about their breed, what I want in a dog, what I like about their dogs and their breeding program, about my beliefs vaccine and feeding wise, training wise, etc. I don't like to answer questionnaires too indepth because then it just gets looking messy, so the e-mail is where I go into a lot more detail. And in my experience, most breeders seem to prefer a long informative e-mail to one lacking in details, although sometimes it gets too long and I apologize for writing them a whole story haha. But the last handful of breeders I've e-mailed over the past couple of years have all said how much they appreciated the detail in my e-mail. So I think both are important. My only issue with breeder communication is that I don't know whether I should phone them or not after I've provided a lengthy e-mail and filled out their questionnaire.

Honestly I haven't had an issue with any of the questions asked on Aussie puppy's questionnaire or the Toller breeder's questionnaire I filled out earlier in the year either. I think all of the questions are pretty important and I'd rather them know as much about my preferences and where and how my puppy will be living as possible. Even colour could be important because some people would prefer to wait for a litter producing the colour they want. I personally don't care - I listed my colour preference in order but made note that colour was of the very, very least importance to me.

I didn't care for a past questionnaire I filled out before I got Dance asking about my age and marital status and annual income. I was only 17, and right away breeders wanted to cross me off the list regardless of anything else they knew about me and my devotion to my dogs. I can see why age should matter, but a breeder IMO should take the time to learn more, because I felt that at even 17 I was a better dog owner than a lot of adults seeking a dog.

The yard and home square footage I sort of understand, but at the same time I think is something a breeder should look into a little more because plenty of dog savvy homes don't let their home or yard size dictate the kind of exercise the dog gets.

I saw one questionnaire once with a blanket statement saying that the breeder would not even remotely consider selling a puppy to a multi dog home, and this was not a breed prone to DA. Just that the breeder wanted their puppy to be the sole centre of attention. I thought that was silly and would never bother with a breeder like that considering I like a multi dog home.

Things that turn me off of breeders, as others have said, is when things are dictated as to what you can and cannot do. You have to feed this certain brand of food, you have to go to these exact types of classes, you have to follow this vaccination protocol exactly, your dog can never be boarded at a boarding facility, etc. Just the way it's said comes across as a little much. I understand having a preference to sell to homes that do certain things, but it could be worded nicer sometimes. Contracts and questionnaires I've seen like that usually don't affect me because I believe in the same things the breeder does, but still. I prefer it be worded something like "preference will be given to raw feeding homes" for example. Not you MUST feed this diet or else kind of wording.

I also kind of have a problem with references. Not because there is anything to hide, but because I don't know who could give me a reference other than my Dobermans' breeder. My vet retired, I've switched training classes and instructors lots of times depending on which area of the city I live in, etc. But hopefully a breeder could be happy with whatever reference I could provide and understand why I don't have one they specifically asked for.

All in all though, of the questionnaires I've filled out, I can't really complain about any of them and imagine that if I were a breeder, I'd probably ask similar questions to get a decent initial feel for a person.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:31 PM
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Been sitting on this question, trying to figure how best to formulate an answer, done for me!>
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran101 View Post
I love questionnaires. It's so much easier for me to answer questions than for me to have an open email and kind of try to explain/describe myself.

I much prefer them as a means of first communication. They get the awkward "what do I say/how do I introduce myself/tell them this" out of the way so that when you do talk, you can get to the real stuff and feel like they kind of know you already

Questions I like: I like seeing "what is your average day like" "WHEN do you want to bring a puppy home/timeline for adding a dog" (hate it when that isn't included) "What would you consider your training method/do you plan to attend puppy training classes/if puppy did _______ what would your response be training wise?" (Shows the breeder cares about training etc..) "where will the puppy spend it's day?" "How do you plan on exercising your dog?" "Any activities you would like to do?"

and my personal favorite ever was "Describe your ideal dog" I thought it was such a great question and I had such fun answering!

I have heard of breeders wanting background checks and frankly if they want to include the cost in puppy price..then whatever fine lol

I do not like seeing "How much do you make a year?"/other financial questions, anything involving my credit score/social security number/etc..etc.., marital status (because seriously..who cares?) fence height (again..who cares. If you are selling pups to people that plan to leave the dog in the yard unattended then frankly..you've got bigger problems)
Home square footage. Seriously..when did that start measuring good ownership material?

I HATE references. I mean the very idea of a breeder calling my friends/family/co-workers and asking them what kind of dog owner I am just..wierds me out. Vet? I understand. Trainer? Landlord? fine. But personal references for buying a dog just rubs me the wrong way.

I do not like the color question. It just..encourages the idea of people choosing pups based on colors and it just seems silly to me. Puppies aren't made to order and you should be choosing based on temperament.


Deal breakers: Social security/credit score/other ridiculous personal things, references other than dog related ones (like vet, trainer, landlord) sorry but you don't need to talk to my friends or my mother.

I saw one application that DEMANDED a reference from your employer so they could be contacted. Sorry, you are not talking to my boss. No way, no how.

Blanket statements are my ultimate deal breaker. "We do not sell puppies to people with children under 12, people who rent, people with fence heights below 6 feet, people under 30, people who don't work from home etc.."
even if none of the blanket statements apply to me.. I don't want to work with a breeder who just groups people up like that. It's a bad attitude.
Agree with everything.
I will add though, I did ask Enda's breeder in a quick email before filling out the pre-screening questionnaire that I was looking specifically for a dog who I could show (leaving them intact) and it would be a first for me, did she feel comfortable with this? She said yes, obviously. I did get a feeling from the first breeder, after going through everything on the phone similar to filling out an online questionnaire except over the phone, that she wasn't feeling as comfortable with the same situation, oh well, but either or I do prefer breeder questionnaires over going into it blind as described in Frans post above.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:32 PM
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I don't mind breeder questionnaires but so far have not gone to a breeder that uses them. Summer's breeder is very old school and wanted a face to face interview after the first phone call (for Beau, by the time I got Summer I didn't need to interview). Mia's breeder and I just exchanged emails for a bit.

I get discouraged when I see these questionnaires that are 3+ pages long. Really? Why can't we just do the basics and then have a conversation about everything else? Don't get me wrong, I like an involved breeder but I'd much rather just do an informal chat/question and answer than a form that asks every little thing and wants tons of references.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Fran101 View Post
I love questionnaires. It's so much easier for me to answer questions than for me to have an open email and kind of try to explain/describe myself.

I much prefer them as a means of first communication. They get the awkward "what do I say/how do I introduce myself/tell them this" out of the way so that when you do talk, you can get to the real stuff and feel like they kind of know you already

Questions I like: I like seeing "what is your average day like" "WHEN do you want to bring a puppy home/timeline for adding a dog" (hate it when that isn't included) "What would you consider your training method/do you plan to attend puppy training classes/if puppy did _______ what would your response be training wise?" (Shows the breeder cares about training etc..) "where will the puppy spend it's day?" "How do you plan on exercising your dog?" "Any activities you would like to do?"

and my personal favorite ever was "Describe your ideal dog" I thought it was such a great question and I had such fun answering!

I have heard of breeders wanting background checks and frankly if they want to include the cost in puppy price..then whatever fine lol

I do not like seeing "How much do you make a year?"/other financial questions, anything involving my credit score/social security number/etc..etc.., marital status (because seriously..who cares?) fence height (again..who cares. If you are selling pups to people that plan to leave the dog in the yard unattended then frankly..you've got bigger problems)
Home square footage. Seriously..when did that start measuring good ownership material?

I HATE references. I mean the very idea of a breeder calling my friends/family/co-workers and asking them what kind of dog owner I am just..wierds me out. Vet? I understand. Trainer? Landlord? fine. But personal references for buying a dog just rubs me the wrong way.

I do not like the color question. It just..encourages the idea of people choosing pups based on colors and it just seems silly to me. Puppies aren't made to order and you should be choosing based on temperament.


Deal breakers: Social security/credit score/other ridiculous personal things, references other than dog related ones (like vet, trainer, landlord) sorry but you don't need to talk to my friends or my mother.

I saw one application that DEMANDED a reference from your employer so they could be contacted. Sorry, you are not talking to my boss. No way, no how.

Blanket statements are my ultimate deal breaker. "We do not sell puppies to people with children under 12, people who rent, people with fence heights below 6 feet, people under 30, people who don't work from home etc.."
even if none of the blanket statements apply to me.. I don't want to work with a breeder who just groups people up like that. It's a bad attitude.
All of this, pretty much. I don't particularly like training questions or trainer references, though. Same with food. I have my outlines, but don't ask me anything specific when I don't even have a specific dog to figure out these things. I am NOT the type of person that says "One size fits all" to my dogs.

Hate personal references. Sorry. My mom's nuts and I have no friends. Don't know what else to tell you.

Hate the whole backyard/fence/house question. No, I do NOT need 3000sqft house in order to "properly house" a Siberian or Malamute. No, I do NOT need an amazing backyard and fence when 90% of the time the dog is going out on a leash anyway and I'm active enough to keep the dog WELL entertained.

Do not ask me if I'm okay with keeping MY dog on YOUR retainer for breeding purposes and then get pissy when I tell you MY dog will be MY pet first and foremost and will be handled and managed as a family member. If you want a dog on breeding retainer, and want someone else to pay all the vetting and expenses and take the gamble of losing their dog, why don't you just KEEP A PROSPECT?!

I don't mind thorough breeders. I do not like crazy irrational breeders. (and some of this applies to rescues, too)
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