Don't throw caution to the wind!
Don't let the breeder get hold of any personal information, such as where you live, where you work, or what school your child goes to. It's probably nothing, but isn't it better to be safe than sorry?
In recent times, it has become the new in-thing to buy everything online. By everything, we mean everything. Clothes, furniture, shoes, bags, food, electronics, and now, even pets. Yes, pets! There are several people who sell puppies online, and there are several interested buyers who'd rather buy a dog at the cost of a couple of clicks rather than go all the way down to a store or to a breeder's house.
You might be wondering, actually, is this a good idea? To be frank, we think, it's more of an individual perspective. If you think you can get a good deal online, then maybe, it's a good idea for you. Personally, we'd actually prefer meeting the breeder, the mother, and the litter before we'd take our pick. However, if you think this is right for you, then you must be careful when going about the whole process in order to get a happy, healthy dog home. We're giving you a few tips which certainly aren't exhaustive, but will help you avoid pitfalls, if any, when buying a pup online.
First and foremost, it is utterly necessary to completely educate yourself on what kind of dog you're looking for, what is its temperament like, and whether it is suitable for your house and family. Once you're clear about that, you can move on to educate yourself about the breeders listed online. Use a breeder guide, ask the local vet for a recommendation, and talk to someone who has done this before, if possible. Only when you're sure you completely trust the said breeders as well as this process, go ahead with choosing one and contacting him or her.
Use a Puppy Finder Company
There are 'puppy finder' organizations which do all this work for you―they check the breeders' backgrounds, the puppies' health, and every detail about how you are to go about the entire process. A good puppy finder company will have reviews on its website, as well as social networking profiles where one can easily find information about their services. You can even get in touch with previous customers of a good puppy finder company to ask about their experience.
Identifying a Good Breeder
There are some really good people who are genuinely interested in selling you their puppies, while there are others (perhaps more than the good ones) who are solely interested in making a quick buck. So how do you tell the difference between a genuine breeder and a con-person? Here are a few points you should look out for:
- The breeder must have a license.
- The puppies up for sale are kept in a homely, warm surrounding, and not in a cold, dark kennel or in a basement.
- The breeder is not reluctant to meet you or to let you meet the mother and the puppies before purchasing. If (s)he shows any signs of reluctance, it may be a sign that (s)he is not a genuine breeder.
- The breeder shouldn't be having way too many dogs for sale. If (s)he does, then maybe it is a puppy mill, and there's no way that you should get a puppy from there.
This is one thing you simply have to insist on if you want to get a happy, healthy puppy. Recent scams have been showing us how so many puppies bought online die within a short time. The breeder must be ready and willing to provide you with health certificates of not only your puppy, but also its parents. These certificates must be notarized records of what shots have been administered to the puppies as well as the parents, if there is any genetic information that you ought to know, as well as a health guarantee. This probably sounds very weird, but good online sellers are ready to give you a signed guarantee that states the puppy is healthy. If something major happens to the puppy before the guarantee period is over, that signed document gives you the right to return the puppy to the breeder.
One of the best ways to ensure that you aren't conned is to ask for personalized pictures of the puppy. There are many people who use stolen pictures of puppies to pretend that they have a beautiful litter up for sale, and then simply disappear with your money without a trace. To avoid this, ask your prospective seller to send you personalized pictures of the puppy to confirm its existence. You may do this by either video-conferencing with the breeder and the puppy, or by asking the breeder to have your name or an object you both decide on with the puppy in the picture. A genuine seller will be more than happy to do so, while a fake will give excuses such as his camera is broken, or his computer isn't functioning properly, or the puppy isn't staying still long enough for a picture (yes, they do use such silly excuses!)
Do not, and we cannot emphasize enough on this point, do not ever use a wire transfer or any other kind of money transfer to pay for your puppy. Believe us, that's the last you'll see of your money, and you'll never get a puppy in return. If what you're falling prey to is a scam, there's nothing that anybody can do to get your money back for you. Stick to credit cards or the cash-on-delivery option, as you can always reverse your payment if you feel something isn't right. In case of cash-on-delivery, you know that scamming sellers will not agree to this option, but genuine sellers will. Unless you really know the person you're buying your puppy from and you really, absolutely trust him/her, do NOT use money transfer services. Before making payments, you may also choose to inquire about the breeder with his/her bank to know more about his/her reputation in the market.
Avoid Sellers From Distant Countries
Many of the fraud sellers who are out to waste your time and money claim to be based in countries far away from where you are. Notable examples of these are sellers who claim to be based in Africa, Malaysia, Cameroon, Colombia, Romania, etc. Now, we aren't saying that every seller from these places is a fraud. However, it is just better to buy your puppy from someone who is close-by, someone you can meet and establish a cordial relationship with before purchasing, and someone whom you can visit every now and then before you take your puppy home. Even if you want to buy your dog online, check out breeders based close to your location. Don't fall for breeders who are claiming to sell puppies in order to raise money for charity or for an AIDS-rescue program or anything else of the kind.
Stay Away From The 'too good to be true' Deals
Let's be realistic here. Which breeder will sell you a puppy for USD 300 when its original price is USD 2,000? Do not fall for deals which fascinate you or which seem very easy on your wallet, they're most probably a big hoax. People who are offering you such deals are just looking for a way to make some quick money, and nothing else. They'll be very friendly and helpful until you make the payment, after which they'll never be heard from again, and you'll never get your dog. Make sure you do your homework when it comes to paying for a puppy. You should know what a realistic price is. Also, this will help you if some breeder is overcharging you.
Get a Well-defined Contract
When you're getting a puppy online, you need to get a well-defined contract drawn up that specifies the health status of your puppy, conditions about spaying or neutering the puppy, the payment details, shipping charges, as well as a condition which states that the breeder will take the puppy back if you're not able to take good care of it/it does not level up with your aforementioned expectations (in case it is found to have a major health problem, or something to that effect before the health 'guarantee' period is over). Make sure you as well as the breeder have notarized copies of this contract before you pay for the puppy and take it home.
Communication With The Seller
Initially, let email be the only mode of communication between the seller and you, until you have established that (s)he is genuine, and is not out to cheat you. However, don't restrict to the internet as the only method of communicating with the breeder. After you know you can trust him/her, interview the breeder on the phone. If (s)he is more than happy to let you visit the mother and her puppies, it is safe to assume that (s)he is a genuine seller. If you're not going to be visiting him/her, do make sure to have several interactions over the phone before you make any decision. Remember, a good breeder will interview you too, will want to know why you want a dog, how you're planning to take care of it, and will not let your wallet be the only reason (s)he is willing to sell you a puppy.
Beware of 'agents'
Fraudsters will probably tell you something like they're out of the country, or are traveling, and so their agent (read: friend, relative, associate) will be a part of the transaction or will deliver the puppy directly to your doorstep instead of them. Avoid such deals at all costs, as these agents will collect the money from you and disappear, and the fraudsters will not be heard from again. Do not let the puppy be directly delivered to your house. If it is being flown in or shipped to your town, you must go to pick it up where you'll be able to meet the breeder accompanying it.
In order to protect yourself and to buy a puppy online safely, look out for the aforementioned signs which will tell you that the deal is a sham. If you do come across these signs, be sure to pay heed to the alarms going inside your head! It really pays to be careful. If you feel you don't have to stick to buying a dog, you can check the local shelter and give a poor one a loving home. Best of luck with getting your wonderful new puppy!