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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello! I’m 18 and currently looking for my first well-bred dog for a service prospect, and I’m not quite sure what to say to breeders. The following is what I currently have - would this be appropriate? Is there more information I should include or should I make it shorter? Any feedback is appreciated, thanks!



Hello,

My name is [name] and I’m looking for a service dog prospect. I came across your website while researching breeders and would love to learn more about, you, your breeding, and hopefully get a puppy from you.

I currently live with my parents and my childhood dog, an 11-year-old poodle/golden retriever. I’m a part time student with class twice a week for four hours - other than that, which the dog will hopefully accompany me to once training for public access, all my free time will be dedicated to training and socializing the puppy.

I’ve had an interest in Russian dog breeds for awhile, and came across the [breed] while researching larger dogs for service work. I’m also interested in showing and amateur sports, namely agility, barn hunt, scent work, flyball and dock diving, though I don’t have experience with any of these.

My only dog experience is with my childhood dogs, the aforementioned poodle/golden mix and a terrier mutt I grew up with, but I’m eager to learn and follow guidance.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing back from you!
 

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I would add something about why you are interested in that particular breed. Mention a specific trait. I know service work is at the top of your list, but there's lots of breeds known for service work, so maybe slip in something else unique to that breed. You don't have to go into great detail, just indicate you have in fact done your research on the breed in question. You might also mention why you are interested in that particular breeder, such as "I noticed your dogs participate in therapy work" or something.

Instead of "get a puppy from you" I would instead say something along the lines of "I hope to be placed on your waiting list for a future litter" or something similar.

You should also delete the "all my time will be dedicated to training and socializing the puppy" because no it won't and breeders know that. You have a life outside of school and the dog! Breeders don't expect you to dedicate your life to training a dog, and it sounds a bit weird and like you're trying to hard to get in their good graces. Instead, just give a very brief overview of your training plans and goals.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would add something about why you are interested in that particular breed. Mention a specific trait. I know service work is at the top of your list, but there's lots of breeds known for service work, so maybe slip in something else unique to that breed. You don't have to go into great detail, just indicate you have in fact done your research on the breed in question. You might also mention why you are interested in that particular breeder, such as "I noticed your dogs participate in therapy work" or something.

Instead of "get a puppy from you" I would instead say something along the lines of "I hope to be placed on your waiting list for a future litter" or something similar.

You should also delete the "all my time will be dedicated to training and socializing the puppy" because no it won't and breeders know that. You have a life outside of school and the dog! Breeders don't expect you to dedicate your life to training a dog, and it sounds a bit weird and like you're trying to hard to get in their good graces. Instead, just give a very brief overview of your training plans and goals.

Good luck!
Thanks for the advice! As for the “all my time will be dedicated to puppy,” I mean that literally lol. One of the reasons I’m seeking a service dog is debilitating social anxiety - I quite literally don’t do anything other than school and doctor’s appointments haha, but I’ll take that out anyway.
 

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Thanks for the advice! As for the “all my time will be dedicated to puppy,” I mean that literally lol. One of the reasons I’m seeking a service dog is debilitating social anxiety - I quite literally don’t do anything other than school and doctor’s appointments haha, but I’ll take that out anyway.
Okay. You can probably talk about that with the breeder if she decides to follow up with you. In your initial email you might mention the venue or organization you plan on training with and taking lessons from (I'm assuming since you mentioned dog sports, and few people have courses in their back yard!). Specificity as opposed to a broad statement will help you stand out a bit if she's a popular breeder and it's hard to get a puppy from her!
 

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I usually just start with " I saw you online(list the url or site name) I'm interested in doing business , particularly I am looking for (puppy, puppies, stud. Whatever I'm after) please contact me to discuss further details. "

If they don't respond to that, they aren't hungry, if they aren't hungry, I'm not interested. I've wasted too much time with "breeders" emailing back and forth for months and then find out it's a person who accidentally had a litter or one of these people that wants a 83 point background investigation, credit report, won't sell if the dog isn't going to have a carpet to piss on, etc.


Also, be careful I wasted a lot of time recently with a "breeder" that kept signing me on a litter list and then the dog would "oops not actually be pregnant" or the first time it was "the dog miscarried" okay so it only happened twice, but it wasted 6 months.
 

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What breed(s) are you interested in? Because, honestly, if your entire dog experience has been with one Goldendoodle, the "larger" Russian dog breeds that I can think of, namely the Black Russian Terrier, Eastern European Shepherd, and the various Ovcharka are not ones I would recommend. Even for experienced dog people, they can be a challenge.

I usually just start with " I saw you online(list the url or site name) I'm interested in doing business , particularly I am looking for (puppy, puppies, stud. Whatever I'm after) please contact me to discuss further details. "

If they don't respond to that, they aren't hungry, if they aren't hungry, I'm not interested. I've wasted too much time with "breeders" emailing back and forth for months and then find out it's a person who accidentally had a litter or one of these people that wants a 83 point background investigation, credit report, won't sell if the dog isn't going to have a carpet to piss on, etc.


Also, be careful I wasted a lot of time recently with a "breeder" that kept signing me on a litter list and then the dog would "oops not actually be pregnant" or the first time it was "the dog miscarried" okay so it only happened twice, but it wasted 6 months.
Honestly, if a breeder is so "hungry" that they will sell a puppy to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who is willing to fork over the money, no questions asked, that's a breeder I'm not interested in. Good breeders care about where their puppies go, and if your first contact with them is "I'd like to order XYZ, give me a call", then the odds of them doing anything more than just hitting the delete button are pretty slim.

As far as your last statement, yes, bitches will sometimes lose a litter after being confirmed pregnant, and yes, sometimes a breeding won't take. Sometimes, the litter is lost for other reasons. A friend of mine had a bitch confirmed in whelp to a very good male, only to wind up spaying the bitch halfway through gestation in order to save her life after she developed complications.
 

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Honestly, if a breeder is so "hungry" that they will sell a puppy to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who is willing to fork over the money, no questions asked, that's a breeder I'm not interested in. Good breeders care about where their puppies go, and if your first contact with them is "I'd like to order XYZ, give me a call", then the odds of them doing anything more than just hitting the delete button are pretty slim.

As far as your last statement, yes, bitches will sometimes lose a litter after being confirmed pregnant, and yes, sometimes a breeding won't take. Sometimes, the litter is lost for other reasons. A friend of mine had a bitch confirmed in whelp to a very good male, only to wind up spaying the bitch halfway through gestation in order to save her life after she developed complications.
Yes, I would have to agree. You're not going to find a "hungry" reputable breeder, especially if you're after a rarer breed. Most reputable breeders have one litter a year, and they might be spoken for years in advance. They are not in it for the money and don't need to hawk their wares. As difficult as it may be to wait, you might get stuck on a waiting list for a few years. My dog just turned 6 in July and I don't want another puppy until my current dog has passed, and I'm already researching breeders, because I know the breeders/breeds I'm interested in have 2-3 year wait lists! Choosing to support a reputable breeder who cares about the betterment of their breed is a lot less satisfyingly then picking up a pup at a pet store on a whim, but it's so worth it!

There are also breeders out there who are incredibly picky about who they place their puppies with, and you may get rejected for a reason that seems absurd to you, but don't get discouraged. This is more common among very rare breeds. There are other breeders out there, so it's good to have a few picked out if your first option is a no-go or you find out you don't quite jive with the first breeder and her practices.
 

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Yes, I would have to agree. You're not going to find a "hungry" reputable breeder, especially if you're after a rarer breed. Most reputable breeders have one litter a year, and they might be spoken for years in advance. They are not in it for the money and don't need to hawk their wares.
None of that is my problem. I have a right to privacy, and a dog is property. If you don't want to sell your property that's fine, I'll take my money somewhere else.
 

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None of that is my problem. I have a right to privacy, and a dog is property. If you don't want to sell your property that's fine, I'll take my money somewhere else.
The reason that BYBs, greeders, and puppy mills exist...
 

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The reason that BYBs, greeders, and puppy mills exist...
So should we leave those puppies wallowing in their own feces on the puppy farm? Those dogs are getting sold wether to good owners or bad. You'll never put a dent in the industry so I'd I can take a dog out of a bad place and give it a good life I've done more than if I'd taken a dog from a good place that is only selling to good places. AND the added benefit of not giving out my personal info to strangers on the internet.
 

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You're not going to find a "hungry" reputable breeder, especially if you're after a rarer breed. Most reputable breeders have one litter a year, and they might be spoken for years in advance.
I most definitely agree that someone looking for a service dog prospect should not be looking at breeds known to be hard, sharp - difficult. I'm sure some of them can be great at it, but training them would not be for a first-timer.

It also seems to me anyone with "debilitating social anxiety" ought to think long and hard about how they're going to train a service dog, which surely needs socializing out the wazoo on their own.

Anyway, the reason I quoted Lillith above is to mention that my experience was that when I changed to looking for a rarer breed, there were more breeders willing to talk to me, and the wait time was a year or less. I started out looking for a Shiba. Honest to Pete, the good breeders have what seems to me to be a 10-year wait list of 100-200 people. Even if they weed that down when the time comes, it's a breed that has small litters, so people who breed only once or a couple of times a year don't produce that many. Consider they want to keep one, they pretty much always have some friend whose going to get ahead of strangers, etc., and you can figure how many are actually available to someone who contacts the breeder out of the blue. They don't even bother being encouraging, just stick you on the wait list as #137.

When I switched to German Pinscher, prospects were much improved. Admittedly the first breeder I talked to had a contract I wouldn't have signed in a million years, but that only means he wanted more control than I was willing to give. He was a good guy with nice dogs and trying to protect his puppies, but IMO he was going a bridge too far.

The second breeder was cooperative, then not. I think I asked too many questions about health clearances, and it seems to be a breed where some breed earlier than 2 based on prelims. Instead of an explanation I got ghosted, which is okay. I don't want to deal with anyone who won't discuss things like that without getting defensive.

The third breeder is the one I got my puppy from. I would have been on a wait list for 6 months or more, but someone who wanted a show prospect backed out on the puppy that is now mine right when I was talking, emailing, and doing a Zoom chat with her. I think that backing out was valid; his back end isn't what I'd want for the breed ring, but I don't want to show in conformation, and I'm happy. This breeder told me she gets about 120 people filling out her online questionnaire for every litter and can weed that down to about 20 just based on their answers there. Then in person chats narrow it further.

At a guess I got offered that puppy over others who may have been waiting because it was right when we were talking, and I'm retired, no kids, have experience with working dogs, etc.

Anyway, I suspect getting a well bred puppy before you're too old to care is easier with rarer and less popular breeds just because there's less demand. It can't just be that the breed is difficult because both Shibas and GPs are considered to be that.
 

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So should we leave those puppies wallowing in their own feces on the puppy farm? Those dogs are getting sold wether to good owners or bad. You'll never put a dent in the industry so I'd I can take a dog out of a bad place and give it a good life I've done more than if I'd taken a dog from a good place that is only selling to good places. AND the added benefit of not giving out my personal info to strangers on the internet.
I rest my case.
 
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What breed(s) are you interested in? Because, honestly, if your entire dog experience has been with one Goldendoodle, the "larger" Russian dog breeds that I can think of, namely the Black Russian Terrier, Eastern European Shepherd, and the various Ovcharka are not ones I would recommend. Even for experienced dog people, they can be a challenge.
Black Russian Terrier. I’m aware that they’re not easy dogs, and I will be working with a professional trainer/behaviorist (as well as getting additional help/advice from my cousin, who’s also a dog trainer, and hopefully getting some guidance from the breeder.) I’m pretty confident that this is the breed for me, but should I talk to several breeders and they disagree, I’ll consider other breeds. I’ve had an interest in dog training for awhile and hope to pursue a degree in animal behavior - I’d like to think I’m pretty knowledgeable on training for someone with no professional experience, but I’ll of course still have help from experts.


I most definitely agree that someone looking for a service dog prospect should not be looking at breeds known to be hard, sharp - difficult. I'm sure some of them can be great at it, but training them would not be for a first-timer.

It also seems to me anyone with "debilitating social anxiety" ought to think long and hard about how they're going to train a service dog, which surely needs socializing out the wazoo on their own.
As I said above, I’ll be working with professional service dog trainers. The main reason I’m getting a service dog is medical alert/response for my autoimmune condition, not social anxiety, though the dog will also be trained to help alert/respond to some of my anxiety symptoms (panic/anxiety attacks and dissociation, primarily).
 

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@T Lledsmar Someone looking for a service dog should absolutely be going with breeders who do in-depth interviews to make sure that their lines fit the person's needs, and that they're selecting a specific puppy that will be most likely to offer success. This also gives medusashep to ask questions themselves, and make sure that these dogs are going to meet their needs and that they're confident the breeder is doing all they can to select for healthy, stable dogs and set the puppies up to be confident and resilient.

Yes, a reputable breeder can still produce puppies with health and/or temperament issues, but they majorly stack the odds in their favor by doing genetic health screening, structural x-rays, careful temperament evaluation, choosing pairs carefully so they complement each other's weaknesses, having a thoughtfully constructed puppy raising strategy, etc. And many have guarantees that offer some compensation if a puppy does still develop a major illness within a certain time frame.

Mill dogs should be rescued from living in their own feces by reporting the facility to the proper authorities, and alerting media if necessary. Those conditions are below even the bare minimum the USDA legally requires. Purchase of mill puppies feeds the market, and reducing that demand will absolutely reduce the number of these kinds of facilities - we're already seeing mills resorting to selling dogs through a broker instead of directly due to the growing stigma surrounding the practice. They're also possibly the worst place to look for a service animal, as the rampant overbreeding and poor conditions (even if they do meet the USDA bare minimum) result in far higher incidence of major illness (contagious and/or genetic) and severe, lifelong behavior problems.

Of course it's wonderful if someone takes on one of these dogs with the understanding and ability to handle any serious issues throughout the dog's life, but not everyone has that luxury. Especially when they require a working dog who needs to be able to meet extremely specific and demanding requirements.
 

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@T Lledsmar Someone looking for a service dog should absolutely be going with breeders who do in-depth interviews to make sure that their lines fit the person's needs, and that they're selecting a specific puppy that will be most likely to offer success. This also gives medusashep to ask questions themselves, and make sure that these dogs are going to meet their needs and that they're confident the breeder is doing all they can to select for healthy, stable dogs and set the puppies up to be confident and resilient.

Yes, a reputable breeder can still produce puppies with health and/or temperament issues, but they majorly stack the odds in their favor by doing genetic health screening, structural x-rays, careful temperament evaluation, choosing pairs carefully so they complement each other's weaknesses, having a thoughtfully constructed puppy raising strategy, etc. And many have guarantees that offer some compensation if a puppy does still develop a major illness within a certain time frame.

Mill dogs should be rescued from living in their own feces by reporting the facility to the proper authorities, and alerting media if necessary. Those conditions are below even the bare minimum the USDA legally requires. Purchase of mill puppies feeds the market, and reducing that demand will absolutely reduce the number of these kinds of facilities - we're already seeing mills resorting to selling dogs through a broker instead of directly due to the growing stigma surrounding the practice. They're also possibly the worst place to look for a service animal, as the rampant overbreeding and poor conditions (even if they do meet the USDA bare minimum) result in far higher incidence of major illness (contagious and/or genetic) and severe, lifelong behavior problems.

Of course it's wonderful if someone takes on one of these dogs with the understanding and ability to handle any serious issues throughout the dog's life, but not everyone has that luxury. Especially when they require a working dog who needs to be able to meet extremely specific and demanding requirements.
I don't think that's what this thread is about. Perhaps start your own thread to complain about "puppy mills" ?
 

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I don't know why it's not here but I thought I had suggested consulting a local social services office , they could likely get you going in the right direction.
 

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The thread is about how to contact breeders for a service dog prospect, and since puppy mills were being promoted as an appropriate place to get a dog, I thought it prudent to clarify for anyone who might read this thread why that's absolutely not the case, especially for a service dog. As well as why, more generally, a transactional approach of handing over money and getting a puppy is not ideal when someone has specific and demanding needs.

Medusashep, you have the right idea from the beginning with approaching breeders with an open conversation, and LeoRose and Lillith both have excellent advice. I'd be extremely wary of any BRT breeder who would be willing to hand over a puppy of such a large, strong protection breed to anyone who asks and has the money. There needs to be a conversation so both parties - breeder and buyer - understand one another, the breeder is confident the puppy will be well cared for and suited to the buyer's lifestyle, and the buyer fully understands the needs and temperament of the dog they're getting. Service dog programs have a high washout rate even when using dogs who have been bred for service work for generations, so I'd never recommend someone take a chance on any old puppy from a breeder that doesn't ask questions.
 

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The thread is about how to contact breeders for a service dog prospect, and since puppy mills were being promoted as an appropriate place to get a dog, I thought it prudent to clarify for anyone who might read this thread why that's absolutely not the case, especially for a service dog. As well as why, more generally, a transactional approach of handing over money and getting a puppy is not ideal when someone has specific and demanding needs.

Medusashep, you have the right idea from the beginning with approaching breeders with an open conversation, and LeoRose and Lillith both have excellent advice. I'd be extremely wary of any BRT breeder who would be willing to hand over a puppy of such a large, strong protection breed to anyone who asks and has the money. There needs to be a conversation so both parties - breeder and buyer - understand one another, the breeder is confident the puppy will be well cared for and suited to the buyer's lifestyle, and the buyer fully understands the needs and temperament of the dog they're getting. Service dog programs have a high washout rate even when using dogs who have been bred for service work for generations, so I'd never recommend someone take a chance on any old puppy from a breeder that doesn't ask questions.
You are the only one talking about puppy mills.
 
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