IS IT SAFE TO BUY A DOG OR PUPPY ONLINE???
First, let me say there is some risk in everything we do...even getting out of bed in the morning subjects you to the risks of what may or may not happen to you that day. What we are talking about here is can you buy a dog or puppy online with only reasonable risk?
It is wonderful if you live close enough to the breeder to come and meet the dogs and the breeder in person, but what if the dog that captures your heart is not close enough for you to come in person? How can you improve your odds that you will be happy with the dog you buy, AND that it will actually be sent to you?
We have all heard of the horror stories that the dog you received was not the one you saw photos of, or you sent money and never got the dog? That one has happened to me when I sent many thousands to buy a Champion from Europe and the dog never was sent to me, and no money was refunded. I must also say that some of my BEST dogs have come from purchases I made online for dogs that were shipped to me from Europe. How do you stack the odds in your favor? (I learned the hard way so you don't have to!)
First, how did you find the dog that is listed for sale? The biggest percentage of rip-offs come from those web sites that pop up on the first few pages of your search results. You know, those sites that advertise just about every kind of dog under the sun. While certainly not every breeder listing dogs there is bad (some are good), the PUPPY MILLS market their puppies almost exclusively on those multi-breed web pages. Advertising on those sites range from free, to only a few hundred dollars or less a year, so they push their poor quality dogs on the public easily and often on many of those multi-breed sites. I suggest you avoid those sites.
You increase the odds that you will be dealing with a reliable person with quality companions of good health if you go only to the web sites of PRIVATE BREEDERS, not those conglomerate breed sites, or from a reputable NATIONAL site such as the American Kennel Club of America web page (www.AKC.org). You will find individual breeders there, as well at the National Breed Club for the German Shepherd (www.GSDCA.org). If you find a breeder from one of those web sites you will be buying from established breeders that have agreed to follow the AKC and the GSDCA guidelines in how they do business with you.
If you don't find the dog you want from one of those 2 Nationally recognized web sites/organizations, then the next best bet is a web page for the kennel of a private breeder/kennel that owns, houses, raises and sells their dogs directly to you. Experienced breeders with a long track record of producing good dogs is your best bet. They should be open to scheduling visits. Many times I have had people fly across the country to meet the dogs and me in person. I am very happy to accommodate this as I want the placement of my dog or puppy to be a good match, both for you and for my dog.
BEWARE of the breeder that lets you send them money directly from their web site with no preliminary contact between you and them. A responsible breeder will want contact with you first to at least try to figure out if you and their dog are a good fit. We are not selling canned peas here, they are living animals, and it is the Breeder's responsibility to try to be sure you will be a good owner for their dog. It is your responsibility to question the breeder to see if you trust them, to determine if you feel they have a dog you will be happy with, and that you feel comfortable with the the communications between you and the breeder. A big part of what you pay for when you buy a dog or puppy is not only the dog, but the level of 'Dog Knowledge' the breeder has, and how willing they are to answer your questions for the life of the dog.
With just a bit of homework on your part, and some communications back and forth with the breeder, you can find a reliable breeder that WILL send you exactly the dog you wanted and expected.
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