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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Impulsive Buyer vs The Educated Consumer

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We get a lot of questions from some very passionate people that love dogs.  Most of the questions are in a form that takes aim at us without really understanding anything about us.  Yes, the sort of well... I'm not trying to start an argument but I just wanna say... kinda questions, AKA "The loaded question".  Fueled by any given individual's personal ASSumptions that we're just another puppy mill or backyard type breeder just looking to make a profit and not really concerned about the welfare of our dogs.  The most popular question seems to be.... Why are you breeding?  Their thinking being that with so many dogs in the world lost into the over burdened shelter systems and being killed everyday why contribute to a growing problem?  THE CHATHAM HILL GANG COMPLETELY AGREES.  In fact one of the reasons we breed is to focus on an educated consumer and practice a screening process that will vet the interested parties with a screening to satisfy our desire to find the right home for our pups.

Silver LongHair Weimaraner Puppy
Our goal is in part to avoid our dogs going into a shelter system in the first place. We also aren't going to sit around and wait for our puppies to become full grown dogs waiting for an interested person to just happen to come across a tiny ad in the local newspaper, although we do put ads in them... sometimes.  We live in times where the power of the Internet and social media platforms helps to spread the news about our puppies and allows us to keep a connection with people who already own our pups and people who are interested in a puppy like ours or people interested in what we're all about.  So we use these modern mediums to market our pups.  And there is nothing wrong with marketing something you have that others might want.  So, marketing our puppies is sort of like walking on thin ice, because its just not the sort of thing the established old school breeding philosophies ever employ.  AND OF COURSE we're not a pet store catering to the impulsiveness of human nature.

Introducing our Scotish Imported Liver FCR to CHD

That impulsive urge is typically the target of many vendors who deal with selling live animals for pets.  They feed upon the person who is just looking or curious to get a puppy fix for the day.  Once they come in the store and feast their eyes upon all the cute little puppies on display the advantage for the pet store suddenly becomes evident.  And the odds of that person walking out of that store purely on an impulsive buy is extremely favorable towards the store.  And the odds of yet one more puppy eventually going back into the shelter system has just been increased.  The marketing tactic has been effective for as long as there has been a shelter system in place to collect all cast offs from these poor buying decisions. The typical browser style window shopper that ventures into a pet store is not prepared to take on a puppy.  They are not educated on the issues the breed they fixate upon might bring into their life in the long term.  They haven't got an understanding of the importance of knowing how the puppy was whelped or who the parents were.  How were the siblings of previous litters?  The temperament of the siblings in this litter?  The Temperament of the parents? The health history behind the parents?  The Socialization methods used?  In the end, the buyer is the big loser.  And ultimately that puppy becomes just another victim and another statistic added to the continually growing numbers in a shelter system.
Our Swedish Imported FCR Stretching his legs 

Then there are Breeders.  Not every breeder is the same, not all have the most politically correct agenda and not all are about the final welfare and well being of their puppies.  The advantage offered to a buyer of a dog from a breeder such as ourselves is they come into this knowing what to expect and already prepared to make changes in their lifestyle to live with a dog.  They know about the type of dog they are interested in and may have even had experience with dogs already.  They are prepared to be questioned and referenced on their living accommodations, veterinary records and personal references.  And they come with their "A" game knowing what the real expectations should be.  And if they are lacking in any area... then depending on how we feel about their resolve... we can get them up to speed.  It's not a first for us to actually have a totally unexperienced dog owner wind up with one of the best examples of a perfect obedient companion.   Again, aside from practicing a proof of concept where a low coefficient of inbreeding is more effective in providing a long living and healthy companion, the end goal is to avoid adding one of our pups into an overflowing shelter system.

Often our pups are spoken for before they are even born
So my Spouse has the perfect answer for the following... very common question.  "Do you support any Dog rescue or any breed rescue groups?" Well... Yes we do support them all in spirit and feel the work they do is very honorable and decent.  We also make sure we qualify the homes we place our puppies in so they do not become a part of the growing population of rescue and shelter dogs.  And we offer to be the first choice for any buyer to surrender any of our dogs to if they no longer can care for the dog for any reason.  We'll even make the trip to retrieve any of our dogs.  Then after we spend some time socializing and reinforcing a few things with the dog....We will again qualify the next candidate before we decide if they can be the family that the dog is re-homed to.  Basically it is our belief that the problem is the UNEDUCATED CONSUMER.  And we do our best to educate our buyers and make sure that our puppies do not become the abandoned dogs added into the statistics.

So for the record... the Chatham Hill Dogs family has gone the extra mile to reclaim our pups from situations that would have turned out bad for them. And we've learned from these experiences and adjusted our interviews and the focus of our questions for the candidates interested in owning one of our puppies.  Therefore, just because a deposit has been given is not insurance that anyone will get a puppy from Chatham Hill Dogs.  Sometimes the interview ends with a deposit being handed immediately back to the person's who gave it after we've interviewed them and just didn't feel comfortable with what we learned or some feeling we got about them.  Beware... our children will also weigh in on deciding whether someone should have a puppy or not.  Just saying.
All our pups are spoken for before 8 weeks

We can also add, wherever and whenever possible we will be the first contact if your puppy is lost and finds its way into a shelter and if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can no longer have a dog then we will gladly come and get the dog.  Once we've taken that puppy back, the intention is to either get it back in your hands when you're ready, or to find it another family that can care for it to the standards we believe in.  We've cared for some dogs we've reclaimed for months, even years, assuming all the care and responsibility for it while in our care.  Additionally, if after a year or more the original owners have not found themselves in a situation where they are ready to take the dog back... then its just time to find it a new home... and we will then let them know this and begin searching for a new family while still offering the original owner every opportunity to make the situation right for them to still take their dog back.  Its just that sometimes no matter how much they want to get that dog back... they just can't get things back in proper order to do so.  And in all fairness to the dog.... we prefer to find it a home where they are already prepared to live with the dog.  And with every effort that we can expend we will not allow any of the dogs we've produced  to wind up in a shelter system.

So in the end an educated and well researched consumer is our target demographic.  That's who ultimately becomes the owner of one of our puppies.  And the Impulsive buyer... well, do we really need to be the enabler for the problems many people want to blame us for?   There's plenty of people and places that already do that, and those are who should really be the focus of the animosity from all the haters.  Or if those haters find themselves with time to do so... they can start to educate more people on the pitfalls of the shelter system and how Puppy Mills, Backyard Breeders, Pet Stores and Human Impulsiveness needs to be addressed first and responsible hobby breeders need to be supported.



  1. Do you do health testing on your adult dogs like OFA/PennHip/Cardiac/Thyroid and/or CERF?
    If so I would suggest displaying it on your website for the public to view. Not being negative, just asking. Have you done any competition with your Longhair Weim kidos? Field/Agillity/Tracking/Hunting/Obedience?

    1. We promote any genetic level testing for possible hereditary defects that will pass onto offspring where ever applicable.

      And we reserve disclosure to clientele. We have every right to do so since this information is private and really shouldn't be on public display.

      Additionally we can boast an impressive track record of health that blows away given statistics for what we should have expected. Promoting a lower COI in maintaining diversity.

      We respect your love for your dogs and can only add that we share the same level of love for our own dogs. However our focus is on a larger segment of consumer that is interested in a well socialized companion. This is the consumer base that demands a longer living healthier dog for the money they pay.

    2. I'll add...
      The larger segment of the population that is interested in a companion dog…. Is the public. Not Hunters, not show people, and not trials people. We're addressing over 98% of the clientele that is not taken seriously. Not the 2% interested In championships, titles and close lineages.

      Trophies, Medals and accomplishments are the human factor and more about living vicariously through the animal.

      The Dog only cares about the activity…. The human covets the trophy.

      The value of a dog is not determined by the trophy or the physical tests.

      I know you may feel strongly about your own ideals. I respect that.

      In the end all we can do is to perhaps touch base after a few generations of our dogs having been produced and then compare notes.

      As it stands I've made this offer to many other breeders who had a lot to say…. And now that I have relevant data to show that we have seen very excellent outcomes…. These other breeders have suddenly become very silent and will no longer want to compare notes, likely due to their embarrassment.


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