How do you feel when someone hops on your puppy waitlist or gets in touch to enquire about buying one of your little bundles of joy?
When that person has kids, does anything change for you?
It does for me. And this blog is going to delve deep into why it’s critical that we go the extra mile when we’re selling puppies to families with kids.
We have to shift perspectives
One of my biggest motivators for starting Pupstarts Breeders was education. Because I believe that education will make the biggest difference to reducing the numbers of dogs who wind up in rescue or who are devastatingly put to sleep through no fault of their own.
Education for breeders, yes. But also for owners, prospective owners, and anyone else who comes into contact with dogs.
This is how we raise the bar and play our part in shaping the lives of dogs who we’ve decided will be ‘man’s best friend.’
It’s our responsibility
As dog breeders, we have a huge responsibility to be the very best we can be for our dogs. But we also need to help educate others, so they too can be the very best for the dogs they bring into their lives.
Most people who decide to get a dog, do so with the very best of intentions. But when their expectations don’t quite match the reality… things can start to go wildly wrong.
I go into A LOT of detail around expectation setting with my new puppy owners as standard – and for new owners with children, even more so.
Keeping your puppies safe
People don’t rehome their children, but they do rehome their dogs. So it’s vital that we set the bar and educate new puppy owners with children on what to expect and how to manage it – so they don’t bite off more than they can chew.
This is also how you safeguard your puppies. It’s how you reduce the chances of them being returned to you or rehomed, when family’s expectations don’t quite match the reality of their rose-tinted perception of kids and dogs.
The whole world now is very “dog-training-centric” – with an awful lot of emphasis on training puppies and dogs to fit into our worlds.
So, it’s not surprising that when dogs behave like dogs, many owners feel like they’ve been thrown a huge curveball… and it’s one that some people can really struggle to handle.
The truth about kids and dogs
Here’s the bottom line, the puppy is going to behave like a puppy. And there’s not a lot we can do about that! It’s natural that as they are developing and growing there are going to be some behaviours and phases that are a bit of a struggle for us humans.
With the right support, understanding, and management – it will be a phase.
A phase that is soooo much easier to sail through when we know what to expect BEFORE it starts. When you know what you’re signing up for, you can handle the hurdles without feeling like a failure.
While the puppy is going to behave like a puppy, we also need to understand that kids are going to behave like kids.
Which is why it’s VITAL that the grown ups in the household know how to take the wheel and guide these two species to live together appropriately.
Kids can be noisy, unpredictable, fast moving, and spontaneous.
For dogs, that can create a cacophony of nerves, overexcitement, and overarousal.
We can’t blame the kids. We can’t blame the dog.
And although many may like to blame the breeder – for those of us who are breeding responsibly for health and temperament… You can’t blame the breeder either!
So what can you do?
As responsible breeders, we need to help parents to manage the two species together.
We need to guide them to understand what pitfalls are likely to rear their heads and give them the tools to support them.
It’s the grown up’s job to take the lead so that both kids and dogs are safe, comfortable and happy.
As a responsible breeder, you can support your new puppy owners so they’re equipped to take the lead and take responsibility for putting boundaries in place.
You can set them up with a really simple and easy to follow framework and foundation to follow – that will make all of this stuff doable (in record timing).
It’s called The Dial Method… and I’m dying to tell you all about it.
Introducing… The Dial Method
The Dial Method is an awesome resource for puppy and dog owners who have children in the mix. Whether visiting grandchildren or family, or kids of their own – The Dial Method maps out in black and white how to manage kids and dogs together safely.
It’s insanely easy to follow and takes under 40 minutes to soak up all the critical information parents need.
It’s created by Justine Schuurmans – A CPDT–KA certified, Licensed Family Dog Mediator, and family dog trainer with over 20 years experience.
But what makes this programme so incredible, is the way that Justine has managed to distil really complex dog training and science into such an easy to digest and understand format.
How The Dial Method can help you as a breeder
You might be wondering why I’m telling you about a programme that is clearly aimed at parents of kids and dogs – not dog breeders!
But as a responsible dog breeder, I know how much you want to make sure all your puppies end up in good homes. It’s why you do puppy profiling, it’s why you vet potential purchasers, and it’s why I know you’ll benefit from The Dial Method.
Families with children will apply to buy your puppies. And they will do so full of excitement and bursting with enthusiasm to give your pups a good home.
“Sharing the Dial Method with your new puppy owners is like an insurance policy. You’ve been so diligent in your breeding choices – you’ve health checked, temperament checked, socialised, vaccinated, etc. And now you’re handing your pups over to new owners”.Justine Schuurmans – Founder of The Dial Method
As Justine says, “Prompting those owners to do a little learning and preparation is ensuring they’re doing their due diligence. It’s preparing them to take the reins and empowering them with the education they need to do it well.
“Rather than sending them off and crossing your fingers that they land on their paws, you can introduce them to a simple video series or book that takes little time to digest – but will give them a serious leg-up in navigating family life with kids and dogs successfully.”
How to do it
There are a few ways that you can introduce The Dial Method to your families. The programme is available in both video and book format – and there is a free referral programme which breeders are welcome to join.
Here are 3 ways to share The Dial Method with your families
- Become a partner and share the link (then earn for each referral)
- Purchase the book/video series and include it in the price of your puppies
- Purchase the book direct from amazon & put it in your puppy packs
Not only can your families learn the theory, they can get a workbook that shows them how to put it into practice in a way that fits their family lifestyle. You can customise The Dial Method a bazillion different ways – and with the workbook, it’s actionable.
Fancy a teaser of what’s inside The Dial Method? Check out the below video and have a quick snoop around!