Let’s face it. Buying a puppy is a huge investment, in terms of dollar amount and energy. Unlike buying a computer, every puppy is unique, from their looks to their personalities. Also, buying a puppy is a 12-15 year commitment, so you must be absolutely sure about the puppy you’re buying before you make a purchase. Unfortunately, unlike buying things on Amazon, getting a puppy is fraught with risks, all the way from outright fraud to dishonest puppymill operations. Below are some tips to avoid getting ripped off:
Visit the breeder to see their puppies in person
If possible, visit the breeder’s place in person. Once there, check out the puppies they have on premise and check that 1) the place looks legit and doesn’t feel like a fly-by-night operation, 2) the facility is clean, 3) the puppies are not locked up in cramped cages, 4) the puppies look healthy. At PuppyFor.Me, we will always have puppies in our San Jose location. Some of them will be in our Taiwan location, but visiting to see the available puppies in San Jose will at least give you a good idea of what you will be getting. Middlemen and scammers will either not let you visit their premises, or not have any puppies to see in person.
Watch out for recycled photos
Always confirm the puppy being advertised is the exact same one in the photos. We have seen and heard our customers complain of an unscrupulous middleman in LA who shows beautiful puppy photos online, only to realize later that the same photos were recycled repeatedly to sell other puppies.
Never pay via Western Union
Scammers will often ask you to pay via Western Union, especially if it’s to an overseas account. There’s absolutely no buyer protection. If the seller runs off, you will not be able to recover your money. We’ve been tipped off to an unscrupulous middleman puppy seller in LA that accepts the initial $200 deposit via Paypal, but always insists on getting the final payment via Western Union. Don’t fall for it. There is a reason Western Union repeatedly warns people who transfer money through them to watch out for scammers. ALWAYS insist on making the full payment using credit card or Paypal, or cash once you have the puppy in your possession.
Also, always ask to see ID of the people selling you the puppy. If they can’t produce a U.S. driver’s license or U.S. passport, it means they are not legally allowed to do business in the U.S., and there’s very little you can do if you are scammed. Also, because the sale is not legal, you also run the risk of having your puppy confiscated later by the authorities.
Check out their online reputation
Social proof is one of the strongest signals of reputation and quality. Before making a purchase, look for the following:
- Does the breeder have an online presence, and for how long?
- What are others saying about them? Any objective reviews?
- Ask for references.
At PuppyFor.me, you can check out photos of past customers, and our Facebook page (with 6K+ followers). We also have a bunch of references from happy customers who will happily vouch for us. Just ask us.
Make sure the puppy you see online will be the same puppy you get in person
Ask to see proof of the puppy’s microchip ID. At PuppyFor.Me, we are always happy to show you videos of the puppy with their microchip ID scanned so you can be sure the puppy you see online will be the puppy you get in person. Check out a sample video of one of our puppies being scanned:
There’s an unscrupulous seller in LA that repeatedly use the same set of puppy photos but sell their customers different puppies, as well as stealing photos of puppies from other sites, including ours to promote themselves. Don’t get tricked!
Unfounded claims and myths
Middlemen who are focused on selling lots of dogs peddle unfounded myths to insinuate that their dogs are high quality, when in fact they are not. Here are some common lies we have been made aware of:
- Shiba Inu puppies with black snouts are low-quality and ugly. This is simply not true. All purebred Shiba Inus are born with black snouts, and that dark area will always lighten once they grow up. Sure, there are some puppies born with lighter snouts to begin with, but that ALL goes away. This type of myth propagates selective filtering of otherwise healthy Shiba Inu puppies that grow up to be absolutely gorgeous, resulting in unwanted puppies that end up being abandoned, which is quite sad. DON’T fall for this. You don’t have to take our word for it, just check out this thread discussing snout color progression with lots of photos. Also check out the color progression of one of our Shiba Inu puppies:
- Dogs bred in the U.S. are mixed and low quality. This is yet another myth aimed at selling you puppies that are bred overseas. There are high-quality purebred breeders from around the world, so focus on that. If such a nonsensical assertion were true, then AKC champions would always come from their country of origin: French Bulldogs from France, and Japanese Spitz and Shiba Inus from Japan. Obviously this is not true. At PuppyFor.Me, we don’t attempt to mislead buyers this way. We do breed and raise some of our puppies in Taiwan, but we don’t pretend to hold some secret formula, other than lowered vet and care costs, which we put back towards the care of our puppies and pass on to you.