I have things I'd like to clarify about your puppy contract...
Why do I have to sign a contract?
The Sales Contract is in place to protect three parties...you, us, and most importantly, your puppy. The reason that we have a written contract is so that we remember to discuss the points that are important to us and to ensure that we are in agreement about these points. The reasoning behind many of these points is discussed below.
What is the difference between a Show/Working or Companion Only prospect?
A Show or Working prospect is a puppy that has the potential to compete in either the conformation ring or various working venues. A Companion Only puppy is one that has a fault which precludes him from being exhibited for one reason or another. Often, these faults are small ones...incorrect dentition or a cosmetic fault which is undesirable in the show rings...and will not adversely affect your pup's life.
What important points am I agreeing to when I sign your contract?
Some of the important items that you will be agreeing to are that you will give the dog proper care... feeding/housing/veterinary as well as socialization and training; that you will keep in touch with us throughout your dog's lifetime and alert us to any health or temperament issues; that you agree to do certain health screenings when your dog is an adult and that you agree to either prove your dog worthy prior to breeding or spay/neuter if it is not breeding quality. You are also agreeing to remain in good standing with the AKC and CKC. Most importantly, you agree to never sell or give away your dog...it must come back to us should your circumstances ever change.
What guarantees are you making to me?
We are guaranteeing that you are purchasing a registered purebred dog with the parents that we have stated have produced him. We are guaranteeing that the pup arrives to you healthy and well socialized and that we have done everything in our power to determine that he is the right match for you. We are stipulating that, in the event that your dog develops a heritable health or temperament disorder, we will refund a portion of your purchase price or offer you another puppy at no cost. Most importantly, we are guaranteeing that we will be there for you, whatever your needs may be, and that, if something happens to you, we will take care of your dog.
Do I have to give my puppy back in order to be offered a refund or replacement puppy?
No. If you were the type of person who wanted to give your puppy back, we probably wouldn't have chosen you for one of ours. While we would gladly welcome back any pup that we've helped bring into this world, it has never happened. By the time a disorder is diagnosed, you will likely have had your pup for some time. It is in the pup's best interest at that point to stay with the family he has grown to love. We will honor the contract and be thankful that you will continue to love him for his entire lifetime.
Are all items non-negotiable? For instance, I do not have a fenced yard...
No, not at all. Some points, such as the item about the fenced yard, are simply there to remind us to discuss them with you. We are open to reasonable discussion about any number of contract items and tend to be fairly flexible. If you have a question, just ask!
It says that my dog must be an indoor companion. Can't I build a kennel outside?
The Rottweiler is happiest when he is with his family. He is people oriented and is not well suited to life in a kennel. This is especially true in the case of our dogs. We raise pups carefully to ensure that they will be the best possible companions. To this end, we choose owners who also want to share their lives with their dogs.
An outdoor kennel or fenced yard is important, however, it should not be used for primary living quarters. Left to his own devices, the Rottweiler will become bored and destructive. He will also develop bad habits, such as barking or snarling at passersby. It is important that you are alongside your pup during his development and adolescence to ensure that he does not develop these bad behaviors.
How do we choose the puppy's name?
Each puppy name must begin with our kennel name "Esmond" as a prefix. From there, each litter will be assigned a letter...ie. our first litter was the "A" litter, next was "B", "C" and so on. Within those parameters, you can choose your pup's registered name as long as it is one that hasn't already been used or one that exceeds the AKC/CKC guidelines. We can send you suggestions if you are having a difficult time choosing a name. Registered names must be chosen prior to the puppy going home.
You may call your pup anything you'd like. Some registered names relate to the call names... for instance, Esmonds Supernova is called Nova. Some are random. You can choose any call name, but again, we try to avoid ones that have already been used within our breeding program.
When it says that I agree to feed your recommend diet, does that mean BARF?
Not necessarily. We wean pups on a raw diet and would like each owner to at least listen to our reasons why. However, we are realistic in understanding that this diet is not for everybody. If you do not want to continue with a raw diet, we would be happy to work with you to determine a diet that will best suit your pup. In these cases, we suggest that you provide us with some of what the pup will be eating at home so that we can acclimate him to it while he's still here. See How Pups are Reared for more information.
Why do I have to go to obedience classes? Can't I just train my dog at home?
It is very important to have a full understanding of the state of our breed in today's society. Each and every Rottweiler needs to be properly socialized and exceptionally well trained, even if it's never going to make it to the show rings.
For this reason, it is important to take the pup to formal classes, even if you are an experienced trainer. The advantages of training in a class setting are many, including teaching your pup to focus on you in close proximity to other dogs and people. We suggest starting with a puppy socialization (ie. "puppy kindergarten") and progressing from there. It is a good idea to continue with formal training classes well past your dog's adolescence.
We need to train our dogs with one simple fact in mind...that every person who ever meets them while we're out and about may someday be asked to vote on whether our breed should be banned. "Pets" are no longer just pets, they are ambassadors for our breed.
Do we need to aspire toward a CGC? My trialing plans go WELL beyond that!
Yes, we are aware that by the time you contact us, you have very likely trained dogs well past the CGC level. However, we wrote our contract so that we could use one document for all prospective owners, regardless of experience level. If you'd rather earn a UD than a CGC, you won't hear us complaining!
Does "will not promote aggressive tendencies" mean I cannot compete in Schutzhund?
No. Schutzhund is a three phased sport which emphasizes control. We encourage our owners to become involved in various dog activities and this is no exception. We do however, recommend that you research schutzhund trainers carefully before considering protection training. We also suggest that you establish your dog's proficiency in both tracking and obedience prior to starting bitework.
We do not recommend doing bitework with young puppies, or dabbling in any type of personal protection training. We do not place pups for use in guard work.
At what age am I required to spay or neuter my pup if he is a Companion Only?
If your pup is rated Companion Only, we ask that you spay or neuter by 18 months of age. It is up to you whether you'd like to have this procedure performed earlier than 18 months, however, we do not recommend spaying or neutering prior to six months as studies have linked early spay/neuter with osteosarcoma in our breed.
If I want a dog for Working only, do I have to show in Conformation?
No. We put Show and Working prospects into the same category because we believe that the working dogs need to be just as correct in structure and temperament (if not better) than the show dogs. All of our Show/Working pups are placed as Working prospects first and foremost. We will provide you with a detailed assessment of your pup's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the various show and working venues and will help you further evaluate him as he matures. For those who have what it takes to excel in both arenas, we can help you balance out the titles on the back of their dog's name with a Championship on the front if it is something you desire. If not, we will continue to support you in your working endeavors.
What if my Companion Only pup matures into a dog with show potential?
This happens. We've more than once placed a puppy as a Companion, only to see it later finish its Championship. In the event that your pup matures into a dog that exceeds our expectations, we will help you to show him should that interest you.
Why do I have to complete health clearances for my dog if I'm not going to breed it?
You came to us in the hopes of finding a well bred, healthy pup. In order to offer you that, we needed to make good Breeding Choices. This means that we compiled information not only for the pair that we were breeding, but on their ancestors and siblings. In order for us to continue to breed healthy dogs, we will need to know how your dog fared in this regard and require that all dogs...both Show/Working or Companion Only... be screened for hip, elbow, cardiac and eye disorders.
Why do I have to meet all of those criteria if I want to breed my Show/Working prospect?
Again, you probably came to us because of our strict adherence to proving our breeding stock (again, see Breeding Choices). The goal of every breeder is to improve future generations. It would not be worthwhile for us to make such careful decisions if we were not prepared to ensure that you will take equal care in breeding forward.
It says that you're allowed to use my dog at stud. What If I don't want to breed him?
We do reserve the right to use your dog at stud but would only do so if he has already been deemed breedable by you as well. We would never force anyone to breed their dog if that is not the right choice for them. In reality, it is rare that we end up using males from our own program, as it is often their mother, sisters etc. that we are breeding during that male's lifetime. Sometimes we will ask to collect and freeze semen from the dog (at our own cost) for future use. Again, this is only in the event that the owner has shown interest in breeding the dog. In both cases, this is only for our own use, and we would never sell the semen or stud service to an outside party.
If I breed my female, do I owe you puppies from the breeding?
No. We have never contractually asked for puppies back from a breeding. In many cases, we offer assistance to the bitch owner who in return offers us a puppy, but we do not demand this. In the event that you breed your girl and offer a puppy back to us, we would only take it if we were prepared to keep it for its lifetime either in our home or on co-ownership within our extended family. We do not agree with breeders asking for puppies back and then selling them to outside parties.
Can I sell or give away my dog if it doesn't work out or my life changes?
No. As breeders, it is our responsibility to know where our pups are at all times. If for any reason you cannot keep your pup, he/she MUST be returned to us. In the event that circumstances are outside of your control, we will work to rehome your dog with an owner that will keep in touch with you.
If I am considering a co-bred litter, will the breeder use this same contract?
You will have to discuss this with the co-breeder. Normally, those who we are co-breeding litters with usually use either this contract or one that includes many of the same details. In the case of a co-breeding, be sure to clarify which breeder you will be signing the contract with (ie. who will be backing up the guarantee). In most co-breeding cases, you will be offered Support by both breeders throughout your dogs lifetime.