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I am a very shy person so I feel very awkward doing phone calls. It's why I prefer email; however, one of the breeders I'm looking into hasn't responded to my emails. (I have emailed him twice, and the last time I emailed him was two weeks ago.)

I was recommended to try calling, but I'm very nervous! I want to put my best foot forward but I'm afraid I'll say something wrong in my nervousness. Does anyone have any general tips on what to say when calling breeders, and things to potentially ask them?
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I understand. I don’t even like ordering takeout by phone! I would jot down some important points for easy reference. (I often write down my own phone number after forgetting it once in a panic! Lol.)

Assuming you already know this is a reputable breeder, think of the call as a way to introduce yourself, tell them how much (and why) you’d like one of their puppies, and ask about their basic process for matching puppies to potential owners. Do they have a waitlist, etc.

When I was puppy hunting, I spoke to a few different breeders and rescue groups, and it very much felt like we were just feeling each other out. I knew that if we connected well, I could always follow up with more questions if necessary. And that’s a good way to end the call: Ask about next steps and how they’d prefer you contact them if questions arise.
 

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I am also shy and a few times in my life have confessed that at the beginning of a call or meeting and sometimes it broke the ice a bit. These were not calls to breeders. But you can bet your bottom dollar if I were to ring one or more of our more august breeders here or even not here, I would barely be able to croak out how in awe of their program and dogs I am, and I'd say I was almost too nervous to call. Which would be the truth 😊!
 

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"Hi, my name is _ and I'm interested in poodles, particularly yours because ___. I'm new to this so I hope you don't mind my awkwardness. Do you have a few minutes to talk with me about your poodles?"

Start with something like this, your own words of course, and see how it goes. If they have time right then, great, if not right then, ask when might be a good time to call, that you'd like to be able to ask some questions. Start with PTP's suggestion of how they match puppies to the new family and any waitlist process. Once you connect over an idea or two, conversation will flow better.
 

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These are some out of the box suggestions to take or leave. Since the pandemic, it's been more of a sellers market than a buyers market, so they can be more picky. Despite this, you have something they want - a good home for their puppies and the thousands of dollars for the purchase. If you approach a breeder with a low-confidence vibe that they're doing you a favor, you may lose some of your ability to negotiate b/c people usually know when someone wants something badly from them. It's sorta like a job interview where the very job you could care less about getting is the one where you'll be offered it. And be more comfortable in asking for their salary range and be more effective in negotiating.

Here's a novel idea. You might try some practice runs by calling several breeders of pups that you aren't interested in. Say for example you have zero interest in a chihuahua or a lab. You'll probably feel far more relaxed in asking the same kind of questions you would about poodle. Just don't mislead them that you want to be placed on a wait list, and keep the conversation brief so as not to waste more than ten minutes of their time.

Also a lot of breeders prefer phone calls. It's easy for someone to sound perfect in an email (or resume), but you can "read" them better on the phone or face to face. Being shy or introverted should not be a negative; if I were a breeder I'd actually prefer a potential buyer that doesn't sound like she's the life of the party.

If you get as far as meeting the breeder and pup, keep your eyes on the breeder as much as you do the puppy. This way you'll have a better chance of picking on body language if the breeder is trustworthy and someone you want to deal with. Personally I hate high pressure sales, so do not be afraid to say you'll sleep on the decision and call them the next day if you have any uncertainty or want to negotiate the asking price, b/c the cost of many pups since last year have been unreasonable. If the breeder really likes you, she may knock off a couple hundred dollars on the spot.

Good luck.
 
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