SDC Talk!
SDC Talk!
Home | Profile | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 General Discussion
 General Discussion
 Selling Dogs: Truth in Advertising & Ratings
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

joca

USA
224 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  09:50:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would like to suggest some kind of buyer feed back and rating system similar to what amazon.com has (1 to 5 stars) which would be linked to the individual advertisements--especially the dogs for sale on SDC.

Buyer's comments about the transaction itself, quality of the dog (not as described or accurately described), overall satisfaction with the purchase, and so on to be included as well as a numerical rating system similar to ebay or amazon.

I have bought several dogs from various kennels advertised on SDC over the past 6 years--some were exactly as described--usually from well-known "name" kennels ; many others fell outrageously far short of the mark; and other sellers did not stand behind their advertised return or refund policy.

A sampling of disasters:

1. Toni-- a female sold as potential breeding stock based on excellent pedigree. Seller described her as a strong running dog, but was selling her because she could not top 18mph on downhill runs in his large open class team, but would be suitable for our mid-to distance team.

Reality: Toni's feet were splayed and always had to be booted. She fell apart in training after we reached distances of only 12-15 miles. We had her xrayed: she was severely dysplastic.

2. Will--advertised as hard worker (he was) and leader (didn't know commands) but I could deal with that in training.

Reality: This dog's throat was so filled with scar tissue from a debark that he was gasping for breath and even my malamutes were overrunning him when we bumped him from our racing to our recreational team.

3. Chip- purchased as a pup.

Reality: Extremely mouthy--snapping at other dogs and people; had to be run alone because of temperament. Couldn't keep a tight tug over 10 miles. Xrayed- also dysplastic. Found out his dam also had to be run alone and was later euthanized because she was extremely aggressive.

4. Sally- sold to us as potential breeding stock.

Reality: cycled every 60-90 days and was infertile. Could never get a breeding to take. Extremely shy and spooky.

5. Gypsy- purchased a month ago to fill out a mid-distance team doing 40-60 mile training runs and paid for shipping from back east.

Reality: Dog arrived and couldn't be handled. Extremely shy and fear-biter. Bit my husband twice within first 2 days. Called buyer to send her back (he advertised a 2 week return/refund) and he told us to put her down and refused to take her back despite his sales policy.

6. Sprout- purchased along with dog above. Advertised as a powerhouse, hard driving dog, leader, wheel, already trained to 30-40 mile runs.

Reality: After giving several days to acclimate to new environment, we took her out. Tug slack after a few miles. Kept her a month, running her per instructions of seller (on left side, wheel; same thing tug slack from the start. Noticed her gait was peculiar in the rear- pelvis and knees slightly luxated out. Told the seller I'd like to send her back (per his refund/return policy) because I suspected a hip problem after studying her gait closely.

Seller refused and told us to have her checked out by a race vet: no injuries, no foot problems, no harness rubs. Then had her xrayed: as I suspected another dysplastic. Seller refused to take her back.


In conclusion, if someone asks me where to buy dogs I will have to say only from a few top, very well-known kennels that have been honest and quality of dogs have generally been good.

Buy anywhere else and you often end up paying more for a dog that is a disaster when you figure in shipping, time lost dealing with the problem dog, having to place it in a pet home or euthanize because of bad temperaments.


Ebay and Amazon have a rating system that offers consumers some protection. I think it's time the dog selling business is scrutinized a bit more closely and more efforts are made to let buyers know what they are dealing with when they contact sellers listed on SDC.

Jo Watkins

Admin

USA
1484 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  11:41:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I actually like the idea of a rating system for at least some items listed on SDC...not necessarily advertisers...but who knows.

I don't have time to give this topic the appropriate attention right now, but the first thing that came to mind Jo, is what do you think the operating budgets and staff are for Amazon and E-Bay compared to Sled Dog Central??

Judy Bergemann
Go to Top of Page

pcurtice

USA
454 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  12:07:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just goes to show you have to be conscientious on who you buy your dogs from and also just as important who you sell or give your dogs to. What a bummer.

Peter C. Curtice II
Ridgerunner Kennel
Go to Top of Page

joca

USA
224 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  12:15:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, very good point Judy. LOL I forgot you don't have a thousand little elves up there to help you out :)

Perhaps someone knows of an easy program to set up a rating system.

Most direct way would be a new folder/topic on the forum itself to address this issue with a survey and space for a few comments. It wouldn't be linked to the advertiser's page, but people could read comments (positive, neutral, negative) before buying.

It would be a good idea if the survey included not only dogs but other items/services as well, like you suggested in your post.

Jo
Go to Top of Page

SharkyX

Canada
681 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  12:25:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit SharkyX's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Actually a rating system can pe set up in much the same way as a poll and once set up wouldn't require any furtehr maintenance.

It just tells you the number of ratings and the number of starts example 3.5 stars with 47 ratings or something like that. Just because e-bay and amazon have dollars doesn't mean they want to spend it paying people to constantly update things. You're looking for a slice of code that'll update automatically using php, cold fusion or asp.
Set it up and walk away.
Go to Top of Page

TCoughlin

48 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  12:58:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, what a bad experience.

I purchased my dogs locally with research and trusted mushers, supporting local mushers and businesses. That way you can somewhat hold them liable.

Maybe there should be a kennel listing with ranks and a feedback forum. This can easily be done with php and MySQL.
Go to Top of Page

northwapiti

Canada
455 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  08:32:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit northwapiti's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think the problem with all this is that buying and running dogs is not always as black and white as buying a toaster.
Now Jo, I'm not for a second saying that this is the case with your situations, but often dogs don't work out for a second musher like they did for the seller for a number of reasons. The buyers and sellers expectations may be different (like of what a leader is and does), the dog may need longer to adjust, the buyer may not be running the dog probably, the buyer might not be feeding and caring for the dog properly, the dog might have developed an injury or illness, etc, etc.

Now, of course, how the seller responds to a dog sale where the dog doesn't work out is important, but again, there are 2 sides to each story. Who would determine whose story was closer to the truth and respresented on a sales rating?? And is Judy and the forum liable if someone feels they have been wronged by a rating given them??

Now I know many are thinking that I must have some skeletons in my closet to bring up these points - but honestly, I don't believe I do. I offer a 'buy back' option, no questions asked, for all my dogs - but I have heard many stories of 'dog deasl gone wrong' over the years and know that often the two sides of the story are far apart.

I still think the best policy is to get to know the person you are wanting to buy from. Ask who else they have sold dogs too. Look up and speak with those folks. Visit the kennel. Develop relationships with a few mushers you respect and keep going back to that 'well'. I know over the years the folks that have got the very best dogs and very best deals from me are folks I know and have done business with in the past.

Just a few of my thoughts,
Karen Ramstead


Go to Top of Page

Shawn

USA
522 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  08:48:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shawn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I totally agree with what Karen has stated. I too offer to take back any dog I sell if it doesnt do what I have said it will do. I have purchased dogs and you go with your gut feeling. Some dogs I have purchased have taken longer than others to adjust to me and my kennel. Some are just so fine that I get them here introduce them to the rest of the kennel and they gel right into the team within days. I love that,and that is the type of person you continue to purchase dogs from.
With a rating system if someone has it "OUT" for someone they could bad mouth the person and others would get the wrong feelings.To most of us this is a lifestyle not just a hobby. I love all my dogs even the ones I am willing to sell,and I want them to be just as happy and relaxed in their new home as they were with me.
So it comes down to research and like karen said spend time at the kennel you are purchasing from if you can. It can only help..

LINENDOLLSHAPPYHUSKYKENNEL.COM
Go to Top of Page

Cliff Maxfield

USA
2631 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  09:14:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For the most part it would appear joca got bit. I make this assumption not by the quality of the dogs but the reaction of the sellers.
I like Karen's toaster comparison though. One thing I see missing with joca's experience is time. It may take a season or two for a dog to acclimate to it's new owner, surroundings, work expectations. It's unreasonable to think a dog can just become part of a race team even in a few weeks. On the other hand the reluctance by the seller to take back a dog or the quickness with which ehanization is suggested should be a tip off there was something amiss in the transaction in the first place.
It's not about the dog so much as the ability of the buyer and seller to work together.
So far as SDC liability, where else can one go to sell a sled dog or give it away for that matter. The old adage "don't shoot the messenger" comes into play here.


Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it...
Go to Top of Page

MegC

USA
1321 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  10:00:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cliff Maxfield

...One thing I see missing with joca's experience is time. It may take a season or two for a dog to acclimate to it's new owner, surroundings, work expectations. It's unreasonable to think a dog can just become part of a race team even in a few weeks...


I totally completely 100% agree with this, and I think an accurate and even-handed rating system would thus be difficult to implement.

In the interest of fairness however, joca here mentioned a string of dogs here that were sold as workers and/or breeding stock and turned out to have serious physical defects that were confirmed by a vet. No amount of waiting or training is going to cure that.

So how SHOULD a buyer and a seller work such a situation out?
Go to Top of Page

Admin

USA
1484 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  10:40:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MegC
So how SHOULD a buyer and a seller work such a situation out?



Something in writing comes to mind!!

I appreciate all the input...keep it coming!

I think there are some inherent problems with a rating system for our advertisers as mentioned above.

But one of the things I want to relate is that without jogging my old brain too hard, I can come up with a list of dogs similar to Jo's. Dogs bought from big name kennels, small kennels, people I knew--long before SDC or any Internet sled dog sites existed--that just didn't work out for us for one reason or another. Some were a case of not fitting our needs, some were physical problems, some were down right misrepresented.

And I always asked myself "What questions didn't I ask?" "What can I do differently the next time." And I never bought again from someone who I felt was less than honest in our dealings. On the other hand, we bought some wonderful animals along the way!

It isn't only dogs...I remember driving 8 hours one way to look at a dog truck that the seller said "was just perfect" for us...only to find a hunk of junk. At least we didn't buy it!

My point being what Karen said...know who you're buying from...ask for references and follow-up. When you find a person who honestly represents the dogs they're selling and stand behind the sale, and whose dogs fit your management style, stick with 'em!

I'd like to hear more comments on this idea--even just a "ya" or "nah" regarding the whole idea of ratings.

Judy Bergemann
Go to Top of Page

pcurtice

USA
454 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  11:55:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There's nothing wrong with a rating system on Sellers as long as a rating system on buyers is instituted. We can get into "get even games" then. Then when I as a seller get a bad rating, I can give a bad rating back.....like "they have their heads up their butt when it comes to dogs". Now, I am pretty sure I wouldn't do that in a public forum such as this, although once upon a time ago, I may have. It is now best to dicuss these concerns face to face and probably be quite a bit more politically correct about it. But, I see something like this not becoming very productive and turning into a slandering game. There's just so many variables that affect dogs. Every seller should have a return policy within a reasonable amount of time, to be agreed upon at the time of the deal and if you feel it needs to be put in writing, go for it. I have sold dogs without a return and with a return policy. We have given dogs away with a return and no return policy. Do I care if this turns potential buyers off? Heck no! They don't have to leave with one my dogs. It is both buyer and seller's responsibility to ensure there is a complete understanding at time of sale. Most buyers wait until fall to purchase dogs when in my own belief is that dogs should be purchased in the spring if at all possible. At this time the dog can settle in. Makes a big difference coming start of training season. I have yet purchased a dog that walked right into our program and was a star, but I have purchased dogs in the spring, ran them a handful of times, saw something postive and they did become stars by the next racing season. Have also had dogs that just didn't pan out under those circumstances. I used to take it personal, because I felt I didn't get my money's worth, or I got ripped off, and yes I would voice my concern over it, not always in the right manner. That's a learning experience. What I have come to realize is "welcome to the world of sleddogs". It makes a difference on who you associate with in about every aspect of this sport, especially buying dogs. Fortunately for us, the seller{s} have always been willing to take the dog(s) back. Unfortunately there are some mushers who don't stand behind their product. They need to be avoided next time around. If anyone asks you about their dogs for sale, give them your honest opinion. The tough thing about this type of rating system, is it is too easy to get into a liars contest in which nobody typically wins, but both typically get hurt in the longer run. So I guess, do your homework and have a very good understanding of the sale agreement. Put it in writing if you feel you must. If it's in writing and either party fail on their part then you have something to show other folks.

I think what would be more productive, if you feel something has to be done, is for everyone to get together and design a questionairre that can be posted on SDC and then made available by printing. There can be a list of questions that may be pertinent to ask the seller about the dog(s) they are wishing to purchase.

Peter C. Curtice II
Ridgerunner Kennel
Go to Top of Page

SharkyX

Canada
681 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  12:42:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit SharkyX's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think that a rating system might work better in regards to equipment, food and other advertisers here on SDC then on dogs and kennels.

Judy makes a great example... you can buy dogs from top kennels that turn out to be a lemon and inherrit very little of there parents talent. It happens.

And in E-bay's rating system you rate both buyer and seller... If the buyed makes late payments or the seller doesn't ship when they said they would, both have the means to record these kinds of events... or defend themselves and there actions.
If that's the kind of system we're going for then why don't we all just go create accounts on e-bay and buy and sell dogs that way. (Please note I'm not in favour of this)

But doing the leg work behind buying a dog is pretty important. Get to know the person your buying from, even if it is over e-mail or msn you still get a better feel. Talk to them for a few weeks before buying a dog, if you can't go to the kennel, have a look at pictures. If they don't have any ask them to take some... if they won't take pictures then odds are you don't have the greatest seller (Anywhere will print even film photo's onto a cd so you have an electronic copy these days).
If your dog is full grown, ask to see vet records, race records or anything else...


Edited by - SharkyX on 02/13/2007 1:09:03 PM
Go to Top of Page

Dori

USA
765 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  1:09:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Dori's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A lot also depends on how much you pay for the dog. If you pay $200. for a dog and it doesn't make your team which consists of thousand dollar dogs then you really shouldn't be surprised. On the other hand if you pay $3000. for a dog that's supposed to be able to lead your team, I think you have a right to expect improvement. If the dog doesn't make your team and the seller will make it right then the seller still gets good points. I've taken dogs back before that were good dogs, but just didn't mesh with the buyer. We don't say much to our dogs while running so I shy away from selling dogs to those that want to yell at the team the entire way around the trail. Some of our best dogs came from Eric Lancer and I suspect that it's because we train similar. They were everything he said they would be and more. I've also been very pleased with dogs from Egil & Terry. Those kennels were very professional in their dog dealings. We try to keep a small kennel and so for us it's better to just buy a couple of dogs each year and you can bet we will go with reputable kennels that stand behind their dogs.

www.freewebs.com/dorihollingsworth
Go to Top of Page

funhog

344 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  4:37:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit funhog's Homepage  Reply with Quote
when I read the reviews of outdoor equipment on online stores I wonder if the rater has much experience with what they are reviewing. It seems like some of them use the product once, love it and write a glowing review. Not very helpful actually.


It's all about fun!
Go to Top of Page

joca

USA
224 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2007 :  03:22:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In reply to some of the comments concerning time and letting dogs adjust, the dogs I listed had physical/genetic issues--for e.g. hip dysplasia or scar tissue/airway obstruction that would not be surmounted by additional training or any amount of 'time.'

In the latter case, we tried a surgical correction to make the dog more comfortable, then placed the dog in a pet home. FWIW, the person who sold us this dog, knew us and had stayed in our home several years before!

An unstable temperament--aggression towards humans and other dogs-- that is passed down from a dam is not likely to improve with time (especially since the dam in question ended up being euthanized by the breeder when her behavior got out of hand).

Why were these dogs bred and and why were they sold in the first place?

Time is not going to change the underlying genetics & hormonal problems that cause a 3 year old bitch to cycle every 2-3 months. Sure she could be put on Cheque to prolong the intervals to get a breeding. But what's the point of taking these excessive measures only to get more of the same problems? And we are not talking about $200 dogs here either.

These are all physical/genetic issues. A dysplastic dog is a dysplastic dog.

Karen, as to going back to the same well, most of our core dogs come from one well-known kennel (not even advertised on SDC) who has sold us promising yearlings (at very reasonable prices--not much more expensive than the 'disasters' I described in my initial post). His dogs were accurately and fairly represented; their potential evident from the start--dogs that continued to improve as they matured after 1-2 years of running with us. These dogs, the kennel and the breeder are NOT at issue here. They all have been as described-- solid, dependable,and often, exceptional dogs.

I am talking about several dogs (advertised online here) purchased when we first started expanding our racing kennel, and a few bought recently from other kennels. Occasionally,it is necessary to 'go out' and since there are no kennels in this area with the kind of dogs we need, by necessity the dogs will be coming from out-of-state.


As to the comments that dogs are not toasters :) or not being able to plug dogs into a new team, we've had several dogs sent down on short notice from well-established kennels--that did just that.
No temperament issues, no physical problems. Just good dogs capable of running the mileage we were training.

They were accurately represented by the sellers and I think that is the key point here. Whether you are getting a free dog, paying $200, $1000 or more, the dog should be accurately represented. Is it too much to expect sled dogs to also be mentally and physically sound?

My point is raising the issue of a rating sytem is to have a venue where potential buyers can sift through information, references, and avoid some of the 'disasters' we encountered when buying sled dogs advertised online.

If people are concerned about negative ratings based on rivalry, competitiveness, or vindictiveness, then perhaps the system can be set up based on strong positive recommendations. Sometimes silence and the absence of a recommendation will say as much about a breeder who advertises here as a list of negative ratings.

In closing, let me say again that if someone were to ask me where to buy dogs I would have to say from my experience with dogs listed on SDC, to start with the well-known "name" kennels.

Jo Watkins

Edited by - joca on 02/14/2007 12:52:19 PM
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
SDC Talk! © Sled Dog Central Go To Top Of Page
Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.07