Q: How do you raise your puppies?
We raise our puppies with the Puppy Culture program. This process starts at 3 days old with Early Neurological Stimulation and Early Scent Introduction. The program continues for the entire 8 weeks the puppies are with us. Puppy Culture includes startle/recovery, crate introduction, resource guarding protocol, clicker training, beginnings of housetraining, sound and touch habituation, and many other confidence builders. Our goal is to send you home with a well-rounded, happy, and confident puppy.
Q: What type of health testing on the parents do you do?
We do OFA hips and elbows; heart (by a cardiologist); eyes yearly (by an ophthalmologist); DNA testing for prcd-PRA, PRA1, PRA2, DM, and Ichthyosis; and thyroid. We also expect any potential sire to have these done as well.
We know that all the health tests in the world cannot absolutely guarantee the lifetime health of a dog, but we believe that it provides the greatest odds for a healthy life. We also counsel our puppy families on the importance of good nutrition, keeping lean, proper exercise through growth periods, avoiding toxins, appropriate timing for spay/neuter, etc. There is much good and bad in our lifestyles/environments that either repress or express genes that lead to disease, both in canines and humans.
Q: What is the cost of a puppy?
The puppy cost is $3500 on a spay/neuter agreement (after 18-24 months). There is a reservation fee of $500 going toward the total.
The reservation fee is required to hold your place on the litter list. We accept the reservation fee only after you have sent the Puppy Application and we've had our phone call. This fee can be made via Good Dog.
Reservation fees are non-refundable should you simply change your mind. If a puppy of the gender you seek is not born you may apply your deposit to the next litter or receive a refund.
Reservation lists fill fast. Spaces cannot be reserved until the reservation fee has been received. Since we receive so many inquiries, we cannot hold spaces on puppy lists without this.
The balance is due at puppy pick-up in the form of payment via GoodDog or cash.
Q: How do I get on your waiting list?
Kindly submit an application. I read every application thoroughly. I will then touch base with you for a verbal conversation during which we talk through the application and any questions/concerns that either side has. We will also discuss your interests and needs, answer questions and determine if you would be a good fit for one of our pups.
I do not accept clients without an interview. After the interview, we let you know if we think we'll be a good fit for each other. You'll receive an email with a draft of the buyer's agreement for electronic signature.
Q: What happens if you don't have enough puppies for your reservation list?
Unfortunately, this does happen on occasion and it's something we cannot avoid. We are more than happy to transfer your deposit to the next available litter, but this is one instance I will refund your deposit if you would prefer.
Q: How does the puppy selection process work?
Many notes and observations are made of each and every puppy from birth. I will have spent nearly every waking hour from birth to puppy pick-up day with the puppies getting to know each of them as an individual. We have a fairly extensive Puppy Application that helps me know the potential families' needs and experience levels, as well as their goals for the puppy. Of course, we text and talk on the phone often too.
We have the Volhard Temperament test (and a few other testing exercises) conducted on the puppies on their 49th day. This also allows us to learn how the puppy behaves in an unknown environment with an unknown person. The evaluator of this test for our puppies is an evaluator of dog/handler therapy teams. She absolutely knows canine behavior and body language and is a skilled evaluator, which is a gift. Another member of my team is a highly proficient and experienced Positive Reinforcement trainer who has given me great insight into canine behavior.
To the results of this temperament testing, we take our knowledge of the puppies over the last seven weeks and what we know of the families from application and conversations, and then offer choices to the families that I feel most closely match their needs. This happens one-on-one, in the order that deposits are received.
Q: Do you ship puppies?
We do not ship puppies via Cargo. We will meet YOU at the airport and you can fly home with the puppy in the Cabin with you. Flight costs are in addition to puppy costs. As a general rule, if the flight is shorter than the drive, I highly suggest flying. It reduces overall stress on the puppy.
You purchase a ticket and fly into Salt Lake City International Airport. I will meet you at the airport where you will fly home with the puppy in a soft carrier under the seat in front of you. You can't take the puppy out, but depending on the flight crew, you might be allowed to place the carrier on your lap after take-off. Puppy tickets are $95-$125 on top of your ticket.
We would also be willing to meet a Pet Nanny at the airport that you employ. The cost for this is usually around $800-900 and is payable to the Nanny company.
You may be able to hire me to bring your puppy to you at your airport.
Q: Will I get a perfect puppy from you?
You know the answer to this question, puppies are babies, not robots! Our puppies are just that... puppies. They will get into mischief, nibble on hands, potty on the floor, and test your boundaries. I work hard to give them the best start and a solid foundation but your training, time, and commitment are needed to grow your dog into what you want. All of our training are just tools to help you raise the best dog you can. We highly recommend group puppy classes, beginner classes, and advanced classes. Find a positive reinforcement trainer that is going to help continue the training that we have already started.
Q: Can you guarantee my puppy will never get sick or have physical problems?
The ideal answer would be yes, but since we are talking about individual living creatures with complex sets of genetic material and diverse living environments, the reality is no, I cannot guarantee perfect health. I do warranty against the genetic issues that we test for. I educate to the best of my ability on the effects the environment may have on your pup and make recommendations based on the best research available right now such as avoiding spay/neuter until at least 18 months, avoiding over-vaccination, and chemical pest control, eliminate chemicals in your yard and home, feed a raw diet, keep your pup at a healthy weight, and a few more things that we will talk about in the weeks that your puppy is preparing to come home to you.
Q: What supplies will I need at home for a new puppy?
crate with a divider to allow expansion as the puppy grows
food and water bowls - I recommend stainless steel rubber bottoms. Plastic is not a good choice.
some old towels and blankets
leash and collar
Q: What should I bring with me when I pick up my puppy?
leash and collar
a baby Kong stuffed with some peanut butter (NO xylitol in the peanut butter. TOXIC)
a camera/phone for the necessary photos
if you are driving, bring a crate or soft carrier
bowl and some bottles of water
Q: What are the exercise guidelines for a growing puppy?
Look at the picture of a two-week-old puppy at the bottom of this page if you are on a mobile device:
You can see how it looks like his bones are floating. He's got a lot of bone growing to do! It makes sense that too much exercise, or the wrong kinds of exercise, can damage the joints and connective tissue.
As Goldens are large breed dogs with some risk of hip and other joint problems, we are very careful to educate our families on factors that hurt or help joint health. A big one is exercise. Your puppy is going to be small and fluffy for just a short time. Before you know it, she'll look like a grown dog, but she isn't. We send all of our puppies home with a booklet called Puppy Fitness That Fits the Puppy. It contains info and month-by-month guidelines for appropriate exercise. You can read the informative article now to help prepare you.
Q: What should I feed my puppy?
Talk to anyone about what to feed a dog and you'll hear a wide variety of opinions. There are a few bottom-line guidelines to keep in mind though. Large breed dogs grow more quickly and for longer than smaller breed dogs. A puppy weighing one pound at birth can be 80 pounds at one year. We want to keep their growth slow and controlled. We want to keep the puppy lean (no overfeeding or free-feeding).
Having the proper ratio of minerals is very important. You might think a fast-growing dog needs lots of calcium. Studies have linked high amounts of calcium and phosphorus to developmental orthopedic disease, which includes hip and elbow dysplasia among other joint problems. We want the calcium:phosphorus ratio to be 1:1 - 1.3:1. BUT, that isn't easy to find out. The nutrition labels generally list minimum amounts. So you need to call the company and ask for "actual as fed" or "maximum" amounts. There is a great calculator on DogFoodAdvisor to help you do the math.
Feed your puppy several small meals over the day. 6a - noon - 6p is a good schedule. You can drop the noon meal and increase breakfast and dinner around six months.
Evaluating your puppy's Body Condition Score weekly is a very smart and responsible thing to do.
I also strongly encourage a balanced raw diet starting about 6 months of age. I would LOVE to help you make this transition.
Q: Is English Cream a breed?
The term "English Cream" does not refer to its own breed. The breed is Golden Retriever. "English Cream" refers to pedigree lineage and coat color only. An English, European, or British Golden Retriever can be any range of gold, from light to dark.
I only occasionally use the term English to differentiate between dogs with American pedigrees and those with European pedigrees, who do, by the way, have some physical differences. Those differences are mainly thicker bones, broader head, and deeper chest. Of course, those characteristics are found in some "American" Goldens.
Did you know there is no white gene in Goldens? Even the very palest dogs are still cream in color. So, when someone asks you what kind of dog you have, you can reply, "He/She is a Golden Retriever with European bloodlines." When some say they didn't know they could be white, you can gently educate them that your dog is cream. :)
Q: How do I train my puppy?
We highly recommend you and your puppy enroll in Puppy and Basic Obedience classes, even if you have trained a puppy before. This is because of the exposure and socialization the puppy will receive at the location and with the other dogs in the class. The experience is highly bonding for humans and canines. Other family members will be "trained" as well, providing continuity for the puppy with all the important people in his life.
We also strongly encourage our puppy families to train for and take the Canine Good Citizen test. All trainers will be aware of this program from the AKC that proves your puppy has basic good manners. This will be an important first step for those of you seeking service and therapy work with your dog. And besides, CGC is an actual title from AKC that becomes part of your dog's registered name.
Q: Where do your dogs live?
Our Goldens live inside as members of the family. Goldens are so people-oriented that they just aren't very happy being apart from human interaction. Oh, they do love the outdoors and being active, but I could never keep them outside 24/7. We look for families where the puppy will be a cherished family member living happily together.
Q: Why are the first 12-16 weeks so important?
During this sensitive and critical period, the puppy is very vulnerable to imprinting, both positive and negative experiences. It usually only takes a ONE-time experience in these early weeks to permanently shape a puppy.
The bulk of this period is spent with the breeder, obviously, so we are very proactive and busy providing lots of appropriate positive imprinting experiences. We use Puppy Culture protocols, with great success!! This is a program that puppy owners can and should continue with at home. It is quite affordable at $69.95 for DVDs or instant streaming.
Q: How do you feel about spaying and neutering?
We suggest and condone waiting until bony growth is finished before spaying or neutering. This is generally around 18 months of age.
There are multiple scientific reasons to wait. Sex hormones play an integral part in the proper growth of the individual. Take them away too early and the dog is left lacking. Dogs altered too early have more length growth in the long bones that the connective tissues don't keep up with. This dog is at risk for joint injuries.
Sex hormones also have a protective effect on the dog against some diseases, especially deadly cancers. You may have heard that females are at risk for mammary cancer if they aren't spayed. Mammary cancer is relatively rare in Goldens and easily treated while cancers that are more prevalent in spayed females are decidedly more serious.
Please read this study report by UC Davis on the effects of altering on Golden and Labrador Retrievers, noting that the risks are much greater for Goldens.
We recommend waiting until 18 or so months. Females need to have at least ONE heat cycle. I will most certainly help you in managing a heat cycle. It's not so bad!
We do not allow our puppies to be bred either intentionally or unintentionally. It isn't hard to live with an intact dog. It is, in our opinion, definitely worth waiting to spay/neuter. I'm happy to talk to you more in-depth about this. Just contact me.
Q: Do you have any other recommendations?
Yes! Get the list here.