Frequently Asked Questions about Summer Brook
1. What type health testing do you do?
Before breeding, all of our dogs have had their hips and elbows tested with BVA or OFA. In the case of our Micah, his hips and elbows were tested before he arrived in the states with FCI. Hearts are tested and registered through OFA and eyes are tested yearly (also registered with OFA). In addition, we do DNA testing for PRA-1, PRA-2, and Ichthyosis. All of our breeding dogs have links to the proof of testing. For more information on genetic health in Golden Retrievers, see our Health Issues in Golden Retrievers page.
2. What kind of care do you provide for your puppies?
Our puppies are raised inside with our family. There is almost always someone home with them. See our How We Raise our Puppies page for more details on how they are raised.
3. Where do your adult dogs live?
Our dogs live inside and have free access to large fenced in yards. See the Our Home page for more details on where they live.
4. How does your reservation list work?
We will reserve 3 puppies per sex per litter before birth. If there are more than 3 puppies of one sex and not enough of the other, those who are flexible about the sex will have an opportunity for those puppies. Deposits are refundable if there aren't enough puppies of the sex requested. For more details, see our How Our List Works page.
6. Do you have older trained puppies or adults for sale?
See our Trained Puppies and Adults page for information and availability.
7. How many litters do you typically have per year?
We average 5 or 6 per year.
8. Do you ever have multiple litters at your home?
It often happens that litters overlap because girls living in the same home tend to come in season together. We have raised two litters at the same time on several occasions. On one occasion, we had three litters to overlap. We have more help than most and our puppies get huge amounts of attention, socialization, love, and training, even when we have more than one litter. See our About Us page and our How We Raise Our Puppies page for more information. There is someone home with our puppies almost 24/7 and in addition to family members taking care of our puppies, we have 4 high schoolers that work for us, three of which home school and have very flexible schedules . We also have a housekeeper who keeps our home (where our dogs live) clean. Our puppies are not left alone in a home where everyone is gone. We take the care and socialization of our puppies very seriously.
9. Do you breed your dogs back to back or skip seasons?
We make our decision about when to breed one of our girls on a case by case basis, but we do believe that back to back breeding is a good thing in most cases. Most, if not all, reproductive vets say that it is better to breed back to back than to skip seasons and then continue to breed girls when they are older. See our page on Back to Back Breeding for more information.
10. How much are your puppies and what is your policy for deposits and payments?
See our Payment Page for details on price, deposits, when payments are due, and when we refund deposits. Our current price is on our puppy questionnaire. Scroll down a few lines to the question on if you'd prefer a first pick puppy or not.
11. Why are your puppies more expensive than most?
See our Why Summer Brook? page for answers to this question.
12. Do you have a guarantee? Yes. Please see our contract for more information
13. Do you ship your puppies?
We don't ship our puppies.. See our page on Getting Your Puppy for more information.
14. How do I reserve a puppy?
See our How to Reserve a Puppy page for complete details.
15. How does the puppy selection process work? Can we choose our own puppy?
See our page on Puppy Selection.
16. Do you temperament test your puppies? I've heard of the Volhardt test. Do you use it?
See our page on Temperament Testing.
17. At what age do we pick up our puppy?
Our pick up days are between 7 1/2 to 8 weeks of age. See our page on Puppy Pick Up for more details. If you need us to keep your puppy for longer than 8 weeks, there is a $50/day boarding charge. After 8 weeks, we take away all indoor potty areas and work with puppies on doing all of their business outside. We may or may not be in a position to keep a puppy for extra time. We will not keep a puppy past 8 weeks 4 days without training. Puppies at these ages need a lot of individual time and training that we do not provide to boarded puppies. If a family thinks that they need their puppy to stay with us for extra time, it needs to be discussed before a reservation is made. There might be times that we will be leaving to go out of town ourselves right after puppies are 8 weeks. There might be other times when we have too many puppies in our training program to accomodate additional puppies. Because our puppies live in our home, we have limited space.
18. Where are you located?
We are in Chelsea, Alabama, about 25 miles southeast of Birmingham, Alabama.
19. Can we come meet you, your dogs, and the puppies at your home?
Yes, though it is not required, we would love to meet all new puppy owners (only serious inquiries interested in litters that are announced on our site) after they have completed the puppy questionnaire and spoken with us by phone, and been approved. An appointment is required for all visits.
For the well-being of our puppies and their mothers, we do have a few visitation restrictions. First of all, we don't allow any visitors while we have mothers in whelp or puppies under two weeks of age. At this age, our mothers are with their puppies 24/7 except for short potty breaks and we are exhausted from round the clock care. The only time we would make an exception to this rule is if we should happen to have another litter over 5 weeks of age when we always welcome the owners of those puppies at this age.
We allow visitors with the puppies after 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, puppy owners may come multiple times if they like and we also invite friends and extended family to socialize our puppies. We love opportunities for our puppies to have socialization beyond our own family.
We often have people asking to drop in and see our dogs. We love visiting with people, but in order to protect our family time, we've decided to only invite those who have taken the first steps toward reserving a puppy from us and been approved.
20. What are your requirements to get a puppy from you?
We will only allow our puppies to go to homes where they will be given the very best of care and where they will receive a lot of love and attention. We won't place them in homes where they will be left alone most of the day. We also have quite a few requirements in our contract with regard to health. If you are looking for a backyard pet, we wouldn't be the breeder for you. See our page entitled Is a Summer Brook Puppy Right for You? for more details.
21. What kind of food do you recommend?
My first recommendation is to feed a raw or a well-balanced home cooked diet. But knowing that most Americans are very busy, I've put together a food page with information on our recommendations for feeding dry dog food.
22. Will you sell with full registration?
No, our puppies are sold as pets only with AKC limited registration. With limited registration, you can participate in any type AKC show such as obedience, rally, agility, etc. except for conformation shows. Only dogs with full registration are allowed to be bred and get registration papers for the puppies. We will not sell to anyone wanting to breed.
23. Do your dogs have any type of allergy?
No, none of our dogs have ever shown any signs of allergies or any other type of skin condition nor have any of the studs that we use with the exception of our Jessie. Jessie has a very mild case of ichthyosis but no other skin problems or allergies. I (Karen) have seen some flaking when I've brushed her after not having brushed her regularly. I am the only person who has ever seen it and she was over 5 years old before I saw any signs of it at all. Hereditability of Ichthyosis is by a recessive gene and there is a DNA test for it. Jessie will only be bred to a dog clear of Ichthyosis so that there will never be a chance of any of her puppies having it. Even with a lot of summer swimming, none of our other dogs have any type of skin problems whatsoever. Skin conditions and allergies do have a genetic component, but healthy food is also important in keeping any dog's skin and coat looking good.
24. Can I get 2 puppies from a litter?
Though I think having 2 dogs in the same home is a good idea, I won't place two puppies from the same litter together. If puppies are not given a good amount of individual attention apart from littermates, they will tend to bond too strongly with each other instead of with the family. Also, training a puppy is a lot of work and most families are not able to handle two puppies at the same time. If you want two puppies, we suggest getting them from different litters that are at least a couple of months apart.
25. I read that you require girl puppies to not be spayed until they are over a year old. How do I manage having a girl in season?
Having a girl in season is much easier than most people envision and there will only be one season to deal with. The reward is a longer life for your dog with less chance of cancer and hip dysplasia. Most Goldens from European lines have their first cycles somewhere between 10 and 15 months of age. The first sign of heat is a small bloody discharge. Many dogs will keep themselves clean. Others may leave tiny drops of blood.
Doggy diapers are easy to find and protect floors. Even if your dog comes in season before you realize it, the blood doesn't stain hardwood or tile even if left for a full day. The heat will last about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks with the fertile period not coming for at least 5 or 6 days (usually closer to 10-12 days). During the fertile period, you'll need to keep your dog inside 100% of the time unless you are out with her. We feel that this is a minor incovenience lasting 18-21 days and is a small sacrifice to give a dog a longer, healthier life.
26. What about an unneutered boy? I've heard that they are more prone to fight and have behavior problems?
Well bred Golden Retrievers are not aggressive dogs by nature. I take my boys out quite a lot around other dogs and at shows sometimes there are girls in season. My boys have on occasion been growled at by other unneutered boys, but they've never retaliated. They don't cower either.....just walk away. It has never been any problem for me whatsoever.
Boys who are neutered before growth plates close at about 18 months will be affected by their lack of testosterone. They will grow lankier than they are genetically supposed to grow and their heads will not fill out as much as an unneutered dog. However, the real reason we require families to wait is not for cosmetic reasons. It is for the health benefits....longer life expectancy....lower chances of hips dysplasia....lower chances of cancer.
27. Can we bring our other dog to your home when we pick up our Summer Brook puppy?
Yes, under certain conditions and restrictions. We require proof of current Parvo/Distemper and Rabies vaccines or titers. This must be emailed to us before your trip. Your dog cannot come inside our home or in the area where our puppies live, but what we will allow is for your dog to stay in our fenced front yard while we visit. We do like to meet the other dogs that will be living with our puppies (especially if they are past Summer Brook puppies!).
28. How long is the wait for a Summer Brook puppy?
We will no longer reserve puppies months in advance before litters are bred. Before 2017, we would have families waiting for sometimes over a year. During that time, sometimes family situations would change making the timing no longer good for the family or sometimes our girl would be extremely late or very early coming in season. Sometimes litters are small and there aren't enough puppies. Sometimes the mix of girl and boy puppies isn't what families hoped for. And sometimes breedings don't take at all. There are too many uncertainties for long waits.
Starting in 2017, we no longer take deposits until close to breeding time for a litter and we don't keep lists of people wanting a puppy until after a litter is announced. If you want a puppy from us further in the future than our announced litters, we ask that you keep up with our plans through our website and contact us when a litter is announced on our future litters page that appeals to you. We are happy to go over a puppy questionnaire and speak with you early in the process, but we prefer not to have the responsibility for keeping up with families other than those who've paid a deposit on an already bred and announced litter.
29. Do you remove dew claws on your puppies?
No, we don't. There is an on-going debate on whether dew claws are best left intact or removed at 2 to 3 days of age. Those in favor of their removal claim that they are useless and only serve as something to get caught and ripped off. However, veterinary orthopedic sports specialists say that they do have a purpose. When dogs are at a gallop, dew claws touch the ground and are especially useful when making quick turns where they are used to prevent torsion (twisting). A study also showed that arthritis in the carpal joint is almost exclusively found in dogs without dew claws. Also, most injuries to dew claws happen with rear dew claws or those where nails on dew claws were allowed to grow far too long. Golden Retrievers do not have rear dew claws. Injury can happen with any nails not kept trimmed. In Europe, dew claws are not removed. I've raised many Goldens with dew claws and our dogs have very active lives. We've never had an injury. We feel that if God put them there, they are best left alone.
30. Do you microchip your puppies?
No, we do not microchip our puppies and suggest that you wait until your puppy is mostly finished growing (at least 6 months). Microchips given at young ages are much more prone to migrate. If your dog should get lost and his/her microchip has migrated down under their neck (which I’ve had one do with one of my imports), whoever checks your dog for a microchip would probably never check anywhere except for where the chip is supposed to be.
31. What if vet finds a problem at the 7 week check up?
See our page on Problem at the 7 Week Check Up
32. What kinds of pictures do you provide as we wait for our puppy??
We make pictures and post them to the website at birth, 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks, and 6 1/2 weeks. They will either be posted on the days that puppies are exactly these ages or possibly one or two days later. At birth, 1, 2, and 3 weeks, we take several group shots. At 4 weeks, we take individual headshots with someone holding each puppy. At 4 weeks, the pictures will be labeled to indicate which puppy is in each picture and there will be 2 or 3 pictures of each puppy. At 5 weeks, there will be individual pictures of each puppy labeled as well as a few candid shots of the group taken outside. Because puppies are matched to families shortly after 6 1/2 weeks of age, we spend considerable time taking pictures at 6 1/2 weeks with at least 3 individual labeled shots of each puppy. In this last set of pictures, there will be at least one picture of every puppy standing and/or sitting on the ground as well as a close up face shot. We do not do extra pictures for those wanting special pictures beyone what is posted nor do we do videos of puppies under 10 weeks. Our primary focus is the puppies themselves.
33. Do you offer stud service?
We have on occasion studded out our boys to established breeders with good reputations on bitches with proof of all health clearances and with strong pedigrees. However, we are currently only in a position to offer frozen semen. We never offer our boys out for stud via a natural breeding and we currently aren't in a position to offer fresh chilled.
34. What do you think about breeder XYZ?
I get this question quite a lot from people who don't want to wait for a puppy as long as people wait who get our puppies. I don't want to judge another breeder and won't answer this question, but I've written a page entitled
35. What do you think about Goldendoodles?
Because a Goldendoodle is a mix between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever, they do not
breed true like a pure bred dog. Click Here to see a very good article that is on The Golden Retriever Club of America's website on Goldendoodles. In spite of the fact that most Goldendoodle breeders claim that a Goldendoodle possesses the best of both breeds, the truth of the matter is that some Goldendoodles inherit the best from both parents while others inherit the worse. Most will get a little of the best and a little of the worst. It is uncertain what any particular puppy will be like.
36. I have questions not answered on this page. How do I get in touch with you?
Please see questions 5 and 10 above if you are looking for price and puppy availability. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about getting a puppy in the future that aren't answered on this page. I am very happy to talk by phone with people interested in our puppies (in fact it is required before being added to our list), but because of numerous phone calls, I've decided to limit phone calls to those who have filled out our puppy questionnaire and read the links that it takes you to. Thank you for understanding.
If you already have a puppy from us or are on our current waiting list and need to talk by phone and no longer have our number in your contacts, email me, and I'll call you or re-send you my number.