Is a Summer Brook Puppy Right for You?
Our puppies have gone to some of the best homes (we think the very best) in America and it is important to us that we continue in that tradition. Our puppies are started off inside our home and raised with the utmost of care by someone who is home most, if not all, of the time. Our puppies are raised to be companions for people who want to spend time with a dog. We don't place our puppies in homes where they will be primarily living outside alone. With that in mind, we have several requirements before we will place a puppy with a particular family.
First of all, we require a fence and a yard for a puppy/dog to play in. We do not believe it is in a dog's best interest to be allowed to run loose (unless you live way off of the road on a large piece of land (over 10 acres) and will be keeping your dog primarily inside. We've had many people contact us who don't have a fence who say that they will never let their puppy or dog outside without taking them on a leash. We believe that is too big of a responsibility for anyone to take on. Dogs continue needing to be taken out to potty no matter what the weather is like and the temptation to not go with the dog when it is raining or freezing cold would be too great. Dogs (and especially puppies and young dogs) also need the opportunity to have a place to run and play more often than most people are able to walk them on a leash. Along these same lines, we won't allow a puppy to go to an apartment. The home must be a house.
We prefer a real fence to an invisible one but we will allow a puppy to go to a home with only an invisible fence with an agreement that the puppy won't be trained to it until they are at least four months (preferably six months) of age.
Another big issue for us is the amount of time a family will have for a puppy. Most of our 8-week old puppies go to homes where there is either someone home most of the time such as a stay at home mom or retired person or to homes where someone works from home or has a full time housekeeper or to homes where someone could take their dog with them to work. We will not place an 8-week old puppy in a home where everyone is gone all day 5 days a week and the puppy will be left alone for most of the day.
We understand that most families are very busy and must work. We recommend that these families have two dogs and that they get an older trained puppy or an adult. Ideas for providing necessary socialization and exercise for a Golden Retriever in a busy home include using dog walkers, having doggy door access to outside, and using a doggy day-care. Golden Retrievers are very social and we believe it is cruel to leave a Golden alone all day long. Working families must have a good plan in place.
We have it in our contract that our puppies/dogs cannot be left in a crate for more than two hours straight or for more than four hours total (not counting overnight crating). A plan would have to include a way to satisfy these requirements. Exercise pens are an acceptable alternative as is a doggy-door.
We only place our puppies in stable homes where adults will be the primary care-takers. Children, teenagers, college students, and even most young recent college graduates have too many changes in their lives and too much busy-ness in our opinion to take on the responsibility of a new puppy. Children can certainly help but an adult must ultimately be in charge.
We have very strong opinions on how to keep dogs healthy based on studies done by the most respected experts in their fields of expertise. The guarantees in our contract are only valid if owners follow certain protocols. We provide very detailed information on how to follow these protocols.
Our first health requirement is that your puppy follow a minimal vaccine policy. Most (if not all) schools of veterinary medicine are now recommending that dogs be vaccinated either every 3 years or have yearly titers to check antibody levels to see if they need a vaccine. Recent research has shown that yearly vaccines are not necessary and are in many cases harmful. Sadly, most veterinarians are still recommending yearly vaccines. We believe it is often for monetary reasons but sometimes because of lack of knowledge of the latest research. We do recommend yearly visits, just not the vaccines. See our Vaccine page for more details.
A second health requirement is that you wait until your puppy is at least a year of age before spaying or neutering her/him. A recent study done by UC Davis Vet school has shown that dogs neutered or spayed under a year have twice the chance of hip dysplasia and also double the chance of some types of cancer as those spayed/neutered at over a year. We do require our puppies to be spayed or neutered before they are two years of age.
A third health requirement is that you feed a premium dog food and that does not always mean feeding what your vet recommends. Some of the worst foods are being highly marketed to vets and even sold in their clinics. We don't recommend any foods sold at Walmart or in grocery stores. See our Food page for some of those we recommend. Any food that is rated as 4 or 5 stars on www.dogfoodadviser.com would also be a recommended food.
A final health requirement is that during the first 1 1/2 years of your puppy's life, you will do all you can to ensure proper development of your puppy's joints by making sure that your puppy gets good age appropriate exercise such as leisurely walks and/or swimming and by keeping him/her off of full flights of stairs and not over-exercising with ball throwing, frizbee chasing, forced running, or forced jumping until your puppy has finished growing. See our contract for those details. Though we have done all we can genetically to only breed those dogs with the best of hips in their backgrounds, hip dysplasia plagues both English and American Goldens. Since it is a developmental issue, new owners must do their part to give their puppy's hips the best chance to develop as they should.
Our most important requirement is that you have a lot of love to give to a puppy and that you are wanting a quality Golden Retriever puppy who'll have a lot of love to give you back. We are aware that we have more requirements than most but we are not as intimidating as the number of requirements we have might indicate! We are here to be a help as you raise your puppy. We love our puppies too much to not send them all away to fantastic homes!