Puppy Selection Policies
We have found that there are bigger differences between puppies of different litters than between individual puppies within the same litter and that choosing the parents of a future puppy is more important than choosing the puppy out of a particular litter. All of our adults are on the calmer side and by far most of our puppies are very calm. With that said, there are still subtle differences between puppies within a litter and we let families know as best as we can what those differences are.
I do firmly believe that environment plays a bigger part with how one of our dogs turns out than which puppy in a litter someone gets. A good example of that is Rhea from Hope's first litter who was the most energetic puppy in a litter of nine puppies. She went to a family who trained her well and on her first birthday, she passed the test to become a therapy dog (a test where calmness is paramount!). One of our puppy owners told me that before getting a puppy from us, he had had two puppies in the past, one of which was very active and outgoing. The other was shy, but calm. When they were grown, he said they were very much the same. He had trained them both to be calm and confident. There is a lot of truth in this. I am, however, aware that most people aren't as knowledgable in training puppies as these two families were. We do make the matching process a priority.
The puppy selection process starts just before or at 7 weeks. Most of our puppies are matched to owners by me, but for those who would prefer to pick their own puppy, first pick girls and boys are available for an extra fee above the regular price of a puppy. If there are 4 or more puppies of a sex, there will also be a second pick boy and/or girl for an extra fee. If there are 6 or more puppies of a sex, there will also be a third pick boy and/or girl for an extra fee. We give descriptions of the subtle differences between the puppies' temperaments and post pictures, and we are here to help these families choose the puppy they like the most. For these puppies, the final decision is totally in the hands of the buyers. The first pick puppies are very popular and usually go to families who've been waiting a very long time.
We often have people coming to us wanting to wait for a litter where they can be assured of a first or second pick, but we always reserve the right to have first pick for ourselves (and rarely, but sometimes the second and third pick). We usually don't take the option, but we won't tell anyone that they can have the first pick for sure until time for final payments to be made. With that said, all of our puppies are very nice and we do a good job with matching families to puppies that they are happy with. We listen to what families want and we take into consideration the environment that different puppies will be living in. We try to please everyone as best as is possible.
The person in the first position on our list does not necessarily get the first pick puppy. We always tentatively reserve the right to keep first pick puppies for ourselves. We never bump people off our list to keep a puppy, but if there are a large number of puppies of one sex or the other, we might consider keeping one and thereby bump the first pick person to second pick.
We do very extensive temperament evaluations on our puppies and this information is provided to families prior to puppies being matched to families. However, with regard to conformation evaluations, we don't do them unless we will be keeping a puppy for ourselves. Our focus is on matching temperaments to families. Pictures are available and we know that people often are drawn to the looks of particular puppies but we don't invest the hours required to evaluate the many aspects of conformation that we'd look at if choosing a show puppy. Almost all of our puppies are good enough show quality to be successfully shown with IABCA or UKC, but our focus is on breeding good family pets. We don't place our puppies in breeding or show homes. So, keep in mind if you want a first pick puppy that we won't be able to answer questions as to which puppy has the best show quality. It takes hours to ascertain this weighing the good points and the faults of every puppy.
Because puppy selection is around or just before 7 weeks and puppy pick up begins later and because I need to know which puppy is leaving when, so that I can correctly time the giving of vaccines. I cannot allow first pick families to fly in and pick their puppy out during puppy pick up week. It logistically will not work for the other families. Families are always invited to come visit early, but this means 2 trips to our home, once for selection and then again to pick up. I am more than willing to help with your selection by giving detailed descriptions of each puppy's temperament. There are also pictures posted at 6 1/2 weeks of age. Again, anyone getting a first pick puppy is invited to come both during puppy selection week and again at puppy pick up time if you want to pick your puppy out in person.
For the rest of the litter, I make the final decision as to which puppy goes to which family. I do my best to help everyone get the puppy that is the best fit.
See our page entitled Payments and Policies for information on deposits and when they are totally and partially refundable.