How our reservation list works is changing a bit for our 2022 litters. We will no longer commit to particular litters before girls come in season. Therefore, before we have a girl in season, we will only reserve to those who are flexible about the litter. We are making this change for two reasons.
First of all, most people wanting a puppy from us want first available and are not particular about the litter. All of our litters are nice.
Secondly, heat cycles are not always regular and in fact can be very unpredictable. This can cause litters to bunch up too closely together. We do not want to commit to a litter until we see how the timing fits in with what we’ve already bred.
Starting a New List
Therefore, we will always have one list that will be designated as “First Available”. Those that are on our “First Available” list will not be assigned to a litter until after a girl has come in season. Our puppy questionnaire and our website “Available Puppies” page will have information as far as which breeding pairs are possibilities. Information as to the size of our list will be included. We try not to have people waiting over 6-9 months for a puppy. We also try to keep the number on our list to a reasonable number.
Once a litter is bred, we will begin a list for that particular litter. We’ll put 3 families on the boys side and 3 families on the girls side.
We reserve only 3 puppies per sex per litter before ultrasound. These first 3 positions on our list are gender specific. However, we give families the opportunity to be flexible about the sex . If there are more than 3 puppies of one gender and less than 3 of the other gender, the extra puppies will be offered first to those who are flexible about the sex. Being flexible about the gender does not hurt your chances of getting your first choice gender.
This is best explained with an example. Let’s say there are four males and only 2 females. The first two families on our girls’ list are flexible about the sex. The third is not. The first two families will get the two female puppies. The fact that they were flexible did not hurt their chances of getting a female puppy. If the family that is third was flexible about the sex, they would get the fourth male puppy. If they were not flexible, they would get their deposit refunded. They would not get to move ahead of the flexible families.
Most families getting our puppies want the pick puppies. About half of our families want our 12 weeks plus training program. Here is how we determine who gets pick puppies.
See our page on how we match puppies to families to better understand what I mean by “pick puppies”. If you click on this link, you’ll open another tab.
Who Gets the Pick Puppies?
- Those picking up at 12 weeks 3 days are the only families that will get the puppies if there are only 2 puppies in the litter.
- Those picking up at 12 weeks 3 days will get the first pick male and first pick female.
- If there is a 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th pick, families picking up at 12 weeks 3 days will take priority in getting these pick puppies. However, those picking up at 11 weeks can get a 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th pick puppy if there are not enough families who want both a pick puppy and the 12 weeks plus program.
- Not getting a pick puppy or not getting our 12 weeks plus program does not effect your chances of getting a puppy unless there are only 2 puppies or you are not flexible about the gender and there is only one puppy of your chosen gender. Those wanting to pick up at 11 weeks will be put in either the second or third position of our list for your gender. Unless there is only one puppy (or none) of a gender, there will always be at least two non-pick puppies of a gender.
- In summary, who gets the pick puppies is based first of all on who is leaving their puppies for the longer training. Then after that, it is based on when we receive deposits.
- There is no priority for non-pick puppies. Deposit date does not matter. Neither does the length of training time. All family situations and puppies will be matched without partiality for the non-pick puppies.
If ultrasound shows a large litter, we will sometimes add additional families to the litter list. However, these additional spots are not gender specific. All spots after the first 3 puppies of each gender are purely based on deposit date.
If there are extra puppies after birth, those puppies will be offered first to those waiting on a litter that has not been born yet or on those on our “First Available” list. We go straight down the list contacting those who either prefer the sex puppy we have available or who are flexible about the gender.
Average wait is 6-9 months for a Summer Brook puppy
The average wait on a puppy from us is 6-9 months. We are conservative with the number of puppies we reserve. However, with unborn litters, there is a lot of uncertainty beyond our control. We do our best to provide families with a quality puppy within the time-frame that they are expecting.
Deposits Refundable if We are More than 3 Months Off on our Timing Guess
We understand that for some, timing is a very important factor in deciding on a litter. If our predictions are off by more than three months, we will offer a full refund of deposit. We will also occasionally decide to breed an additional one of our girls at the last minute. This could be because she comes in season earlier than expected. It could be because of changes with other dogs. This can give those on our waiting lists other options to consider. We do a good job keeping families who are waiting informed. We try to give accurate predictions and sometimes offer an alternative to be considered. But in the end, only God knows when a litter will be bred and born. It is out of our control.
Deposits are Refundable if Not Enough Puppies
If there are not enough puppies, deposits are fully refundable to those who don’t get a puppy. Most families ask us to keep their deposit so that they can wait on another litter. We will only keep a deposit if we have another planned litter with availability. Otherwise, we don’t keep deposits for the long term. We do not like to keep long lists. Neither do we like to keep an excessive number of deposits. In addition, we are a small breeder with only a few breeding girls. We don’t have a lot of litters.
We Try not to Overbook
Normally, we reserve 3 puppies per sex per litter before a litter is bred. If the third person on the list for each sex is not flexible or if our mom has had large litters in her past, we will sometimes take a fourth. The average litter size for Golden Retrievers is 7-8 puppies. We often will have extra puppies of one sex or the other to either offer to those waiting on a later litter or occasionally to someone new. But there are times when there are less than 3 puppies of one sex or the other (or both) and unfortunately there are also times when a breeding doesn’t take at all.
Sometimes, we have people asking to be on lists after they are booked just in case we have extra puppies. We will go ahead and take deposits from those families but we don’t recommend this unless these families are flexible about the sex. We will also usually allow families to double book if their position on the list is after the first 3 of a gender. Ask us how this works if you are interested in being on a list that is full.
Ultrasounds Give Only an Idea of Litter Size
A deposit on an unborn puppy from us secures a place on our list but it does not secure a puppy. We can tell you exactly where you fall on our list and how many puppies of your sex must be born in order for you to get a puppy. Once ultrasound is done, we can give you a rough estimate of the size of the litter. If ultrasound should reveal a large litter, we will somethimes open the list for additional families who are flexible about the sex.
However, on dogs, ultrasounds don’t give as much or as accuarate of information as we’d like. Sex of the puppies cannot be determined until birth and the size of the litter determined by ultrasound is not always very accurate. The ultrasound machine does not capture the entire uterus in one picture but rather glimpses only small pieces at a time. Puppies are moving around at the same time that the vet is moving the ultrasound viewing apparatus around. Often puppies hide behind each other. Sometimes they hide behind the bladder. Sometimes one puppy can be counted twice when he follows the area being viewed. Occasionally a puppy will move out of view just before a section of the uterus is looked at.
We Don’t routinely Do X-rays (Just for the Sake of Counting Puppies)
An x-ray can give a much more accurate count but we don’t routinely do x-rays….only when there is a medical reason. We don’t do them just for the convenience of counting puppies. Even when we need to do them, it is no more than a week before the due date.
Being Flexible About the Sex Does Not Affect Your Chances of Getting Your Preferred Sex
Families also like to understand what it means to them when they check on their questionnaire that they are flexible about the sex. This simply means that they are wanting the opposite sex instead of getting their deposit back IF there aren’t enough puppies for them to get their preferred sex. Being flexible does not reduce a person’s chances of getting their preferred sex puppy at all.
For example, let’s say that someone is second on our list for a male and this person is flexible regarding the sex of their puppy. We’ll call this person M2. In this example scenario, the third person on our list for a male (we’ll call M3) is not flexible about the sex of their puppy. Two males are born and 4 females are born. M2 will still get the second male. We do not flip people to the other sex so that another unflexible person gets what they want. M3 will get their deposit back. If M3 had indicated on their questionnaire that they were flexible, they would have gotten the 4th female.
We Always Reserve the Right to Keep First Picks for Ourselves
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 it 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.