Many families contact us very early hoping to get in line a year or more before a litter is even bred. We love families that plan ahead! However, we don’t like to make commitments this far in advance. Too many things can change both on our end as well as with families. Therefore, we will not open a list until after one of our girls is in season or very shortly before.
If you are interested in a future Summer Brook puppy, keep an eye on our website. We will announce our litters on our Puppies page. We will not open a list until it is announced on that page.
Starting a New List
Prior to ultrasound, we will reserve up to six puppies per litter. Our average litter size is between 7 1/2 and 8 puppies.
We will reserve the first four puppies to families wanting our 11 Weeks program. The remaining puppies will be reserved to those flexible about the training program or we will keep them un-reserved until we have more information as to the size of the litters and if they will overlap. We will announce how long these puppies will be in training once we have sufficient information to make a decision. This will be shortly after birth of a litter or possibly sooner.
Ideally, we would train all puppies to 11 weeks. We feel that staying with littermates to 10-11 weeks is best for the puppy if a breeder is able to give sufficient one-on-one attention and training. See our page on The Best Time for Puppies to Leave the Litter for more information.
Though we’d prefer to train all our puppies to 11 weeks, there are times when we might choose to send some of them home at 8 weeks. This would be the case if litters should overlap too much and/or if the litters should be very large.
If ultrasound indicates a large litter, we might open our list up for additional families. Whether we add families wanting the 8 or 11 Weeks options will depend on if we will have another litter overlap during the training period, how large the litters are, and how much help we will have during the training period. At ultrasound time, we may or may not know what our overlap situation will be.
Most families getting our puppies want the pick puppies. Families choose their own pick puppy. We match non-pick puppies to families based on family situations. (Deposit date has no bearing.) See our page on how we match puppies to families to better understand what I mean by “pick puppies”.
If there are extra puppies after birth, we will offer those puppies 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 Currently about 6 months for a Summer Brook puppy
The average wait on a puppy from us is currently about 6 months. In the past, the wait averaged 9-12 months. Many do still wait this long, but we do not officially put anyone on a list or hold deposits this long. 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.