Choosing our Puppy Owners
We encourage people to come down to the kennel by appointment for interviews and to meet the dogs. There is no obligation to buy. We evaluate their potential home based on their work schedules, what they do in their leisure time, their activity level, and their previous experience.
We ask important questions like why they want the dog, where the dog will live, and if they have a fenced yard. We also ask what their home environment is like, and what training they plan to do with the pup. We try to recommend a obedience training school in their area. Long distance buyers are asked for a letter of introduction about themselves, and sometimes for references.
Puppies are usually available, or a litter will be coming shortly. Reservations are recommended on the litters, both before they are born, and before puppies are ready to go to their new homes. This allows people greater selection in a litter.
We have approximately 8-10 breeding females and two or three stud dogs. We have some of our bitches in pet homes where they can be in a normal family environment. They come back for breeding for one or two litters, and then are usually retired.
People that buy dogs long distance are given pictures and pedigrees on the parents and the puppies. We pick the puppies for them, based on what they are looking for, and what their lifestyle is like. Shipping by air is available worldwide.
Raising of puppies
Puppies are born in one of our special whelping rooms on a bed of special blankets. Moms are encouraged to clean off their puppies themselves, and we try to get puppies nursing as fast as possible. Pups are introduced to a weaning puppy food at three and a half weeks of age, and by six to seven weeks of age are weaned from their mothers. The moms still go in to play with the pups and to teach them good inter-dog skills.
Puppies are socialized with a wide variety of stimulants; including new environments, new sounds, and different ages and types of people including small children. We often have a radio playing for the pups to hear different music and talking. We give them different toys to play with, and work on good manners like not jumping up, mouthing gently, and how to play nicely with people. Many of them retrieve at a very early age, such as five weeks old. We also have babysitter dogs that come in and play with the puppies, teaching them good inter-dog skills.
Picking up Your Puppy
Puppies have been dewormed three times, vet checked, tattooed, and given their first vaccinations prior to leaving our kennel for their new homes. We give out an information booklet talking about nutrition, crate training, housebreaking, visiting the veterinarian, safe chew toys, obedience training, and introduction to other dogs and other animals.
There is also a information on the pedigree, an agreement of purchase and sale, a CKC non-breeding agreement, and a health record on your puppy. We give you hints for raising and training your puppy. We recommend that everyone does obedience classes with the puppy, for the benefit of socialization with other dogs and with people that classes provide.
Pet puppies, dogs that are not bought for breeding purposes are to be spayed or neutered by the time they are between a year and a year and a half old. We do not believe that pet puppies are any lesser quality than the breeding/working puppies, but rather that puppies are bought for different purposes. A companion dog in a home with several small children is going to be a different choice for someone than a dog bought for protection, security, or competition.
After puppies go home, we try to contact owners to see how they are doing over the first few weeks and months, and then approximately once a year. This may be by email, phone, or letter. we do our best to stay in contact with our puppy owners after they buy a puppy from us, and love to get updates and pictures on pups as they grow up. of course having a pup come back for a visit is a special bonus!
Puppies have a guarantee for hip dysplasia. This is a two year guarantee, as hips can be x-rayed preliminarily at the age of 6 - 12 months and certified at 24 - 26 months. I try to get all of my puppy owners to get their pup's hips x-rayed, even if the dog is a pet. This gives me valuable information on the genetic incidence of hip dysplasia in our bloodlines.
Puppies are also guaranteed for genetic diseases, providing there is proof of a genetic origin as diagnosed by a qualified specialist. Our lines have been very clear; we have had very few genetic problems with allergies, thyroid problems, epilepsy, or eye disorders or problems. We continually research our bloodlines to try to ensure the dogs used in our program have the maximum genetic health possible. Our incidence of hip dysplasia is less than 2%. Elbow and other orthopedic problems are also covered in this part of the guarantee.
Temperament is developed over your pup's life experiences from birth throughout their life. Early stimulation, raising, and interaction is extremely important. We handle our newborn puppies daily, and continue to socialize them and expose them to many different environments, situations, and people throughout their first eight weeks with us. These experiences happen in group and individual situations. Once you get your puppy home, it is extremely important to continue the socializing, training, and interaction with people in a positive and controlled way. Knowing some of the key fear periods can help you be a good leader for your pup and help shape him/her to be a well adjusted member of society. Obedience classes are very valuable for both socialization and a regular schedule to help you make sure that you train your puppy regularly. Dogs need regular socialization with people and other dogs for at least the first three years of their life.
Books that We Recommend
Here are some books that we recommend people read:
The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete. An excellent book covering the raising and training of puppies, written by the Monks of New Skete, who breed, raise and train their own German Shepherds at their monastery. Excellent for new puppy owners.
The Perfect Puppy, by Gwen Bailey. This book deals with how to raise a problem free dog, in today's society. This book is another important book for new or repeat puppy owners.
Don't Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor. This book was marked as the new art of teaching and training dogs in the 1980's. It has an easy to read style, and contains a lot of valuable information about the basics of most modern day dog training (Positive re-enforcement, rather than correction). Helps to prevent behaviour problems.
Schutzhund, Theory and Training Methods, by Barwig & Hilliard. An in-depth book dealing with the raising and training of a Schutzhund dog, and trial requirements.