Are you sure...
...you're ready for a pup?
Same pups as above; both litters were here at same time for their weaning and litter box training in May 2015
They don't stay little and cute for long, so please consider the following before taking one of our pups:
Labs can get big and though we have bred away from the taller larger hyper hunting lines, they may still have puppy energy until they are 2-3 years old.
If they are not properly trained, they can jump on people and be obnoxious when they want attention.
Clumsy "teenage" pups can knock over your toddler and make the elderly feel unsafe.
Because they are teething for up to 12 months, they may try to gnaw on your hands unless trained not to.
This of course can intimidate kids and adults alike.
Speaking of training... all dogs need obedience training which takes time and money.
Some bark a lot until they are trained not to. This can bother neighbors and those living in the house.
They can destroy your landscaping and unless they are trained to eliminate where you'd like them to,
they can leave brown spots on your lawn and "land mines" where you walk.
They can also dig holes, destroy furniture and make BIG messes.
They can chew on furniture and ingest things they shouldn't if they are not kept in safe place with chew toys as an alternative.
Which is why we highly recommend crate-training.
Most of ours Labs are pretty mellow but some need to be exercised each day.
When you walk them, you'll have to pick up their pile.
They need things like leashes and collars which cost money.
They can get sick and make a mess on your carpet.
Most shed hair year-around.
Friends or family might be allergic to your dog.
They will need a pet-sitter or boarding when you want to go on vacation.
They may be picky eaters, though most of our Labs LOVE their food and barely even chew their kibble!
Their dirty dishes will need to be washed.
They can drool on your hands and clothes and will need a bath occasionally.
They can't always understand what you are saying which can be frustrating.
Dogs can get fleas, worms, and ticks and need protection from such things.
They also need to go to the vet occasionally...
Yep, which costs even more money.
Some of our past puppy owners will testify that the puppy months/years
can be tough, but most say they're not that bad.
But here's the good news...
With proper nurturing and consistent training, as well as loving time and attention,
our pups should mature into the most wonderful dogs ever.
And like any good investment,
the years of rewards can eventually far outweigh all the work and money spent.
Now, if all that needed training sounds like way too much work,
maybe you should consider paying a bit more to have your pup's training started with love and patience by one of our young trainers.
See STARTED PUPS for details.
So... you're sure?
Ok then. Below is the eMail we used to send out before pick day. I thought it might be helpful to include here instead. It has details you'll need when bringing home your young pup. (Those in the pick will get additional info as well as directions and last minute details sent about 5 days before). Much of the following does not pertain to those leaving their pup here for starting.
We are delighted you chose to adopt one of our babies... we don't think you'll be sorry! In fact, we believe this will be the best dog you have ever owned as that's exactly what I am trying to breed. Seriously, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more healthy, hand-raised, better pedigreed pup around here!
In just a matter of days now until these pups will be leaving our home and becoming part of yours or heading to your trainer's house to be started. We'd like to make the transition just as smooth as possible for the pups as well as for both families involved. Of course, if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to discuss any of this, please don't hesitate to call. Also, if for any reason you change your mind, remember... your deposit is fully-refundable. We would never want anyone to feel pressured into taking a pup because of a lost deposit. If you need or want to back out for any reason, please let me know ASAP so I can contact the next family on the list.
Picking your pup As you probably know, you will pick in the order your deposit was received; the order is actually determined by the postmark date on the mailing envelopes. They are weaned and doing well on solid food, so if you are wanting a baby, you can plan to take him/her home with you that day. If you want us to keep him longer, just let us know; we charge a minimal per day fee, but will get them started on their crate and very basic training until you are able to take him home. Pups now each have a different color fingernail polish painted on the tips of their tails. We will make note of the color you choose to ensure you actually end up with the pup you pick if it's being started.
When here, please plan to:
1) Pick your pup!
2) Pay balance due. A personal check is fine as long as we have it one week in advance. Otherwise, cash or money order would be great. If you are picking a pup that will stay with us and have it's training started, a personal check is fine; plan to pay about half, and the remainder when picking him up about 10 weeks later.
3) Read/sign health guarantee & Buyer/Seller agreement. This will be done at pick up for Started Pups.
4) Supply contact info for AKC registration.
5) Confirm arrangements for taking home your pup if on another day.
6) Have photo taken with your pup if you'd like:)
You'll get a copy of the Health Guarantee Buyer/Seller Agreement and the AKC registration papers and pedigree when you actually take home your pup.
Make Vet Appointment. (Not necessary for Started Pups) We guarantee your 7-8 week old puppy is completely healthy when it leaves our home. Though they will have been vet checked here before you pick, your pup must be examined by your vet within 3 days of taking him home or we can not take him back should he get sick or become unhealthy. (Except for congenital, genetic or hereditary defects... those details are included on our health guarantee.) Most vets recommend starting their shots somewhere between 7 and 8 weeks of age. Most also offer a puppy plan that includes all shots, worming, examinations and sometimes additional services like a microchip and spay/neuter, all for a discounted package price in order to establish your pup as their patient. If something should be wrong, we will to take back your pup and of course issue you a full refund or let you pick another pup if there is one available. (Haven't ever had this happen yet though:) You may want to make this appointment as soon as you know the pick date. If your pup is being started or semi-started, we will of course take care of this for you. BTW, you will promise and sign that you will responsibly spay or neuter before pup turns a year old.
Vaccinations. Just as the vaccination/over vaccination of children is somewhat controversial, so it is with dogs. Because most vets do not take into consideration the breeder's vaccinations (they have no way of knowing whether our shots have been kept refrigerated or have not expired), I have started letting the new owner and their vet determine and administer all shots when the pup is picked up around 7 weeks. That way you and your vet will know exactly what shots your pup has received and there won't be a risk of over-vaccination right from the start. If we still have a pup at 8 weeks, then we believe it best to give the first shots and pass on the specifics to the new owner. If for any reason you'd like us to give your pup it's first set of shots before you pick it up, rather than wait for your vet appt, just let us know and we'd be happy to. Remember, you will likely pay your vet the same amount for their puppy plan regardless of whether or not I have given your pup it's first set of shots.
Puppy food. Many large-breed puppies have a tendency to grow very quickly--sometimes too quickly. Unfortunately, if this tendency is encouraged by overfeeding, or by feeding the wrong food, developmental bone problems can occur. To avoid these problems, I recommend you eventually feed a large-breed puppy food or just a very good all-stage dog food and do not over-feed. We have tried it all and will probably change again but are currently feeding Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy. You can do your own research or ask your vet what he recommends. Let us know if you'd like a small bag to gently switch them over to something else then plan to feed your pup 2 x's per day. Labs like to eat and many won't stop until whatever they're given is gone. As he grows, it will be your responsibility to make sure your dog is not too thin or too fat. I tell people that you should be able to feel his ribs but not see them. And don't go by what the dog food bag says either; the amount they recommend seems to be too much for our dogs. (Maybe they just want to sell dog food?) As a mature adult, your Lab may only get 1.5 - 2 cups of food per day. Adjust by 1/4 c increments to get him to an ideal healthy weight and keep it there.
Your pup's new home. For those taking home a baby, think through your family's first week with him. If one of you can take off work, that would be ideal. Warmth and comfort will be very important. He will miss his litter mates and need lots of cuddling until he feels secure in his new home. Also, you'll probably need to take him out to eliminate in the middle of the night if you crate train... which we highly recommend (more on that to come). We found they eliminate immediately after waking and after eating and also after playing; (it seems playing gets things/bowels moving:) This is the key! With a little proactive planning, you can continue to instill some routine in their life that allows them to succeed. The best method we have found uses a crate. If you take him out to eliminate (we tell them to "hurry up", or "go on") and then he goes, he gets to come in and play for a bit. If he doesn't produce, then back in the crate he goes and you try again 20 min later. It helps avoid accidents and he'll learn to "go" so he can play! If you have kids, we found it helpful to have a family meeting to get everyone on the same page before or just after we brought home our puppy. These pups have been held and carried around a lot by our kids, but remind your little ones they are still somewhat fragile. Though they will be totally weaned, they may cry for the first night or two. We will send them home with a little toy that they and their mom have been sleeping with. Though it's a bit soiled, it will smell familiar and hopefully bring comfort to them in their new surroundings.
Consider crate training. We can't recommend this enough! There are a lot of books and info on the Internet about this, but basically, we think it's the way to go... especially with a large dog. It's well worth the investment. Buy the larger size now as that's what they will eventually need. The 36" crate should work fine and many of them come with a divider to make the crate "less-roomy" while they are small. We prefer the fold-down wire ones with removable plastic pans. While they are little it will double as a "playpen/crib" giving them a bit of security too. If you'd rather not get up with them in the middle of the night to take them out, put wood shaving into the largest cat litter box that will fit in the back of the crate. They have been taught to eliminate on those wood shavings instead of on their bedding; we use old towels up in the front of their crate as they are easy to wash. You can then use your awake hours to train with the divider and without the litter box. Eventually, when they are around 3 months old, they should be able to make it through the night. The crate is also a safe place for the pup when you can't watch them; keeping them from ingesting something dangerous or expensive; possibly requiring surgery. The crazy thing is, they end-up loving to be in their crate!
Plan their training. We ask all those who purchase a pup from us to commit to train and to train early. You can either enroll your pup in a class (PetsMart type places offer them occasionally. Book early though as they can fill-up fast), or there are private trainers out there also. Beware though, as you may know, Labs can be absolutely obsessed with food and treat-training can create a monster! You can do it yourself with a method like the one we personally use and recommend. It's called Don Sullivan's Perfect Dog (He calls himself The Dog Father:) and it works really well; especially with Labs because it's not treat-based. (The link provided is for the large size which your pup will eventually need, however if you plan to start this training around 10 weeks, you may want to get the small collar first and then the large. The other components are the same size in both kits.) It's amazing what they learn; great tools you'll use for the rest of your dog's life. As mentioned above, we also love The Dog Father's tips and advice on how to successfully house-train pups using the crate. Please note: you will sign on the purchase agreement that you promise to provide the pup some sort of training early on.
Ok, I think that's it for now. It will be fun to get to know each of you a bit better. Again, we believe this pup will end up being the best dog you've ever owned... if you can make it through the awkward, sometimes really tough puppy stage.
With Warmest Regards,
Paula... for the rest:)