Puppy FAQS


About the 7 week pick-up, Shipping, & Preparation

Deposits: Your deposit holds your pick and is non-refundable unless a puppy of that sex or color is not born. Since there has been some confusion, on the picking positions, I will clarify.  Deposits are for sex and color, not for the entire litter. If there are two colors then there are four lists. Some people are willing to accept another sex, another color, or another litter and I ask what your first choice is  and then 2nd choice. Once they are born, you must make your final choice for sex and color so the other choices are open for others to place deposits. You may change your choice but you will then take the next available position on the list. I often receive deposits before the females are even in heat because people like that female, or from those that don't get a puppy from the previous litter. Not having first pick does not mean you won't have a good puppy. I have been breeding for a long time and my litters are more uniform than new breeders just starting out. People pick for different reasons but most of the time it's the puppy that picks them. I am often surprised at which puppy is picked first and how many times the puppy I consider the nicest is last. Right now it seems like more people just have to be first, and they stress out over the fact that they aren't. I have even had people insult the pups and so me. Don't be surprised if I give your deposit back and tell you to find a litter where you can have first pick. Once the pups are born the deposit is not refundable but deposits may be moved to a future litter once and the puppy must be chosen within 2 yrs. Please stay in communication and watch the website for a litter you want to transfer to, and get back to me right away or it will fill up. My feeling is this responsibility is yours, to stay in contact with me, and not for me to remember. Check the website often. If I don't hear from you in a timely fashion, I will assume you are not interested in a puppy anymore. I will not move deposits of others once they are placed to accomodate someone who had a previous deposit and didn't contact me in time.  A deposit holds your place but does not bind me in any way to sell a puppy to any person I feel may not be a good fit or be in the pup's best interest such as putting a pup outside all the time, boarding a pup before it's 2nd series of vaccinations, when the placement can't take place at 7-8 weeks,  when communication between buyer and breeder is poor, or when there is a disagreement that can't be resolved.  If you can't pick the puppy up on time, ususally the first weekend after 7 weeks, don't put a deposit on the puppy. My schedule takes precidence over any schedule changes you have and you will get your deposit back. All placements must meet with my final approval. The AKC papers revert to me if there is any stop payment, insufficient funds, or a dispute. I also always reserve the right to keep a puppy from a litter. All disputes will be resolved in the local jurisdiction, Washington County, Wisconsin.

Puppy Notes: If I have your email address, I will send you my puppy notes prior to picking up the puppy. I expect them to at least be reviewed. You may always ask questions if you don't understand, but if you don't read the notes, do not tell me you didn't know things such as not to spay or neuter your puppy early, or jog with your puppy. The breeder can't be responsible for what or how much you choose to feed your puppy or how you protect his growing body and joints.

5.6% Wisconsin Sales Tax will be added to the Puppy cost when picked up in Wisconsin.

Puppy Pick-up: The puppy pick up weekend may be changed from 7 weeks to the nearest weekend at 8 weeks or slightly earlier if it falls on a long holiday weekend. Sometimes pups are behind and they do much better at 8 weeks than at 7 weeks and the State now mandates 7 weeks or older, and the airlines won't take them until 8 weeks. Move the dog will take them at 7 weeks. Some breeders pick and place the pups the way they feel will best suit the buyers; others ask buyers to pick the pups out at 4 weeks, or from pictures. I prefer the buyer have input into picking his pup and be able to pick them out when they go home at 7 -8 weeks when their personalities are more developed. If the pups are able to be outside daily, they tend to be more ready at 7 weeks than those from litters in winter and very large litters.

If you requested me to hold the pup for a week, you must pay in full before I hold the pup.

IMPORTANT !!!!I choose weekends so you have extra time settling in your pup. Think of this as an adoption so please do not send a deposit if you have vacation plans or don't make other plans on the pick-up date. The puppy should be your priority. If you are unable to come at that time, a puppy will be picked for you for your purposes, or your deposit may be returned at the discretion of the breeder.  I have picked many pups out for people to be shipped and people have been happy with my selection if you can tell me what is most important to you. If it is possible you may be able to come earlier and pick out the puppy if you are unable to pick the puppy on the weekend date, or indicate one of several pups if you have a later pick. I am available on the weekend pick-up date stated on the website, but if you are unable to come, you must arrange to come at a time that fits into my schedule as I run trials and I also have other family obligations on weekends. I understand the importance of attending children's athletic events, I had children in sports, but I will not change your pick order so you can attend their events on pick-up day. Either come and pick several pups out before, or I will pick, or switch to a different litter. Be respectful for those that do consider this weekend a priority and don't ask if you can jump in order. If there is a true family emergency, call me immediately to arrange an alternate time.  I arrange appointments about 1 hour apart.

Please take the instructions or use GPS but Don't Use Mapquest if you are coming from the south or north on 41 without my instructions because everyone that uses it seems to get lost and is late for their appointment. Allow yourself enough time, but if you are early, be prepared to wait. Call if you are running late because if you are an hour late for your appointment, and the next appointment is here, you may lose your pick spot. The turnoff is EXIT 60 on highway 41 where Cabelas is, just after 41 and 45 split, not Highway 60. There is another turn off on Highway 41 (exit 48) that says 145 and it is the wrong one. Late pickups may be charged a daily boarding and training fee of no less than $20 a day.

If you are a Wolters fanatic and need to pick them up at 49 days it would be best to go to someone that will honor your request as the puppies come first here. The 49 day theory people need to read this article: http://www.calibertollers.com/49daymyth.htm.

 Shipping: Shipping is becoming more and more difficult as airlines merge and cut routes. I will no longer ship pups.  My preference is that the buyers drive or fly in and  rent a car and come here, or in some cases I may be able to meet them at the airport. I will pick the best puppy for you if you tell me what characteristics are most important to you, (ie temperament, color, size), and if you are looking for a companion, gundog, hunt test or field trial dog if you can't make it on the pick-up date. You must find out the requirements of flying with your puppy in the cab such as cost if it is allowed, and whether you need a health certificate. I have soft carry on crates here that I sell at cost.

If you do not like the puppy and ship the puppy back you pay the shipping back. Your money will be refunded minus the deposit.

Pups will probably be fed Pro Plan Selects Turkey and Barley All Life Stages. This may change but you will be notified 2 weeks before you pick up your puppy. Foods are available online at Chewys, usually with free shipping so no food has to be unavailable anymore. You may prefer to feed Pro-Plan Focus Large Breed Puppy. I have also fed Fromms puppy which I recommend, but for raising a litter, Pro Plan has the size of kibble I like. Please feed a premium food because companies that make cheap food, do use carcasses of diseased animals to save money, and the food can contain pentobarbital. For those that choose to change, buy the best you can afford but please still buy a small bag of the Eukanuba to transition the puppy slowly so they don't get diarrhea.  Foods in General: Feed your dog a premium dog food and avoid switching around on the advice of your pet store. My dog line does well on Fromms and if you want to do one thing for your dog to stay healthy and live longer feed my secret-the Omega Shine. If you choose to change, become educated about dog food ingredients by reading the Dog Food Comparison Chart (see links on the Home page). Look for the first ingredient and it should be a meat, not corn, and in the first 3 ingredients, 2 should be a meat. Try to avoid Lamb based diets unless your dog needs them because of allergies. Contrary to popular opinion, pups don't usually need a lamb base puppy food.  Many veterinarians are not well versed in nutrition, and recommend foods that are not rated very well, or that contain fillers and chemical preservatives. A healthy diet of wholesome ingredients will improve the health of your dog, and it has been proven to lower veterinarian bills. You certainly can't feed a dog food your dog does not like, but you also should know cheaper foods contain flavor enhancers so dogs like them even though they are not good for them. If you are concerned about nutrition for yourself and your family, you should be concerned what your dog eats. (Traces of Pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize companion animals, has been found in some pet foods meaning cheaper pet foods are taking some big short cuts to keep prices down. http://www.fda.gov/cvm/FOI/dfchart.htm

When you make your first vet appointment: Pups will have their first vaccination, and be dewormed 3 times and they have had a vet check before you take them home. The pups get their first shot at @ 6 weeks, and they can't get the second shot until 3 weeks later, so they don't need to be seen by a vet when you get them unless that is your preference. If you take the puppy immediately, the vet will not be able to give him another shot or check his stool for worms. Ask the vet staff when they recommend the second appointment and take in a fresh stool sample. Don't be alarmed if the sample is positive even though the pup has been dewormed. If you have any other questions while the pups are growing, email or call me.

Preparing to bring your puppy home: Please do not expect to put the puppy in a crate on the way home. This is the most stressful time in his life and not the time to crate train him so make other accommodations for the ride home. I suggest placing them on a blanket at your feet, holding them on your lap, or bringing an open box with a blanket so you can touch and comfort them. Anything other than isolation in a crate when they are separated and not bonded. As with pups arriving at airports, those that take their pups home by car should plan on getting home as quickly as possible and spend quiet time at home for bonding and not leave for work right away, go to friends, make stops at relatives, or go on vacation. This time of adjustment is very stressful for a pup; in fact it may be the most stressful time in his whole life. Make ample time for this bonding to be fair to the pup. The first few weeks are for bonding. Bonding to the family is a very important step. Don't schedule puppy kindergarten until the puppy is bonded for a few weeks and you should have a series of shots as your pup is really not protected with one shot from me. 12 weeks would be a good time.  

If you can borrow smaller crates while the pup is growing that would be great; if not, I recommend buying a large crate that can be divided for housebreaking and that can be used later when the pup is full grown. The collar should be an adjustable collar because they grow fast, and a choke collar should not be used on a puppy. Other supplies are a slicker brush, nail clippers, long lead, shampoo, and a puppy bumper. I have some supplies and toys here, all priced at or below pet store prices for your convenience. Buy lots of toys and place them in a box or basket. Labs like small latex toys they can carry around, small teddy bears, and soft toys with lots of dangly feet. Natural marrow bones (never cook them) are good to keep their teeth clean when they are a little older, and you can later stuff them with cheese, liver sausage, and peanut butter and they will merrily lick them for hours, especially when they are crated. If you are interested in hunting, Retriever Puppy Training: The Right Start for Hunting by Loveland and Rutherford (I have copies here) is excellent for the novice retriever trainer with easy instructions and pictures and The 10-Minute Retriever: How to Make a Well-Mannered, Obedientand Enthusiastic Gun Dog in 10 Minutes a Day by John I. Dahl, Amy Dahl. There is a new puppy training video from the Smartworks author. I have not seen it but hear good things about it. Smartwork Puppy Program DVD for all retriever puppies from Rush Creek Press. For more advanced training, see the puppy notes in your puppy packet. Rutherford also has another book for companion pups called How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, Rutherford and Neil. You can order these from Amazon.com. There are hundreds of books written about raising dogs, and some breeders have unique ideas and opinions differ, or opinions have to do with more aggressive breeds or those breeds that are more difficult to train. Use common sense. Take what you want from the books and discard what doesn't make sense. Labs are intelligent, but puppies should NOT be expected to follow all the rules right away. They are puppies and need patient guidance and if you love your pup, spend time with him, exercise him everyday, and let him be a puppy and have fun, you will be rewarded with a happy companion. First you BOND by going for walks and simple obedience. Obedience classes are always a good idea. I recommend you go and watch a class before enrolling. Even a puppy class should have some structure. Avoid a socialization only class as your pup may pick up bad habits. If you don't like the way the instructor does the corrections, find another class. As you progress on the walks, take along a bumper and throw it, advancing to in the cover, across a stream etc.  If you are going to train for hunting, it is important to train for obedience and retrieving separately and preferable in two different places. Remember, SHORT SIMPLE SUCCESSFUL. If you are using the Wolters books, DO NOT try to follow his timeline or you may turn your pup off to retrieving. He is far too regimentated. If you work too much on stay and steadying, you may take the drive out of retrieving. Pups need to learn that retrieving is FUN and not work and leave them always wanting MORE. If you are going to send your dog to a pro please call me first as there are some pros I will not recommend in this area.

Introduction to Gunfire

Short, Simple, and Successful

   Puppy testing: is another area that differs from other breeds. Some breeds have a great tendency to have a shy dog and an aggressive dog in the litter. Many of these Labradors pups are very similar, there is not a large difference in temperament in the litter, and they do not test differently. It also makes a difference WHEN the person comes and tests, as it should not be after eating or during nap time. They need to come on several occasions to achieve any accuracy since the most active puppy may have tired himself out and fall asleep when you try to put him on his back to test him. People that show up with a puppy testing agenda end up pretty frustrated, especially if they come at nap time. I basically am the one that knows them the best, and picking often comes down to personal preference in looks or personality and not by large differences in temperament. The problems with concentrating on the dynamics of the litter is that the puppy may change once he leaves the litter and are on their own. Buy from a breeder that watches the pups, but beware of one that thinks they can form a complete personality analysis because they haven't been breeding long because it changes. Pick the litter and breeder then take some feathers along. Be aware that puppies play hard, sleep hard, and sleep in the midday when it is warm. If they are all acting like duds, go with the breeder recommendation. Often, they are very close and the stick your hand in rule works well.

The best explanation for the pups testing the same, and I am quoting from Lisa Van Loo, "One thing to note about many of the popular, published, puppy-picking methods is that they were designed in an era when the notion of puppy socialization simply didn't exist. Shortly after Scott & Fuller, Pfaffenberger, et. al. published their research, their findings were used by others to devise various puppy-picking methods. Fast-forward to today, and I rather doubt the average person looking to buy a dog for performance events (of any type) is going to look to their closest puppy mill or first-time breeder for their pup. No, they generally look for breeders who are competing in their venue of choice, and have a reputation for producing dogs of good quality. This level of breeder starts in with socialization from birth; handling pups on a daily basis and so forth. Remember, the puppy-picking methods were devised for picking pups from breeders of the time, many of whom kept LARGE kennels and had practically ZERO intercaction with pups. That kind of breeding operation doesn't exist much outside actual commercial puppy mill-type operations. So the puppy tests often yield inconclusive results. The pups ALL follow, because the breeders work on them with this. They ALL retrieve, because breeders give the litters toys to play with., and so forth. Largely because the pups have had all this socialization work. Barring some bizarre genetic fluke, they would all pass the test, and would probably all score very similarly. This is why I largely forego puppy tests. They are a snapshot, nothing more, nothing less. They ARE useful when selecting pups in the herding breeds, mainly because there is still so much genetic temperament garbage DNA left in those breeds. Those tests are designed for people to avoid the extremely shy, extremely sound-sensitive, or fear-biter puppies, which seem to crop up with dismaying frequency in some of the herding breeds. I just don't see that with retriever breeds, especially ones that are bred for performance events. This is why I tell people, pick the breeder, pick the pedigree, let the breeder pick the puppy. The good breeder is going to lay all that groundwork for you, and will know what puppies fit your needs best." Lisa Van Loo,  (whose credentials are a background in English, Wildlife Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, a Vet Tech,  trained for SFSPCA's Hearing Dogs program, put over 100 titles on her personal dogs over the past 20+ years (8 Chessies),  and currently a manager for a Biotech firm).

Children: I've been asked if my pups interact with children on a daily basis. My children are grown and now my life is built around my dogs and puppies and not in caring for a family and children. More than half of my pups go to families with small children and because they are well socialized, they adapt immediately to children. It is the socialization that is important and not actually being socialized with children. You will find most reputable breeders have been raising pups for a long time, and don't currently have small children. It is up to the parents to supervise their children AND their friends to make sure the puppy isn't teased or mishandled. Even a puppy with a good temperament has limitations with misbehaved children. Hyper kids will make the puppy hyper. Kids that wave their hands around will cause puppies to try to bite. The lip curl should be used on pups with children by the adults.

Please don't have your child call about puppies. I realized that parents want to teach their children responsibility, but I must speak with an adult about puppy purchase.

References: The NEWS pages are comprised of unsolicited pictures and emails from puppy owners which I prefer to listing puppy references and contacting information on the Internet. I can provide professional references, such as other breeders and veterinarians, which I feel are more meaningful, and can provide puppy references if absolutely necessary.

Deposits are nonrefundable but may be applied to another litter within two years; however, I consider the purchase of a dog or puppy to be an adoption, and I reserve the right to refuse the sale of a dog or puppy or return a deposit to any person for any reason including misrepresentation, inappropriate home, or an impaired working relationship between the seller and buyer. Although I will try to find the puppy that is a fit for your family, no breeder can make a designer puppy and this is not a store mall. You are adopting one of my babies, and if you don't agree with how I do things, you need to look for a breeder you are comfortable with and can trust.

Vaccinations: There is much conflicting literature concerning vaccinations. Many veterinarians believe that we are over vaccinating our animals for diseases they are already immune to by vaccination, and some vaccinations are not given that should be in certain areas, especially in SE Wisconsin (Leptosporosis). In addition, dogs that receive too many different kinds of vaccines at the same time, may get ill because the vaccines depress the immunity for several weeks. This can be especially dangerous when dogs are elderly, and it may greatly impact their health. 2006 AAHA vaccination protocol recommendations.

New Information from a program given by Dr. Richard Ford, one of the nation’s leading experts on infectious diseases and vaccines. (taken from the Deep Run Website) Dr. Ford confirmed that we may in fact be over vaccinating our dogs, and that just because a vaccine exists, you need not necessarily request that your dogs receive it. With the exception of Rabies vaccination, which is required by law, the decision to request a particular vaccine for your dog should be based on your dog’s likely exposure to, or risk from, the disease in your area. Important diseases to vaccinate all dogs for are Rabies, Distemper, Hepatitis (the vaccine is Adenovirus Type 2), Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Bordetella. Vaccines that MAY be important, depending upon where you live and local concerns are Lyme Disease and Leptospirosis. A Vaccine you should probably not even consider, except on specific recommendations from your veterinarian is Coronavirus.  IMPORTANT: It is especially important in SE Wisconsin to make sure ALL your dogs receive the 4 serovar Leptosporosis vaccine with the l. pomona and l. grippotyphosa serovars because these vaccines were not given before and dogs are dying from the disease, which is probably carried by raccoons or other wild life that are even in cities. Please discuss this with your veterinarian. This is given yearly. If your dog swims in streams and water you may consider the Giardia vaccine. If he is heavily exposed to Deer ticks, as in MN, Iowa, and northern WI you should consider Lymes and topical tick prevention. http://www.labbies.com/lepto.htm

Less frequent vaccination. We have recently learned that some vaccines may protect your dog for longer than we thought. Examples of these are canine Distemper and Parvovirus. After a dog receives his series of puppy innoculations, only dogs that are at high risk need to receive annual boosters. Others may do fine with less frequent boosters of these "long lasting" vaccines, suggested is every 3 years. Titers may not reliable: Some of you may have heard of checking your dog’s immunity level to certain diseases by having a titer taken. This is a blood test that may measure the level of antibodies in the blood to certain diseases. It is probably of little value in determining your dog’s level of protection because of the wide variability between laboratories in methodology and reporting, and the fact that there are 2 types of immunity measured, cellular and humoral which means the titer may not reveal actually how protected the dog is, or in other words, you may have false confidence.

Limit the number of vaccines: It is not a good idea to have your dog vaccinated for too many things at one time. For example, if your dog receives a DHLP-P (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus) vaccine, it might be best to wait a few weeks before getting the Rabies, Bordatella, 2 Lepto, and 2 Lymes vaccines. Too many vaccines at one time can cause the system to "overreact" and could make your dog ill, or predispose him (or her) to autoimmune problems. Tell your veterinarian you want to work out a schedule to break up the vaccines instead of giving them all at once.

 Customize your dog’s vaccine schedule for his needs: The bottom line for vaccinating your pet is to honestly describe to your veterinarian the things your dog does and the places he goes. Dogs who attend events and compete with other dogs, or are exposed to wild animal populations are at greater risk for some diseases than pets who spend their entire live in and around the home. The appropriate vaccines for each dog can only be determined by you and your veterinarian. Be proactive with your vet about receiving vaccines together. Even though he may say it has not caused problems in his clinic, I have heard of many people whose dog has gotten very sick or suddenly gotten severe allergies a month after receiving all their vaccinations at once.


Health Issues: I am very lucky that my dogs don't have serious health issues or need medications other than Glucosamine. I feed them a high premium food, supplement with my new Berry Healthy Cheezy Antioxidant Treats and Omega Fatty acids in the form of Fish Oil and 100mg of Vitamin E and feed my probiotics their whole lives.  I also try to keep my dogs away from chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides as much as possible. I am able to use my natural spray insecticides instead of topical or internal preventatives, I don't spray my lawn or garden with anything that isn't natural, and feed the highest quality fish oil because low quality fish oil can contain carcinogens or become rancid. No matter what, conditions occur where we may never know the reason, but some vets are quick to blame the breeder for many different maladies, many of which can have idiopathic origins. All a breeder can do is their best to prevent problems, and avoid known genetic carriers of defects.

Pet Health Insurance: I recommend that you invest in pet health insurance for your puppy for unforeseen expensive problems like acl injuries for hunting dogs. After researching coverage and costs, PetPlan insurance (www.petplanusa.com) is more reasonable, has a higher customer rating, covers 80% ER visits, and covers more than any others including AKC, VPI.  For a puppy it should be a little more than $200 a year. Please mention me as the breeder that recommended the insurance. Document that your dog has no acl problems before 6 months with your vet.

Weight especially for hunting dogs: Learn to evaluate body condition score and adjust amount of feed acoordingly (weight alone is not the best indicator). Not all dogs will respond the same to a given feed, even if the feed is in the same grade (i.e. 30/20). It would be better to try other manufacturers or supplement before dropping to lower fat/protein content. Performance feeds generally use higher quality ingredients. Performance feeds generally require less feed to meet caloric needs. If you buy in bulk and/or participate in a manufacturer's "breeder's club" you can get the cost per day/per dog down to where it is comparable to all but the lowest grade dog foods. I have used Merrick BG with success which is a 32/15 if you have dogs you don't want to get too heavy.