Frequently Asked Questions
How do get on your list for a puppy?
The first step is to read this page and then fill out our puppy application to determine if one of our puppies would be a good match for you. Filling out an application is not a guarantee of getting a puppy, but will further our discussion. We have recently had a couple of situations of needing to take back a puppy and have deepened our screening process. We strongly prefer email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org). I apologize ahead of time for any delays in our response to your emails. My work as a full time hospice nurse limits my availability to communicate during the week.
How much are the puppies?
For 2023-2024, our puppies are $2500 (labs) to $3000-3200 (goldens). There is no difference in males or females in pricing. We have stopped taking any pre-breeding deposits. To be considered for the wait list for a planned litter, we now require a $100 nonrefundable deposit. Once pregnancy is confirmed, we do ask for another deposit of $200 to hold your spot on the litter list. Puppy deposits are non-refundable, unless your gender preference is not available from the litter or if we are unable to match a puppy to you. Deposits are credited to the final puppy price. If you choose to take a puppy from a future litter, your deposit can be applied to a puppy from a litter up to 12 months in the future.
Once the deposit has been paid, you are welcome at any time to change your mind, including if you do not like the puppy we pick for you, but we will not refund the deposit, as it is common that we have already turned away other homes.
Would a golden be right for me?
Check out more information here.
Why don't I get to pick my puppy?
We match puppies to their new homes, based on the information we receive from owners. We know those puppies with the high drive will be better suited for field and performance homes than active family pet homes. Puppies' personalities don't emerge until close to 6 weeks, and between closely observing the litter for 8 weeks and completing their APET assessment shortly before go-home, we won't know which puppy goes to which home until then. If you are uncomfortable with this process of matching puppies, we may not be the right breeder for you.
What is APET?
The Avidog Puppy Evaluation Test (APET) is our current standard for temperament assessing puppies here. It is a comprehensive tool that helps us to assess each puppy's stable and tweakable traits and helps to guide owners through a training approach. We recognize there is no perfect puppy. Instead, through observation of puppies over 8 weeks and through APET testing, we are able to match puppies to their new homes.
Male or female?
Very often, people often want a gender based on what their previous experience has been. Some feel males are more affectionate, while others have that same perception with the females they have been around. Honestly, the behavior of a dog will depend on how it is raised and trained as a puppy. Some dogs are more affectionate or aggressive than others because of the environment in which they were raised. The decision of whether to get a male or a female puppy is entirely dependent on the preference of the owner-to-be. For those who are not tied to a specific gender, it gives us much more flexibility for puppy availability.
We breed to the GRCA standard of a range of colors and size, so if you are looking for a specific shade of gold or size of dog outside the breed standard (there is no such thing as a mini golden), we probably aren't the right breeder for you. These factors also do not play a part in matching puppies to homes.
Are your puppies raised outside?
No, puppies are whelped in our home. We have a specially built whelping and puppy raising area, with it's own HVAC and 12 x 10 area that puppies grow into. We do our APET assessments in our dining/living area, which has to be a strange environment, so they don't have access to that area until after testing is completed. As soon as weather allows, they have a 40 x 50 play yard that looks like we have an active daycare established and fenced in 8+ acres to explore once they are old enough. We have puppy cams running almost all of the time once a litter has whelped.
We have very specific protocols and ways our puppies are raised, including the care of the dams long before they get pregnant. We do Early Scent Introduction and specific handling from day 3 to day 16. As soon as their ears open, they are slowly introduced to a soundtrack of every sound imaginable to desensitize them to the world they will interact with. When the puppy cam has audio on, it's not uncommon to hear radio or TV shows playing in the background. They are introduced to novel items each day once they are toddling around. Our goal is to raise stable, healthy, and happy puppies that grow into well adjusted family companions, many who develop into hunting and/or competition partners. Many of our dogs participate in therapy work as well.
We now run nomographs to help guide each litter in their vaccination scheduling, as the number of antibodies from mom can have a significant range litter to litter. Recent guidelines have changed regarding vaccinations: AAHA 2017 Vaccine Guidelines.
We no longer are removing dewclaws, even for our hunting puppies, and changed this practice years ago.
Once you have placed a deposit, you will have access to our extensive information for new puppy owners, including early access to a sample of the (very detailed) puppy book that you will receive during go-home day. We encourage new owners to be reading and preparing well ahead of go-home time.
How do I get my puppy?
We have countless puppies across the country and stopped sending puppies cargo years ago after a close call. Puppy owners make arrangements and either drive or fly out. Many have done this and it goes smoothly with our guidance. We will have ebooks available for owners (whether flying or driving) well ahead of time. We have become puppy travel agents and will require owners to talk to us first about flight arrangements, as some airlines are very problematic to try to fly on. We will know dates for go-home at the time pregnancy confirmation and acceptance of deposits happens.
How much training do retrievers need?
Retrievers are smart and active dogs. They do well with structure and activity throughout their lives, not just in puppyhood. It is very important to have a training plan set up long before you bring puppy home. Read about the benefits of early socialization: AVSAB Position on Puppy Socialization. Keep in mind, socialization refers to a wide variety of stimuli, including people, animals and environments. This is crucial during the early period for the development of a well rounded and adjusted dog, which means it is important that you plan to not be away on vacation during the first two months of your puppy's time at home. These are the crucial remaining weeks that socialization makes such a big impact on your dog's life. It doesn't mean just staying at home. You'll need to plan outings based on the savvy socialization time period of the particular litter. We have found that our dogs need balanced training and do not thrive with a 100% positive training or situations where no sanctions are ever used. We strongly believe that dogs need and understand fair, clear communications that say “I’d like a little more of this” and “I’d like a little less of that” and sometimes, “We don’t do that in this house!” We watch our dams and adult dogs do this regularly with puppies and see how quickly the pups learn not to do things with clear, quick corrections. Finding balance in training is important with our puppies.
We want to get two puppies at the same time.
We do not place littermates or a puppy in a home that has a dog under 12 months or is planning to add a young puppy/dog at the same time. We have raised puppies of similar ages at the same time and know how very difficult it can be to do so properly. Behavioral problems don't always happen, but it is common and can create out of control dogs. We simply aren't willing to put our puppies in this position.
Can the registration status be changed?
All puppies are sold with a limited registration, which does not limit participating in AKC events except conformation. We are able to change the registration status to full once OFA hips, elbows, heart and eye clearances are completed and confirmed on the OFA website. AKC charges a small fee for this.