What to expect from our breeding program and puppies.
First things first… Not all Labradors are the same, and similarly not all reputable breeders are the same. A Labrador puppy should never be chosen based solely upon price and availability. Breeders do things very differently and you need to feel comfortable that you are getting a well socialized healthy puppy that is a good match for your family. Much thought and research needs to go into the purchase of a puppy. A well bred puppy from a breeder you trust and feel comfortable with is invaluable, and simply put, its worth waiting for.
Preface… First & foremost, we are a hobby kennel. This means that we exist for the pure love of the Labrador Retriever! Every litter we have is bred with the intention of keeping a puppy or puppies to continue our lines and build on the dogs we have. We are not "in business" and do not make a profit on our puppies as any money made goes right back into the dogs in terms of training, health testing, feeding, boarding, supplies, show costs, etc. Puppies we don’t keep are sold to pre-screened loving pet homes on Limited AKC Registration. We like to believe that our pups are given a great start on life. All puppy parents have had at minimum their hips and elbows cleared through the OFA and a current CERF exam and come from ancestry with similar clearances. At least one parent must be Optigen A1/clear/normal. All of our puppies are born & raised in our home. A whelping box is set up in the Kitchen nook where they will live for the next four to five weeks of their lives. Puppies are given love and lots of socialization from day one and they are lovingly handled by all members of our family, even as newborns.
1. When planning a litter, we do so with the intention of keeping future show prospects for ourselves. We spend time reviewing many factors when planning a litter including pedigree, health clearances, temperament and conformation. We do not breed for a specific color, rather the factors stated previously are our focus. We strive to produce sound dogs that are correct in temperament, structure and working ability... regardless of color.
NEWBORN puppies are marked with colored collars so that we can monitor and record each puppy’s weight & health. At day three, we begin "Early Stimulation Exercises" that were developed by the US Military canine program. These five exercises are designed to stimulate the neurological system in order to give the dog a superior advantage. There are documented benefits and we have found the use of these exercises to be very beneficial in developing puppies who become quicker learners.
I do NOT remove dewclaws. Should you decide to have them removed , this can easily be done at the time they are spayed or neutered. I like my thumbs and I believe my dogs do too. On some breeds this is necessary for them to do their jobs. Labradors dews are not normally loose and hanging, posing a tear risk. My dogs use the dews to hold bones while chewing etc.
- ONE week old babies take turns being held by us for longer periods of time to begin reinforcing their bond to humans.They are bathed, nails are clipped and "ears cleaned " in order to accustom them to these practices. We do this weekly (or when necessary) This will be happening the rest of their lives and it is important to start this from the very beginning. At this point the puppies are still blind and deaf; their sense of smell is what they depend on for everything. For this reason, our holding/bonding time is done in another room of our home so they are introduced to the new smells of a different environment.
- TWO week old babies are given their first dose of de-wormer, and are wormed 2 or 3 more times in the next 6 weeks. At this time, eyes have opened and ears will be opening soon. Babies are starting to get up on their feet and move around a little more. Socialization continues with more bonding time and "play time" with our family. They are also in a room with a radio or T.V. on so as their little ears are opening, they are hearing different voices.
- THREE week old puppies are walking around on all fours quite well and are becoming much more interactive, playing with each other and starting to play with toys. They already love being held and cuddled. Three week old babies are taken outside for short periods of time even if it is cold or lightly raining.
- FOUR week old babies are given their second round of de-wormer. It is at the 3-4 week old time frame that we start to slowly introduce them to Unimilk, this is the first step in weaning them onto a high quality puppy food. Unimilk is a very high quality milk replacer that is very easily digested.
At 4 ½ weeks old, puppies will be given Neopar which is their first parvo vaccination. It is at this time we begin to start learning about the doggie door.
- FIVE week old puppies will start being introduced to different surfaces and will be exposed to different noises within our house such as the vacuum, microwave, hair dryer, etc. They are taken to the puppy play yard for short supervised visits and encouraged to climb and play with the "equipment".
- SIX week old puppies get regular time outside even if it is for short periods of time in the cold or rain. We praise them for eliminating outside and start using the word "potty" in hopes that they will learn it by the time they leave here, making house training easier for you. We also start to evaluate puppies for both show and personality at this time. They are also given a second Neopar (parvo) shot at this time.
BETWEEN six and seven week old puppies are temperament tested and evaluated using a test designed for Labradors. Puppies are first evaluated for their conformation and structure, and then encouraged to perform a series of exercises and are graded on, if they complete each exercise and how well.
Puppies receive their first 5-N-1 vaccines at this time.Puppies continue to have outside time and are socialized and interacting with even more people.
- EIGHT week old puppies are ready to go to their new homes. They will have had 2 Neopar shots and one 5n1 vaccine and wormed at 2,4,6,8 weeks. They will come with a health vaccine record.
Unless they are bred to one of our boys, our girls are bred to only the best, most complimentary stud dogs from around the country, selectively chosen for health, temperament, and type (appearance). Our breedings are done via artificial insemination, and a great deal of time, research, money, planning and effort go into each and every breeding before puppies are even here. Toys and a blanket with the scent of the litter is provided for each puppy to help make the transition to it’s new home a little easier. Every puppy is sold with a written contract that is to be understood and signed prior to puppy pick up day. Deposits on puppies are non -refundable .