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~ What to Expect ~
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I will be happy to add your name to my waiting list and contact you when puppies are born. However, I don't take reservations or accept deposits because I don't feel comfortable promising a certain puppy to someone until I actually have puppies and know what they are. And while you can be sure I will thoroughly interview all potential homes, including checking references, in the interest of my time and yours that process doesn't begin until puppies are actually born. Here is what you can generally expect:
1. When the dam is bred, I will let you know. Approximately 58-63 days later, if Mother Nature cooperates, puppies are born.
2. After the pups have been nursing well for a few days, I will notify everyone on my waiting list and ask if you are still interested. Those still interested will receive a Questionnaire to complete, which also asks for a veterinarian reference and several personal references. If I have any additional questions, I will contact you, and I won't contact your references without telling you first.
3. I will handle the pups one at a time every day, weigh them, and from day 3 to 16 perform Early Neurological Stimulation techniques. I have noticed the difference this makes from my earlier litters when I didn't know about these exercises, to my more recent litters where I do them as suggested, so I am a firm believer in following these steps.
4. Puppies start going outside for supervised potty and playtime when they are about 4 weeks old, and they start receiving outside visitors around 5 weeks of age, including friends, calm neighbor children, and even my office coworkers get roped in. Of course everyone loves cuddling puppies, so it's not too hard to find volunteers. In addition to meeting other people, the pups get to eat out of different dishes, walk on different surfaces, play with different toys, and explore low climbing and tunneling fun from one day to the next. This helps build curiosity and acceptance of new objects, and confidence and adaptability to new situations.
5. At 7 weeks of age, the puppies receive their Puppy Aptitude Test. This is done one pup at a time by a stranger (to them) in a strange place so we can reveal the puppies' true underlying temperaments without the comforts of littermates, mom and/or breeder affecting their confidence levels. I can tell you about their personalities at home where they are most comfortable and confident, and this additional evaluation helps me also see how they will be when they are out of their element. Knowing each puppy's true temperament is extremely helpful in placing each pup in the right home for it. For example, I wouldn't want to place a sound-sensitive puppy in a home with lots of commotion, or send someone an obedience prospect pup which won't make eye contact.
6. Around 8 weeks of age, the puppies receive structural evaluations. Typically, we take a one-day road trip to/from Oregon and have Pat Hastings perform the structural evaluations of the pups. I also have someone available locally as a back-up in case Pat is not available. Having a third party conduct the structural evaluations removes any bias I may have for certain puppies and for my own structural or type preferences. The structural evaluations also help me place each puppy in the right home. For example, while I wouldn't want to place a pup with straight shoulder angulation in an agility home, it would be perfectly fine in a companion home. This also helps me evaluate my breeding plan, whether I accomplished certain goals, and what I may still need to work on.
7. Whew, that's a lot of work and I'm not even done! (And you've been very patient. Thank you.) Now that I know what I have in these puppies besides adorable bundles of fluff, I can contact you and discuss which puppy or puppies might best fit with you and your lifestyle, and hopefully match what you're looking for in a companion, show, agility, obedience/rally or therapy prospect. Once we have a match, we'll talk about contract terms and I'll work on getting a draft to you for review so we can discuss any concerns or questions you may have about it. I start with a basic form, but each contract is custom-drafted for you and your pup.
8. Around 8 weeks the pups start spending time in separate crates so their crate training can begin. This makes my life very noisy for a while, but it will make your life easier. They still get playtime with mom and littermates, but they also learn how to be comfortable spending time alone (and, hopefully, quiet - but some are better at that than others :). Also by now they are each taking turns spending a good amount of one-on-one time with me every day. All of this encourages development of human bonding over dog bonding. I also like any excuse to take a puppy or few to work with me for socialization. They also start wearing collars and getting used to their leashes. Food is accompanied with a call of "puppy, puppy, puppy", so that gets ingrained very early, and always seems to work in a pinch if they "accidentally" forget their given names when they go to their new homes. I still use it on my older dogs when they decide sniffing is more interesting than listening - it always seems to get their attention.
9. Pups are typically ready to go to their new homes around 11-12 weeks of age. They will be current on vaccinations and be microchipped at my expense. You pay for the puppy's transportation expenses, including a traveling crate; most people drive or fly here to pick up their puppy. I'm sorry but I do not air ship puppies via cargo. It has become less safe to do so, and in all my years of breeding since 1996 I have never once had to ship a puppy, and so I don't see the need to begin now.
10. Now that I have done my job, I will ask some things of you. Please schedule your puppy to start puppy kindergarten classes when he or she gets home. Also schedule a check-up with your veterinarian, but please don't let them administer any vaccinations unless they are actually due (I will give you a schedule). Above all, treat your pup with love and kindness, send me pictures, and keep in contact.
I know I do some things a little differently than most other breeders, but I have found it to work out very well for me and my puppies in the long run. If they get placed in the homes that are right for them, everyone is happy. You can see it may take some patience on your part though. You may feel free to call or write me as often as you wish, and I will be pleased to communicate with you, but if you don't feel you can stand to wait for an answer until 8-9 weeks, you might want to check out someone else. I promise I won't be offended if you just let me know. I want to make my puppy buyers happy, and the best way I know how to do that is to put my puppies' best interests first, and the rest will follow naturally.-Lenise Redding-
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