Puppy Selection Policy

The breeder's role in the placement of their puppies is variable. Some breeders assist the owners with the selection of a puppy. Other breeders allow families to pick their puppy, often in the order they received deposits. This practice may seem fair, but it doesn't take into consideration the temperament, confidence level, training attitude, sound sensitivity, or activity level of each puppy in the litter. 

Why do some breeders pick the puppy for the new owners? Most prospective owners lack the time, knowledge, and experience required to properly evaluate the puppies. The families usually come for one or two of brief visits with the puppies. Their first impressions are often misleading. A mellow, easygoing puppy may have a brief burst of energy during the visit. A high energy puppy that was active while the other puppies were napping may be resting quietly in the corner during a your visit. This energetic puppy may seem to be calm and easygoing to the visitors. Breeders that spend a lot of time with their puppies can identify the energetic puppy, a bold one, the sound sensitive puppy, and the easy-going one. Experienced breeders often evaluate their litters and have an active role in the selection process.

My current puppy selection policy is based on many years of volunteering with Labrador Retriever Rescue and breeding Labrador Retrievers. As a rescue volunteer, I spoke with many people that needed to surrender their Labrador. Some of these owners had selected a puppy that was not a good fit for their family, and then they had to make the difficult decision to surrender their dog to rescue. During the first few years as a breeder, I made recommendations to prospective dog owners but I allowed the families to pick their puppy. A few placements were problematic. I've learned from the successful placements as well as the problematic ones. For many years, I have carefully matched my puppies with their new owners.

My puppy selection process begins with information from the prospective owners about their lifestyle, family dynamics, the activities they have in mind for their new dog, and the characteristics they are looking for in a canine companion. I observe and evaluate my puppies as they grow and develop. I spend time with each puppy individually during the last 2 weeks they are with me. I evaluate their temperament, activity level, interaction with their litter mates and visitors, and responses to new sights and sounds. My litters are also tested by a trained professional when the puppies are at least 7 weeks old. Traits like independence, assertiveness, training attitude, confidence level, and sound sensitivity are evaluated during the standardize testing procedure. A sound sensitive puppy is not a good match for a busy household with several active children or a family living in a busy urban setting. A mellow easy-going puppy is a good match for a retired couple. A dominant puppy needs a home with an experienced dog owner. An active puppy is a good match for an active family. An independent confident puppy is more likely to adjust to being alone during the work day. A good match that will benefit both the puppy and their new owners.

The puppy for a family with young children requires careful consideration. A puppy and young children can be a very challenging combination. Both require close supervision. Puppies tend to interact with young children as if they were litter mates, and that includes rough and mouthy play. Jumping and nipping are common problems. At times, the puppy and the child might be running in different directions. An excited puppy can easily knock over a young child, and both the puppy and the child are vulnerable to injuries. Also, puppies don't know the difference between their toys and the children's favorite toys. With close supervision and ongoing training, motivated parents can keep both their children and the puppy safe and happy.

Based on my observations, the results of the temperament testings, and the prospective owners requests, I will identify the puppy or puppies that will most likely meet the needs and expectations of their new families. In some litters there may not a puppy that will be a good match for first time dog owners, seniors, and families with young children.