The Sunset Labrador Puppy Selection Policy

Dog breeders have different puppy placement policies and procedures. Some 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. There are some breeders that may make suggestions before letting family pick their puppy, and other breeders that select the puppy for the families. 

Some breeders carefully select the puppy for the new owners. Experience 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. Most prospective owners lack the time and experience required to properly evaluate the puppies. The families usually come for one or two of brief visits with the puppies and first impressions can be 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 during a your visit. This energetic puppy may seem to be mellow and easygoing to the visitors. Many experienced, responsible breeders evaluate their litters and some have their litters temperament tested. These breeders often have an active role in the selection process.

My puppy selection policy was based on more than 20 years as a Labrador Retriever Rescue volunteer and more than 30 years of experience breeding Labradors. During the first few years, I made recommendations to prospective dog owners but I allowed the families to pick their puppy. I've learned from the successful placements and from the few that were not ideal. As a Labrador rescue volunteer, one of my jobs was to talk with people that needed to surrender their Labrador. Many 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. Based on my experiences and recommendations for experienced breeders, I decided to have an active role in the placement of my puppies. For many years, I've been matching my puppies with their new families.

The 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 their canine companion. This information is an essential part of the selection processI 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 temperament tested by a trained professional when the puppies are at least 7 weeks old. Traits like independence, assertiveness, training attitude, confidence level, touch sensitivity, and sound sensitivity are evaluated during the standardize testing procedure.  

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, nipping, and chewing are common problems. Puppies love to chew and they don't know the difference between their toys and your children's favorite ones. Also, an excited puppy can easily knock over a young child. Both the puppy and the child are vulnerable to injuries. At times, the puppy and a young child might be running in different directions, and no one can be in 2 places at the same time. However, with close supervision and ongoing training, motivated parents can keep both their children and the puppy safe and happy. I recommend waiting until the youngest child in the family is at least 5 years old. 

A good match will benefit both the puppy and their new family. 

  • 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 seniors. 
  • A dominant puppy needs a home with an experienced dog owner. 
  • An active outgoing puppy is a good match for an active family. 
  • The independent confident puppy is more likely to adjust to being alone during the work day. 
I consider the preferences of the prospective owners as well as the needs of the puppies. 
  • I strive to place each puppy in the home that I feel will provide the puppy with an optimal environment to thrive. 
  •  I also consider the puppy that the family prefers
No placement decision is final until the temperament testing results are available. 
  • Based on the test results, my evaluations, and the information from the prospective owner, the tester and I will identify the puppy or puppies in the litter that will most likely meet the needs and expectations of their new families. 
  • There may not be a puppy that will be a good match for some families in the litter.
  • Sometimes, there may be more than one puppy that will a good  match for a family. Occasionally, the prospective owner may be able to select their puppy.