Breeders generally conduct puppy picks in one of three ways:
1) New owner selects their puppy in the order the deposit was received. (Most common)
2) New owner selects their puppy based off the recommendation(s) of the breeder.
3) Breeder selects puppy for the new owner.
Here at Patriot Labrador Retrievers, we select the puppy for you! We feel this process sets up BOTH the new family and the puppy for a more healthy, long-lasting relationship.
As the breeder, I spend a lot of time with our puppies and am able to recognize different characteristics of each puppy as they develop. Many distinctions are subtle and it's difficult to see these differences by videos/pictures, or a brief visit. Prospective families are only witnessing a snapshot in that moment; therefore, first impressions of a puppy can be misleading. A mellow, easygoing puppy may have a brief burst of energy during a video or visit. A high energy puppy that was active moments prior while its littermates were napping, may be resting quietly during your observation.
When I first started out as a breeder, we allowed each family to select their puppy, providing a few recommendations along the way. But ultimately, that decision was left to them. In the Fall of 2020, after many successful placements, but more so due to a couple less than ideal placements, I decided to take a more active role in the placement of our puppies.
The selection process begins with information obtained from the prospective owner’s puppy application, phone conversations, and sometimes face to face meetings. I take the time to learn a little about each family members dynamic, their lifestyle, future expectations of their new puppy, experience in raising a puppy, level of commitment, and so forth.
As the puppies mature, I am able to become familiar with each puppy’s overall temperament. Their strengths and weaknesses, level of self-confidence, energy, problem-solving abilities, trainability, sound & touch sensitivity, independence, restraint, assertiveness, calmness, startle recovery, natural talent and anything else that may stand out.
I evaluate each puppy’s interaction with their litter-mates, other dogs, people of all ages, their responses to new environments, smells, sounds, textures, etc. At the same time, taking note of any undesireable behaviors, anxieties, excitabilities, attention seeking, and so on.
Additionally, our litters are professionally evaluated around 7 weeks of age using the Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude Test. (I will be adding an additional link detailing the evaluation at a later date)
Families getting a puppy can expect to know which puppy will be theirs on or around 7 weeks of age. In some cases, possibly sooner.
You may be asking yourself; “How do I know what ‘pick’ on the reservation list I am”?
Since the whole purpose behind our breeding program is to provide Service Dog prospects for qualified Veterans & First Responders, those puppies, above all others, will be selected first.
We make the remaining selections in the order your application was approved. We take into consideration the prospective owners preferences, as well as the needs of the puppies.
We make every effort to place each puppy in the home that we believe the puppy will be able to thrive in the most. At times, there may be more than one puppy that would be a good candidate for a particular family. In those cases, we do allow the new owners to select their puppy from that group of puppies.
A good match will benefit both the puppy and the new family.
· An active, outgoing puppy is a good match for an active 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.
· An independent, confident puppy is more likely to adjust to being alone during the work day.
** If it is important for you to be able to select your puppy, we recommend finding a different breeder. **
It’s possible, depending on your expectations, for us to recommend another breeder.
The notion that the ‘last’ pick puppies are inferior to those picked first only applies when you get a puppy from a substandard litter.
In those cases, you may or may not, end up with a great dog, regardless of pick order.
At Patriot Labrador Retrievers …
Breeding the right genetics + Providing an ideal learning environment = Quality Puppies!