We have quite a bit of information on Puppy Go-Home Day, as we conduct them at Soggy Acres Retrievers, on our website in the FAQ’s section. Short of sorting through this, we thought we’d dedicate this week’s blogpost to this topic, in light of the large number of litters that will be going home within the next two months. Especially if you are one of those lucky families, please take a moment to give this a read. If we’ve missed anything, you will then know what you need to ask!
How is Go-Home Day Organized?
We typically assign families a puppy Go-Home time beginning in the morning on a weekend, and proceed with one family per gender per hour. The family that deposited first on the litter has the first time slot and so on. The most we would have onsite is two families at one time (one for the male pick, one for the female), unless someone arrives early, but that family would not be allowed to pick their pup until the family in front of them is done. Go-home time slots are posted on our FB site and/or emailed to the families. Families have up to one hour to make their choice, but are welcome to stay onsite and play with the pup thereafter, weather permitting.
How Do I Pick a Pup?
You can use whatever methodology works for you, whether that’s picking the first one that snuggles up to you or looking for certain personalities cues. As we have written about on the blog before, you can’t really go wrong, as what you have actually purchased are “genetics”. All of the pups in the litter share the same great traits as their parents – and each pup’s unique personality will expose itself in time. We can help you make your pick, based upon our observations, or we can stand back and let you do it yourself. Please let us know what you would prefer. We don’t want to “hover,” and make anyone feel uncomfortable, but we don’t want to make you feel ignored either!
What Happens After I Make My Pick?
There is quite a bit of paperwork to go through. Weather permitting, it works best to have one person handle the paperwork inside our home and one person exercise the puppy outside. We will go through some basic information such as their shot records in a document we call our “Welcome Letter” as well as the health guaranty and other information in the state-required Puppy Contract. We’ll also discuss with you their current food and feeding schedule, bathing, and a brief overview on potty training/ crate training, as well as any other questions you may have. We try to take our cues from the owners as to how much or little information they need, so as not to either bore you with things you already know or alternately, leave you in the dark if this is your first dog. Please ask any questions you may have, and don’t hesitate to continue corresponding with us after the sale is complete. We want to be a resource for you!
Where is the Go-Home Conducted?
Puppy go-homes are onsite at Soggy Acres, with selecting the puppy done outside, weather permitting. If it is cold or rainy, we have to do the go-home inside the kennel. Our kennels consist of concrete floors, kennel decks, and 6’ stainless steel Mason kennels (enclosures). No, the kennel is not “ambient” but it is designed with the dogs’ health in mind. All surfaces are exposed to bleach and other strong cleaners multiple times a day to prevent germs and disease. We can’t have soft surfaces like blankets and pet beds inside the kennel for the health of the pups. Go-home days are a lot more fun outside, but in Wisconsin, we have to work with whatever weather we’re given, which often can be unpleasant.
What Can I Expect the Pups to Look Like?
Your new puppy will be a tiny, furry little partially wet ball of fur, under a dozen pounds. You may want to bring an old towel or blanket. The pups all get a bath on go-home morning and will likely still be wet, especially if you are a first or second pick. (We do towel dry them, but depending on whether or not go-home is inside or out and depending on the weather, they may be more or less wet. They also typically pile up on top of each other, which hinders the drying process.) They may be extremely active or they may be more sedate; this again depends on a large number of factors, including whether they are inside their kennel or outside, how many families/ children have played with them already, whether they have just eaten/slept, etc.
Have the Pups Been Vet Checked?
Yes, they have been seen by our vet multiple times before go-home. They have had an initial exam, their dew claws removed, first shots, and wormer. We will provide you with a summary of this information in your paperwork as well. In the event that the pups contract a parasite or something of the like (and this happens as they have no immunity built up at this young age), we treat them and postpone go-home. We will ask that you also have the puppy vet checked as he/she will be due for another round of shots.
What Should I Bring with Me?
We recommend bringing along a small animal crate for transporting your puppy home, especially if you have a long journey. You may want to bring an old towel or blanket to wrap your pup in and snuggle him/her, as mentioned, they may still be wet from their bath. You can bring a collar if you wish, although one size doesn’t always fit all at this young age. We will send you home with a small bag of the pup’s current food, so there’s no need to bring food/treats.
What Should I Have Bought at Home for my Pup?
We are proponents of crate training (and have a previous blogpost on this, if interested), so you may want to have a full-sized crate on hand, as well as dividers or other large items to section it off. We recommend lots of solid surface toys, like Kong, White Bones (sterilized femurs), firehose toys, etc. You will want to get a leash and collar, one with room for growth. We recommend buying two stainless steel bowls for food and water; stainless steel is more hygienic than plastic. The pups are currently eating a Purina dog food; we will provide you with a sample bag so that you know which kind to purchase. If you have open stairwells, a baby gate should be placed at the threshold. We wash our dogs in “human” sulfate-free shampoo, so no special shampoos would be needed if you have something already comparable on-hand. More important than buying your puppy things, is making sure you “baby-proof” the environment he/she will be in (i.e. putting cords out of chewing reach).
And that’s about it! Of the utmost importance on Go-home Day is the puppy client asking questions and getting answers. We do our best to foster this environment, not just on Go-Home Day, but throughout the life of your Lab. We’re been in the Lab business since 1998 and aren’t going anywhere, so if you have a question, please ask. If we can’t answer your questions, we have a network of vets, breeders, and pro-trainers we can reference. And do stay in touch! We love to hear from our fellow Soggy Dog families and see how the pups are progressing.
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