Frequently asked questions
Should I get a puppy?
The question of should you get a puppy is a very difficult question to answer as there are so many variables. The good thing is that if you're asking the question it means you aren't rushing into it and realise that it is a big commitment. I'll cover this topic in more depth on the blog and go into what to expect when you first get a puppy but for now, I will answer the question as though it were one of our trained puppies.
For me, the biggest thing when considering a puppy is do you have time? Taking on a puppy requires time and attention. In human terms, I would equate our puppies to a toddler who has just learned to toilet train, in the amount of time and attention they require. We do the initial training for you but you have to keep that up and help them settle into their new home. They are not the finished article and you will need to continue to build on the foundation we have put in place for you.
Initially, your puppy will need to be fed 3 times a day and to be given regular toilet breaks to avoid accidents. When out and around the home they will need constant supervision. Puppies love to explore new things and since they don't have hands they do this with their mouth, so you will need to watch them for picking up items that may harm them or that you do not want them to pick up.
If you work full time then it is not the end of the world as there are plenty of options, just as there are for children. You can look at doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, friends, or family. If you are going to be leaving your puppy for longer than 2-3 hours then I would look at this as an option as to leave them any longer, especially whilst they are puppies, is not fair on them, and may result in undesirable behaviours.
The main thing is that your puppy is not left alone for too long as this can be detrimental to their mental health and well being.
After a hard day's work will you have the motivation to take your puppy out for a walk? It doesn't have to be a long walk and if you combine the walk with some training to give the dog some mental exercise too then that is even better.
What will you do with your puppy when you go on holiday? Your puppy will need looking after and when they are used to being in the home and around you then you need to find someone to look after them properly. If you cannot take them with you then I would look into home boarding rather than kennels as your much-loved puppy will have someone around them, just like when they are with you.
What if your puppy gets sick or injured? You will either need to have some money saved up or insurance in place as a trip to the vets for non-routine treatment is not cheap.
Are you prepared to potentially commit the next 10 - 15 years to look after your puppy? Your puppy will give you unconditional love, all it asks in return is that you love them and look after them. They are not here for our whole lives but we are there for the whole of theirs, it is only fair that if you take a puppy on you commit yourself to them.
These are all questions that you need to ask. I cannot answer them for you but hopefully, it gives you a few things to think about. Puppies are not easy and not something you can just leave to do what they want but if you can do the things required to own a puppy responsibly then it is extremely rewarding, challenging at times but rewarding.
How old are the puppies that you work with?
When we search for puppies we look to collect them at between 8 and 10 weeks of age, never any younger than 8 weeks. When you collect them to take them home after completing their training with us they are between 12 and 14 weeks old.
How do you select our puppy?
When looking for puppies we use your requirements of breed, colour, and sex to search for potential matches. Once we believe we have found the right litter we will inform you before speaking with the breeder to ask more questions about the litter, about mum, dad, and any health tests which may be relevant. If we are happy and still believe it to be a potential match we will then arrange to view them.
When viewing litters we are looking for home reared puppies that are well looked after and in good clean condition. We expect to see the puppies with and around mum. We will check any relevant health tests are in place and that any paperwork is present and correct. If we are still happy then we will watch the puppies, check they are moving well and have no obvious deformities before taking a closer look to check their eyes, ears, and nose are clean with no signs of infection or discharge. Whilst handling the puppies we also check for any hernias and in the case of males, if they are over 6 weeks, that they have 2 descended testicles, although it can be difficult to check in smaller puppies, and is not uncommon for the testicles to take a little while longer to descend.
If we are still happy and feel that the puppy is a potential match we will contact you to send photos and videos so you have the final say in the selection. Only once you are happy will we select a puppy.
Can you guarantee the health of a puppy?
Whilst we do everything we can to keep risks to a minimum and to choose healthy puppies from good breeders we, unfortunately, do not have a crystal ball and cannot see into the future. Very much like people, there are sometimes underlying health issues that are not visible and can be missed, by ourselves and by a veterinarian. It is for this reason that we cannot guarantee the health of a puppy but do everything we possibly can to keep any risks to a minimum. Most good breeders have their puppies checked before we collect them to further reduce any risks and we have the puppies checked over by our veterinarian before they come to you, if any issues were discovered, we would inform you immediately and do whatever was necessary to resolve the issue and ensure the pup was brought back to full health wherever possible.
Can we find our puppy and bring it to you for training?
Due to the number of puppies which are being farmed or raised incorrectly by unscrupulous breeder we have to be 100% certain of where the puppies come from and this is not always easy to spot. There are always risks involved bringing in new puppies, as underlying diseases are not always easy to notice, especially in the early stages. We have to keep any risks to an absolute minimum as we do not want to risk the health of other puppies we have in for training, the health of our children, or the potential risks to our business. It is for this reason that we will only work with puppies which we have been to see ourselves and are 100% happy with. If we would not own the puppy ourselves and are not completely satisfied with the health, condition, and upbringing of any puppy then we would not potentially select a puppy from that litter.
We do however offer one to one training sessions that can be found on our services page.
How long do you keep the puppies and what training do puppies receive whilst they are with you?
Once we have found the right puppy for you they live with us in the house for the next 4 weeks. During this time we socialise them with household noises, other dogs, and our children. We crate train all of our puppies and over the next few weeks concentrate on house training them, teaching them to sit, to stay, to wait for food, to walk on a lead, and to come back when off the lead. Puppies receive their first 2 vaccinations whilst they are with us along with routine worming and flea treatment so that once you collect them they can be taken out for walks once they have settled and built a bond with you.
What training methods do you use?
We use positive re-enforcement when training all of our puppies. By this, I mean conditioning the behaviours we want to achieve using a variety of rewards that the puppy wants to receive. These can be food rewards, we use cooked chicken or the kibble dog food, verbal praise, and touch either individually or a combination of all 3. To achieve the results we do in such a short space of time we do not ignore the bad behaviour but reprimand it using our tone of voice. This way the puppies understand when they are doing something wrong and can stop doing it.
When you come to collect your puppy we will teach you how to continue this behaviour once back home but should you need us for any help, advice, guidance, or reassurance we are only a call or message away.
What do we need before collecting our puppy?
Before collecting a puppy from us you will need to make sure you have everything ready. There are a few essentials and the rest is then down to you as to how much you want to spoil your puppy.
The essentials I would recommend are a crate, a blanket or 2, a food and water bowl, some toys, a collar for your puppy, and a lead.
The crate sizes we use for training are 18" for the smaller puppies and 24" for the slightly larger pups but if we need bigger we do have them. Depending on the breed of your puppy they may outgrow this rather quickly so you have a few options. You can buy a crate size that will last them for a short period before replacing it with one big enough for an adult of your breed of dog, usually, they will state on the box or product information which breeds are suitable for the size to help make it a little easier for you. Alternatively, you can go straight in and look for an adult size crate that has an adjustable divider in it so that it can grow with your puppy. This is a good option as too much space for a puppy can leave them feeling vulnerable. Remember the crate is for sleeping in and not for living in full time so they need enough room to sleep, not to eat, drink and play in there. If required, we can help with choosing the correct crate size.
Food and water bowl are down to personal preference but if you have a puppy/dog which likes to pick things up then a metal or plastic bowl will be better than a pot one. You can also buy slow feeder bowls for puppies that like to inhale their food rather than tasting it so these are also worth considering.
Collar size for the majority of puppies a 20-30cm collar is big enough to last them a little while. For smaller breeds, a smaller collar may be necessary but we can advise on that once we have your puppy.
Leads are again down to personal preference but I advise buying a fixed-length lead as this gives your puppy consistency of where it is expected to walk. If your puppy only ever walks at one length of lead it will understand to walk there which can help avoid issues of pulling on the lead.
The toys and blanket/bed are again down to personal choice as there are so many on the market and you can have as few or as many as you like. There are a whole host of other products available but not what I would consider essential.
How long can a puppy be left alone?
How long a puppy can be left alone varies depending on several factors, age, and time of day being the main ones. During their time with us, we slowly build the puppies up to being left alone for longer periods. Initially, we will leave them during the day for short periods while we go to the shops, take the children to school or run short errands. As time progresses we will build this up to being 2-3 hours depending on the puppy. If you are hoping to leave your puppy for longer than this we would advise looking at getting a dog walker, pet sitter, or friend/family member to come in during the day to spend time with your puppy, to let them out, and to feed them where necessary.
As puppies grow and their bladders increase in size they can sleep through the night without having to go out. To start with though a puppy may need to go out in the night every few hours. Usually though within a few weeks they are sleeping through the night, although this again varies from puppy to puppy.