Desicion to take a dog is a serious one and needs attention from all the family members.

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IS THIS BREED RIGHT FOR ME?

Labrador retriever is a friendly dog and suits for a family dog and hobby dog, but definitely is the wrong choice for person, who’s looking for a guard dog in the yard or for a person, who doesn’t have time for the dog.

Labrador is a relatively big dog and whiping down cups from your coffe table is a piece of cake.

Labradors shed. Dot. It cannot be prevented by some miracle elixires, you’ll have to accept it. Twice a year your vacuum cleaner is your best friend. Make sure that no-one in your family is allergic to dogs before bringing the puppy home.

IS THIS LITTER AND THIS PUPPY RIGHT FOR ME?

Not all the Labradors look the same or act the same. Even though the breed is the same, two Labradors can be very different. One might be very calm and quiet and another is restless and active. Some puppies might become nice companions for hunting trips, but are not a good option for older couple, who are not willing to work and exercise their new friend.

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WHAT WILL CHANGE IN MY LIFESTYLE AFTER TAKING A PUPPY?

– TIME PLANNING: There will be special requirements for the family after the puppy has arrived. Baby puppies want to eat often, are not house broken yet and are not ready to be home alone for a long time, as a adult dog might be. Everything that you expect from him as an adult, needs to be taught and trained. He needs to be socialised to become a good member of the society.

LACK OF TIME = BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS = PROBLEM DOG!

This little furry baby dog will share your life the next 12-14 years. Before taking the puppy think about how your life will look like in 5 to 10 years. Would a dog fit in there? How old are your children then? Will they live with you? Would You live in the same country or would rather go travelling?

– EXPENCES: proper food, maintenance costs, vaccines, deworming, training etc etc. Next year after buying the puppy you will spend more money on all of these things than the price of the puppy was.

– RESPONSIBILITY: dog owner is responsible for his dogs in all situations. If your dog doesn’t behave or is badly socialized, then it is your problem, not dog’s of neighbour’s problem. Introduce yourself to the rules and laws of the pet owning of your region.

Taking the dog might not be a good idea, if:
* cleaning after your dog would be uncomfortable for you,
* you would have no time to walk your dog every day outside your yard,
* you don’t want to or don’t have time to attend to the trainings,
* a member of the family is against taking a dog/allergic to dogs.

Mallorn's Elysee after her Best In Show win in Finland

“WE DON’T WANT A SHOW DOG, JUST A FRIEND FOR A CHEAPER PRICE”

Show dogs are not machines, who will be put to sit in the closet, when the shows are over. They are also somebody’s pets and live normal dog’s live. It’s just that they get to go to the dog shows and meet other dogs and wag their tail for the candy.

These puppies, who are more promising and have a potential to become a show dog, won’t be fed differently, cared differently nor loved more/less than those, who will become hunting dogs, agility dogs or just pets.

This is why the price is the same, whether you will be taking a show dog, hunting dog or just a pet.

Dog shows are not a circus, where they are jumping over the burning hoops, they are a nice way to see other dogs, get an opinion from a judge about your dogour dog a reward for wagging his tail.

WITH OR WITHOUT THE DOCUMENTS?

“Documents” mean the birth certificate of the dog aka pedigree. It is a document, which proves that the parents of your are of the same breed, they have passed the health examinations and they look like this breed should look like.

Owning a pedigree doesn’t mean, that this dog should ever go to a dog show or you should start breeding him. Pedigree doesn’t bite, when it is lying in your drawer.This paper costs about 200 EEK per puppy (13 EUR). Knowing that it is difficult to understand how the myth “documents are expensive” still holds puppy millers on the water. With the goal to earn money they produce puppies from dogs that are not tested for hereditary diseases or don’t have the looks/characters of a Labradors. If you are bying a puppy from such parents, you’ll have no quarantee, that the puppy will look like a labrador, act like a labrador or be healthy as a labrador should be.

FEMALE OR A MALE?

PRO FEMALE:
Mostly calmer, easier to keep     CON FEMALE:
Twice a year the heat period, when you must keep her from being left unattended     PRO MALE:
No heat     CON MALE:
He might have an “365-day heat period”, will need more training, mostly more active.

Female and male labradors will both need training to become well-behaving dogs. Male is not easier, because the lack of a heat period. Males are bigger (40-45 kg) and if there will be a behaviour problem (dominance, over-sexual behaviour), then he is more difficult to come in terms with. This is why a male might be a wrong choice for families with no previous dog experience or with many small children/elder people.

What else should I know about females and males:

* If bitch has a heat 2 times a year, then male might have it 365 days a year. Don’t take a male just because you are afraid of ending up with a litter of puppies. Spay ou are not able to control her all the time in order to avoid unwanted puppies.

* Not every bitch should have puppies. It is not natural. In a wolf pack only the alfa-female has puppies, other help taking care of them.

* Having a litter is not always healthy for the female. On the contrary, sometimes it can lead to false pregnancies, hormone problems, difficult heat cycles and other problems. Dogs don’t feel the “maternal feelings” the way we do, their actions are often based on hormones. This is also why they can do things that would be strange for us like killing, eating or abandoning their puppies.

CAN A LABRADOR LIVE IN THE CITY AND IN AN APPARTMENT?

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Physical activity is very important for a Labrador, but it’s happiness doesn’t depend on the amount of square meters you have. It depends on the time spent on socializing and keeping the dog active. Even if living on it’s own yard, a dog needs daily walks outside the yard and meetings with other dogs, to be mentally balanced.

Frankly – when people living in apartments take their dog and drive him to the forest for a proper run on weekends, then people living in their own houses should put their dog in the car and go to the city to socialize them.

Labrador is not the kind of dog you should leave living alone in the yard 24/7. It might lead to bad behaviour like constant barking, digging, bothering the neighbours, distroying anything that’s on the way etc. They are more than average oriented on people and that’s why they need our attention.

Also the dog living in a apartment needs action, otherwise the result is the same. Besides daily walks the dog needs adapting to new situations, getting to know other dogs, people, animals, bicycles, buses etc. Also the training is important in order to become a dog under it’s owner’s control. All sorts of mind- and nose exercises, tracking, searching and balance exercises are good for keeping your dog mentally active.

I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THE LABRADOR PUPPY TO MY FRIEND AS A GIFT?

jooksmas3NO, NO & NO. Taking a dog is a serious decision, which is sometimes planned years. Puppy should not be picked based on the sex and color, but above all on the level of it’s activity and the lifestyle of the family. Some families find it easy to keep their dog mentally active for 6 hours, go to a training twice a week, to socialize the puppy every day and go for long walks. Other families would want a puppy with less demands and if you give them a puppy who needs more attention than they can give, it might turn out to be a true nightmare for them. You should not be the one to decide whether they should have a child and it also applies for the puppy.

Giving a puppy to the children of your family as a surprise present might feel nice, but of course you are aware, who’s going to be responsible for the proper feeding and training of the puppy? Preparing the food and walking the dog are mostly adult’s business. Also the puppy will be looking for a pack leader with clear signals and straight instructions and it will rarely be a child. When the puberty of this puppy arrives and children are put on the test, then it must be you, who is always there and instructing children, how to behave with dog and also giving dog clear signals about it’s status in the pack.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THE PARENTS OF THE PUPPY?

These are the breeding requirements in Estonia:
They should have their hips, elbows and eyes examined. It is allowed to breed only dogs that are healty. Sire and dam should have at least two critiques from a dog show, with the grade “very good”.

WHERE TO START WHEN I’VE DECIDED TO TAKE A PUPPY?

terje-atonen-07Contact the breeder as soon as possible and introduce your plans with the puppy. Be sure to mention, if you are interested in hunting, obedience, dog shows, breeding. Litters and puppies are different and by explaining clearly, what you are looking for it makes it easier for the breeder to find you a proper puppy.

You should know that getting a good puppy might also mean waiting for a while.

DOES THE BUYER PICK THE PUPPY OR VICE VERSA?

So how do I pick my puppy? Should I take the one that comes to me first? Or the one that is biggest? On the one that is the calmest? Or the one that is cutest?

Unfortunately none of them are the right way to pick your puppy. People often pick their puppies based on superficial traits that have no connection to the temperament of the puppy. Which puppy comes to you first is more often related to the fact on which time of the day you come to visit the puppies or how many families were there before you thatn the real character of the puppy.

Matching the puppy with the right family for it is a very responsible thing for us and this is why we never let people chooce their puppy based on the traits like “cuteness”, “the way it looks at me”, “this is the darkest/lightest/the same colour as our couch”. Difference in the temperament of the puppies can be huge and picking a puppy that is not suitable for your family’s lifestyle can become a disaster.
Important questions on picking a puppy:

  • how much does this puppy need activisation on a day? Is couple of hours ok or does it need 8-hour-long work days to be mentally in balance?
  • how dominant is the puppy? how easily can he be provoked to bark/bite?
  • can this puppy work or does it need a family that doesn’t place high expectation on it?
  • is this puppy suitable for the hobbies I have got in mind (is it  a perspective puppy for hunting, therapy, search and rescue, show etc)?
  • is it the right puppy for our family?

We always keep the first pick of the litter for our show/breeding plans.  If there are more of thosekind of puppies, they are matched with people interested in those hobbies. People who are looking for a dog for work, have the puppies that react better to the smells of prey, have highest instincts and are intelligent on using their nose.

Matching a pet puppy with the right family we use the help of a Puppy Evaluation Test that is done by a person not familiar to the puppies and in a room that puppies have not been in. You can read about the test when you put in the Google “puppy evaluation test” or “volhard puppy aptitude test”. After testing the puppies the person usually also gives her own recommendations. For example she might say that this particular puppy is not suitable for a family with small children or this puppy needs a very experienced owner.

Based on the puppies that are born in our kennel we can conclude that ~95% of them will have the result “mostly 3” and the rest are amongst “2”, “4” and “5”.

Eventually and hopefully the dog lives in that family next 10-14 years and dog, who’s character won’t suit the family’s lifestyle or who needs different kind of activity than the family offers, is unhappy and so are the owners. This is why it is important that searching for a puppy you openly share your visions and expectations to the puppy and also describe the lifestyle of your family.
Do trust our years of experience and understand that we make the desicion based on what is best for our puppies.

HOW ARE MY BRAND PUPPIES PREPARED FOR GOING HOME?

When puppies have opened their eyes and are already walking, then you are most welcomed to meet them. We prefer to keep the mother and puppies in privacy for the first 3-4 weeks to guarantee them the peace needed.

Puppies are raised in home, with other dogs and from the 4th week we get them used to the bird and rabbit smells. If possible, we do the Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude Test, which should describe their character, presumptions to be trained and the preferable family where they should go.

If You are decided to take a puppy from that litter, than we’ll do the deposit contract and agree on paying the deposit. Deposit contract obligates both parties, which means that you will have the puppy booked from this litter and in case you disclaim the puppy, the deposit payment won’t be returned. Usually the deposit is 30% of the price of the puppy.
When you come to see the puppies, then we’ll talk about the preparations to be made before puppy comes home. We talk about taking care of your puppy, feeding, moving and training. You also get our kennel’s instructions in paper.

We wish that our puppy owners keep us informed about what has became of their puppy and how they grow. Come to see us and show your puppy and let us know about all the show and competition results, little troubles and joys 🙂

Always ask for help! If needed and possible I can help with handling, elementary training and show training.

Puppies will have their first vaccination(s) and worm-preventions in kennel.
They’ll have:

  • instructions in paper how to feed and take care of your puppy
  • Estonian Kennel Union contract
  • Estonian Kennel Union Registration Certification
  • Veterinary Passport
  • microchip
  • Veterinary’s certify proving that the puppy is healthy
  • a little toy
  • a little bit puppy food for a start

To the contract of buying the puppy I add the requirement: at the age of 1-2 years dog must have his/her hips and elbows examined and eyes checked. This is valuable information both for you as a dog owner, for me as the breeder and the Breed Club for the statistics for fighting against hereditary diseases. That is also required from all dogs to which the puppies are planned.

We advise you to get an insurance for your puppy.
If you’re interested in retrievers breed tests, contact Evelin Heinlo (evelin.heinlo@mail.ee)
Obedience and Agility trainer in Estonia: Sirje Vets (tel +372 50 97 205)

Hoping you’ll find yourself a good and loyal friend,

Maarit.