We believe that the development of a beautiful, sound, healthy dog begins within its own genetic make-up before it is even born. We also believe we the breeders have a great responsibility from the time the pups are conceived to the time they go to their new homes to see that they receive the proper care needed for the best start in life as possible. To help ensure this:
- We built our foundation on Golden Retrievers that exemplify the breed in all its attributes: structure, health, and temperament.
We test our parent dogs for the most common health problems in the Golden Retriever breed. In short, following OFA regulations, we test their elbows and hips when they are two years old to make certain they do not have dysplasia, have an opthamologist test and pass their eyes, and have a board certified cardiologist test their hearts for murmurs. We also started DNA testing them for ichthyosis which is a skin disease that can cause a thickening of the skin of your dog and have his fur fall out. This is becoming more common in Goldens than in the past.
We feed high quality dog food that provides the nutrition necessary for the growth and maintenance of all our dogs. Once pregnancy is confirmed, we switch to a dog food with higher fat and protein that provides the nutrition necessary for proper fetal development. At four weeks of gestation, we begin to add cooked eggs and cottage cheese to our pregnant dog's food to provide for their additional nutritional needs.
All our puppies are born and raised in our house with us using the conservative approach to three kinds of stimulation (according to the famous Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia) that can be used to influence how a puppy will develop.· First, during the critical window of time from days 3-16, we administer the Bio Sensor Program. The US military developed this program in order to improve the performance of their military dogs. Based on years of research, it was discovered that these early neurological stimulation exercises had positive long lasting effects on the puppies they were administered to. Besides finding that these pups were more tolerant to stress and were greater achievers during problem solving tests as an adult, it was also found that the dogs had several health related benefits.· Second, is the socialization of the puppies, the critical window of time for a puppy to develop socialization skills is from its fourth to sixteenth week of life. Being careful not to over nor under stimulate the puppies, we play a CD of life sounds from early on to the time they go home so that they are nonreactive to all sorts of travel sounds, things that go boom, animal sounds, home sounds, child noises, and dog show sounds. They continue to be able to have time with their mother, are handled properly, and are allowed to have contact with others while watching out for the puppies' safety and health.· And last but not least, is the time of enrichment that has no critical window of time. This is an ongoing phase of the puppies' lives. However, for us, from five to eight weeks of age, we are to help bring the puppy into situations were they can "investigate, manipulate, and interact" safely. From there it is up to their new families to continue the enrichment of their puppy. This is one reason of many that I highly recommend bringing your puppy to puppy class (once it has received all of the appropriate vaccinations) and obedience classes.
Along with this, puppies are born with a natural instinct to keep their sleeping area clean. Because we work diligently to keep their sleep and play area clean as well as to train them where they can relieve themselves, by the time the puppies go home they are well on their way to being potty trained and have been exposed to crates for crate training.
Puppies all receive their age appropriate vaccinations starting at six weeks of age, and receive preventative worming treatments every two weeks following birth.
Puppies’ nails are trimmed weekly and are bathed/groomed as needed prior to going home.
Studies have shown that puppies should never leave their mother or litter-mates until 7 to 8 weeks of age. Therefore, in the best interest of our puppies, they remain with us until they are at least seven weeks of age, if not eight weeks of age.
- We would like you to know that we will not sell our puppies sight unseen. Therefore, if you would like to have your puppy shipped, you will need to come meet us and your puppy at the time you are ready to bring your puppy home. We feel it is in everyone's best interest if we get to meet you and you get to meet your puppy prior to them going home with you. Thank you for your understanding with this.
- You are not expected to pick your puppy out until the day you come to take him or her home with you. This way you see them at their furthest development and you see exactly what you are choosing.
Parents are from AKC registered parents (puppies are AKC registerable) and go home with:
· A spay/neuter contract (unless otherwise approved for an open registration) which includes a well puppy and genetic health guarantee as well as breeder support for the life of your dog.
· A puppy book containing all of your puppy's health records and a copy of the parents' genetic health clearances, a feeding schedule, a copy of our contract, and training tips for your puppy. We have also added your puppy's newborn puppy collar to it. :)
· Finally, we also send your puppy home with a toy that has his/her litter-mates and mother's scent on it.
We at Sonshine Golden Retrievers of Indiana work hard to promote good health, solid structure, and proper temperament in all of our Golden Retriever puppies. We want to give your new baby the best start possible to a long, healthy life for years to come!
Here is a litter of puppies at 6 weeks of age showing how they have an area to sleep/play, an area to eat and play, and finally an area to potty. Our puppies crate train much easier because they are litter box trained by the time they go home. The concept of "a place to sleep and play" and a place to "potty" is well established in our puppies. The idea of going potty in the litter transfers well to going potty in the lawn.