You may ask yourself, what is the real cost of ownership, and what type of dog should I buy?
To help, we will break this down into dog classifications, and whom we believe should buy each classification. The 3 main classifications of dogs are 1. Puppies, 2. Started dogs, and 3. Finished Dogs.
Should I purchase a puppy?
Puppies require mega amounts of time to handle and train correctly. The first few months of a puppy’s life are the most important for forming good behavioral and retrieving habits. This requires tons of patience, time, and energy most people simply do not have in today’s world. When purchasing an 8 week old puppy, you cannot, regardless of pedigree and breeding strength, guarantee how spectacular your adult dog will turn out. However, stellar pedigrees and breedings do guarantee that your dog comes from healthy, proven lines, and will be genetically predisposed to be an awesome retriever and companion later in life. If a breeder tells you that they can “guarantee” that your 8 week old puppy will be a FTCH, or the best dog at the hunting camp, you should look somewhere else to get your dog. We also believe that you should not purchase a puppy/dog based on color/confirmation alone. First and foremost, you should choose one based upon it’s pedigree and health clearances. It is for these reasons, that we recommend puppies for only a few types of clients.
– people looking only for a pure pet/companion animal, and if they have lots of free time to raise a puppy correctly
– if you want to get your children a puppy, and have lots of free time to raise the puppy correctly
– experienced dog trainers who want to train the puppy using their own methods
– breeders who are buying a puppy based off pedigree and health clearances
– people that need a puppy for certain other reasons including human therapy, child introduction, etc
Should I purchase a started dog?
By purchasing a started puppy/dog, you allow us to do the most important early socialization and introduction work required for producing a spectacular retriever. This is what we do. Every day. All day. It is our business, and our livelihood. Going this route will allow you to help us choose the correct dog for your desires and personality. We can screen the dogs for personality traits you wish to have, and steer behavior modification in your dog to fit your needs. For example; You want a high drive dog that you will hunt 5 days a week, in all sorts of conditions and on all types of terrain. First, we would recommend a breeding that historically produces these sorts of dogs. Then, we may ask you to let us choose the correct pup for you at around 4-5 months of age, after they have been in our program for a few months. It is at 4-5 months of age when we can really start to see the pup’s personality, temperament, and working style. We can then tailor the remainder of your dog’s training to instill the traits you desire. We believe this is the best route for most people. Even people wishing only to have an obedient fireplace companion. We recommend our started dogs for these types of clients:
– people who don’t have dog training or handling experience
– people without the time to devote the first 5-6 months solely to their pup’s life
– people who know exactly what they want in their future dog, and do not wish to gamble by buying a puppy
– people who want an obedient companion, but do not want the hassle or risk of training it themselves
– people who want a dog to be ready for next season, at a certain time, and trained to a certain level
– experienced trainers/handlers who would rather put the time into finishing a dog as opposed to starting one
– average wing shooters who don’t need a fully trained retriever
– people who went the puppy route first, and were unsatisfied 7-10 months later
Should I purchase an imported/finished/seasoned dog?
Imported/finished/seasoned dogs come at a premium, but they are worth it for certain people. Dogs require a huge amount of devotion, work, and patience to get to this level. Not every dog is capable of making it to the finished dog level. More importantly, VERY few people have the time to get them to this point. When you decide to purchase a finished dog, you can think of it as a turn-key operation. They are usually 20+ months of age, and all the initial work has been done for you. Once these dogs are comfortable with you and their new home, they are ready to go hunting. Most have been in numerous hunting/trialling situations, and have been exposed to many life situations as well. These would/may include other people, dogs, planes, vehicles, and changes in environment and terrain. These dogs are truly a pleasure to own, and I promise, your friends will be impressed.
– people who have zero time or motivation to raise/train a dog from a young age
– people who need a dog that is ready to go in a shortened timeframe
– people who have the patience to wait for exactly what they want to become available, including sex and color
– people who have tried to produce dogs on their own, and have not been satisfied
– professionals who wish to breed/trial dogs in the future
– people wishing to own a titled dog from overseas
– people wishing to own a piece of dog history
This can all be compared to purchasing a home. Buying a puppy would be equivalent to buying a lot, and having a set of blueprints. You can plan for everything to go right, but there will be many challenges and hiccups along the way. And once your home is complete, it is very difficult and expensive to make changes. Purchasing a started dog would be like purchasing a home that is already standing, where you like the location, and the floor plan. Now you get to come in and finish the home with the cabinetry, lighting, paint, flooring, and decor you desire. This still requires some work, but it’s much easier than starting from the ground up. Obtaining a finished dog would be similar to purchasing a completely finished home in your dream location, with your ideal floor plan, and most of the amenities/accessories you desire. You may wish to make some slight adjustments, or do some additional landscaping, but for the most part, you have exactly what you want.
This brings up the question of COST. COST consists of 2 main factors. PRICE and VALUE. PRICE is the dollar amount paid for what you receive. PRICE does not imply, determine, or guarantee VALUE, only the dollar amount paid. VALUE would be the PRICE versus what you get for your money. The PRICE of a puppy should be determined by the VALUE of it’s health clearances and lineage. Started dogs have a higher PRICE than puppies, but contain an inherent VALUE. The VALUE of time spent in training, and the VALUE of not gambling on what you are getting. Finished dogs have an even higher PRICE, but have higher inherent VALUE because they are completely trained and ready-to-go.
The take home message is for you to do your homework, and choose the correct dog for your needs. Don’t use PRICE as the sole determining factor, but be sure to include VALUE in your evaluation of total COST.
Here are some real word PRICE figures to use when comparing buying a puppy versus the other classifications available [***some of this info is sourced from an excellent article published on the web by Doctors Foster and Smith (click link for article). The remainder is gained knowledge learned from speaking with clients and other industry professionals].
The most important message is, should you buy a started or finished dog from us, there is no gamble on the training, and whether or not your dog will make it to what you want after all the money and time is spent. We take all of the gamble out by providing started and finished dogs for you!
Fyi……… These animals also tend to be smaller than their American counterparts. Full grown males usually range from 50 – 70 pounds, while full grown females usually range from 40 – 60 pounds.