This is the first of our ‘Day in the life of a breeder’ series. In writing this article, we were surprised to discover we’d grown to a team of nearly twenty! And two locations.
Before we go any farther, we’d like to take a moment to thank those families who believed and trusted in us when we were getting off the ground in 2019 and 2020, and those who came to us in more recent years, 2021, 2022, and now 2023, sharing your pictures, offering to be references, and giving testimonials. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you! Cheers to 2024 and more.
It has been so much fun to watch the puppies grow and see the amazing places they’ve gone, experiences, training awards, and watching them watch their humans grow, too. After the puppy giveaway, which was a resounding success, we conducted a poll asking, “What’s keeping you from getting a Golden Cavalier?”
In equal measure, it was timing and budget. We get it. Buying a puppy is expensive. Keeping one healthy once it gets to your home, more so. If you’ve ever seen those articles about how much it is to raise a child, we’re going to try to do something similar.
In thinking about the prospective family’s question and what many of our prospective families have said in our poll, we realized that many only see what comes with the puppy which is what we list on our buyer’s agreement. So, we thought, what’s included in the puppy purchase are more tangible things that come with the puppy once they’re born and heading to their forever homes, so we’ll review those at the end of this article. But before we can have happy, healthy puppies, we have to have happy, healthy parents. So, how do we do it? Here are as many of the things as we could think of that go into it.
AKC-registered. Every purebred parent is AKC-registered, and we are proud to now be a ‘Bred with H.E.A.R.T’ breeder. To be ‘Bred with H.E.A.R.T at AKC means “an AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeder makes an on-going commitment to the health and well-being of purebred dogs by committing to these program requirements: Health, Education, Accountability, Responsibility, and Tradition.”
Please check out the link above to learn more. To register a purebred parent dog takes time and money. If you were to register a purebred pup, it may not seem like much. But with eight mothers split between two locations and four sires, it adds up quickly.
Genetics testing of the parent pups. If you’ve done your own genetic testing using Embark, you know the cost of a single kit.
To conduct this test requires a vet visit, an X-ray, and the post office. This is the physical testing for hip and elbow dysplasia, DM, EF, and cardiac issues. Results are then shared with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) by the vet and given a grade.
Ultrasound for the females by the vet to confirm pregnancy. For those of you that are new to Golden Cavaliers, we had some pregnancies that didn’t take pushing everyone to the next available litter list meaning people had to wait up to another six months or more for their puppy. So, to solve this, we started doing ultrasounds on the females who had been bred to confirm that there were indeed puppies on the way!
Vet visits, vet health checks of parents and puppies, rabies shots for 12-week old puppies given by the vet, and an annual kennel check conducted by our vet. Some of the pages in your puppy folder like the vet check slip and papers that allow your pup to fly in cabin on the various airlines add cost to raising a puppy and getting him or her ready to go to their forever home.
But the healthcare doesn’t end there! Andrew, founder and owner of Golden Cavaliers, under the vet’s direction, is responsible for the following.
Each pup is microchipped and registered in their owner’s name with Golden Cavaliers as a backup. While this isn’t health in the traditional sense, it’s good for peace of mind to know that if your pup ever gets away from you, and the people who find him or her can’t find you, they can reach out to us. Thanks to one of our earliest families who suggested it. We’ve been doing this ever since.
Given at 7 weeks, and again at 12 weeks, if the pups are in our 4-week training program.
Dog food, supplements, probiotics, and minerals for healthy parents and puppies.
Arlene, Andrew’s wife is responsible for the following:
- Naming the puppies
- Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS)
- Bathing the puppies
- Ohio Dept of Agriculture (ODA), Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), vet check slips/flying papers/transport paperwork, and other similar paperwork.
- Coordinating with Lisa who needs Snuggle Puppies, travel carriers, scent cloths or towels, or who has left something to be included to help with the puppy’s transition.
- And lastly, did you know we offer a three year health guarantee against genetic health defaults? It’s available to read on our website and in our buyer’s agreement.
Keeping Things Clean
- Special solution cleaner to ensure the kennel is clean and sanitized.
- Carpets specific to the G.D.M. dens are changed and cleaned every couple of days when the mother dogs have their pups. Each carpet is intended to give puppy solid footing as they scoot around a couple of weeks before their eyes are open.
- Shampoo to bathe the pups and of course, Arlene’s signature Pupcake Spritz.
- Ensuring the kennel is ODA (Ohio Department of Agriculture) compliant ready for inspection at all times.
Housing for the Pups and Parents
Both the kennel at Andrew’s farm and the kennel at David’s were built by hand by Andrew. To ensure pups and parents are cozy and comfortable every step of the way. Inside the kennel is piped in music, air-conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, and constant water from a little built in fountain. G.D.M. dens modeled after dens that your pup’s ancestors might have known offers the ultimate in comfort. A doggy door giving the pups and parents freedom to go outside to do their business, and a large sun deck to relax on.
To be ODA compliant, we also completed a number of upgrades and have been awarded our breeding license by the state of Ohio. We wanted the pups and their parents to have every comfort, so no expense was spared for their housing. Want to see inside? Check out our video.
Guardian Breeder Program
David Miller is not only our onsite trainer, but he is also our guardian breeder for several of our mother dogs. He cares for Poppy, Tasha, Jillian, and Reenie. So, all of the things Andrew takes care of at his location, he pays David to take care of at his location.
Puppy Prep Sessions
Steve Haynes, is not only our virtual trainer who conducts Puppy Prep Sessions, but is also the proctor for our 4-Week Basic Puppy Training Program. However, part of your puppy purchase price is a puppy prep session scheduled with Steve via Zoom prior to bringing your puppy home.
This session is on us, so why not take advantage of it? Talk to a trainer and dog behaviorist who has been in the business for over fifty years and trained dogs for a variety of families for everything from basic commands to specialized command-centric dogs, such as those interested in training their pup to be a hunting dog. And yes, he’s worked with everyone, and we mean everyone, from CEOs to celebrities and everyone in between.
As a special benefit, he has also agreed to offer up to two follow up sessions at a discounted price for our Golden Cavaliers families.
With nearly twenty people working with us, you can be assured there is a desire by everyone to help these pups find good homes and their parents, too, when it’s time to retire. They work tirelessly each day to keep our website up to date, your emails, phone calls, and social media messages answered, your training on track, that the pups are well-fed, well-cared for, and well-loved.
Time, Our Most Precious Resource
Both Andrew and David, at their respective kennels, are responsible for cleaning and sanitizing their kennels daily. They also exercise the dogs, clean up after the dogs, make sure the dogs and puppies are clean and healthy, feed the dogs, worm the parents and puppies, vaccinate them, watch for heat cycles, schedule vet appointments, and keep a keen eye on the mother dogs when they’re having their pups. They each have a baby monitor so they don’t miss a minute!
What it Says on Your Buyer’s Agreement
Puppy Purchase Includes the Following:
- Puppy folder with complete health record (list of vaccinations, deworming, and diet instructions) and parent dog registration and health records.
- Puppy microchipped and registered in a national database.
- 3-year, written health guarantee against genetic health defaults.
- Puppy Prep Session with Steve Haynes
- Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) and Socialization with young children and within various environments
- Personality trait testing using trainer-approved techniques
- Continued breeder support for the life of the dog.
- We know this was a long read, but we want everyone to know what all goes into raising happy, healthy puppies from happy, healthy parents from their housing to their health and so much more besides. But coming full circle, we also know, the long term costs of puppies can be just as expensive as the upfront costs, so that is always something to consider. And because we understand, and we don’t want price to hold anyone back, ask us about our latest pricing options.
For now, we hope we’ve answered the question, “What do I get for my money besides a beautiful puppy?” If you’re a current Golden Cavalier family, we’d love to hear from you. How would you answer this question?
Lisa (on behalf of Golden Cavaliers)