Friday, September 18, 2009

Pickin' Puppies

A number of you have emailed asking how we determine who gets which puppy, so I thought I would respond here. If you are not on our waiting list and want to be. now's the time. We still have a couple of males available but there are a few people who are trying to decide, so those may be spoken for at any time. Also, we usually have one or more people whose plans change when time comes to take the puppies home -- new job, divorce, move, whatever -- so sometimes there's a puppy available at the last minute. Now: How do we match puppies to people, do you get to choose, etc.

If you pick a dog solely by the way it looks, the relationship runs the risk of working out about as badly as a marriage based solely on looks. We try to match puppies with homes where they will fit in best -- in other words, we don't place
a quiet puppy in a home with four kids or the rowdiest one in a home where the people just want a snuggle-pup.

That said, most of our whippets are fairly similar in temperament --- we're not going to come up with one as slow-moving as a St. Bernard puppy or as hyper as a Jack Russell. We hope not anyway. There's a range in each litter -- usually a big mouth, a pushy one, a quiet one, a whiner, a goodie two-shoes...the usual mix you get on any playground!

That does not mean you don't get to pick your puppy. We try to arrange it so that you have a choice and we certainly do our best to match you with the puppy you want. Here's how we do it:

-- Between two and three weeks (about now) we ask for deposits on the pups. That way we can be sure how many we actually have placed and can let anyone "wait-listed" know if there will be a puppy for him or her. The deposit is usually half the purchase price but if that's a problem, let me know. If for any reason you decide later you don't want one of our pups, you get the deposit back -- it is not intended to force anyone to take a puppy, just to give us a solid-as-possible count.

-- Also about now, we ask prospective owners to give us three or four choices. If you WERE going to base your selection on looks alone, which would you choose? (You are always welcome to change your choices later)

-- When the puppies are about six to seven weeks old, we start seeing distinct differences in temperament. Often there are one or two who are more reserved than the others, and though we immediately start giving them extra attention to bring them out, those will probably be the pups who should go to a quieter, more sedate home. There are always one or two "wild children" and we like to see them go to more dog-experienced homes, The temperaments we see at this age are not always how they end up, but they're usually close.

-- You'll find that usually your "rank" on the waiting list won't matter -- I'm always surprised at how few times the same puppy is wanted by two people. When it does happen, obviously we go by order on the list, but just because you end up last on the list doesn't mean you won't get the puppy you want!

-- We'll be talking with all of you throughout these last weeks to be sure everyone's happy.

-- We'll have a puppy party when they are seven weeks old -- that will be October 24 -- and all of you who are close enough are welcome to come meet all of the pups, Juliet and Blue, and us,

-- At eight weeks, we'll "evaluate" the puppies for show/breeding possibilities and decide which one, if any, will stay here. At that point, we'll get in touch with each of you and settle your choice.

-- They go home at ten weeks.

And you bring them back to the reunion every year!

I'll be talking to everyone "on the list" in the next week and in the meantime, feel free to call me at 540-464-8046. I'll be home most of today (Friday), gone Saturday, and home again after that.

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