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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'll say up front that I am a breeder who chooses puppies for each buyer.

I never understand why puppy buyers will buy a puppy from any breeder they can find with a litter available, but then get all butt-hurt if they can't pick their own puppy from the litter. To me, it's like, "Oh, any litter in the whole world is fine, they're all the same to me, but I'm super particular about which puppy I get from that randomly selected litter. I did it before, and the puppy chose me, and it was wonderful."

First off, the puppy didn't choose you, and didn't instantly bond with you. 8-week old puppies don't have that capacity. You've anthropomorphized the situation.

Second, it seems to me that selecting the right litter is far more important than which puppy you get from that litter. Breeders breed for traits. If you want a calm dog, but your search for "any breeder who has a litter available" found a breeder who bred two energetic performance dogs, you're going to have an adventure on your hands no matter which pup from that litter you pick.

Besides, that pup that sidled up along side you and leaned on your leg the day and time you happened to drop by isn't a pup who loves you. He was sleepy, and 8-week old puppies look for warmth when they are sleepy. And to him you smell like the breeder who feeds him so he was comfortable leaning up against you because you were warm and reminded him of food. He's actually the puppy who fights with all his siblings, is a resource guarder, and just chewed up my kitchen wall. You have no idea what you're in for. Good luck! Haha! :D

When I breed, I breed sporting dogs, not lap dogs. You're simply not going to get that couch potato who will be patient with your two-year old child. I tell people that all the time. Maybe in three years, but as a 9-month old (a puppy brain in an adult body) he's going to be a 70 lb. hellion. So if that's your biggest concern, it doesn't matter which puppy you get from me, you're not going to be happy. You've chosen the wrong litter. But you wouldn't believe the number of potential buyers I get whose only care is that we have clearances for the parents, and who think littermates will be wildly different from one another. Maybe one will be somewhat better for your situation than another. But the chances of you finding that puppy on a random Saturday afternoon after four other families have been there tiring out the litter are pretty slim.

Let breeders pick your puppy. We know what the puppies are really like. 24 hours after getting home, you're going to be madly in love with whichever puppy we give you. But more important than choosing your puppy is choosing your breeder/litter. That's what you get to choose. Choose wisely.

/rant
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #3
I also choose pups for buyers because I don't like the whole "first pick, second pick" thing. One person is always the "last pick," and that's not fair. You don't want a leftover puppy. So we try to match puppies to buyers' lifestyles and interests. And I don't make the choice for you, I make it for the puppy. It's the puppy's life I care about. I really don't care about you. Sorry, not sorry.

But if I have multiple puppies who would fit your home, I might let you choose between them, if I haven't already selected. And that does happen sometimes.

Folks hereabouts know that we have a 24/7 puppy cam they can watch, and our puppy buyers watch. We also video various exercises we do with the puppies (neurological stimulation, scent detection, problem solving, woods walks, etc.) which we can share with puppy buyers. We had one buyer looking for a competition obedience dog, and she watched that feed like a hawk, carefully examining each puppy. She was able to pick out the best puppy for her purposes, and we let her do that. It worked out. Here's that pup at 14 months old.
 

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I agree with you. Rukie's breeder did the picking and he is EXACTLY what we asked for. She explained that you could come to pick on the afternoon the wildest puppy was tired and think you are getting the calmest. The breeder is the one who knows the puppies and add the temperament testing to that and they really know.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Of course, we watch the litter primarily for ourselves. We did this breeding because we wanted a puppy from it for a particular reason. When you buy a puppy, you should know the reason the breeder bred that particular litter.

You see the puppy above. That was a perfect choice for her. But not for us. We were looking for a show dog. So we picked this puppy for ourselves. Here he is, also 14 months old.




This guy is a great show dog, but would not have been a good dog for small children. He is super energetic and incredibly strong. While he's a happy guy, he's oblivious, and is a bull in a china shop. His wagging tail will clear a coffee table in nothing flat. :D But when he was 8 weeks old, there was a family who was adamant that they wanted that puppy as a companion for their toddler daughter. LOL! Would not have been a good choice for them. But part of me wishes I could see that unfold. :D (Yes, I have an evil streak!)
 

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Kate
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I think what I've seen...Some breeder has a litter - posts many pics and videos on fb.

Puppy buyers are avidly following - and you see people seem to kinda fixate on certain puppies. Might be the most "visible" and unique pup in the litter for some reason? Might be the blondest puppy.... or darkest puppy....

People are dorks that way... :) But I think some sympathy too is in order. Purchasing a puppy is something that happens once in 10-15 years for some people - I think probably that's why they get super weird and worked up about wanting specific puppies, and even wanting the whole "picking the puppy" experience.

^^^^ That said! ޏ₍ ὸ.ό₎ރ

My two boys right now - I picked both of them. And it was the hardest thing ever.

I'm absolutely content that I made the right picks in both cases, but Bertie especially it wasn't necessary a "miraculous predestined meeting" type thing. LOL.

One of his brothers was all curled up in my lap and wanted to be held and loved the entire time I sat on the floor and chatted with the breeder's husband. This pup would have technically been my emotional pick not just because of the snuggling, but also because he was the closest to having an actual natural retrieve.

Bertie FAILED the retrieve test. I also did not want to pick him because he was the blondest pup and I feel people who fixate on lightest colors are dorks and I didn't want to look like one in front of the breeder! LOL. But structurally and athletically - he was a better pick.

The breeder told me that she felt that Bertie would be the best pick for me (it was his pic that she sent me prior to me going out and meeting the dogs), but she wanted me to decide for myself and didn't lead me one way or the other.

I think my point here is in theory - the breeder would have made the same choice for me that I made for myself.

Jojo was difficult for other reasons. He had retrieve drive, wanted to snuggle in my lap, was confident and outgoing, had the structure and coat I wanted.... etc, etc.... But so did his one brother. <= They were so close it was ridiculous. I could have picked either one. And I kept second guessing which one I should pick and why. <= The breeder would have picked 1 of those 2 boys for me - and either one would have been a good.
 

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I’m glad my breeder picked her. Oddly, she was the puppy from the videos I loved. Never imagined she’d be the one chosen for me.

I listed what I would hope for in a puppy and that was definitely a down the road dog. Golden puppies are not always so golden. They will test limits and patience. And I think people assume they’re the easiest puppies. Last night her one dog trainer, said to her, “Stella you’re a therapy dog and you don’t even know it yet.” I almost cried. Lol.

We have been in training 3 nights a week for 7 weeks after KPT this past fall. And we are doing a mini-session in between winter/spring sessions. It just reaffirmed that at 8 months tomorrow I have a puppy someone is seeing what my intent from the beginning is to work toward.
 

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Puddles
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After decades of rescue it was clear that people seldom picked the pup personality that was right for them. Not sure if they lack the honesty of their true personalities or are drawn to the characteristics they wish they had. Regardless I would pick the families for my rescues and gratefully never got one back in 40 years. Sure some people left without a dog but that's ok. (my name/number was on the microchip)

I was shocked when I went to pick up Sipsy. Breeder wanted to show me faces... like there was a homely one??? I'm just grateful I knew what would work, how to temperament test and all the other stuff that goes into picking a pup. I asked the breeders opinions and she had nothing to offer, she wanted my money and for me to leave. I should have realized when I sat in the floor I had already offended her!

I had a specific purpose for getting this pup and totally expected her to know which pup she thought I should have. People, please respect the breeder! A good breeder knows their pups, they have also been communicating with you for 2 months, they KNOW which pup will fit well for you. ... and which homes are not for her puppies :)

Thanks Dana... really great subject/post!
 

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Maegan
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My breeder generally does a kind hybrid she picks/we pick thing. Technically, we have a pick order, but that doesn't mean you really get to pick out your own puppy. She guides each person to the right pick for them via a long phone call or in-person visit. She absolutely will not let a puppy go to a home that is not the right fit for them. Here's my example: We were second pick male for the litter with a service dog pick ahead of us. The people wanting a service dog (like a legit service dog with an actual job, not an ESA or fake ESA), had their heart set on my puppy. My breeder said no and they were mad at first, but she said that he was unquestionably not the dog for them and he does not have the temperament of a service dog. So even though they had first pick male, they didn't get to pick their puppy. And guess what: we both got the best puppy for us. "Green boy" has gone on to be an excellent service dog and my "black boy" gets to be my first performance dog.

I am a firm believer in her judgment on placing puppies and guiding people to the right litter as well.
 

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Kate
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My breeder generally does a kind hybrid she picks/we pick thing. Technically, we have a pick order, but that doesn't mean you really get to pick out your own puppy. She guides each person to the right pick for them via a long phone call or in-person visit. She absolutely will not let a puppy go to a home that is not the right fit for them. Here's my example: We were second pick male for the litter with a service dog pick ahead of us. The people wanting a service dog (like a legit service dog with an actual job, not an ESA or fake ESA), had their heart set on my puppy. My breeder said no and they were mad at first, but she said that he was unquestionably not the dog for them and he does not have the temperament of a service dog. So even though they had first pick male, they didn't get to pick their puppy. And guess what: we both got the best puppy for us. "Green boy" has gone on to be an excellent service dog and my "black boy" gets to be my first performance dog.
^^^ That's very similar to something that happened with my sister's collie when we all got him a couple years ago.

The pups were 12 weeks old by the time my sister made her choice on a pup. In her case, she just wanted anything but a buff sable (what Arth the prior collie was).

There was a service dog person who had picked a puppy a couple weeks earlier, but the temperaments of the puppies changed. By the time Mare picked Con-Con, he was the better working dog pick.

The breeder thankfully protected Mare's pick - but that SD person was seriously working overtime on switching picks. By that time, my sister and niece had already bonded quite a bit with Con-Con, picked out a name for him, and so on.
 

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Maegan
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There was a service dog person who had picked a puppy a couple weeks earlier, but the temperaments of the puppies changed. By the time Mare picked Con-Con, he was the better working dog pick.

The breeder thankfully protected Mare's pick - but that SD person was seriously working overtime on switching picks. By that time, my sister and niece had already bonded quite a bit with Con-Con, picked out a name for him, and so on.
Good for that breeder for sticking with it!

If the service dog people had gotten their way and Rocket was theirs, he would have washed out of training and they would have been pissed that she didn't give them the right dog. He's much too social for a service dog. --> He greets every person in the room every time we go visit family, regardless of how many people are there. There were 3 boys and 8 girls in Rocket's litter. They all have similar energy levels and temperament test scores within half a point of each other, but only our breeder knew the little nuances and differences in personality between each one after watching them grow up all day for 8 weeks.

She will be deciding all homes for my next puppy's litter (there are only three puppies) and they are all going to competition/show homes.

I think most puppy people that insist on picking their own puppy just haven't gotten one from a reputable breeder before and they don't know any better. That doesn't excuse being rude when told otherwise and getting pissy and backing out on a breeder though. And some have the mentality of "I'm paying $2,000 for a puppy, I better get to decide which one" without considering that everyone else is also paying that price for a puppy from the litter and that the $2,000 includes the breeder's "free" service of matching the perfect pup to the perfect family. Almost every person that I know of that has gone the reputable breeder route realizes after getting their first dog that the breeder knows best and trusts them absolutely with deciding which puppy goes home with them the second time. If they have doubts about who should pick during the first go-round, they don't have them anymore after they end up getting the right puppy, whether that was the cute playful one on the day they visited or not.
 

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Just a different opinion on the topic

I guess I have a different opinion on this, but that's me. I'm not a breeder though I respect and appreciate what responsible breeders do for their dogs/pups and pet future pet owners.

I'm certainly not a couch potato, nor do I want a lazy dog that is one either. I have made a few thread responses about our pup picking us. Let me explain in a bit more detail...Our first Golden was from a family breeder who had bred her female two times only. The last two times we have selected a pup, my wife was unable to be with me due to scheduling conflicts, but this last time she was on facetime to see all the pups and give her input to what she observed.

When I went to pick out our first Golden pup, all the pups were in the fenced yard for me to see. I was amazed at how the pups were all over me, jumping around, chewing on my shoelaces, etc. There was this one pup that was a bit standoffish. When I picked him up, I knew instantly that he was the right pup for us. River was a gentle giant that provided us with eleven great years of memories we will cherish forever.

Now fast forward to our new pup. There were nine pups in all. Four were males and five females. We wanted a male, so our choice was narrowed down to the four males we had to choose from. Once again, three of the males were all over me. They were even chewing on my shoelaces.:smile2: One of the males was so excited and a bit on the aggressive side that he nipped my ear which bled like crazy. He was noticeably more jumpy as I held him. Then there was this little fellow who was calmly watching his brothers jumping all over me from a few feet away. In time, after the other pups had been in my arms for a while and after they had all moved on to play with one another, this little guys calmly came over to me. When I picked him up, the first thing I noticed was how he snuggled up under my chin and laid his head on my shoulder as I held him close. He calmly stayed with me for the longest while and showed no interest in the other pups. Once again, we knew this was the right pup for us. So, in a sense, I feel River and now Brody chose us. Meaning, they demonstrated their demeanor in the way they responded to me when I held them. Was the behavior of both River and now Brody merely the results of sleepy pups??? Who can say for sure, but after living for eleven years with River, and so far after being home with Brody, and seeing the same type of behavior that I witnessed the day we found each other, I feel there is more to it than a sleepy pup or food...

So, we're home and together now. What Brody displayed to us during the selection process has been exactly how he has acted since coming home with us. When deciding as to whether or not to get another Golden, my wife and I were concerned that maybe we shouldn't get another Golden because we feared we would always be comparing another Golden to River. I suspect it's impossible to not compare in some respects. As for comparing Brody to River, well, sometimes you experience things that are even better than some of the experiences you have had with a pet that is no longer with you. In our case, River never was what I would call a snuggler, but Brody is a snuggler plus and we really like this about him.

Brody will never be a sporting dog, show dog, service dog or a field dog, but he will hike the Rocky Mountains with us and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer. Whether we're camping in the wilderness, seeing the sights in our travel trailer or at home sitting by the firepit on a cool Colorado evening, Brody will always be by our side enjoying life with us.
 

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I don't let people pick puppies either, Dana. I am happy to have their input but in reality most people - assuming they tell me the truth - are not going to know the puppy that will fit into their world seamlessly. They all know this on the front end- I dislike it when someone is pushy about liking Pastel or Blue or whoever in every single correspondence and usually I will remind them they are supposed to love all of them...

when people visit a litter they see a momentary snapshot. Blue or Pastel might be the perfect puppy in that moment but in all the rest of the days moments, a whiney puppy or a bossy one.. which they do not see because they see the litter for just that little window of time. Trust the breeder! The breeder has a vested interest in the fit being perfect.
 

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I'll say up front that I am a breeder who chooses puppies for each buyer.


Let breeders pick your puppy. We know what the puppies are really like. 24 hours after getting home, you're going to be madly in love with whichever puppy we give you. But more important than choosing your puppy is choosing your breeder/litter. That's what you get to choose. Choose wisely.

/rant
Speaking as a GR fanatic but very much a novice with puppies: this is excellent advice. I was apprehensive about letting our breeder chose a dog for us initially, but the more I got to know our breeder (via email/phone calls, since we're on opposite sides of the US), I trusted he would chose the best family member for us. And he did! I really don't know how, but he*clearly* knows dogs far better than I, and the pup he chose for us is PERFECT for our family. I'm sure we would have loved whoever we ended up with, but the pup our breeder chose has slid so seamlessly into our household, it's very obvious to me he knew way better than us :smile2:

Oftentimes, it's very beneficial to let the experts be experts - to me, this is one of those times!
 

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I picked both of mine.

My girl needed someone that could be patient while she was the forever puppy. She’s a wonderful girl. I’ve learned a lot training her for competition. Just earned our first U-CDX over the weekend.

My boy is truly the most closely bonded dog I’ve ever had! When I visited, I watched him completely ignore another puppy buyer. He ignored everyone but me and the breeder. In a way, he picked me. I really didn’t believe it until I was there while someone else was deciding which puppy she liked. He will be 2 in a month and he lives to work with me! We have several titles we earned in a year. We earned our first URO3 over the weekend. I know it’s going to slow down now.
 

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Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but since it was referred to earlier in the thread I'm asking here. I know legitimate breeders breed specific dogs for a specific reason. I'm wondering about any breeders who breed for mainly for temperament. "Calm" and "mellow" are oxymorons when describing puppies, especially goldens. Was wondering if anyone knows breeders who tend to have pups on the more mellow end of the spectrum? Feel free to PM me with suggestions.
 

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You have that piece right- calm and mellow are oxymorons in Goldens... there are usually calmer/more mellow puppies in a litter setting but once out of the litter setting, puppies are going to settle into their temperament outside of comparison to the rest of the litter. Experienced breeders are accustomed to how temperaments settle after the litter experience. Another reason to trust the breeder, and love ALL the puppies so you are happy w the one you get. So much of what a puppy becomes is determined by the home puppy goes to. Does that home take puppy figuratively everywhere, or does that home expect puppy to live in a crate most of the day coming out only to potty and for short play sessions? ANY good breeder will have temperament at the top of their 'breeding for' list. NO good breeder will breed an animal with a less than stellar temperament... and while we usually only intimately know the bitch's temperament, all of us hear it when a stud dog is sharp.. or fearful... or on his tippytoes all the time in a crowd. Those dogs do get used, but that use should be with caution and awareness. Because the bitch's temperament is a huge influence, if you want a calm dog, look for a calm momma.. bred to a stud dog who has no rumors around his temperament. That piece for the puppy buyer is going to take being connected in some way to those who compete and ARE connected.. I know you asked about mentors, if you are a GRCA member the Breeders Ed committee hopes to set up something along those lines this year. IT's been tried before, dk if we can pull it off but perhaps. And because your breeder is far away if I remember right, don't discount an online mentor. You can still learn from someone online, perhaps not the hands on nuance but the mechanics.
 

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Puddles
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Brody you were blessed to find the right puppy for you, not once but twice. I hope this pup continues to be just what you hoped for.

As I said, I've been matching pups and people for more than 40 yrs and pretty good at it. But I would still prefer to have the breeder (a good one!) pick the pup. All pups are precious, all of them will snuggle and most golden puppies are happy to follow you anywhere... well at least until a butterfly goes by.

I can size up a pup pretty good in about 20 minutes of watching how they interact but 20 minutes is nothing compared to the 8 weeks spent with the breeder. The breeder has watched how they mixed with the litter, how aggressively or pacifically they nursed. They know which puppy slept at night or who was a night owl. They have watched to see which pup figured out the potty training, getting their nails clipped and reacted to baths. They know which pup is pushy when he plays and which ones are loners. There is so much to learn about each puppy in those 2 months. They know the temperament of the parents and usually the grandparents. All well bred golden pups should have a good temperament but each will have their own personality traits.

If you have taken months to find a reputable breeder why wouldn't you trust them to know you and the puppy.... and be the best judge of where the puppy will be the happiest? Most rookie owners will pick the rowdiest pup in the bunch because, well lets face it who doesn't love a rambunctious puppy? A novice owner will think this is a demon dog by the time it's 9 months old. But a seasoned owner loves this personality and by 9 months has this dog ready to compete in some venue. Puppies grow up quickly and the breeder knows what type of DOG you are going to have. This is very important. When the cute begins to wear off you will be glad the breeder picked.
 

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I got a five month old hellion.. Fun as all, the class clown in obedience training. We start canoe and river training soon. Stuart will wear you arm out retrieving, and loves the woods. I have to take him hiking daily to burn some of that energy off.
 
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