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Howdy! I've been reading the forum for a while now, researching in prep for the first pup in a long while for our family (youngest is now 12, and we haven't had a full-time dog in the house since she was almost 7, WAY too long). My tender-hearted spouse is a hard griever and wasn't ready to move on for a long while after our last dog (who we were lucky to have 16 wonderful years with), but we've kept dogs around us through working with and sitting for friends' and relatives' dogs, doing home socializing for the Guiding Eyes 6-8 week olds, and that sort of thing.

Our primary goal in this search is a healthy, active family member who will want to go everywhere with us and want to participate in agility, field, or obedience work (show ring is not where we see ourselves), and be disposed to get along with everyone we meet (dog/human/horse/goat/you name it) and all sorts of situations (hiking, canoeing, car trips, farm work, visiting relatives...).

Having gone through getting referral and reading as much about various breeders as we could, we are taking the drive a few hours away in the Hudson Valley to meet the pups from Pat Frisone's litter out of her Cricket (Zest N Meri-Knol's What About Me) by her boy, Karnerblue Surprise Package. While neither of the parents are finished due to Pat's being pretty much retired, the lines are strong, and Pat seems very conscientious about the health of the breed (clearances, etc.) and knowledgable. (She doesn't have a private website, but both dam and sire clearances are up on the public database.) Since our aim is not conformation showing, the unfinished parents seem less important, and we have heard nothing negative about her as a breeder.

In the course of several hours' worth of phone conversations with her, it is clear that she will not choose the puppy for us, but will only guide our decision by presenting her opinion, and then standing back to see if there is that "spark," the connection between pup and potential family (but she will not send a puppy with a family if she doesn't believe it will work out at all). I have worked with both methods in the past, and her not picking for us does not bother me overly much, as there are advantages to both the breeder-picked and the family-picked methods, and she seems to be trying to straddle the middle ground.

She also has been clear that she believes in titering and targeted immunization rather than global, standard immunization. This would be a new approach for our family (and would certainly involve lots of discussion with our vet, as I'm not sure how they stand on this issue), but certainly one we are willing to explore if it is better for the dog! In any case, she will give the pups their first vaccination at 9 weeks, right before they go home. This means staying home for the first 10 days or so when we bring the pup home, but I imagine that is a good thing, anyway, as it is when you bring a human baby home: the family is all getting to know one another better before you bring the rest of the world into the game.

In my usual poor business-sense way when dealing with anything that involves emotions, I completely neglected to talk price or anything to do with payment with her at all despite having long enough discussions to find out about so much else (I always seem to be way too interested in finding out more about her philosophy, hearing her war stories, etc., to remember to do so). Quite frankly, although we definitely have to live according to a tight budget in our house (especially in these times), "how much for a new member of the family" isn't really a thought that forms very well in my head even when I'm TRYING. And at this point, I really would much rather see whether there's a good match instead of looking for a comfortable price. Perhaps this is how the breeder thinks, too, since she never brought up price or payments, either. Feel free to laugh if you think I'm foolish -- I know I'm goofy. ;)

It always seems that I try really hard to do the right thing, but fall on my face when my emotions get involved. But I guess I'd rather the emotions cause me to err on the side of financial matters (paying maybe more than I should for the very best solution) than on the side of things that would become a health issue (buying the first puppy that we see because we fell in love before checking clearances, or it was a great price, or whatever...), right?

Anyway, we are super-excited for our visit, and of course a little anxious (what if none of them like us?!!), hence my rambling post here... :D

If things don't work out with when we meet Pat's gang, our next step would likely be to try to get on a list for a Harbourview or Amberglo puppy. But perhaps things *will* align when we go to Pat's, and Harbourview/ Amberglo will be where we head eventually for pup #2 (After reading this forum for a while, I'm more and more convinced that one golden will lead to two goldens... :))

Thanks so much for the support, and for everyone's good advice!
Cheers!
Otter
 

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the party's crashing us
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Hi! Sounds like you are doing everything right.
The two points are titers and purchase price?
For the vaccine/titer business that is a personal decision. If I were faced with a scenario like that I think I would want the breeder to send me a brief outline of when/what vaccines she expects and her recommended schedule for titering. Take that to your vet and see what they think. If everyone is agreeable to it then great, if the vet doesn't agree or you are uncomfortable with it, either you can come to some compromise in the middle of the road, decide to nix it and go to another breeder (and I would tell the current breeder why you are choosing to go elsewhere) or choose to ignore the breeder's wishes on this topic. It will be YOUR puppy so ultimately, YOUR decision.
Now as far as purchase price....best to ask now and not be surprised when you show up with your checkbook. And FYI -- puppy purchase price is NOT something that is negotiated between the breeder and buyers.
Best of luck!
 
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Good luck and I hope all works out in your favor.

The one thing I would want to know was when was the last time the dam and sire had booster vaccinations and what is her reasoning for waiting until the pup is 9wks old to give vaccinations. I see nothing wrong with waiting until the pup is 9wks old if the mother is full protected against any diseases.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good idea on getting the exact vaccine/titer schedule to the vet for the discussion, rather than just a general viewpoint talk. That will yield much better information!

As far as the price goes, I understand it's up to the breeder -- and that I've got horrible business sense for not asking sooner. Price is never going to be the sticking point for me (which is prolly also why I am just an editor and not a publisher...); I'm more laughing at myself at realizing I never once thought to discuss it until now. :eek:

The other point I was concerned about instead of price was the idea of unfinished parents (my folks bred and worked wirehaired dachshunds for years, German), because we really have no experience in the politics here of agility, etc., to know how much finished vs unfinished parents would matter. From what I've gathered so far, it *shouldn't* matter, but "should" is a funny word sometimes, and heaven knows, I'm really super far from having learned nearly enough of what there is to know on the subject...

Cheers,
Otter
 

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Heres my 2cents and other will probably disagree. Any dog has the potential to be great it is more about how much time and effort do you want to put into training. I have worked along side people that want so badly for their dogs to ...retrieve, do jumps, to work off leash to preform in a ring that every moment they can spare is working with that dog. Last summer we had a girl in our hunt training group that had a 3yr old lab that would NOT retrieve. She worked very hard everyday with that dog and by the end of summer she had put a SHR title on him.

I dont think it matters as long as the parents have all of their clearances and you work your pup you can accomplish anything.
 

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When I was getting my wolfhound puppy I never asked price until like a week before she was due to come home... the reality was that I had a pretty good ballpark Idea of how much the puppy was going to be... so I was prepared... so I don't think thats weird at all....
 

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I don't know Pat Frisone at all, but I have met a couple of Harborview dogs, and I'm utterly smitten with them. So I know you can't go wrong if you end up with them. And I just met some Amberglo dogs at the HVGRC health clinic day on Sunday, and they're totally gorgeous as well.

Ask the price now; as K9 said, the price is typically fixed and negotiating can be seen as insulting. Litters from cleared competition dogs are typically sold at a loss as it is. Be aware, though, that when a relatively high sticker price (and $1200-$1800 is very common in this area for a great dog) for a dog with multi-generational clearances buys you a much lower risk of expensive and painful diseases down the road. A cheaper price can mean a more expensive dog if it comes with incomplete clearances on the parents or a less complete clearance ancestry.
 

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the party's crashing us
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What breeders charge can be all over the map so finished parents vs. unfinished really you cannot estimate what the relative value is. I see breedings I wouldn't touch for twice as much as superb breedings and it has nothing to do with what titles the parents do or do not have. Their value is proven by what buyers are willing to pay. $1000-$2000 is the ballpark for any well bred golden puppy though.
 
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Actually, I have seen a male missing all kinds of premolars become a GrCh, so being finished doesn't always mean a heck of a lot.... Goldens can be extremely expensive to finish.... I would be looking more at how well the parents are put together, their clearances, and their temperaments. I would say that in the Northeast, many pups start at $1200 and go up. Everyone else has given you excellent advice.
 
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Puppies in this area start at around $1200 and do tend to be more expensive along the coasts.

There is no reason that you cannot enjoy agility or something like that from parents who are not titled. Unless you are looking to compete at the very top, an outgoing, confident puppy should be able to do what you would like to do.

One of my first goldens got his UD and had all kinds of accolades along with OTCH points and he was from parents who were not titled. There were titles further back in his pedigree but I think the most important thing in a working relationship with a dog is that your personality and the dog's personality are a good fit.

As to doing titers, you would want to find out exactly the breeder's expectations. We are on an every 3 year schedule with our dogs and their vaccinations but I do believe strongly that puppies need vaccinated. If she is doing a 9 weeks vaccination for their first shot, it sounds like she is following Jean Dodd's vaccination schedule and if you google those words, you should be able to pull up her information on her vaccination schedule so that you are a little more informed during your visit.
 

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Actually, I have seen a male missing all kinds of premolars become a GrCh, so being finished doesn't always mean a heck of a lot.... Goldens can be extremely expensive to finish.... I would be looking more at how well the parents are put together, their clearances, and their temperaments. I would say that in the Northeast, many pups start at $1200 and go up. Everyone else has given you excellent advice.
Me too :D But you've got to look at the whole picture. I'll take a boy with a great temperament and solid clearances but missing teeth; over a boy with all his teeth but missing/failed clearances, or an unstable temperament. Improving fronts, rears, heads, teeth, bites, toplines, etc. will be taken into consideration -- but I will always put health & temperament first when making breeding decisions.

Getting an AKC Championship in the Northeast is not easy, and is something to be proud of accomplishing -- it sure does mean a "heck of a lot" to me when one of my dogs are honored with that title.

Of course, this is just my honest opinion. Take it for what it's worth! ;)
 

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Shalva, that's exactly it -- I have a good idea of the "usual" price range for quality pups (as seen on websites, answered by folks whose dogs I adore, etc.), and I'm committed to finding the right dog rather than a specific price.
 

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Thanks, everyone, for great advice, and for giving me confidence moving forward.

Tippykayak, yup -- I get those cartoon hearts in my eyes when I see dogs from either of them!

HVGoldens4 -- thanks VERY much -- she mentioned that she works with a friend in California when talking about getting the titers for her dogs, and I bet you are right on nail there; I'll confirm when I talk to the breeder on the phone today so I can have the right info when I talk to our vet tomorrow.

You folks are awesome!
 

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I should rephrase what I said about finishing a dog. It is a big accomplishment in goldens in the Northeast. I guess I was thinking more along the lines that just because the dog is finished, it doesn't mean the dog is physically perfect(no dog is, right?)
 
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Many breeders are as uncomfortable talking about price as you are since it really is not about the money for them. I would just call her up, make a joke of it, like "can you believe I didn't ask how much the puppy will be? Shows you where my head is." Your relationship with your puppy's breeder should be more of a friendship than a business relationship.

A structurally sound Golden with a proper temperament (biddable and enthusiastic) can succeed in obedience and agility with proper training regardless of whether the parents have performance titles.
 
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Selli-Belle-- that's exactly the feeling I get thinking back about my previous conversations with the breeder; neither of us mentioned price likely because both of us were thinking more about the puppy and getting to know each other than about business matters, LOL

And thank you for that word -- biddable! Perfectly concise!
 

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Mardovar Goldens
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Otterdance - I was curious about the breeding of your upcoming puppy so I looked 'em up. The breeder's female has a very nice pedigree as well as all her clearances & CHIC too (I looked her up on k9data.com and the OFA website). I could not find the sire's info - perhaps you had a typo in his name?

Good luck with your new puppy! Yes, they ARE addicting! ;)
 

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SunKissed Goldens
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Otterdance - I was curious about the breeding of your upcoming puppy so I looked 'em up. The breeder's female has a very nice pedigree as well as all her clearances & CHIC too (I looked her up on k9data.com and the OFA website). I could not find the sire's info - perhaps you had a typo in his name?
Here's the Sire. :)

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
 

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Thanks SunGold - nice pedigree on both sides then. Some good show potential and some nice performance titles too :)
 

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Otterdance we put a deposit on the last male, I assume you took one too. I'm glad to see others are happy with the pedigree, I'm not sure what I'm looking at with some of that stuff I just want a happy healthy dog to spend the next 10+ years with after loseing my last golden to cancer after 10 years.
 
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