Our Selection Process
If you have ever chosen a puppy from a breeder, you were probably given a thirty-minute time slot, a pile of ten puppies and no behavior or temperament information. You likely chose your puppy based on color or gender, or both. You might have chosen the first puppy who came up to you, the puppy lying by himself over in the corner, or the puppy who kept crawling into your lap. Maybe you chose the runt because you felt sorry for her.
Golden Rule NEVER selects puppies using these techniques. There is no “pick of the litter”. Every single puppy has a purpose. Some dogs are meant to hunt or search, others are meant to perform valuable tasks, and still others are meant to offer comfort. Most dogs are meant for lifelong companionship. Service dogs and therapy dogs serve very different purposes. The testing and selection process for each is different, as is the training. A dog can never truly be a family pet AND a service dog. A therapy dog can never be an emotional support animal and a family pet, because an ESA is bonded to one person while a family pet divides his time with various family members or friends.
Candidates for our therapy and service dog programs are chosen first
We do not consider gender or color when temperament testing or placing dogs into our programs
We can not control the number of puppies in a litter, nor the number of males and females in a litter. We usually take three male deposits and three female deposits prior to the birth of the litter. Once the litter is born and we know how many puppies we have, we accept additional deposits.
We follow a puppy protocol from the day puppies are born, exposing them to different sounds and surfaces. We hold them in different positions and we move them around increasingly. We work with their pressure points and we use essential oils to relax and stimulate them.
Each puppy earns a profile as s/he grows. We construct these profiles based on observed behaviors during weeks 4-6 such as barking, growling, shyness, food assertiveness, independence, maturity, patience, motivation.
While temperament testing may indicate a good therapy or service candidate, it is the new owner’s responsibility to seek professional training to establish and maintain good habits that are conducive to the behaviors exhibited by therapy and service dogs.
Temperament testing occurs during week 6. During these tests, we observe several behaviors, such as, but not limited to:
The puppy lying on his back
The puppy in a cradled position
The puppy walking on an uneven or unpredictable surface
The puppy’s recovery after hearing loud and unfamiliar sounds
The puppy’s motivation to learn
The puppy’s curiosity and sense of adventure
The puppy’s desire to be with litter mates and/or people
The puppy’s persistence to problem-solve
The puppy’s general behavior in a stressful environment
The puppy’s willingness to self-correct when s/he makes a mistake
The number of repetitions required to learn a task
Once assessments have been completed and candidates for our programs have been selected, we make suggestions to families on the Litter List based on the online puppy forms they submitted through our website. Families may then choose, based on our suggestions, IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEIR DEPOSITS WERE RECEIVED.
If the family with the third deposit on the list wants a pet, we will suggest the puppy(ies) that most closely match their family profile. If the puppy they wanted was selected by the family with the first deposit, they may then move to their second choice. A family who makes the LAST deposit in a litter may not get their first choice, however we do our very best to accommodate everyone. If a family does not wish to choose their puppy from the remaining available litter, they may wish to move their deposit WITH PRIORITY to the next available litter. While families may have a color or gender preference, we suggest being open-minded and willing to consider the puppy with the temperament that best fits you and your needs. All puppies are selected by/for organizations and families by the end of week 7, using pictures, videos, assessments and dialogue between Golden Rule and your family. We do our best to get the right puppy for you, and we are unable to allow a family to wait until pick up day to select a puppy. Above everything, we must ask our families to trust us during this process. Our experience with goldens and goldendoodles, and the relationships we have with our families, have made us what we are today. If you do not feel comfortable with the selection process, please seek another breeder. By placing a deposit, you are agreeing with our testing and selection process. Your deposit is non-refundable, but it may be forwarded to a future litter.
**** Our breeding program was established to provide for our service and therapy dog training. The selection process differs from those of other breeders and priority is given to our program. We make every effort to match puppies which best fit family profiles that are submitted in online puppy applications. We cannot determine the number of puppies or the number of males and females in a litter. When necessary, placement decisions will be made according to the order in which deposits are received.
Please see our Facebook Page, Golden Rule Retrievers, for more immediate photos and videos.