Here's a list of common questions that we commonly answer for our new puppy owners. While we are by no means experts in every area, this list is representative of methods that we have used and been successful with.
How much do your puppies cost?
Typical pricing for our puppies is $700-900 for limited registration (AKC registered, but no breeding rights). Full registration may be granted to established breeders or show homes for an additional $500.
When can I visit the puppies?
Both for the health of the puppies and for individuals to get a better feel for personalities that are still emerging, we do not allow visitors until the puppies are at least five weeks old. Please do not bring other pets when you come to see the puppies.
What do I need for my puppy's homecoming?
Shopping for your new puppy can be lots of fun, but don't get too far ahead of yourself! They don't stay little for long, so be sure to plan ahead when buying a crate or dog bed that it will fit them for a while.
As an adult your springer spaniel will be 40-50 lbs and, on average, 20" tall at the shoulder, so you'll want a crate that is at least 24" tall to fit them as an adult. We prefer the wire crates because they are collapsible and easy to transport. I also like the ones with two doors so they'll fit just about anywhere and still have access. When in a permanent spot in our home, we put a blanket over the crates to provide more of a den feel. Of course, if you buy the hard-side kennels, you won't have to do this. Our dogs love their kennels. We leave them open and they go in there when they want to sleep (or get away from the kids for a while). See the Q&A about crate training if you have any reservations about using a crate.
Our puppies are fed Purina One Healthy Puppy food. We will send you home with about a day's worth of food. If you prefer to switch brands, mix the two foods together for several feedings to avoid an upset stomach. You'll want to check each food brand's instructions as to how much to feed per day. We recommend dividing that amount in half and feeding twice a day until the pup is at least six months old.
Puppies tend to chew a lot, especially as they lose their baby teeth. Springers are also natural retrievers and like to carry stuff around, so you'll want to be sure to have some designated toys that are safe for them to play with. There are oodles of choices out there, but a few that we have found to be both enjoyed by our pups and durable are
- Kongs--we like the original shape that you can put treats inside. Our favorite use is to fill with puppy food and seal the top with peanut butter and give to the puppy when they go in their crate. This keeps them entertained, gives them something virtually indestructible to chew on, and makes crate time enjoyable.
- Rope toys--these are good while the puppy is teething. It's soft enough not to hurt their teeth, but easy for a small pup to carry around. Just be sure to get rid of it when it starts to unravel so the puppy doesn't digest any threads.
- Hide-a-toy--our springers love these toys. There are three smaller squeaky toys that can be placed inside of the bigger toy and the pup figures out how to get them out. This encourages their problem-solving and keeps them from getting bored.
Due to their heavy, floppy ears, Springers can have ear problems if they aren't cleaned regularly. You can do this with just some hydrogen peroxide and cotton balls, or pick up some ear cleaning solution (this makes them smell good). If you take your pup swimming, be sure to dry out their ears afterwards to avoid bacteria growing and causing an infection.
These are inexpensive and if done regularly your dog will accept it calmly and happily. Before you get your puppy, we will have trimmed his nails a minimum of three times. They are used to it and will do well if you continue the practice. If you've never done this and are nervous, don't be! Here is a video demonstration of how to do it. If you're nervous, just take off a little at a time. With white nails, it's pretty easy to see where the quick is (the blood vein). Just stay below that and your dog won't feel anything other than the pressure of the clippers--just like when you cut your own nails. NOT keeping the nails trimmed is much more dangerous as they can snag and rip which causes a lot of pain and possibly a big vet bill.
I'm sure you'll be diligent in your housebreaking, but reality is, your puppy will have accidents. Buy a cleaner specific for pet accidents to help remove the odor. The better you clean it up, the less likely the pup will go there again. This will also come in handy when your pup gets the zoomies and knocks over your glass of Coke in his exuberance to play.
How do I housebreak my puppy?
While there are several methods you can use, we suggest using a crate/kennel to help potty train your puppy. There are several benefits to crate training your puppy, but one of its first uses is to give your puppy a confined area to help him learn to hold it until you take them out. Be consistent! This is usually the cause of housebreaking troubles. Remember that an 8-week old pup has less bladder control than a 12-week old pup, so be realistic in how long you expect them to hold it. For the first week you may be getting up in the middle of the night to take them potty.
One tip that has helped us is to take away the puppy's water dish early in the evening (a couple hours before you plan to put them to bed). Attach a small animal water bottle (rabbit-size works great--we got ours at Walmart) to the kennel. This gives them access to water while in their crate, but nothing they can play in or spill and they can't guzzle it and have to go potty an hour later. This has been great asset for traveling as well.
Here is an excellent article that gives good direction on housebreaking. With consistency, your pup should be going accident free in a few weeks.
Is using a crate inhumane?
On the contrary, dogs are instinctively drawn towards "dens" for sleeping. A correctly sized crate gives your puppy a sense of security and his own place. Of course, a crate can be used incorrectly, but correct crate training provides a safe haven for your dog, both in your home and while traveling, accelerates potty training (since dogs don't like to go where they eat or sleep), and will save your favorite pair of shoes from being destroyed while you can't keep an eye on your pup.
For more information on crate training and its benefits, check out this article:
I have other pets. Will the puppy get along with them?
Some of this will depend on type of pet and their age. With other dogs, puppies are naturally submissive and the adults will generally establish the boundaries of what they will tolerate and the puppy will comply. Sometimes the older pets are too kind and allow the puppy to chew on them, eat their food, or other rude behavior. This is where you as the leader of your house, should step in and "save" your older pet from being mistreated by the pup.
We recommend taking both the puppy and your older dog for a walk as soon as you get home. Allow them to get acquainted outside of the house where your older dog may feel possessive. Keeping the dogs moving together establishes a pack mentality as well and bonds them together both with each other and with you.
When you enter the house, establish one or two rooms that the puppy is allowed in. Eventually, they can have more freedom, but limiting their access will both help with potty training and teaching them to respect your house and its contents.
For more information on how to introduce your pup to an older dog, check out this article:
Should I spay/neuter my puppy? If so, at what age?
We believe that no dog should be bred with the intent of "making some money," "letting my kids see the wonder of birth" or getting a "mini-version" of your beloved pet. Dogs should only be bred by well-informed folks who are willing to invest the time and funds necessary for healthy, breed-correct litters and are willing to find responsible homes for them with support for life.
If your puppy hasn't been sold with full registration, you will not be able to register their pups with the AKC. If you don't have any intention of breeding your puppy, you should get it spayed/neutered. This will not adversely affect the puppy's physical development, but rather 1) save them the frustration of hormones that tell them they should be mating, 2) eliminate the risk of cancer in the reproductive organs, 3) eliminate unwanted behavior such as males marking territory or females going in heat.Here's a vet's recommendation on spaying/neutering:
Spaying and Neutering.pdf
Why should I register my puppy if I don't intend to show or breed?
There are a few good reasons to register your puppy even if you don't intend to show or breed them. Having your pups name recorded in the AKC registry provides a permanent record in the breed's history, and your registration fee funds AKC programs for the betterment of dogs and communities. The AKC is non-profit and the only purebred dog registry offers these types of programs such as kennel inspections, AKC Canine Health Foundation
, canine Search and Rescue, CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund, Canine Good Citizen program, and public education on the responsibilities of dog ownership, basic dog care, and training, and safety around dogs.
To help offset the cost of registration, the AKC gives a 60-day AKC Pet Healthcare plan ($45 value) and a certificate for a free vet visit. If you give them your e-mail address at registration they will e-mail you the certificate along with a list of participating vets.