Whether in the show ring, the obedience ring, the sheep pen, on the agility course, or in the family room, the Number One most important attribute your puppy has is its temperament. It is our firm belief that socialization – particularly early socialization – is the key to producing what we want: not just a dog that you can live with; but a dog that you can’t live without.
From the time they are born, our puppies are handled extensively. During their first two weeks, our puppies undergo daily weight checks and neurological stimulation exercises including tactical stimulation, holding the puppy in different positions such as the head erect and head pointed down, holding the puppy on its back, and providing thermal and scent stimulation. Consistent use of these exercises has been shown to improve cardiovascular performance (heart rate), produce stronger adrenal glands, promote higher tolerance to stress, and provide greater resistance to disease.
Puppies are raised in our bedroom for the first two weeks, then moved out into a puppy pen in the kitchen/living room area once their eyes and ears are open (about two weeks of age). Because they are part of the household, they are exposed to all that a household entails: loud noises, clanging dishes in the kitchen, appliances, vacuum cleaners, visitors, and other household pets. The puppy pen has toys and a “puppy jungle gym” for stimulation and exposure to different objects, textures and surfaces. Care is taken to spend time with each puppy individually – cuddling, grooming, engaging in play and beginning basic training.
Beginning at around 6 weeks of age, puppies begin crate training so that they will be accustomed before they go to their new homes. Puppies will spend some solo time in crates for short periods during the day, and sleep two to a crate at night for the first week or so, then graduate to spending the night in their crates by themselves. This is also the beginning of house-training; though your puppy will not be fully housebroken by 8 to 12 weeks, we are building a solid foundation so that they will make a smooth transition to their new homes and potty schedules.
As soon as the puppies are on their feet and playing, they begin to have outdoor adventures (weather appropriate), and they meet tons and tons of new people. Not only do we make sure to have many people come and visit, we also take the puppies for car rides on outings to places where there is a limited risk of exposure to disease, but where they can meet strangers and other vaccinated animals who are not part of their regular household pack. Before the puppies leave our home at 8 to 12 weeks, we want them to be exposed to beaches, forests, parks, lakes, kiddie pools, elevators, babies, children, teenagers, wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, an office environment, people in uniforms… Basically, if we can find it and expose our puppies to it in a positive and healthy way, then our puppies will be exposed to it.
Puppies are wormed weekly starting at 2 weeks of age until they leave; I recommend a follow-up deworming at 12 weeks of age. They receive their first set of core vaccines at 8 weeks per the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s vaccination protocol: canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), and canine adenovirus (CAV). This vaccine is repeated every 3 to 4 weeks, with the final booster to be given at 16 weeks of age. Each new owner will receive a complete vaccination and worming schedule at the time the new puppy goes home.
Between 4 and 6 months of age, your puppy will need to have a rabies vaccination per law. Some vets will give that at the same time as the 16-week core vaccine booster shot; I generally do not recommend doing so as it is more of a load on the puppy’s immune system. Many areas have periodic rabies clinics through local humane societies, veterinarians, and/or pet stores; to avoid another office visit, you may be able to get your puppy’s rabies vaccine through such a clinic. The puppy will need a rabies booster one year later, and boosters should thereafter be performed every 3 years using a vaccine approved for 3-year administration.
Other optional vaccines, based on geographical area and the lifestyle of your pet, are available through your veterinarian and should be discussed with him or her. These include vaccines for Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough), Canine influenza virus (CIV), Leptospira, and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease). Our rule of thumb is to vaccinate conservatively and research side effects and risks before utilizing any optional vaccine; we encourage you to review the UC Davis protocol.
Please visit the Kaleidoscope Health Guarantee page for specific health guarantees.
Purchasing a puppy from Kaleidoscope
I’ve seen lots of different puppy applications over the years, but rather than have you fill out a boilerplate form, I prefer to talk with you and, if possible, meet you and have you meet the dogs to get a sense of the type of puppy that you want and that would best fit into your lifestyle.
It is my intention to breed no more than two litters per year, and it is much more likely to be only one per year. For that reason, I keep a wait list for puppies. Because I do not believe in selling a puppy that is “finishable” as a “show” puppy, I only take a limited number of show reservations per litter. “Pet” and “performance” puppies will be assigned to those on the wait list following the 8-week puppy evaluation. Those that are evaluated as definite non-show prospects can go to their new homes following the evaluations; show prospects will be held until 12 weeks to further assess their potential before being placed in approved show homes.
Pet and performance puppies will be sold on a limited registration, and buyers will agree not to breed them. I do NOT require that they be spayed or neutered. In the case of male dogs, recent research shows that neutering is counter-indicated and has many more health risks than benefits associated with it. I believe that pet owners should make their own informed decision as to whether or not their pets should be altered. Whatever the decision, I strongly recommend that pets not be altered before they reach maturity, i.e. after the age of two years. Those hormones are there for a reason, and removing them from a dog who is still developing is not a good idea. There is some great reading on the subject here.
Once a litter has been born, I will contact people on the wait list and let them know if I will have a puppy for them. At that point, those who wish to go ahead with the purchase will be asked to submit a deposit equal to one-quarter of the purchase price. The deposit will be considered non-refundable unless something happens and I no longer have a puppy available for that buyer. Puppy buyers are welcome and encouraged to come and visit the litter as often as they like as the puppies are growing; just be cautioned that I will not be able to tell you which puppy will be yours until they have been evaluated at 8 weeks.
One thing that a puppy buyer receives by purchasing from a dedicated breeder (in addition to all of the socialization work that goes into them!) is “service after the sale.” I am always available to puppy buyers to answer questions and provide advice and feedback. At the first sign of any problem, I want to know about it and try to help the owners through it. If — at any time during the puppy’s life — the owner is unable to keep the dog, I will take it back.
Please see my Puppy Contract.