Please review our website for information about our breeding programme and our dogs. We have done our best to create a comprehensive website that will answer most questions.
2. Contact Us Using Our Contact Form Please provide some basic information about your lifestyle, your experience with dogs, and your plans for a new puppy. It's also helpful to let us know where you are located, especially if you are not livng in the province of Ontario.
Families that stand out to us are families with experience with dogs (first time puppy families please think about regularly pet sitting for friends and family in order to test allergies and to see how the family routine adapts to caring for a canine companion); families that have read books or researched puppy training and canine behaviour; and families that have looked into local options for veterinary, grooming, and positive training services. Please feel free to include pictures of your family so we can get to know you! We do look back at all email correspondance when considering reservations and allocations.
3. Wait for an Open Reservation List
Reservation lists will be announced on our website under 'Available & Upcoming Puppies' and on our Facebook page at Hillmeadow Cobberdogs. Due to the volume of emails that we receive, we are not able to contact each family individually about reservations and availability. Dogs are bred approximately 2 weeks after starting their heat and puppies arrive 9 weeks after ovulation, so we will always be able to provide a two month 'heads up' on our website about the possibility of new litters and reservations.
Reservation periods are open for one week following the birth of puppies. Once a reservation list is opened, interested families must contact us to confirm their interest in a reservation for the litter and/or submit an application.
Reservations are not first come, first served. All families who have expressed interest in the litter and submitted an application will be considered. Priority for reservations will always go to the families who have applications that demonstrate their readiness for the responsibility of a puppy. If we have more families with great applications than we have available puppies, we then look at the date that they initially contacted us to determine who has been waiting the longest. So the families who have great applications and have been waiting the longest will be the ones to receive reservations.
We are happy to have families fill out an application for us to review prior to a wait list opening, provided that we are not busy raising litters (we do usually have breaks in between raising puppies). We will carefully go over your application and provide feedback. However, if you have filled out an application in the past you must still contact us to confirm your interest in a specific litter when a reservation list opens. This is how we know that families are still interested in a puppy without receiving deposits in advance.
We will only accept an application that we feel demonstrates a readiness to provide a loving and responsible home for our puppies. We put a lot of time and effort into the early socialization and training of our puppies using Puppy Culture and Avidog protocols, so we want to see that families are able and excited to carry on the work that we have started.
What do we look for in an application? We like to see that families have absorbed credible resources on puppy training and canine behaviour, and we are happy to recommend our favourite books and websites. It is also very important that an applicant properly understands the concept of early socialization and a puppy's critical socialization window. Applicants should have identified positive training options and plan to take obedience class with their puppy during its socialization period. We would also want to see that applicants understand and have made a family plan for raising a puppy (socialization, training, housebreaking, crating, etc.). Please note that applications are used to help us allocate puppies to their families, so detail is always appreciated.
Typically families with quality applications will wait several months between first contacting us and bringing home a puppy- this wait could be longer or shorter depending on nature providing us with healthy puppies to share. Animal husbandry never comes with a guarantee. We use the date that families initially emailed us to determine how long they have been waiting. Some litters will have over a year wait time (we often see this with warm weather litter and miniature puppies) and other litters have only a few months wait time (this is the usual for winter litters).
We may select puppies for breeding or therapy purposes at any time. Normally, we decide to hold a reservation in advance. However, if we have a really special puppy in the litter we may decide to keep them for breeding or therapy roles (this has yet to happen because we do not like to disappoint eager families, but it is possible).
3. Reservation Confirmation
We will email families to confirm their reservation once puppies are 1 week old and thriving. Families who have a confirmed reservation will be asked to sign a deposit contract and submit a financial deposit. We will also send out a first weekly email with more details about the litter and information to help families prepare for their puppy's homecoming.
4. Submit a Deposit
Deposits are only required once we have confirmed your reservation for an available puppy. To hold your reservation for an available puppy, we do ask for a $500 deposit.We ask that all deposits be submitted by e-transfer or bank transfer. Deposits are non-refundable, but may be transferred to the wait list of a future litter as per our deposit contract. Deposit contracts must be signed and dated to confirm your reservation.
5. Receive Updates
We will send out thorough weekly email updates and our puppy book to reservation families so that they are provided with details about the individual puppies, information about puppy development, current concepts of canine behaviour, and describe how puppies should be cared for once they have joined their family.
We post almost daily videos and photos on our Facebook page at Hillmeadow Cobberdogs so that families can watch the puppies grow and can feel included in the puppy process. We also do our best to post regularly on our Instagram page at hillmeadow_puppies. This is unique to us as a breeding programme.
While our puppies are with us we do our best to facilitate early socialization experiences, start handling and grooming, introduce open and closed crating, begin potty training, and introduce basic obedience (conditioning to a clicker, sitting for attention, following, and recall). We spend time with each puppy individually so that they can build their confidence away from their litter-mates in preparation for going home to their family. We use principles from Puppy Culture and Avidog to guide puppy rearing.
6. Veterinary Visits The puppies will have their first vet check-up and first set of vaccinations at 6 weeks of age.
Puppies will be de-wormed at week 2, 4, 6, and 8. They will have a fecal test done to ensure that they are all clear of any parasites before going home.
Puppies will have a final veterinary check within 48 hours of going home and will receive a health certificate.
7. Puppy Matching
Socialization testing occurs close to day 49 (seven weeks of age) with our trainer to provide us with further information and an outside perspective on the character qualities of each puppy. (http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php). Socialization testing results are not definitive predictors of adult temperament, but we do feel that it is helpful informatin to help us match each puppy.
We do take into consideration a family's colour, gender, and temperament preferences when matching puppies to families which is determined by a puppy preference questionnaire that is sent out and filled out by each family before week 7. We look at each family's application, correspondence with us, and puppy preferences combined with our daily observations of each puppy and socialization testing results before making any decisions about which puppy fits best with each family. Puppies are then matched by us to their families between week 7-8. This is the best way to make sure that all families are the most happy (puppy pick is only fun if you have the first pick!).
8. Prepare for Homecoming
We will send families a supply list to provide an idea of what supplies are needed and what items we like as experienced dog owners.
Contact your vet office to set up appointments for a wellness check and next vaccinations.
Contact your trainer to enroll in puppy class so that you can start class as soon as your puppy comes home in order to optimize your puppy's experiences during their critical socialization window. We recommend a minimum of basic obedience. Please consider a positive reinforcement trainer supervised puppy socialization classes or a few sessions of trainer supervised positive doggy play groups so that your puppy can learn how to clearly and confidently communicate with other canines. Taking intermediate obedience is a wise idea to solidify skills such as loose leash walking, recall, and prolonged sit/stays.
9. Puppy Pick Up Day
We do require the full payment after allocation and before your puppy leaves our home. Payment is received via direct bank transfer, interac e-transfer, or cash. Receipts will be provided.
We will have puppy packs that include a collar of your choice, a blanket with mom's scent, a soft toy to snuggle with, vet information, and food to get your puppy started at home.
We will set a Saturday for pick-up. We feel it is kinder for the puppies to all go home on the same day.
10. Let Us Know
No question is too big or too small! We are always available with our education and experience to help your family and your puppy be successful. And if we don't know the answer, we have access to experts who will~!
We love updates! We would love to know how our puppies are doing, and we love getting picture updates!
11. Join the Hillmeadow Community!
The Hillmeadow community is amazing. Seriously! Consider connecting with other Hillmeadow Puppies on Instagram or Facebook, it's a great way to set up puppy play dates!
Attend a Romp! We would absolutely love to see you and your puppy at our Romps! We aim to host a Romp 1-2 times a year. These are awesome ways to meet up with your puppy's extended family!