I never learn so much as when I do something myself. At long last, Josh and I are ready to shop for a puppy to add to our farm. Unlike last time we bought a dog when we took little time for preparation and just bought the first cute, male Aussie puppy we found, this time we are researching this thing to death, and because we want to buy with breeding rights we have extra requirements this time around.
I don’t regret Panda. We have learned so much because of him, and he has been a good buffer for the kids through some of our hard moves and difficult times. But he comes with a lot of baggage. Some because of his breeding, and some of our own making because we were caught off guard by the circumstances that befell us right after we got him, and his training and socialization suffered greatly as a result. I often feel like my own dog is a rescue dog. I am rescuing him from our earlier selves and circumstances.
That being said, we have spent the last year preparing for a new puppy off and on, and this time we plan to do things right. We have improved our fencing around our whole property. We have taken Panda to a trainer to evaluate what he needs before we add another canine to our farm. He is getting extra classes and attention to prepare him. We have worked out our kinks and workflows for what a new dog would require of time and energy, talked about finances, and how to make another addition to our farm pencil (short answer, don’t acquire any more goats!! Haha).
We have talked about dreams. Josh dreams of being able to train a dog to duck hunt, and I want to raise dogs that could be trained to be service animals. Are these dreams compatible in one breed? The girls dream of babies. Always more babies. I swear they are going to be midwives when they grow up! Wyatt dreams of dog poop with a quiet despair that tells me that this is going to have to be a chore that is more evenly divided among the family members. If we get another dog, he demands payment for all the poo. I think that is fair. I dream of creating a self-sustaining farm. How will adding a dog help or hinder these dreams?
Like everything in life, we are going to have to find a way to compromise on some things. My goal is to make this new venture successful for my family, and in doing so, I believe I will find success myself. We are pretty sold on English Cream Golden retrievers as a breed that will meet the whole family’s needs best (except for Emma, who wants a boxer or an Akita or a terrier or a bulldog or any other type of dog, because she is too afraid she will so fall in love with the baby Goldens and not be able to sell them when the time comes without breaking her heart).
Now before you all freak out, yes, we know that the English Cream is not currently recognized by the AKC and that due to their blockier head and body, and they don’t show well in America. Its OK. I am not planning on showing at this time. I will, however, plan to purchase breeding stock that has been shown or at least has had parents that have shown and done well in Europe, where these dogs do meet the European standard in order to make sure I am staying true to the ideal character when I breed.
Breed decided, I am making lists.
I am also asking questions of breeders.
All these lists are helping us coalesce our thoughts and plans, but nothing beats learning by doing. I am sure there are a thousand details we haven’t thought of. We are doing our best to be wise and prepared. But nothing prepares you like doing, so we are moving forward with shopping for our puppy! Once we have a puppy home we will see what other details we missed out on and hopefully learn again for next time.