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How I match my puppies with their families

Can I pick out my own puppy or do you do it for me?

We will pick your puppy for you. The reason that we do so is because we are not hoping to simply sell you a puppy, but instead wish to help you find the exact right puppy for your lifestyle. Our goal is to place each puppy in its perfect forever home the first time. To this end, we are very selective in choosing the puppy for each owner.

In fact, we take the process of placing puppies as seriously as we do the breeding itself. Because we are so highly involved with the pups (see How Pups are Reared) we have an understanding of their individuality and trainability, as well as their potential qualities such as willingness to work, how they respond to environmental stimuli and natural inclination. For this reason, we feel that we are in the best position to determine which puppy best suits your needs.

How will you know which puppy will best fit my lifestyle?

Obviously, the better job you do communicating your needs to us, the better chance we have of making the right match. For instance, we can all say that we want a Rottweiler with "good temperament" but what is good temperament to one person may be wholly unacceptable to another. It is important that we know each other well enough to determine whether we are interpreting these phrases the same way.

One of the things that helps us to determine this is an exercise called "if I could design my own dog". We ask you to e-mail us with a detailed description of what your perfect dog would be and why. Another exercise that helps us is to have you describe your past dogs and tell us what you loved about them and what you might have changed. These descriptions help us to form an overall picture of which type of pup will best suit your needs.

We also take many things into consideration about you including your personality, training style and experience and will want to meet the rest of your immediate family and other pets.

How often do you feel you've made the right match?

Again, we're not looking to simply match each puppy in a litter to a waiting home, but to match personalities so thoroughly that we increase the likelihood that you will bond closely with your dog. The bottom line is, until we are convinced that we've made the right match, the puppy does not leave our home.

We have found that systematically matching pups to handlers in this manner has been nearly 100% successful. Our owners are full of stories of how they feel that their pup was "meant to be".

What testing do you do to determine the pup's show/working potential & temperament?

When evaluating puppies, we make sure to consider every aspect, including personality, conformation, activity level, health and overall soundness. To learn more about what we do to determine these things, please visit The Esmond Rottweiler Puppy Evaluation Program.

After seven weeks of carefully raising pups, we assess their qualities through a series of evaluations and also by soliciting outside opinions. We find that overall, litters are either very high in quality, or aren't at all. There is a significant difference between "Show Quality" and a potential winner. To rate only 1-2 pups as top quality from a fabulous litter is not doing the others justice, nor is "over rating" a puppy simply because it is better than its littermates going to give it potential that it does not have. A puppy either has serious show and/or working potential or it doesn't, no matter how many siblings it came into the world with. For this reason, we evaluate each pup individually, comparing him to our vision of the breed standard, rather than against another pup.

Will the breeder always keep first "pick"?

Because we plan every breeding with our future in mind, either ourselves, one of our co-breeders, or the stud dog owner will be keeping a puppy. Remember however, that our "pick" may not be the puppy that is the right match for you.

Please be cautious of breeders who promise you "pick of the litter". If there is no pup good enough for them to keep, is it really a "pick puppy"?

I heard that you have a large number of people waiting, who will get preference?

We feel that it is important to clarify that when it comes time to matching puppies with owners, we do not evaluate pups as good-better-best, and don't rank potential owners as first pick, second pick, etc. based on who's been waiting the longest or any similar status. We choose matches based solely on the number of traits that you have in common with the puppy. Rarely is there a conflict between waiting owners. This is because each owner's vision of the perfect dog is just a little bit different.

For instance, we may have three owners waiting, all of whom want a male pup that is show quality who will also excel in the working venues. However all three owners will have different lifestyles, qualifications and aspirations. Enough so that one puppy may be an obvious choice for one home while being altogether wrong for the other two owners.

It is up to you to provide us with enough information that, when your ideal pup arrives, we immediately recognize that it is the pup for you and no one else.

Ok, what happens if one pup is right for two of the people waiting?

This doesn't happen often, but in the case that it does, we will discuss the fine points of our puppy evaluation with both of you to try to determine the best choice. In this case, we also will admit to giving preference to an owner who has had one of our dogs in the past or who may have lost their only dog.

At what age will I know which pup is the one that I will be offered?

We will have a general feeling for the litter at about 5 weeks. At that time, we can confirm that we will be evaluating the puppies with you in mind. By 6 weeks, we have a reasonably good idea of who is who in the litter. By 7 weeks, we have completed our formal puppy testing and will notify you of the results and share our placement thoughts with you.

What if I would like to be involved in the decision making process before that age?

You will definitely be involved throughout. In fact, you will be given weekly updates and be able to view the pups online from the day they are born. We welcome any input during that time that would aid us in making our final choices.

Can I visit the puppies to determine for myself whether we are in agreement?

Absolutely! If logistics allow, we prefer that you visit at least twice before the pups are seven weeks old. This way we can see you interact with the pups, giving us valuable insight into which pup is right or you.

What if, when I come to visit, a pup picks me?

Some of our most successful matches happened just this way. In each case, we had already narrowed it down to that pup being a contender for the home in question but the reaction of the pup and owner pushed us to finalize the decision.

What if the puppy you choose is not the one that I want?

You never have any obligation to take a puppy. If you feel that the one we chose is not the one for you, based on a strongly held personal preference, then you are under no obligation to take that pup. Because we do not accept deposits, you are always free to pursue another litter or another breeder. Or, if you have determined that we are the breeder for you, we will continue to evaluate future litters with you in mind.

Are there ever any "leftover" puppies?

No. We do not ever plan a breeding unless we have varied enough homes that each puppy will be spoken for.

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