New Arrivals!!

Birthday: December 26, 2019

Go Home Date: February 21, 2020

Litter Theme: Potatoes

4 Boys & 5 Girls

Mother: Tater

Father: Mac

Follow us on Social Media for updated photos & video!

 

 


First things first:

Your puppies are being raised with two very advanced puppy raising programs! Early neurological stimulation has been proven to build confidence and resilience in young puppies, which sets them up for success as they get older. Both programs have free and paid resources you should take advantage of!

AVIDOG

Free: Avidog Puppy Book

Free: 97 WAYS TO CREATE GREAT PUPPIES

PUPPY CULTURE

Puppy Culture Essentials Playlist For Puppy Owners

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Before Puppy Comes Home

Preparing Puppy To Come Home

We have a separate tab with shopping lists to help you prepare, but this article is a helpful starting point!

Read this:

Pre-Puppy Preparation

Watch this:

Why don’t I get to pick out my puppy?

Simply put, we know these puppies better than you do. If you meet them for an hour, you may develop opinions based on your one hour window of observation. However, an hour is never enough to really get a feel of who is who.

Not only that, but Science is telling us that it is hard to test puppies to predict how they will turn out. Plus, so much will happen once the puppies leave here that will impact how they grow up.

We do our best to match puppies to their new families, based on the personality we have seen in the puppy, and your lifestyle and needs. If anyone is going to be good at predicting this, it will be your breeder. I have always allowed breeders to choose my own personal dogs, and with great success…. and I’m a DOG TRAINER!

Temperament Testing Puppies:

Do Puppy Personality Tests Predict Adult Dog Behaviors?

When will we know which puppy is ours?!

Probably around 7 weeks old. Their personalities have started to show by then and given us some time to think about the best match-making!

Webinar about Bringing Puppy Home

Link to Webinar recording HERE

Supplemental material for webinar is HERE

Does Puppy come with Pet Insurance?

YES! But it is up to you to activate it!!

I’ve joined up with Trupananion’s Breeder Support Program. HERE you will find your personalized Gravitas Goldens offer (aka Go Home Day Offer). Your offer contains a promotional code specific to Gravitas Goldens. This promo code is the most important aspect of the breeder program because it is needed to activate coverage. I do not gain from this at all, it is the only way to give our puppies coverage through their transition to a new owner without there being a waiting period. This is completely voluntary.
If you DO want to sign up, Just remember that the activation has to happen within 24 hours before or after the puppy goes home. This means you can call in the day before pick up, day of, or day after to activate. The number to call is located on your Go Home Day Offer and is available 24/7. Calling in to activate takes about 5 minutes on average and then the puppy is instantly covered!
Overview of the Go Home Day Offer:
• 30 days of coverage with no obligation
• Immediate coverage, waiting periods are waived
• $250 deductible, applies per condition for the lifetime of the pet
• 90% coverage with no limits on what Trupanion pays out
• Vet Direct Pay
• Coverage for any new injuries or illnesses (more information about Trupanion online)
Here’s hoping you won’t need it!

When will the puppies be ready to go home?

At 8 weeks old. No earlier. If you cannot pick up your puppy at 8 weeks, you have the option to enroll him/her in our young puppy board and train program. There is a charge for this, but you get a discount!

Do you have recommendations on items I should buy to prepare?

 

YES! We highly recommend you check out this link of OUR favorite products:

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1XXXZ2PQBHPT4?ref_=wl_share

We also believe this is another good resource for new puppy owners, put together by a fellow trainer and German Shepherd breeder:

https://www.amazon.com/shop/austerlitzgermanshepherds

In particular, check out Susanne’s recommendations for “enrichment and toys (varying ages)” and “puppy pacifiers”.

A few notes:

Treats

Treats are basically anything your dog really likes!! This is just a short list of my preferred treats. I want things that come very small or I can break into small pieces. I usually break treats into PEA-SIZED or smaller pieces. They don’t need big pieces!! These are my go-to’s for puppy treats and chew items.

  1. Store bought treats
    1. Zukes
    2. Biljac
    3. Pupperoni
    4. The puppy’s dry food
  2. Hot Dogs
  3. Costco Meatballs
  4. String cheese
  5. Sandwich meat

Chew Items

http://a.co/iJ1CziI

Chew items are used to keep your puppy busy in her crate or in the house and hopefully keep her occupied and away from furniture!! I always watch my dogs eat new chew items the first few times to make sure they can handle it. There is always a risk in giving chew items, but I could choke on a skittle also!! I use these items regularly with dogs and have never had a problem, but you should be aware. Rawhide is not advised as it has a higher risk of choking.

Bringing Puppy Home

What else will I get when I pick up my puppy?

Your Puppy Swag Bag will include:

  1. Health/Vaccination Records
  2. AKC Reunite Microchip Info
  3. AKC Eligibility
  4. Bag of Zuke’s Mini Treats
  5. Adaptil Junior Collar
  6. Small bag of Purina ProPlan Savor
  7. Soft tug toy
  8. Snuggle Puppy
  9. Treat dispensing toy
  10. Clix House Line
  11. 1-2 other chew items
  12. Free month in “Poop School” House Training Group
  13. Operation Socialization Puppy Passport

Webinar about Bringing Puppy Home

Link to Webinar recording HERE

Supplemental material for webinar is HERE

Does Puppy come with Pet Insurance?

YES! But it is up to you to activate it!!

I’ve joined up with Trupananion’s Breeder Support Program. HERE you will find your personalized Gravitas Goldens offer (aka Go Home Day Offer). Your offer contains a promotional code specific to Gravitas Goldens. This promo code is the most important aspect of the breeder program because it is needed to activate coverage. I do not gain from this at all, it is the only way to give our puppies coverage through their transition to a new owner without there being a waiting period. This is completely voluntary.
If you DO want to sign up, Just remember that the activation has to happen within 24 hours before or after the puppy goes home. This means you can call in the day before pick up, day of, or day after to activate. The number to call is located on your Go Home Day Offer and is available 24/7. Calling in to activate takes about 5 minutes on average and then the puppy is instantly covered!
Overview of the Go Home Day Offer:
• 30 days of coverage with no obligation
• Immediate coverage, waiting periods are waived
• $250 deductible, applies per condition for the lifetime of the pet
• 90% coverage with no limits on what Trupanion pays out
• Vet Direct Pay
• Coverage for any new injuries or illnesses (more information about Trupanion online)
Here’s hoping you won’t need it!

When will the puppies be ready to go home?

At 8 weeks old. No earlier. If you cannot pick up your puppy at 8 weeks, you have the option to enroll him/her in our young puppy board and train program. There is a charge for this, but you get a discount!

How much is additional training for my puppy?

Once your puppy is ready to go home with you at 8 weeks old, you have the following board & train options:

$700/additional week OR

$2,500/4 weeks (do NOT have to use consecutively)

Delivery available anywhere in California for an additional $200.

Please note that these rates are discounted for Gravitas Puppy Buyers only.

If you are local to Visalia, we have other options including drop off day training!

Do you have recommendations on items I should buy to prepare?

 

YES! We highly recommend you check out this link of OUR favorite products:

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1XXXZ2PQBHPT4?ref_=wl_share

We also believe this is another good resource for new puppy owners, put together by a fellow trainer and German Shepherd breeder:

https://www.amazon.com/shop/austerlitzgermanshepherds

In particular, check out Susanne’s recommendations for “enrichment and toys (varying ages)” and “puppy pacifiers”.

A few notes:

Treats

Treats are basically anything your dog really likes!! This is just a short list of my preferred treats. I want things that come very small or I can break into small pieces. I usually break treats into PEA-SIZED or smaller pieces. They don’t need big pieces!! These are my go-to’s for puppy treats and chew items.

  1. Store bought treats
    1. Zukes
    2. Biljac
    3. Pupperoni
    4. The puppy’s dry food
  2. Hot Dogs
  3. Costco Meatballs
  4. String cheese
  5. Sandwich meat

Chew Items

http://a.co/iJ1CziI

Chew items are used to keep your puppy busy in her crate or in the house and hopefully keep her occupied and away from furniture!! I always watch my dogs eat new chew items the first few times to make sure they can handle it. There is always a risk in giving chew items, but I could choke on a skittle also!! I use these items regularly with dogs and have never had a problem, but you should be aware. Rawhide is not advised as it has a higher risk of choking.

What is the puppy’s daily routine?

Puppy Daily Routine

This routine reflects my personal daily schedule, your puppy can get used to a new schedule if you are more of a “night owl” than a morning person!

 

5-6am- Wake Up! Go straight outside for potty and playtime. I usually stay outside with them for a while to make sure they pee and poop before they come back in house.

 

8am- Nap Time! The pups can usually stay awake for 1-2 hours before it becomes obvious they are tired! At this point you can either crate your puppy for 1-2 hours of naptime, or you can let them sleep in the same room you are in as long as you are supervising them. When they wake up, they should go straight back outside for potty break again!!

 

10am- Potty/Playtime! When they are inside the house playing, I let them back outside every 15-20 minutes for a potty break. They are not “telling” me they need to go potty yet, I do not usually expect that at this age. If you see your puppy start walking around sniffing, they might need to go!!

If you catch your puppy going potty in the house, I usually just run up to them, pick them up and taken them straight outside. I do not punish them, they are just babies, I just make a mental note of the time between potty breaks and adjust accordingly.

As puppy gets older, they get better control so you can start pushing time between potty breaks.

 

12pm- Naptime again! Puppies need naptime, so don’t worry about crating them. They need the rest otherwise they can seem like a cranky toddler who hasn’t had a nap!

 

2pm- Potty/Playtime!

 

4pm- Naptime!

 

6pm- Potty/Playtime! I try and keep them up at this point until bedtime to help them sleep through the night. I usually pull water access around 7pm to help prevent drinking too much and needing to pee in the night.

 

10-11pm- Bedtime! Usually 10-11pm is “last call” at my place. Your puppies should be sleeping in their crates at night by now. Right now they are sleeping through the night!! Don’t be surprised if your puppy wakes you up the first few nights, it is a new place, new people etc so they may be a little stressed. Take them out to potty if they cry in the night, and put them straight back. No playtime in the middle of the night unless you want to create that habit!

 

Crate training is done early to ensure the puppies can “hold it” as well as get used to being alone sometimes. A crate comes in handy for all sorts of reasons, but should NOT be somewhere your puppy is left 8-10 hours a day in a row. The crate can be useful after surgery, when guests come over, when traveling in hotels, etc so even if you don’t want your pup in a crate most of the time, maintaining some crate training may help in the long run.

This is YOUR puppy… if you want your puppy to sleep with you in bed… go ahead! If you want your puppy to sleep in your daughter’s room… go ahead!! Just remember new changes may be unsettling, so be prepared for puppy to wake you up, move around, etc. so if you are a deep sleeper, you may want to keep puppy confined so they cannot walk away and have an accident or chew anything.

My Vet said my puppy should not go anywhere until his last shots? What are your thoughts?

The current and long-standing position statement of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior can be viewed here:

AVSAB Position Statement On Puppy Socialization

Another good article on the subject can be read here:

Socializing Your Puppy: Why “Later” Is Too Late

 

We get our puppies OUT!! My two cents is your puppy is not 100% safe ANYWHERE. One thing is pretty for sure… and your vet may not have told you this part… if you don’t get your puppy out and about before 16 weeks old (ish) then you have missed the socialization boat completely.

I believe how and when you do this is a very personal choice, but a choice you should have ALL the information on before making it.

Puppy Care FAQ

What is a good weight for my puppy/dog to be?

In our experience each individual has different energy needs and two dogs can have very different food requirements and weight fluctuations. Pet obesity is becoming a huge problem just as in people. Also BE ADVISED, I’ve seen many veterinarians think that a fat/chubby dog is the perfect weight. No disrespect to your vet, please do your own science based research before going with their word as the Bible. Goldens are prone to joint issues, and obesity can directly and exacerbate affect this health issue.

Here are a couple good visual references for you (click on each to enlarge):

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has some great resources you can check out.

How much & how often do I feed my puppy?

We usually feed 8 week old puppies 1/2 cup kibble, 3-4 x daily starting first thing in the morning, up until about 5pm. We feed them in their crate to make sure they LOVE going in their crate. We will tell you how much we are feeding them when they go home.

We do not usually use a bowl, we just throw a handful in the bottom of the crate and let the puppy root around! This helps keep things fun for the puppy and ensure that puppy does not eat too fast.

If it is not mealtime but puppy needs to go in the crate, I always make sure to throw a few pieces of kibble or treats in!

As your puppy grows you will need to increase the amount incrementally and slowly decrease the number of feedings per day. My ADULT Goldens eat about 4 cups of kibble per day total.

REMEMBER a lean puppy/dog is generally a healthier one!

What is the puppy’s daily routine?

Puppy Daily Routine

This routine reflects my personal daily schedule, your puppy can get used to a new schedule if you are more of a “night owl” than a morning person!

 

5-6am- Wake Up! Go straight outside for potty and playtime. I usually stay outside with them for a while to make sure they pee and poop before they come back in house.

 

8am- Nap Time! The pups can usually stay awake for 1-2 hours before it becomes obvious they are tired! At this point you can either crate your puppy for 1-2 hours of naptime, or you can let them sleep in the same room you are in as long as you are supervising them. When they wake up, they should go straight back outside for potty break again!!

 

10am- Potty/Playtime! When they are inside the house playing, I let them back outside every 15-20 minutes for a potty break. They are not “telling” me they need to go potty yet, I do not usually expect that at this age. If you see your puppy start walking around sniffing, they might need to go!!

If you catch your puppy going potty in the house, I usually just run up to them, pick them up and taken them straight outside. I do not punish them, they are just babies, I just make a mental note of the time between potty breaks and adjust accordingly.

As puppy gets older, they get better control so you can start pushing time between potty breaks.

 

12pm- Naptime again! Puppies need naptime, so don’t worry about crating them. They need the rest otherwise they can seem like a cranky toddler who hasn’t had a nap!

 

2pm- Potty/Playtime!

 

4pm- Naptime!

 

6pm- Potty/Playtime! I try and keep them up at this point until bedtime to help them sleep through the night. I usually pull water access around 7pm to help prevent drinking too much and needing to pee in the night.

 

10-11pm- Bedtime! Usually 10-11pm is “last call” at my place. Your puppies should be sleeping in their crates at night by now. Right now they are sleeping through the night!! Don’t be surprised if your puppy wakes you up the first few nights, it is a new place, new people etc so they may be a little stressed. Take them out to potty if they cry in the night, and put them straight back. No playtime in the middle of the night unless you want to create that habit!

 

Crate training is done early to ensure the puppies can “hold it” as well as get used to being alone sometimes. A crate comes in handy for all sorts of reasons, but should NOT be somewhere your puppy is left 8-10 hours a day in a row. The crate can be useful after surgery, when guests come over, when traveling in hotels, etc so even if you don’t want your pup in a crate most of the time, maintaining some crate training may help in the long run.

This is YOUR puppy… if you want your puppy to sleep with you in bed… go ahead! If you want your puppy to sleep in your daughter’s room… go ahead!! Just remember new changes may be unsettling, so be prepared for puppy to wake you up, move around, etc. so if you are a deep sleeper, you may want to keep puppy confined so they cannot walk away and have an accident or chew anything.

What should I feed my puppy?

Your puppy is being raised on Purina Pro Plan Savor Puppy.

Dog food is a very personal choice, and you should do your research before switching brands. There is some recent evidence that “Grain-Free” foods MAY not be the best choice for dogs. Most people, including your average veterinarian, are NOT NUTRITIONISTS. The scary part is they often pretend to be. Be your puppy’s advocate and make sure you are comfortable with the food you choose… and there is nothing wrong with switching foods!

When should I Spay/Neuter my puppy? Or should I?

This is a personal decision that requires you do some research and not just listen “to your brother’s friend’s uncle who is a vet”.

Current research is compiled here:

An Update on the Health Effects of Spay/Neuter in Dogs

Long-Term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs: Comparison of Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers

Neutering: This Common Procedure Can Boost Cancer and Joint Problems As Much As Five-Fold

Contrary to popular belief, you do not HAVE TO spay/neuter your dog. As long as you a a responsible dog owner not allowing unwanted/unplanned litters!! It is YOUR decision, not mine, not your vet’s, etc.

Puppy Training FAQ

Everything you do right now with the puppy you must ask yourself: “When he is 70lbs will I still want him doing this?”

If the answer is NO, then you must not confuse the puppy by allowing it for a few months and then suddenly changing your mind!

How do I keep puppy from jumping?

Read this:

Training Dogs Not To Jump

This is one of the reasons we stay in business! Jumping teenage dogs whose owners let them jump all over them as tiny pups. It’s not too late to teach an old dog new tricks, but it is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT!

Remember, this is like teaching young kids to say “please & thank you”… it is very important to teach them manners but we spend 18 years reminding them until they hopefully grow into decent human beings. Your puppy will need plenty of “reminding” the first 1-2 years of his life 🙂 Also, just as with children, it’s better to be proactive about teaching them what you want, than to react angrily every time they don’t behave the “right way”. Punishment is often ineffective, timed wrong, or unfair because the puppy is really clueless about what you want instead.

How do I handle puppy mouthing/play biting?

WARNING: They are called “Retrievers” for a reason!!! THEY PUT EVERYTHING IN THEIR MOUTH!!

Read this:

Living With “Jaws”: A Survival Guide For Puppy Mouthing

Help! My Puppy’s a Land Shark!

In my experience, puppies often have a “witching hour” once or twice a day. Sometimes this is because they’ve been cooped up too long… BUT sometimes they’ve been OUT too long and really, really need a nap! Sound familiar? Anyone met a toddler before? So if you’ve exhausted all the advice in the above articles, it’s ok to put puppy in his crate with a chew toy and walk away!

Do you have any house-training advice?

Read this:

To Pee or Not To Pee: Housetraining Demystified

Now read it again and again until you’ve memorized it!

Here is another great resource:

Potty Training Planner

 

Here’s a couple great infographics showing a House training flow chart and sample crate training schedule, but your puppy may need some tweaks to his/her custom schedule!!

Do you do clicker training?

Kind of. Clicker training is a form of Marker Training. Instead of a clicker I prefer teaching clients to use a verbal marker because you always have your voice! The principles are exactly the same!

Here’s a good overview on Marker Training:

Marker Training Dogs Effectively, Speeds Up Training

What is Resource Guarding?

This is a very important question. It is a common, normal behavior… however it can escalate quickly into a scarier behavioral issue. It is something I have seen in a lot of Golden Retrievers! I personally believe this is for two reasons:

  1. They put a lot of things in their mouth!
  2. They are EXTREMELY food motivated!

Resource Guarding can start innocently enough with a puppy playing “keep away”. In it’s most severe form, I’ve seen dogs put people (including their owners) in the hospital.

It pays to do a lot of proactive work to try and prevent any Resource Guarding. We’ve done some already with your puppies, now you must keep it up!

Please read the following articles to familiarize yourself with this behavioral issue:

Resource-Guarding And What To Do About It

The Resource-Guarding Warning Signs

 

COVID-19 Socialization Concerns?

 

We are getting a lot of questions about socializing your puppy during this unprecedented time with COVID-19. In a nutshell, we aren’t actually that worried about it!

If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend you join the Group called “Pandemic Puppy Raising Support Group

Here are good articles on the topic:

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/decoding-your-pet/202004/puppy-or-rescue-dog-socialization-during-covid-19

AKC:

How to Socialize Your Puppy During Times of Social Distancing

Covid-19 – Reducing Separation Anxiety for When This is Over (and other times too)

Critter Corner: Being prepared during COVID-19 pandemic

Critter Corner: Social distancing and handling being homebound

 

Preventing Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is a fairly normal behavior that we humans tend to make worse when it is quite easy to make it go away! Although we have done some preventative training with your puppy already, you should be aware of this concept if you see your puppy freeze, growl, lunge, etc over any item as you approach or reach for it. DO NOT PUNISH THE PUPPY. That is the golden rule, and the primary reason this gets worse instead of better.

Here are two good articles:

Resource Guarding – How to Teach Your Dog to Share

Exercises for Preventing Resource Guarding in Puppies

Also, be sure to watch my video at the bottom of this webpage for a demo!

How do I train puppy to walk nicely on leash?

Loose leash walking is an important skill! Your 10lb puppy will get pretty big… so start NOW. A few simple rules:

  1. Start with “Training Walks”: very short 5 minute sessions
  2. Always bring good treats
  3. Always reward for focus or looking at you
  4. Always reward for slack leash and/or walking nicely with you
  5. Have fun! Use a “happy voice”! Remember this puppy is a BABY

Here’s a helpful article:

My Puppy Won’t Walk on Leash! 3 Ways to Train Your Puppy to Love Her Leash

Here is a good video:

How do I train my puppy?

We recommend and prefer Positive Reinforcement Training. My background is in the Zoo field, and I’ve worked with VERY large and dangerous animals such as Rhinos & Tigers. I’ve had them learn to let me take blood and give them injections cooperatively and without putting either of us in danger. Positive. Reinforcement.

But remember, positive does NOT mean permissive!

Read more here:

What is Positive Reinforcement in Dog Training?


Video Library