General Adoption Information
Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful and exciting time for a family. It also carries tremendous responsibility, commitment and expense. We have put years of effort into our breeding program and countless hours into each litter. It is our responsibility to make sure that every puppy is placed in placed in a loving, stable home. Families must have adequate time and resources to ensure that most homes will be a "forever" home for the puppy. With that being said, we understand that no one has a crystal ball and the future might hold changes that are not foreseeable. If at any point in your dog's life you find that you can no longer care for your dog from MapleHills Kennel, please contact Dan or Leslie as soon as possible. We will take back any dog that we have placed. There is no re-homing fee and there is no refund of purchase price. While we appreciate the value of rescues and shelters, we must insist that no dog or puppy from MapleHills Kennel ever be surrendered to a Rescue, Shelter or Humane Society.
The majority of our puppies are placed in working or competition homes. We do allow for a limited number of pet homes for each litter so families can be assured of their spot on a litter once they have been approved. In order to do our very best to match puppies to appropiate families, everyone must fill out a Puppy Application. Feel free to write as much as you like about yourself, your family, what dogs you have owned in the past and currently own, and what you are looking in your next dog. In addition to the application, everyone must also have a conversation with either Dan or Leslie before a decision is made to place a puppy. We seldom approve a family on the first phone call. This is a process that takes time. While we are questioning you we also expect you to question us. We reserve the right to refuse placement of a puppy for any reason.
When it comes time for the puppies in a litter to go home, we use the information that we have noted on each puppy, the information you gave us in your application, and the results of the Vohlard Puppy Temperment Test to decide which puppy will be the best fit for you. This is one of the LAST things we do before puppies go home. This allows us to have the longest view of the puppies abilities and temperament as possible. We honor gender requests but we do not use the shade of the puppy in determining puppy placement. In no circumstances will we allow a buyer to select their own puppy from the litter. We have spent years with the Dam and possibly the Sire. We have often watched these dogs in competition events and Dan has often judged the sire. We have spent the first 8 weeks of the puppies' lives watching and observing them with people, toys, mom, other adult dogs, cats, and each other. Our goal is to place the puppy that most matches your request for temperament and abilities as possible.
Puppies are available for pick up after they turn 8 weeks old. All puppies must be picked up within 10 days of their availability. On rare occasions we will keep a puppy longer than the 10 days but this is not in the best interest of your puppy. Please check with Dan or Leslie to see if we can accomodate your request if you need additional time. Please note that there will be an additional fee if you need a later pick up date.
How We Raise Our Puppies
All of our puppies are born in the house, away from the kennel and the other dogs. Mom is never left to whelp the litter unattended and every puppy is helped into this world with human hands. Puppies are weighted, suctioned, and cleaned up after delivery. Close care of the newborn is extremely important. Some puppies need extra help to start nursing and all need moms help to keep them clean. The first 2 weeks is much like a human newborn. They eat, sleep, poop and pee and that is about it. I spend a whole lot of time washing whelp pads and watching to see that they are all growing and passing the early milestones. Puppies are handled every day and the whelp pen is kept clean, dry and warm. Puppies are not able to regulate their own temperature at this age and great care must be made to ensure they are not chilled or over heated. Mom has fresh water and as much food as she likes during this period. We do all we can to sure she has the tools needed to give her puppies the care they need. The best care given by people cannot match the care given by the mom in most cases. Puppies eyes open about 2 weeks of age and their ears open by about 3 weeks. At this time they are wobbling around their whelp box and they are starting to explore their world. Once they are mobile and trying to escape the whelp box we move the crew up to our kennel building and into a larger weaning pen. We continue to handle the puppies every day but now they have toys, things to climb on, things to climb under, new textures, and sounds. We spend time with the puppies every day, just playing and handling them and allow them to explore some puppy safe areas of the kennel building - always under close supervision.
As they continue to grow puppies are introduced to more new surfaces, cats, general household and hunting noises, and adult dogs other than just mom. They start eating puppy mush at 3 weeks and within a week they can be completely weaned most of the time. Often, the mom does not really want to wean them but most moms start to lose their own body mass about this time. The demands of feeding herself plus another 50 pounds in puppies is more than is good for her own health. She usually must be removed from the puppy pen for most of the day in order preserve her own health and to encourage the puppies to eat the puppy mush. While puppies love to see mom return, to them it is really just to mob her for more nursing time. The puppies learn good social skills primarily from their littermates and from other adult dogs they are exposed to. We have several older dogs that do a great job of teaching good dog manners to the puppies. Weather permiting, puppies have access to an outside kennel by 4 weeks old. Being able to go outside at will assists in housebreaking later as well as expose them to all the sights and sounds of the world. At about this time we also introduce puppies to live birds and gun shot.
From 5 to 8 weeks old the puppies are free fed to encourage growth. Their sharp little teeth enjoy the crunch of the food. We rotate toys and items to allow for the most exposure to new things as possible. This stage of development is all about fun and happy exploration and discovery. We work to get puppies outside as much as possible but it is difficult to keep them all going in the same direction. We add a water (weather permiting) to their experiences.
Puppies are wormed at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age
Microchipped at 6 weeks
5 way Vaccine at 7 weeks
Vet exam and health certificate at 7 weeks
Formal Evaluations at 7.5 weeks old
Puppies are available at 8 weeks old
We do not remove Dew Claws any longer. The dew claw is a functioning digit for working dogs and they are needed. Please see this article written by Dr. Christine Zink, a well known and respected veternarian, who specializes in canine sport medicine:
All of our puppies are placed with LIMITED AKC registration but that does not mean that we require the dog to be spayed or neutered. While it is in the best interest of animal shelters to encourage early spay and neuter of all dogs, it is NOT in the best interest of the health of YOUR dog to be spayed or neutered at an early age. We require that all dogs be at least 2 years of age before you do one of these proceedures. Recent research has demonstrated that early spay and neutering of dogs can contribute to a life time of health problems for YOUR dog.
We are NOT advocating the indiscriminate breeding of any dog from MapleHills Kennel. If you are unable to prevent your dog from breeding we suggest you consider an ovary sparing spay for females or a vascetomy for males to alter your pet. Both of these proceeders prevent reproduction but allow the dog to retain the benefits of their hormones.