Allocations - "to divide and give out (something) for a special reason or to particular people, companies, etc." aka...the process by which it is decided which puppy goes home with which family! :)
One of the biggest questions people have is about how we do allocations. It's also the most important part of the process! As breeders, we want you to know that we have the same goals in mind as you. We want the best for our puppy families and certainly, we are 100% committed to the future of our puppies. We know you are looking for the absolute best experience possible and that's what we intend to provide to each and every one of our familes. We are going to share with you the process by which we do our allocations. It is important that you are 100% comfortable with our process before you move forward with us as breeders. We hope you will feel that you are not going this alone and are in good hands with Winding Creek Ranch. :)
Understanding the puppy's brain - The days leading up to 7 wks old, the puppy's brain is developing and maturing. By 7 wks of age, the puppy has the neurological development of an adult dog. This is the prime time to perform temperment testing on the puppies because the puppy is considered a clean slate. It is the only time known to give a true result and insight into the puppy's tendencies. Due to the influence of socialization, training and environment, the test gives us tendencies, not a perfect picture of what a puppy will grow into as an adult. As the puppy ages past 7 wks, he becomes influenced by experiences he has had and learned from. He is learning by association. Therefore, testing beyond 7 wks will yield completely different and much less accurate results.
This explains why puppies will act shy and unsure of things when they are 6 wks old and be the most confident puppy in the litter at 7 wks old and vice versa. We simply cannot observe puppies when they are 6 wks old and know what kind of personality each puppy will have. This is the reason why asking a family to come and choose a puppy when the puppies are 6 wks old, isn't a good idea. The behaviors are not predictable just by spending lots of time around the puppy so a family can't be expected to make a wise choice. Through that past several years of dog breeding, we've watched many families choose puppies. I've seen people choose a puppy who came to them first, thinking the puppy chose them. The experts DO NOT recommend this. We've seen people choose the one that lays on their lap the whole time and won't get down because the puppy is "cuddly." That puppy is probably just looking for security in a situation where he doesn't feel confident. We've seen people dismiss the one that sits there and does nothing or the one that seems to be terrorizing all the other puppies, only to have the temperament testing, a week later, show us a completely different puppy. Surprise, the puppy's personality has begun to change as well. There is no way a family can make a wise choice on their own. It's too difficult and it's completely unpredictable. Sometimes, a family will get lucky, of course. Perhaps a family will say that they have always chosen their puppies and it turned out fine but was it the absolute best it could have been? I mean, an active family will love a quiet, couch sleeping dog but was it the best fit for the family or the dog? No. I've seen how many improperly matched puppies are being adopted into families by visiting a certain Facebook page. Challenging puppies going to first time pet owners. Puppies with higher prey drive going to homes with toddlers. If we have a tool to make sure placements are done right, we should be using it! We are very experienced in this process, having placed 100's of puppies this way, over the course of several years. We are committed to working hard to assure the highest level of compatibility for your family.
Temperament Testing - When the puppies are 7 wks old, the temperament testing is performed. Each test will be scored but there is no total or combined average. There are no failed tests either. Depending on the family/client, one or two tests responses may be the primary focus. It simply gives us insight that allows us to make sure the puppies are going to homes where they will be most compatible. We want you to be able to do all of the things with your puppy that you dream of and we also want the puppies to be in homes where they fit it and can flourish. An slightly more active puppy will be great in a house with an active family, especially when kids are involved. It would not be happy with a quiet, homebody type home or a single person who works away from home. A quiet, submissive puppy might feel overwhelmed in such a chaotic, fun home, wishing to retreat somewhere in the house. The family will not appreciate this type of puppy either. A puppy with higher drive will be fun to go hiking with, teach agility, have as a jogging partner, etc. It would not be good in a home with toddlers where it might mistake an always moving, clumsy, drooling child's hands and legs as something to grab, even playfully. I could go on and on with scenario after scenario. I hope this is enough, so far, to help you understand the necessity for our allocation process.
The Questionaire - At some point, prior to the puppies turning 6 wks old, the families are asked to respond to some questions that will give us insight into that family's dynamic and what makes them unique. There are some specific questions & answers that will really help us to make sure each family gets the best possible choice puppy in the litter. This comes in the form of an email titled Allocation Questionnaire. Once you reach this point, you've already committed to a specific litter and will need to be 100% open on all physical traits, within that litter, so that we don't have any road blocks standing in our way when deciding which puppy will be the absolute best match. We will not entertain requests for the lightest puppy, the smallest puppy, the curliest puppy, etc. Choose the litter, to place your reservation with, where you will be happy with any of the puppies you could be matched with. Our allocations are 100% temperament & compatibility based and that only works if we have total flexibility within the litter.
The Results - About 4-7 days after the testing has been completed, we will know which puppies are most compatible with each family. In most cases, we are able to fit every puppy into a compatible home. If we truly feel that we cannot match you with a compatible puppy, from the litter your reservation is with, we will let you know. With this process, there is no priority and no last pick family. Every puppy is precious and every family deserves a puppy that seems like it was made just for them. :)
The Big Day!! - This is the day every family can hardly wait for! Since we will do a group Zoom meeting, to cover all of the "go home" materials and questions, our pick-up is now done curbside. We typically schedule the entire litter to go home, on the Friday after they turn 8 wks old, between 2pm and 3pm EST. If your puppy is being brought to you by a flight nanny or you are flying in, those would be the only exceptions. In those cases, we will still be looking at the day or two surrounding when the rest of the litter leaves. We are not flexible on this for many reasons. Therefore, you will need to take the go home dates/times into serious consideration before committing to a litter. We have a very tight schedule and will not be able to change this for you. This is such an important time so families need to please be sure they can schedule around the puppy's homecoming. There will be plenty of time to prepare for this day. For working families, it's great to get the puppy on the weekend so you have time to get the puppy settled in. I know everyone is busy but this is a very important event. It is important that at least one adult can take one Friday off from work to come pick up their puppy. It also helps to have a passenger to tend to the puppy on the way home. :)
Note: Please only place a deposit with us if you find our allocation process 100% aggreeable. By doing extensive health testing on our parent dogs, we have made health top priority. By choosing breeding stock that comes from the best bloodlines, is conformationally correct and stunning to look at, you need not worry about whether or not your Doodle will be attractive enough. Because we are careful about the disposition of our parent dogs, are strategic in how we pair our parents dogs together, and by taking the steps explained on this page, we have temperament covered too. :) Temperament is the #1 most important consideration of successful allocations.
1. What if we want a specific gender?
If a family has concerns about one gender over the other, let's start by having a conversation about it. We are here to provide a wonderful service to you and your family. If there really is no good reason, please keep in mind that both males and female make wonderful companions. The truth is that both genders are capable of the same challenges and quirks. We definitely want to be sensitive of our client families' concerns. Please reach out, if you have a legitimate reason to require a specific gender. Our allocation process relies on our ability to focus 100% on temperament/compatibility, so if your only reason is, "just because," please realize that this prevents us from doing right by our puppies and client families. Therefore, if you are set on only one gender, this is a conversation that we need to have prior to securing a reservation. Please reach out as we look forward to talking with you! :)
2. What if we decide we don't want the puppy chosen?
This is a very thorough process. With that said, we would never force a family to take a puppy they aren't happy with. However, we do not issue any refunds unless we determine there is no puppy in the litter that will be a good fit. We do not refund or move a deposit because someone is unhappy with a physical trait or for any other reason after allocations are completed. If you know, after the puppies are born, you will not be happy with a puppy from the litter, you need to let us know immediately so your reservation, and any monies paid, can be moved to a future litter. Once the puppies are 4 wks old, the deposit cannot be transferred.
3. Why can't we just pick a puppy out of the litter by ourselves?
Luckily, we have a lot of research based information that is priceless in helping with this process. We know that there are many variables that contribute to improper allocations. Problems can arise when a family allows a child to choose a puppy with no consideration other than the child wants it or a circumstance where someone is hyper focused on the fantasy of a very specific looking doodle. Maybe there's an instance where someone gets the wrong idea about a puppy's personality because of how that puppy just happened to be behaving during their one hour visit when the puppy's brain isn't mature enough to show it's true colors. Because we are very visual beings, families may tend to "window shop" puppies as if they are an accessory. We will not work with a family that is determined to focus on physical traits. If we are already working with a family and they start pressuring us about physical traits, there will be a reminder about how we do things and then a 2nd offense will mean removal from the reservation list and the deposit will be NOT be refunded. We will not field questions about physical traits. We cannot make sure they are properly placed if we are worried about the shade of red being too red or other extremely hyper focused details. If we can try to think about how we choose our friends, it's easy to see that the important things are the personality, common interests, etc. We don't choose our friends when they are babies, based on if we think they will be the prettiest, most ideal looking friend or how they'll make us look when we are with them. I mean, when we put it that way, it sounds pretty shallow treating people that way. lol Puppies should not be "window shopped." There are plenty of breeders out there who don't care about how you feel about your dog after you take it home or even how well the dog is doing a year from now. We are NOT that breeder. We want what is best for the families and the puppies too. We hope families will trust us and this elite, customized allocation process. It's important for everyone to know that we did not invent this process. It's been used successfully, for many years, and was developed to determine which puppies in a litter would work best for service work. Some of the most well-respected breeders are doing their allocation processes in this manner.
We are so excited to work with you to find you the absolute best companion Doodle for your family. Whether you are a family with young children or older children, a retired couple or a newlywed couple, an active family or a quiet & subdued family, we feel confident that our process will be a success for you.
Thank you for choosing Winding Creek Ranch!