Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions we receive from prospective lab owners.
At Welcome Home Labs, we strive to be the best we possibly can in both quality and service. These two things are very important to us to uphold…they go hand in hand. We have quality dogs with excellent health and wonderful family temperaments.
We also provide all sorts of information to help you prepare for the special Welcome Home Day. We are available for you far beyond the Welcome Home day. As questions come up in the days, weeks, months and years ahead…we are here for you.
We don’t claim to have all of the answers but we are willing to share what we know and to suggest possible resources when we don’t know the answer. It truly is a privilege to share this incredibly special experience of welcoming a family member with people from across the country.
We are privileged to be a part of a growing family and we love how many families send updates and photos as their puppies grow into adults. We take our call seriously and we thank families for trusting us and choosing us to guide them through this great process.
We have pups that have gone on to be the best back yard fetching friends, the cuddle companion, the motivator to get out and exercise, the fishing buddy, service dogs, the hunting dog, mountain rescue dog, therapy dog to help assist with limitations, show dogs, 4H friends, the playmate, confidant, the BEST FAMILY FRIEND EVER and more. Our Labs are versatile and enjoy running in the fields to lounging by the side of the fireplace. They are smart and easy to train and they love to please their people.
We have fantastic Champion Lines loved and raised by our FAMILY. We are a family raising family members…we consider this a great privilege. We focus on health and a great family temperament equally and then as a bonus we have some of the most beautiful dogs EVER! (I may be a little partial but I believe that is a true statement.)
So, besides having top quality champion lines and our Labs having health and wonderful temperaments, we take it a step further. We strive to make matches that will be the best matches for a lifetime. We don’t match according to color and gender alone but we make matches based on lifestyles and activities. We learn about you and what you are looking for in a Lab and we get to know each puppy individually, temperament test the puppies at 6 and then again at 7 weeks of age…then we assist you in picking the right puppy for your family.
We also use methods of formal and informal socialization for purposes of helping to develop a flexible, easy going pup for you. All techniques and training tips that we provide are great but without love they are just that…methods and techniques. We want each pup to be cared for and loved like our own so we consider this piece of raising quality Labs a great joy! We are a family of 11 and so we certainly have hands to love the pups up daily!
Although Labs, by nature, are incredible dogs…we believe that the foundation established in the early days makes a beneficial difference for the future of your puppy! We start the early imprinting days with LOVE and care, providing mental stimulation and challenges, providing security, looking after pups to provide the best physical, social, emotional healthy environment we know how to provide. The DAILY handling of each pup, and early training is a given here at Welcome Home Labs. All of this combined helps the puppies to be confident, gentle, loving, obedient, people pleasing adults with great health and they are also GORGEOUS! You can be sure that a puppy from us is raised in a loving family environment.
As you are considering adding a family member, we consider it a privilege if you are looking our way because we thoroughly enjoy being able to be a part of helping to make the best match for your family. We try to be transparent and to represent ourselves accurately here at Welcome Home Labs. If the type of pup you like is what you see in the photos on our pages, a pup from a future litter will be quite similar.
Our puppies are full English Labs and come from solid healthy lines. In the pedigrees of our boys and girls there are generation after generation of solid champion Labs. Natural temperament coupled with genetic health testing clearances is our starting point when considering a pairing. We know that Welcome Home Lab pups will be family members and we want to be sure that the parents are giving the best possible genetics for a long healthy life for your new companion. We do what we can reasonably and humanly do to ‘ensure’ a healthy Lab for years. The tests we do include OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) x-rays for hips and elbows, heart, and cardiac testing with an echo-cardiogram to ensure strong hearts in our lines, CERF/CAER-Canine Eye Registry Foundation for eyes by an ophthalmologist, Optigen(prcd-PRA), CNM (centro nuclear myopathy), EIC (exercise induced collapse), RD/OSD (retinal dysplasia/oculo skeletal dysplasia) . ALL of our adults have OFA hip and elbow test results that are GOOD or EXCELLENT.
We hope to have about 10 litters a year…it may vary a bit year to year…a little more or less depending on a variety of factors. We will offer chocolate, black and yellow (some very light ivory) pups at some point each year. It is important to us to give quality, individualized care to each puppy so we carefully plan each litter.
We are out to make matches that will last a lifetime. We make the best matches we can for each individual puppy and family. It is also very important to us to provide you with information that will help you to prepare for welcoming your puppy home. We want to help you to know what to expect when welcoming another member home. We have a great deal of information available to you for equipping you for training, care, feeding, meeting other pets in the family, health considerations, sleeping suggestions, and much more. Once we receive your deposit, we send you more information for you to review and consider as you prepare for your new family member. It has suggestions and tips for you. We also provide you a puppy packet of information with a puppy booklet from the AKC. We are here for you! We love the opportunity to get to know our families and we enjoy remaining in contact with them through the years. We help you prepare for Welcome Home day and far beyond.
Pups come with a microchip, dew claws have been removed, they are up-to-date on vaccinations, and they have been on a de-worming schedule. We provide you with a thorough packet of information for you to continue the health care of your pup including tips for ear and nail care. All of our puppies have a final health check with a veterinarian prior to their welcome home date.
Our pups have been started on potty and crate training. They have started to learn the “off” command so they don’t jump up and we teach them appropriate ways of interacting without biting. Our family uses the same commands and techniques so you should have a pup that is on his or her way to becoming a great, well trained dog. Of course, your consistency, care, commitment to training and LOVE is what will help your puppy flourish but we start the training on our end.
All of our puppies are purebred Labs and they have been registered with the AKC.
All of our puppies are placed with limited registration. Limited registration means that you can register your puppy in your name with the AKC but you do not have breeding and show rights. The AKC limited registration dog may be entered in other licensed events which include: Obedience, Tracking, Field Trials, Hunting Tests, Herding, Lure Coursing, Agility and Earthdog.
It is an incredible responsibility to raise puppies and there are many considerations before a pairing is decided. For starters, it is critical that clearances are done before any pairing on both the sire and the dam. Just because a dog is a purebred and registered with the AKC doesn’t qualify a dog to be a breeding dog. We take raising family members seriously and we do all that we can to ensure that all puppies are given the best start with confirmed healthy genetics and we only promote responsible, thoughtful breeding so we place with limited registration..
Puppies are work; expect to invest time into raising your puppy! Do not take the welcoming home of a 10-14 year companion lightly. We are careful to place our pups in homes that understand the responsibilities of having a puppy and an adult dog. When a family does welcome a puppy home, they will find that with investment of love and training a Lab can make the BEST FRIEND. Be sure you have the time to invest in training and the space to exercise, the funds to feed quality food and the means to provide health care.
We do have waiting/reservation lists.
We don’t accept any reservations without talking to the prospective families first. We don’t have an option to just ‘choose or buy’ a puppy with a click or by just sending in your deposit. We would like to talk with you on the phone or in person. We want to make sure that this is the best match for all involved. Welcoming a puppy home is a huge consideration and not to be taken lightly. We want to be sure that you understand the responsibilities that come with adding a family member and we want to be available to you to answer any questions that you may have about the dogs, process or training or anything of that matter. If, after we talk to you and questions are answered on both ends, you decide that you want to welcome a puppy home, we will accept your deposit and hold your place on our reservation list. We take this responsibility seriously and once you commit to getting a puppy from us we are simultaneously committed to providing you with a companion.
A $214 ($14 is IA State Sales Tax which we are required to collect) deposit will hold a spot for you on the our Reservation List which goes towards the total fee. (Electronic or credit card deposit payments are $223)
This is a non-refundable deposit. If you change your mind or something comes up in your life that you are unable to get a puppy when we contact you of an available option then we will honor your deposit for one year from the date of the communicated change.
At no time will we refund an entire deposit…in rare cases we may refund 50% of the deposit and that is entirely up to our discretion. Please, only leave a deposit with us if you are ready to welcome a puppy and are committed to WHL.
It is often 6-9 months to wait for your puppy. We don’t have control over heat cycles but we try to be as realistic with you as we can in regards to when we believe you are likely to welcome your pup home. If we call you and let you know that a puppy is available but it is not good timing for you then you can pass. We can keep you on the reservation list for a future puppy. Also, if it works out to be a longer wait than 6-9 months the deposit is still not refundable. We do all we can to have a pup for you in the time frame we discuss before the deposit and reservation is given but we can’t control late heat cycles, skipped heats, or size and genders of litters.
You can reserve according to a specific gender and color. You may have to wait a bit but we believe that it will definitely be worth it to wait for your preferred gender and color. We realize that some families are open to either gender or multiple colors and we indicate that on our reservation list as well. You will share many, many years with your newest member so waiting a few extra months to get what you want, in our opinion, is well worth it.
After you reserve a pup, we let you know as soon as the puppies arrive and we keep you posted through pictures as they grow.
Puppy picks are made at 8 weeks of age in order of deposits received.
They are all beautiful and come from healthy lines so you can’t go wrong with any of them. We do, however, try to go beyond matching based not only on gender and color to matching according to puppy traits and temperament with each families’ lifestyle and interests. Some people like the confident, curious pup, some want a hunting buddy or a running/hiking companion, others may like the one that is great with other pets in the home, others may want the pup that is up for a nice game of fetch and a gentle walk and yet another family would like a Lab to “hold the rug down” and have some snuggle time. All of our puppies have that nice, gentle, calm temperament but they also have slight differences that we observe and test for by formal and informal assessments that help us guide you in the BEST match for your family. The puppy pick and welcome home day are scheduled for the same day. We start with the first family on the reservation list and schedule an hour and a half visit. They spend time with the pups, we share temperament information, the puppy is chosen and we review the puppy packet and any questions that a family may have.
For the families that have already left their deposit we definitely try to do what we can do to accommodate a visit. We love to meet you face to face and for you to see where your pup started out. We are protective of the puppies developing systems so please read Visitation Policies before your scheduled visit.
Visitation Hours: We schedule 1 HOUR prearranged visits.
We try to be available for families that are on our reservation list or that are seriously considering welcoming a puppy from us. We do understand that some families like to come here to meet us and see the puppies before the welcome home date. We do ask that you also keep in mind that it isn’t realistic for us to schedule time with each family. Although we understand and we also thoroughly enjoy having families here, it does take us away from being able to tend to our dogs and family commitments. We could schedule the entire week with visitors but that isn’t realistic and it isn’t what is best in the care of our dogs. So, we ask that you be respectful and understanding with our time as well. I do make great efforts to be available to you through phone, email and I send regular photos so that all families can be a part of the early process even without a visit. Again, if it is really important to you to come to our home then we certainly do try our best to accommodate you if at all possible.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SICK OR YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN SICK, PLEASE, RE-SCHEDULE AND COME AT A LATER DATE! Thank you for being considerate in this area. We have many children and when we get sick it seems that it can stick with us, bouncing from one to another, for weeks. We want to be healthy and we want our puppies to be healthy. They CAN catch some human sicknesses as well. We also need to remain in good health to give the pups the best care we can. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY. We want to protect the puppies. I know you would want us to protect your puppy so please be respectful of the puppies for other families as well. We can always re-schedule a visit.
If we schedule you…we WILL be here for you. If, for any reason, you are not able to come at the time you arranged, please, call and let us know. We have a busy household with many schedules. Be aware that we may have scheduled a family for just before or after you so being timely will give you a full hour with us and our Labs.
We will ask you to wash your hands. We will allow you to visit the puppies and depending on the age, we may or may not allow you to hold them. You can always visit by looking at the pups and you can certainly rub up our adult dogs.
Please, DO NOT plan on coming here if you have been to other homes/facilities looking at puppies in the same day of your scheduled visit with us. We protect our puppies like you would a newborn and sicknesses can be carried in from other places.
Email and Phone calls:
We welcome emails and phone calls Monday through Saturday between 9am. and 7pm. We may have to get back to you if we are occupied with family, puppies or puppy families but we generally will get back to you WITHIN 48 hours. Thank you for your patience.
Puppies go home at 8 weeks of age. We want them to have a solid foundation, both physically and emotionally, so we believe that they should stay with their litter-mates and in their familiar surroundings until they are 8 weeks of age.
If you are not able to pick up your puppy at 8 weeks of age, we may be able to keep your pup here with us for a few days. It is ideal for the puppy to acclimate into the new family at the same time all of the litter mates leave otherwise it is a double transition for the puppy. Also, too much delay in pick-up means that you would be missing out on a special bonding/training time. We do understand; however, that on occasion a family may be returning from a vacation or something that would make a few day delay understandable. It will be $20 per day for food, training, socialization and care and $35 per vaccination if the pup is needing the second vaccination. This must be arranged in advance.
You will be told of the Welcome Home Day on the day that you are notified about the new puppy arrivals so you have time to make it work with your schedule. You come to our home to welcome your puppy.
We will schedule you for a 1 hour visit. If you are choosing between two or more puppies then you will have time with those puppies to observe and connect. We will then give you our temperament assessment information. Once you choose your puppy, which typically takes about 1/2 an hour then we go over any questions that you may have.
Together we cover the health record and the continued vaccination protocol, microchip information, we discuss the potty spot and how to continue with the training. The feeding schedule is discussed (we also send you with 5 pounds of Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold), we talk about puppy nipping and correcting that behavior. We discuss crate training, obedience training and the first days together. We share our view on spaying and neutering and we hope you consider the benefits of waiting until your Lab is older before having a procedure done. We clean ears and clip nails on each puppy before they go home and we teach you how to do this on your own. I send out puppy preparedness videos to families when the puppies are about four weeks old. We made these videos to help you prepare for this special time.
You would now get to cuddle up your newest family member and let the adventures and puppy kisses begin.
We don’t ship puppies. It is an option to come to our home and fly home with the puppy. The puppy then can fly back with you in the cabin and not be placed in the cargo below. Many people from all across the country have flown here and flown back with their puppies. It always seems to me that the families that take the steps to travel across the country to welcome their puppy bond in such a deep special way. It is fun to see.
We love Minnesota and we are privileged to serve the midwest area for those that can travel here in a drive that is 15 hours or less. We also realize that it can be difficult to find a breeder that couples quality with family care so we are happy to serve families from across the country and we truly feel honored that so many take the efforts to come to Welcome Home Labs to welcome their puppy.
We are complying with a Minnesota state regulation that requires people to come to the breeder’s home before a puppy can be shipped. It is not legal for a breeder of 5 or more dogs to ship a puppy out of Minnesota unless the adoptive family has first visited. This type of legislation is to protect puppies. We are proud of what we do here but some facilities may not want visitors and they may prefer the pup is shipped. There are legitimate breeders from other states that ship but there are some that may be questionable.
You can come to our home and see our facility, meet the adults and we can meet you first hand as well. I do think this is the best fit all around. Welcoming a puppy is a big decision and we believe that it is good to visit the breeder of your puppy. Be responsible adoptive families and promote responsible, thoughtful breeding. We care for each of our puppies and we also want to get to know the families that are welcoming these pups. It is important to us to meet you. We are not only here for you for 8 weeks…we are here for years and years and face to face, in our opinion, seems the best way to welcome a puppy.