What You Can Expect From Us

When you buy a Gaylan’s puppy, you are buying both a piece of our family and the result of our 40 years of breeding experience. Not only are our puppies the focus of our lives and energy for the first two months of their lives, but they also represent our commitment to and knowledge of golden retrievers. All of our puppies come from healthy, well-conformed parents with sound bodies and temperaments–their mother is a family companion and working dog, not a kennel dog.

Home-Raised Pups. Our pups are raised in the living area of our home so they are accustomed to the hustle and bustle of family life. We continue to follow the puppy-raising program that we laid out in Avidog International’s Transformational Puppy Rearing program.


Gaylan’s puppies are handled and socialized from birth, with daily individual attention. This attention includes Early Scent Introduction, a formal program to improving scenting ability that we developed 18 years ago and is now used by breeders and detection dog organizations around the world. We also use Early Neurological Stimulation from three to sixteen days of age.


They are also socialized with children, other dogs and, if possible, cats.  By the time they go home at eight to nine weeks, they have been introduced to more than 100 different people, live and dead birds, and if weather permits, to water and swimming. The pups will have started their housebreaking and simple obedience training, and been in crates and on car rides.

Matching Pup to Owner. Our goal is to carefully place each pup with a well-suited family, ideally, in a hunting or competition home. In addition, a few of our pups each year become family companions in active pet homes. We make every effort to match each owner or family with the pup that best suits them. Since we know our pups better than anyone, we do not allow our buyers to select their puppy. To effectively match pups to homes, we gather information from prospective owners about their life style, experience in dogs, and expectation for their pup.  We also keep careful records of each puppy’s reactions and personality to assist in placement.  During their seventh week, we evaluate the puppies’ temperaments, using the Avidog Puppy Evaluation Test. In the eighth week, we evaluate their structure and conformation.

Quality Rearing. Gaylan’s puppies receive the best of care while they are with us. They are raised naturally, nursing as long as their mother will allow and transitioning to a raw diet as weaning begins but not earlier than 4 weeks. To protect their immature immune systems, the pups receive only a single distemper-parvovirus vaccine while they are with us. We do nomographs on their mother’s antibody titers to determine exactly when the pups should be inoculated. We send them home with strong recommendations for follow up titers and vaccinations. The pups are also wormed regularly from three weeks of age on. Each pup also receives an individual examination by our veterinarian, a skilled practitioner. Most litters will also have their initial clearances before heading to their new homes: a heart check by a veterinary cardiologist, and their first eye exam by an veterinary ophthalmologist.

Lifetime Support. We have a lifetime commitment to all of the puppies we breed. We expect to remain in contact with our puppy owners throughout the dog’s life (and often beyond) so it is important you feel as comfortable with our co-breeder (if we have one for the litter you are interested in), Andy and me as you do with our dogs. We provide information on the successes and health of each pup’s parents and relatives, as well as suggestions on training, showing, and, if appropriate, breeding. We have regular reunions, sometimes here in NY but sometimes elsewhere like the National Specialty or a field seminar, so that Gaylan’s owners and dogs can gather.

Lifetime Commitment. We will take any dogs of our breeding back at any time for any reason. We will place the animal into a new, loving home, refunding as much of the original purchase price as possible depending on the age, training, and condition of the dog.

What We Expect From You.

You Have Studied Golden Retrievers. To begin, we expect you to have thoroughly read and studied the golden retriever Standard to ensure that a golden is the right breed for you and your family, if you have one. We also expect that you have read through our website and have a clear idea of the kind of goldens we produce. We firmly believe that golden retrievers, including ours, are NOT the ideal pet for most American families, who are overscheduled and much to busy to add an active, intelligent puppy to their household. We expect that you will have evaluated your circumstances and have made a sound decision about whether you really have the time and energy to add a puppy to your family and, if you do, that goldens should be your breed of choice.

Right Pup at the Right Time. Once you’ve decided that a golden retriever is the right dog for you, we then ask you to look closely at your calendar. We do not ship puppies as freight so new owners must come pick up their puppy themselves. We have developed a very good system for preparing pups for their trip home, whether that be by car or plane, so your pup will be ready to go anywhere with you.

You Have Time to Develop Your Pup. Once home, we ask that you have a relatively clear calendar until your pup is 16 weeks old so you can focus on its socialization and training. That early period, called the Sensitive Period, is critical to a puppy’s long-term development and must be designed to get the most out of these few months. Vacations, business trips or heavy deadlines requiring long hours away from the puppy are not congruent with the work involved in preparing a young dog for its lifetime. The learning that occurs during those first months cannot be recaptured later.

The Dog is a Family Priority. Another of our expectations is that we have is that your puppy will be a significant and beloved member of your family. He or she should live in your home (not in a kennel or back yard) and receive premium food, thoughtful and professional medical care, and lifelong training/work.  We prefer buyers with fully fenced yards but will make exceptions if you have the time and available facilities for adequate exercise and constant outside supervision.

We prefer experienced owners for our pups, those who have had other dogs since they have become adults. At a minimum, we expect our buyers to commit to daily, intensive exercise and training throughout the life of the dog, as well as weekly formal training classes with the pup through adulthood, two to three years of age, preferably at a leading dog training facility.

Balanced Training. We have found that our dogs do not thrive with all-positive training or situations where no sanctions are ever used. We strongly believe that dogs need and understand clear communications that say “I’d like a little more of this” and “I’d like a little less of that” and sometimes, “We don’t do that in this house!” We watch our dams and adult dogs do this regularly with puppies and see how quickly the pups learn not to do things with clear, quick corrections. In addition, Andy and I had the opportunity to meet and watch B.F. Skinner in our younger years and know well and value the four quadrants of operant conditioning. If you insist on only using positive reinforcement with your dogs, ours are probably not for you.

Super-Premium Food. Our puppies must be fed a super-premium diet. We prefer owners who feed a raw diet but our minimum standard is The Whole Dog Journal’s list of super-premium freeze-dried, dry or canned foods. If you feed Iam’s, Science Diet, Old Roy or a super-market brand, please consider whether you are willing to upgrade before contacting us.

Partner in Vet Care. We also expect our dog’s owners to become partners with their veterinarian in their dog’s health care, rather than turning all decisions over to their vet. Aside from rabies, our pups should NOT receive scheduled vaccines but instead should have titers run prior to receiving follow-on vaccines.  In addition, both our pups’ owners and veterinarians should be familiar with and committed to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association 2015 Vaccine Guidelines, including using none of the Not Recommended vaccines.

Performance Pup Requirements. If you are buying one of our performance-quality pups, we expect you to either compete with or use your dog regularly in one or more venues. If you have a competition dog, we expect you will train and show this puppy in conformation, obedience, field, and/or agility, to a relatively high level (CH, UD, SH, AX, etc.). If you have a hunting, search and rescue, service or therapy dog from us, we expect that it will be trained to a high level and used regularly. For hunting dogs, that might mean hunting at least once a week during the season. For other working dogs, that might mean seeking certification at the highest level and actually using the dog’s training.  We do not sell to brokers or anyone acting as an agent for another buyer. We prefer to sell our pups only to buyers in the U.S. and Canada.

Pet Pup Requirements. And, you aren’t off the hook if you are buying one of our pet puppies :-). These pups will require regular training, exercise and even work for their lifetime. Plan to do regular obedience training for the first few years.

Genetic Testing Our commitment to producing healthy pups demands that we collect genetic information from all pups of our breeding. For this reason, we require that all of our pups be tested for genetic diseases between 24 and 30 months of age at the owner’s expense. This testing provides important health information to owners and includes OFA hip and elbow x-rays, an eye exam by a certified veterinary ophthalmologist, and a heart exam by a board certified cardiologist. Depending upon where you live, these tests will cost approximately $700. We encourage our puppy owners who have purchased breeding quality animals to submit PennHIP x-rays between 8-12 months of age. This will add to the cost of these tests.