FAQ

“Where are your puppies born and raised?”

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All of our puppies are born and raised in the home. We want our new mothers and puppies kept safe and warm, and we want your puppy to be exposed to all the sights, sounds, and smells of the home so they are a well-adjusted companion. We are proud to deliver to new owners happy, healthy, well-loved and cared for puppies. 

”Can you describe the socialization and care your puppies receive?”

Our puppies receive a variety of stimulation, socialization, and care beginning at birth. All of our puppies are born indoors, in our home. Our females have stable temperaments and allow us to handle and check on their puppies. Beginning the day after birth, we use early neurological stimulation aka, Bio Sensor Program which involves handling neo-natal puppies in a variety of positions in order to help stimulate and develop their neurological systems, increase stress tolerance, stronger heartbeats, immune system, and adrenal glands. As of January 2014, we have expanded our Neonatal Stimulation Program to include Early Scent Introduction (ESI). It is quite fun and very interesting to watch the neonates use their olfactory perception to explore the world from their whelping box. We closely monitor the puppies’ ability to feed and keep track of their weights. Puppies are marked with colored ribbons or collars so that we can monitor their individual progress. When the puppies are old enough, we allow a variety of visitors to play with them, handle them, and feed them. We introduce crates, solid foods, outdoor playtime, and walking on various surfaces such as elevated planks and inflated discs. The latter helps the puppy learn body awareness and balance, as well as boost their confidence while interacting with a variety of textures and surfaces. We play various types of music and expose them to a plethora of recorded sounds, such as, lightening, gunshots, motor noises, waves, party sounds, elevator, laughing, kids playing, and as simple as it seems, the pups are also exposed to quiet. We vaccinate puppies between 7-8 weeks (unless requested not to) with Nobivac modified live Distemper and Parvovirus (per the recommendation of Dr. Jean Dodds). Puppies are examined by a veterinarian at 7-8 weeks. Puppies are de-wormed regularly. Puppies are microchipped before leaving Alta-Tollhaus.

“Do we get to pick our own puppy?”
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We encourage you to visit our dogs and puppies. We will get to know you and assist you in choosing the best puppy for your goals and lifestyle. As you are researching German Shepherds and breeders, please jot down your goals for your dog (family protection, herding dog, service dog, family pet, show dog, Schutzhund/IPO/IPG, agility, nosework, or other dog sports, etc.) and what you would like or dislike in your dog. Do you like high energy or a more laid-back dog? A dog with a lot of drive and spunk or a more mellow dog?

Since we spend considerable time planning carefully selected breedings, raising and training our dogs, and developing our puppies, we know our dogs and puppies better than anyone and strive to provide you with the dog that will fulfill your goals and meet your criteria. Puppies are temperament tested between 7 – 8 weeks. 

“What’s the difference between males and females?”
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The obvious difference is anatomy and size. Males take longer to mature to then the females. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence floating around as to which gender is smarter, more protective, more affectionate…but the most important thing is that you are matched with the puppy that best fits your lifestyle, male or female.

We do not require neutering of your male dog. But if you choose to alter your dog it should only be done after the growth plates have closed >17 months. This also applies to females, however, for health reasons your female dog should be spayed at the appropriate age 13 – 18 months.

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“Are there waiting lists and/or deposits/reservations?”
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Since we are not a commercial kennel we only accept reservations after you have been approved for an Alta-Tollhaus puppy. To be approved, please email us at julie@alta-tolhaus.com. Reservations are $1,000 which will be applied to the total price of the puppy. The balance is due at the time you pick up your puppy or one week prior if the puppy is being shipped. All reservations are non-refundable. If for some reason we do not have a suitable puppy for you, your deposit will be transferred to the next available litter. We make every effort to best match you with a puppy that best fits your wishes. Final decisions on who-gets-what-puppy are not made until the puppies are over 7 weeks of age. The pups are physically and mentally ready to leave their litter-mates at 8 weeks.

Our puppies are raised with love and affection; our puppies are companions, not commodities.

“Can we come visit our puppy?”

Of course! We encourage you to come visit the puppies and adult dogs. We have many people routinely visit our puppies to ensure that they enjoy handling and are well socialized. However, please remember our dogs live in our home and we appreciate making an appointment ahead of time. We  ask that you do not visit other kennels, rescues, or shelters prior to visiting us.

“Where do your dogs live?”
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Our dogs live primarily in our home. We have 108 acres where our dogs can run and explore, as well as several secure yards and runs for outdoor activity. 

“What do you feed your dogs?”
Our dogs and puppies eat a raw diet. If you are not comfortable feeding a raw diet please visit the Dog Food Analysis website as a resource for comparing commercial kibbles.  For training treats and tracking bait, we use and recommend chopped “food roll” such as meat rolls from Happy Howie’s.

“What vaccinations do your puppies receive?”
We vaccinate puppies between 7-8 weeks with Nobivac Modified-Live Parvo & Distemper. Puppies are examined by a DVM between 7-8 weeks. We encourage you to bring your puppy to your own vet within 48 hours to make sure you and your vet are satisfied with the health and quality of your puppy. If DM status is not clear by parentage each pup will be DM tested. Litters are AKC registerd. Between 7 – 8 weeks of age puppies are microchipped, have well-puppy veterinary exam and our evaluated: structure, temperament, drive, character to asure each family and puppy are the best match possible.  Puppies are routinely de-wormed.  When you bring your Alta-Tollhaus puppy home you are bringing home a big, healthy, robust puppy. We are very proud of the puppies and dogs we are producing. 

“What health certifications do your dogs have?”
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All of our breeding dogs (and the males that we use for stud) have the appropriate hip and elbow certifications, either through the OFA and/or the A-stamp program in Germany and are certified clear of hip and elbow dysplasia. All of our dogs are also tested for DM (degenerative myelopathy). It seems it should go without saying, but all dogs used for breeding are healthy and sound, mentally and physically.

“Do you offer a guarantee?”
Yes, we have a contract and offer guarantees against certain genetic conditions. In the event that we need to provide a replacement, we do not require that you return your dog.

“What training and activities do you do with your dogs?”

Our breeding dogs are all trained and titled to the German standard for breeding. They all have Schutzhund/IPO/IGP and/or HGH (herding) titles. They also have German conformation ratings of “V” and the highest level Koerung (Breed Survey) – Koerklasse 1 (KKL). 

“What are dogs from your breeding program doing?”

Progeny from our breeding program have trained and competed in obedience, Rally-obedience, agility, tracking, conformation (show), dock-diving, weight pull, barn-hunt, herding, Schutzhund, IPO/IGP, K9 Nosework, PSA, pet-assisted therapy, medical service dogs, autism service dogs, and Leader-Dogs for the Blind. Our dogs serve as family companions, service dogs, and performance dogs all over the country.

“Service Dogs from Alta-Tollhaus”

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Service Dogs will be placed through a Service Dog Trainer.

“Do you ship your dogs?”
We ship via American Airlines from Kalamazoo(AZO) to the closest major airport nearest to you. Shipping cost is $575 for puppies. This price includes the veterinarian airfare, health-certificate, shipping crate, and transportation expenses to the veterinarian and airport. Shipping from DTW Detroit is $775.

The shipping crate type and size is regulated by the USDA and IATA regulations. Shipping is available if you are purchasing your puppy or dog for herding, protection (i.e. guarding/security), service, therapy, and/or breeding. If you are purchasing a dog or puppy strictly for companionship we must meet in person at or prior to the time of purchase (USDA shipping regulations for non-commercial breeders).