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When you buy a Lakemist puppy, you are buying both a piece of our family and the result of our hard work and dedication to the breed.

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 our puppies come from healthy, well-conformed parents with sound bodies and exceptional temperaments.

What to expect from us...

  • Dogs are a part of our family!

Our pups are raised in the living area of our home, so they are accustomed to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The pups are raised using evidence-based practice driven by years of research and development by many breeders all over the world. We incorporate AviDogPuppy Culture, and as much common sense as possible.

Lakemist’s puppies are handled and socialized from birth, with daily individual attention. This We implement Early Scent Introduction (ESI), developed by AviDog’s amazing team headed by Dr. Gayle Watkins. We also implement Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS), initially developed by the US Military.

They are socialized with children, other dogs, and cats when possible. By the time they go home at eight to nine weeks, they have been introduced to many people, live and dead birds, water, and swimming if weather permits. The pups will have started housebreaking, basic obedience training and crates and 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 lifestyle, 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

Lakemist’s puppies receive the best of care while they are with us. They are raised naturally, nursing for as long as their mother will allow and transitioning to a solid diet as weaning begins but not earlier than 4 weeks.


We send them home with strong recommendations for follow up titers and vaccinations. The pups are also wormed regularly from two 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 a veterinary ophthalmologist.

  • Lifetime support

We have a lifetime commitment to all 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 us 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 a private Facebook Group that is available to join once you are on our waitlist, where you can keep up to date with us and the other Lakemist families.

  • 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 done your research

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.


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 over-scheduled and much too 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.

  • More research

We encourage you to read Top 10 Reasons Not to Get a Golden Retriever 


Take some time to process this article, then read it again.

Sometimes a puppy isn’t right for you or your family, and that is perfectly fine! There are several exceptional rescues, and we will be glad to help guide you to these!

  • Right puppy 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! We will help arrange appropriate and safe travel and/or transport.

  • 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.


We do offer a Puppy Start program where will work on basic obedience, crate training, housebreaking, and socializing. This is offered on a very limited basis and does incur an additional fee.

  • 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 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.

The Four Quadrants of Operant Conditioning is a well-balanced approach.

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 feed Orijen Amazing Grains Original recipe, but 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.


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.  

  • Pet pup requirements

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.

  • Health testing

Our commitment to producing healthy pups demands that we collect genetic information from all pups of our breeding.


We prefer that all 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.

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