Puppy Placement Process

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It is extremely important to us to match the right puppy to the right home.  We follow the process outlined below to help ensure we make the right match.

Puppy Application Form

We ask potential homes to complete our on line Puppy Information Request. At Whoosh there are no “generic” puppies and there are no “generic” owners.  It is critical to our success in placing the right puppy with the right family, to collect information about you and your household.  In the on-line form, we will ask you for a lot of information, our intention is not to be “nosy” but instead to gather enough information to ensure a good match.  We ask that you be open and honest and answer all of the questions to the best of your ability.  The purpose of the form is to determine if a Portuguese Water Dog is right for you, and then be able to match the right puppy with your family.  


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After reviewing the application forms, we invite families that we feel will be potential good matches for a puppy in an upcoming litter to participate in an interview via Zoom.  We are happy to answer your questions, introduce you to our dogs virtually, and we may have some clarifying questions for you too.  



We are happy to provide you with references from our Whoosh puppy owners.  We will also ask you for three references of people who know you well and can speak to the care that you provide your animals.

Meet Our Dogs 

We invite families within reasonable driving distance to our home to meet us and our dogs in person.  (Dependant on COVID 19)

Upcoming Litters 

We learned very early on, that once our litter of puppies is born, our time is much better spent caring for and developing the puppies rather than interviewing families and finding homes.   So we made a decision to do things a little differently from some of the other breeders, by committing to families much earlier in the process.  


Once we have carefully planned a litter, we make an educated and conservative guesstimate as to how many puppies  we expect.  We can be quite accurate by basing it on the age of the mama, the type of breeding we are doing (live, chilled, frozen) and the history of previous litters.  From that number we allocate a number of puppies for different types of homes: some competitive performance homes; some conformation/show homes and some active family pet homes.  Of course ALL of our puppies will only go to wonderful families.

Holding Fee

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After the interview and reference checks we ask families that we feel will be a good match for a puppy in an upcoming litter, to review our contract and provide a $1000 holding fee.  The holding fee is a serious step and a promise from us to you that we believe we will have the right puppy for you in a specified litter, and a promise from you to us that you want to wait for a Whoosh puppy from that litter.  If for some unlikely reason, we do not have the right puppy for you in the specified litter, we will immediately refund the holding fee or give you the option of moving to a future litter .

Online with Whoosh

As part of “Growing Up Whoosh” we want the families to follow the growth and development of the puppies.  We do this by regularly sending videos and photos of the puppies and inviting you into our home with periodic Zoom sessions.  We have found this is a great way to introduce the puppies to the families, we always remind people not to pick favorites - but everybody still does!

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Starting at about 5 weeks old, we add more formal zoom sessions - these sessions cover what you need to prepare your family and your home for the arrival of your puppy.  In the Zoom sessions we provide information on: feeding your puppy, vet appointments & vaccinations, introducing puppy to other pets, how to prepare for a successful first night, etc.  We also provide you with a suggested supply list of essential items for your new puppy. We strongly recommend that you start the AviDog Puppy College Course at this time - the Avidog program covers everything, from crate and potty training to socialization and feeding. Our puppy owners LOVE Avidog Puppy College. 

After your puppy has gone home we continue to lead weekly group Zoom sessions to answer questions and support the transition of the puppy from our house to yours.  We find that the group format allows our new owners to share their successes and support each other through the challenges of a new puppy.  

Puppy Selection

We work closely with families to ensure that each puppy is placed in the most appropriate home.   We have impartial breeders come and conduct structure and the APET temperament tests at 7 weeks old.  This gives us a lot of information about each puppy, and helps us decide which home is best for them.  Our pupppies are all friendly and happy but some will be better suited to an athletic home (think “jock”),  some will be better suited to conformation, and some will be better suited to a retired couple than a family with little kids.  We want to place a puppy who is a “jock” with an athletic family, and a “beauty queen” with a like-minded famly.  We value learning a lot about your family so that we can match the best puppy for you.   All aspects of the new home are considered for puppy placement, including other pets, children, yard size, special needs, and the amount of time the new owners are able to spend with the puppy.  Another primary consideration is the type(s) of activities and dog sports that the new owners are planning on doing with the puppy.  Keep in mind that Portuguese Water Dogs are very active dogs and enjoy being with their families.  We’re always proud when families tell us we’ve chosen just the right puppy for them.


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Go Home Date

Shortly after birth we will set the go home date (just after 8  weeks of age) and work with owners to decide times for pickup.   This is a collaborative effort with some people driving long distances or flying to pick up their puppy in person.  We have recently relocated to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  If flying, the new owner needs to confirm with the airline that the puppy will be allowed to travel home as a carry-on in cabin with the owner. We spend about 1.5 hours with you at puppy pick up showing you some of our best tips and tricks.

We do not ship puppies as cargo, all puppies must be picked up in person.  This is in the pup's best interest and we make no exceptions.  

Should you contact us even if we don’t have a litter now?

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As preservation breeders, we usually breed one or two litters per year.   We limit the number of families waiting  to ensure that the families on the list can expect a puppy in a reasonable amount of time.  Many years ago we were in a situation where we  were told we were in line for a puppy from a breeder, and after waiting and waiting, we were finally told there  was no puppy for us.  It was heart breaking and we don’t want this to happen other families. For this reason there may be times where we are not accepting new applications.  We encourage families to check out the PWDCA Breeders list or the Canadian Kennel Club Site to find another reputable breeder and/or check back on our site regularly.  The good news is, once we’ve chosen you for a Whoosh puppy, you will get a great puppy.

Does This Process Really Work?

Yes, Just ask our Whoosh families.  


We are able to confidently tell families that we can choose the right puppy for them because we have different types of puppies within each litter.  And YES, we can tell the differences between the puppies, and predict what type of home they will be most successful in, even at a young age.  When we combine this with the different types of families we place on each list, we can make sure that each family gets the puppy that is right for them.

Our process has been crafted to ensure that we place the right puppy with the right family and we hope this is the first step of a relationship that will last the lifetime of your Portuguese Water Dog and beyond. 

We Know you have been searching all over for it, but

here it is, CLICK the button below to access 

the online Puppy Application :)

© Greg & Robin Illchuk 2018-2024