Thanks for the tips. I'll sign her up Monday morning for Puppy K. I'll go visit the facility before I bring her just to check out that it's up to the right cleanliness standards. I'll see what she thinks about the vaccination issue.
I sort of did lose a puppy to Parvo last year from a different breeder than the one where we got Gussie. Last year's puppy died on the day we were going to pick her up. So, I'm probably a bit overly cautious about the issue. Gussie has only had one vaccination shot. Her breeder believes giving them about 9 weeks. So the next one isn't until April 5. But I have read all of Ian Dunbar's books. I like your sixteen week window for introducing to her at least 100 people much more than the 12 he allows.
Actually, I DO agree with Ian Dunbar... That socialization needs to start WAY before you bring the puppy home, and then continue every day, with as many people and safe, vaccinated, friendly dogs as you can manage. Our Havanese puppies that come from reputable breeders sometimes do not go to their new homes until a little later than other, larger breeds. Often, breeders want to keep the pups to at least 10 weeks, sometimes 12. This is another reason that it is critical to pick a breeder who is conscientious, not only about breeding practices, but also about socializing those puppies and giving them a great start on potty training.
I'm sorry you lost a puppy to Parvo, but if it died before you even picked it up, it was something wrong with how the dogs were handled by the breeder. The Bitch should have good immunity, and the puppies get that immunity through her milk for the first few weeks. It's up to the breeder to make sure the puppies are protected during that change over.
If you haven't seen it, this is Dr. Dodds' vaccine protocol that many of us follow. She does recommend the first Distemper and Parvo shot between 9-10 weeks, so your breeder is right on target.
I think checking out your potential training center is a great idea... not only for cleanliness, but also to watch a lesson or two. See how the trainer interacts with the people and with the dogs. Make sure they use ONLY positive training methods. (no yanking or jerking leashes, no choke collars, no yelling or forcing the dogs...) While it's important for you to feel comfortable with the trainer too, I actually like to see how the DOGS respond to the trainer most. The owner of our training facility has a loud voice (probably from talking over puppy classes for so many years!
) and she can be a bit intimidating to a some people when they don't know her. But she has a heart of gold, and the dogs all LOVE her!!!