There is nothing cuter than an eight-week-old puppy. But cute may not be much comfort at 3 a.m. when your newest family member is howling in their crate, and you have to be at work in a few hours. Young puppies need frequent potty breaks throughout the day. They need plenty of playtime and training on basic commands. These are non-negotiable if you want to end up with a happy, well-adjusted, obedient dog.
At SwissRidge we offer a four- or eight-week training program. Your puppy will live in a home environment and be trained by one of our highly skilled and certified trainers.
The imprinting program can catapult you over the toughest part of the adjustment to life with a puppy. Developed in response to repeated requests for us to keep pups “a little longer,” this has now become a very popular program. The fee includes board, training, and a training leash and collar, as well as vaccines and vet care.
At eight weeks of age, puppies enrolled in the imprinting program are placed with one of our experienced—and incredibly patient—puppy trainers. During your puppy’s time in imprinting, they will:
- begin crate training and house training
- learn basic leash manners
- gain an understanding of commands, such as “sit,” “down,” “come,” “leave it,” “watch me,” and “stay” (if they are enrolled in the eight-week program)
- have daily bonding exercises performed with them
- learn bell training
- get used to brushing, teeth cleaning, and nail clipping
- learn puppy manners (no biting, no jumping, how to play nice with other dogs and people)
- socialize with dogs, people, children, objects, and sounds
The majority of puppies in this program go home knowing basic commands and are typically accident-free in the crate. Although every puppy is different and some may not be mature enough at this age to fully master commands, early imprinting will lay the foundation for later obedience training and help the puppy learn very quickly once they are in your care.
There are usually other puppies and adult dogs on site, so your pup will continue to learn bite inhibition and manners from good teachers: other dogs.
If you are worried about missing the critical bonding period with your pup, don’t be. Puppies are primed to bond for the first 20 weeks of their lives, and even beyond. Your pup will quickly adapt to their new life when they join you, and you’ll be ready to pick up the training baton with the foundation already in place.
Some people leave their pups with us even longer. We are flexible!
Here’s what owners have to say about the imprinting program:
“When I decided to add a Standard Goldendoodle to my life, I spent many hours researching breeders. It was important to me to have a puppy who would be a great companion, with a gentle and calm temperament. The breeder that I decided to trust was SwissRidge.
I was rewarded with Willy II, who I have had for only ten days, but who has become the best part of my life. It feels as though we have been together for ten years, not ten days.
It was hard decision whether to import Willy II to the US at 8 weeks or to leave him in Canada in the imprinting program for two months. I thought about it in a serious way for a long time, and consulted with my group of young friends, who were destined to become his village of caretakers, before deciding to leave him with a SwissRidge trainer.
In the end I made that decision not for myself but because I thought it was the best thing for Willy II. I wanted him to be in a safe and protected environment, with an experienced and patient trainer and a positive routine. I thought this plan would give him the best chance to have a good start in life.
When I came to SwissRidge on pick-up day, Willy II was 17 weeks old. I had waited a long time for him. Sherry brought him in to do a training demonstration for everyone there, and I was surprised at my own patience waiting to finally meet him.
I was there with my friend Collin, who accompanied me to help pick Willy II up.
Willy II, when we finally met, took one look at me and there was no turning back.
He instinctively knew that I was the one who was going to take care of him. In the rental car, walking through customs and security at the Toronto airport, getting on the plane –he never took his eyes off of me. He never wanted to leave my side.
When we got home to Denver, he stayed by my side for days, looking to me for guidance in our new life together. He practically sat in my lap full-time. He accepts me 100% as his person –he loves everyone but always watches for me and comes back to me. One of my friends said the trainer must have been showing Willy II my picture every day.
Willy II has followed all of his commands with me, even at the airport, where he was in a strange and new situation. He is a calm and gentle and sweet dog, and the best companion. He knew from day one that I would take care of him.
In retrospect I know that I made the right decision to leave him in the imprinting program. Whenever I thought about him or realized that some of his brothers and sisters were already with their families, I just reminded myself that he was safe and protected and that I made the decision for him.
If anyone is concerned about a SwissRidge pup not bonding to them at 16 weeks old because they were in the imprinting program, I can assure you that would be the last thing you have to worry about.
You may have to worry about all the love the pup will give to you, and what you will do with that.” ~ Mark Rothman June 10, 2018
“We just picked up our Gus, Mini Bernedoodle, and he stayed for the imprint training. Didn’t affect his bonding to us at all… I appreciated someone else doing the nightly vigils and crate training. And Gus walks very nicely on leash, no pulling at all, plus he knows sit, down, etc. I also noticed he’s not doing much nipping/biting, I think that’s because he learned bite inhibition being with the other pups in training. For us, it was well worth the money.” ~Vicki Scheeler
“Highly recommend. Our Tiny Bernedoodle came to us in the end of August after the 4 week training. Getting her home at the age of 12 weeks was perfect for us. She had basic rules down…sit, down, familiar with crate schedule, and overall just very pleasant. Would do it again in a heartbeat.” ~Megan Harris
“Willie stayed for the extra 4 weeks of training and I am happy he did. It had no effect on our bonding and it gave him a good start on all his basic training that included leash training, sit, stay, and potty training. You should not expect to get a fully trained dog at 12 weeks, but it gave him a valuable head start while at the same time enabled us both a little more sleep when he finally arrived. I say worth it!!” ~Melanie Spivak
“Highly recommend. Finley has slept through the night since the day we got her, which has made it #1 in my book. She had great manners, too, but definitely didn’t miss out on the puppy stage if that is something you are worried about.” ~Jodi McCann
“I got Oakley, my English Mini Goldendoodle, at 16 weeks after he had gone through 2 months of training with SwissRidge Kennels and I could not have been happier with the results. These are the most amazing, beautiful, and loving dogs but then getting a puppy that is crate trained, goes potty outside, sleeps through the night, loves his crate, knows how to walk on a leash, sit, lie down, give kisses, carry around a toy in his mouth, fetch, and give paw was such an added bonus. The transition was so easy for Oakley as he was comfortable and adaptable because he went through the training having this foundation to build upon. He had his routine down and never missed a beat settling right in so easily like he had been living with me for weeks already, bonding with the family right away. I was sent his crate schedule, along with all these training notes and videos to continue on with everything he had learned and what to continue to work on. Sherry and her team have such genuine patience, love and care for these precious doodles and I highly recommend the training being worth the wait and every penny. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thank you to Sherry and to the whole SwissRidge Kennels Team.” ~Joni and Oakley
“Dakota came to us crate trained and potty trained. Her temperament is beyond amazing. I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s a human. I’m beginning to think she is too! She has a wonderful personality, and she is so smart! We only had Dakota five days when I had to go to an event, and I made Gracie in charge of her for the evening. Gracie texted me to tell me that Dakota went to her potty door and before she could get off the couch to let her out, Dakota took the bells off the door and dropped them in her lap. I mean how smart is smart???” ~ Michelle and Tim
“Elie completed 6 weeks of imprinting to help us through the holiday embargo period with flying. By the time she came to our home she was largely housebroken, knew how to sit, down, and give paw. She knew her name and was fabulous in the car. She was also great with other dogs, which was great for socialization. We eagerly waited for the weekly email telling us what she had learned and the pictures that we received with each update.
We had no issues at all bonding with Elie – she quickly knew that we were hers and while we wish we knew her as an ADORABLE 8 week old puppy, the leg up on training and crate training was critical for us as busy professionals. That foundation still helps us today. And she was still darn cute at 14 weeks.
We are so happy to have done the imprint training and would recommend it to anyone. The word we always use to describe Elie is adaptable and I think that’s in large part from what she learned and the different environments she was exposed to early. We plan to do the 8 week program with our next SwissRidge puppy!” ~Lara Flath
“Templeton Rye (T-Rye) attended imprint training for two months. It was the best decision we made and we plan on sending our next puppy as well! He was fully crate trained, walked well on a leash and performed leave it (which was the most helpful in my opinion), sit, down, watch me. He understands the commands come and stay, although sometimes he’s stubborn and does not always follow them. T-Rye seems to learn commands very quickly which I think was the main benefit of imprinting. While goldendoodles are very smart, I believe the imprinting course gave T-Rye a great basis for learning in the future.
We had no bonding issues with T-Rye. The communication with SwissRidge was perfect. We received an email every week with photos of T-Rye and what he was learning and struggling with. Mellonie always answered my questions. The photos are especially precious because they show how he grows up.
It is a hard decision to not have your dog for two months of his puppy life, but the imprinting course truly makes a difference. T-Rye is great around other dogs, friendly with all people, and very smart. The imprinting course taught him important commands and behavior that I would not have been able to train. The course also gave me insight on T-Rye from SwissRidge, which was very helpful to have. We are so happy that he attended the imprinting course and we look forward to having our next puppy from SwissRidge attend as well.” ~Leah Charlesworth
“When we learned that we were leaving the heart of big city living to the peace of the countryside overlooking Howe Sound, my husband suddenly became amenable to a second dog! I was so excited that I wrote SwissRidge before he could change his mind. That is when Sherry told me about Coco and Crumpet’s litter born August 25, 2015. But they were ready to go home just days before we were taking possession of our new home. Normally I would have had to have my hands on that pup asap, but realistically it would be too much for me and the pup. For this reason, I chose 4 weeks of imprinting.
I was so grateful for the training he had in imprinting. No middle of the night pee breaks, as he was past that stage of crate training. He was listening to me well and it was easy to continue on with his training.
There were no issues with bonding at all. He was madly in love with me from the start. I have never had such an affectionate dog, and I have had many dogs. He also took, immediately, to our TBD, Paco. He was exposed to other dogs in his imprinting which is very important.
I would definitely do the imprinting again. I do not think getting Grady 4 weeks later in his life made any difference as far as missing anything goes. He was still a wee puppy, but it was much easier for me to integrate him into my lifestyle with the basics in place.” ~Marsha Douglas
“We have used the imprinting program for both of our SwissRidge Doodles. Our first dog, Brady, is a mini Bernedoodle who went through the four week imprinting program. When he came home to us, he was crate trained and knew several commands including sit and down very well. He walked well on a leash with minimal tugging. Once home with us, he bonded quickly with our family. We didn’t feel at all as though we had missed out on his puppyhood – there were many more months of silly, playful little guy for us to enjoy! For our family, imprinting was a huge benefit because both my husband and I have our own businesses, resulting in a lot of crazy schedules. Being able to sleep through the night almost from the get go and to have a nearly trained pup (both potty and otherwise!) when we got him home was worth it for us.
Shortly after we got Brady, we decided to add to our pack, and Genny arrived almost exactly a year after Brady did. With Genny, we decided to go with the two month imprinting program for two reasons. First, we had seen what a huge head start it had given Brady, and we figured another month would only add to that. Second, we knew having two dogs under two years of age would be a huge responsibility with regard to training, and having the basics nailed was going to be a huge help to us. We were very pleased with our decision. Genny was fully crate trained, and knew sit, stay, down, come, and leave it when we brought her home. She walked well on a leash (a true training miracle, as she is highly inquisitive) and adapted quickly to our household. She has a far more assertive personality than Brady does, and I don’t know that we would have done as well with her with the basics as she did with the imprint trainer. Again, there were no issues with bonding, and she settled into our household quickly.
During the imprint program, we received updates, often including photos. Genny’s trainer even sent home a DVD of photos and a list of tips, which was very helpful. The number of updates did vary between trainers, but we did feel we were kept apprised of their progress.” ~Amy Mariani
“Karma was in the 2 month imprinting program, and it was the best thing ever! Especially in our situation being overseas, and not being able to get her here before 16 weeks, the program was great. We were well informed with pictures and updates, even though we always were wanting more since the anticipation and excitement is very high after being on the waiting list. We had no issues bonding with Karma, she is an amazing dog with a great temperament towards people and dogs. She came to us completely potty trained and never had an accident in the house, and liked her crate for the most part. Her knowledge of basic commands was good, sit was better than down. She is good on her leash, but I think that initially living downtown in a city provided a lot of new things which were very distracting for a puppy. All in all if we did it again we would definitely not change a thing, I can only highly recommend the program.” ~Dan Magnotta and Angelina Zuccarini
“Nigel, our Australian Bernedoodle, is turning 11 months on the 12th of October. It’s hard to believe he’s going to be one year old soon. He is following the same behaviors that Sherry wrote about in her book –Bernedoodles: A Head to Tail Guide. Whenever I wonder or question a behavior, I look in the book. It is a great resource.
It was 15 years since we had a puppy. So, we went with the 2 months of training. We loved getting the photos and updates. Gosh, I can’t imagine how slow the time would pass without them. It’s funny when Nigel does something that we remember from an update. It was in an update that he makes a certain sound when he is happy getting dried off. Our dog Rudy made the same sound. We live in Indiana and we decided to drive up. It was a 9-1/2 hour drive. Nigel was adorable. He was so sweet. He didn’t make a sound. When we stopped, he would do his business and get back in the car. It was surprising to us that he slept through the night right away. The stuffed puppy with the beating heart was great to have and it really helped.
As with most experiences, not everything is smooth sailing. If there have been any issues, it is owner/operator error! The training Nigel received was a great base. We have continued training and he is advanced for his age. Everyone comments how calm and self confident he is. We get stopped everywhere we go. It is either because he is just so stinking cute or wanting to know what breed he is. Whenever we come across other dogs, Nigel sits down at our feet and observes them. I know it is from his exposure to other puppies and dogs that he got in his 2 months of training. The bigger the dog, the more Nigel wants to be with them. He gets along well with our 2 cats. The trainer commented that she has never had a cat sit in and watch the entire session. They sit on the back of the couch together. It is adorable.
We are head over heels crazy about Nigel. He is perfect! Nigel is wonderful! Why else would we get on the list for a sister from SwissRidge?” ~Staci Allen
“Kyra has now been with us two weeks… she is the sweetest and most loving girl. I can’t believe what a wonderful demeanor she has. In my estimation, Sherry Rupke made a perfect match! I can’t say enough and am completely amazed at how much she learned in imprinting. It was a great investment and foundation to ensure a more successful transition to our home and family. We are absolutely in love with this sweet, sweet, sweet girl!!!” ~Bryan Stinson
“When I first became aware of the bernedoodle, I spent quite a bit of time researching the different breeders and kept coming back to SwissRidge. There is just something so special about how Sherry not only presents her dogs but also herself. I bought her book and the rest is history.
We became the proud parents of Cash in June of this year (2016). He was just 2 months old and because we were getting ready to head to a 2 month trip, we opted to have him stay at SwissRidge for imprinting and training. We received weekly updates and photos thanks to Mellonie. There was never a time that Mellonie wasn’t willing to hear our request for more information. When we finally got back to Florida, we were ready to receive our beautiful boy.
Johnny Cash is an Australian Bernedoodle or ABD, as we call him. He arrived at Tampa airport from Toronto. He fared very well in his roomy crate and his stuffed buddy was attached to the top of the crate so he has a familiar buddy to ride home with him in the car. Cash was exhausted from his long trip and settled down immediately on my lap all the way home. We have two standard poodles and made sure to introduce them under proper circumstances hoping that there would not be any problems bringing him into the house. So far, so good.
It was apparent from the beginning that Cash was very well trained and very obedient. He obeyed all the basic commands and as soon as he was shown where his “Potty” bell was he started asking to go out right away. To date (he is now 6 months old) he has not had one accident in the house. The imprinting and training program offered by SwissRidge is certainly something I would recommend. While it may seem a bit costly, the real benefit is having a dog come home totally ready to be a good member of your family. We are so very happy and grateful to Sherry for bringing this little man into our lives. Hopefully we will be able to bring another one home in the not too distant future.” ~Lynne Carlson
“From the day we picked up our tiny goldendoodle, Mishka, from SwissRidge Kennels 5 months ago, there hasn’t been a dull moment in our house! He delights all of us by running like a mad dog through the backyard and flying through the kids’ wading pool at full speed, he loves to go on long walks, boat rides, and play in the house, and some of the best moments are when he jumps into our lap for a long cuddle.
Mishka went through 2 months of imprint training at SwissRidge with Agnes, and as hard as it was waiting the extra two months to get him, it was the best decision we could have made. We got weekly updates of his progress together with plenty of photos, and all the while friends and family pestered us about missing out on the best of his puppyhood. Not so! He arrived at our house crate trained and nearly completely potty-trained (“accidents” were almost always our fault). He knew sit, down, stay, leave it, and walked very nicely on a leash. We had been told to expose him to the grandchildren as soon as possible, but every time they came over he would go into a barking frenzy. I contacted Agnes who gave me suggestions on what to do. The problem was immediately solved.
Since this was our first experience with a non-rescue dog as well as a puppy that had been with a trainer, we really had no idea what bonding with us would be like. I will say that I think he did miss Agnes at first. Shortly after he came, I played a training video on my computer that Agnes had sent, and as soon as he heard her voice he cocked his little head and came up to the computer – I’m pretty sure looking for her. Having said that, within a week he became, and remains, my shadow (unless there are lizards to catch).
In our case, there is no doubt in my mind that the tradeoff between having to wait for two months and receiving a well trained puppy has paid off in countless ways. It was much easier to continue the training because such a good foundation had been laid. For example, taking him for walks has always been a pleasure – just some minimal pulling as he got older, which was easily corrected by bringing treats and making him pay attention. Since he knew sit and stay, it was really easy to teach him both not to dart out of the door and to wait for us to go through a passageway before he could go through. I also made sure to do the bonding exercise religiously, which allows me to groom him daily without any trouble. The other advice I am very glad I followed was to socialize him early. He plays really well with other dogs both big and small and has no problems interacting when on leash. We are thrilled with our puppy in every way.” ~Lana Mcnamra
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