Frequently Asked Questions:

Puppy Price & Policy

Royal River Retrievers is a small breeding kennel, and I only breed after many months (even years) of planning, when I am looking for something to keep for myself.  The puppies from my breedings are placed in show, hunt, performance, service dog, therapy, and companion homes.  My goal is to produce healthy, well-balanced, structurally-correct dogs that have outstanding temperaments.  When a person or family contacts me, they are asked to complete the Puppy Questionnaire.  I want to ensure that the puppy has the right personality/temperament that I feel would be best suited for the person/family and their lifestyle.

All puppies are given maximum socialization right from the start.  They are whelped and raised in my living room and are handled and played with every day.  I expose them to Early Neurological Stimulation, early scent introduction, new situations, some basic training, crates, baths, weekly nail trimming, other dogs, and numerous adults and children.  At three weeks, pups are started on potty training, making them want to be CLEAN, for faster, easier house training!

I go to great measures to ensure that every single puppy in a litter has individual attention and has more than adequate socialization. At 7-8 weeks old, my puppies are brought to pet-friendly local businesses such as North Yarmouth Academy, Bates College, hair dresser, chiropractor, and nursing home. They also attend a full day at PupStart Day School for Puppies just prior to going to their new homes, to get socialization with new dogs/puppies of various shapes and sizes.

I require that all Royal River Retriever buyers must commit to continuing the socialization and training by attending a minimum of 18 weeks of puppy socialization/obedience classes so that he/she will become an enjoyable companion at home and out-and-about. Why do I ask this?  Because studies estimate that 96% of dogs who end up at shelters have NO formal obedience. They don’t know how to be a “good” dog because no one took the time to teach them!

Sire and dam have health clearances (at minimum- hips, elbows, heart, and eyes) which can be verified on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website, and the parents are at least two years old. All puppies receive first vaccinations, routine worming, and a health certificate from my veterinarian before going to their new homes.  Each puppy will be registered with AKC and will have a HomeAgain 134.2kHz microchip implanted. Please familiarize yourself with the Sample Contract for Seller and Buyer Representation, Rights and Warranties.

All puppies are placed in the most suitable home, in my judgment, regardless of color or sex. Companion (non-show) puppies are sold with a spay/neuter agreement and have an AKC Limited Registration (not for breeding.) Show vs companion quality is not apparent at birth but by overall structure, movement, and temperament which cannot be judged until a puppy is at least 8 weeks of age. Companion puppies will be available after temperament tests and final evaluation of show prospects at 8 weeks.  Any show, performance, and service dog prospects have priority over companion puppies and are selected first.  I will take your preference into consideration, but the final decision will be mine as to where each puppy will go.  Any puppy I agree to be left intact will only go to proven competitive show and/or performance homes, whose goals are training, showing, and/or responsible breeding.  In certain cases, these puppies will be co-owned with Royal River Retrievers.

I am always available to answer any questions and give additional support and advice from the beginning of my relationship with potential buyers through the life of the dog.  I enjoy getting updates/photos on the puppies as they grow, learn new things, and get old — as much and as often as owners are willing to share.

Pet/companion puppies for 2017 litters are $2,800; 2018 litters are $3,000 and sold with AKC Limited Registration.  There will be a $500 non-refundable deposit payable upon approval of your application.  (Deposit will be refunded if a puppy is not available; or if in my judgment, the available puppies do not fit your application. I reserve the right to deny any home I do not feel is best for a certain puppy.)  Transportation costs above and beyond the cost of the puppy are the new owner’s responsibility.  Such costs include, but are not limited to, additional health checks required for flights and/or border crossing, airline tickets, crates for transport, and gasoline reimbursement if I deliver the puppy to you.

  • Puppy Questionnaire

    After filling out the Puppy Questionnaire form, please return it to Sandy Walton by either: Clicking the “Submit Form to Royal River Retrievers” button on the bottom of the form, OR Saving PDF to your computer using a different file name, then attaching it to an e-mail addressed to, OR Printing and signing the completed form then mailing to Royal River Retrievers, 225 Lafayette Street, Yarmouth, ME 04096.

  • References

    Please immediately authorize your vet to release information to ‘Sandra Walton of Royal River Retrievers’, and please notify your references that I will be calling.

  • Read the Contract

    Familiarize yourself with my Sample Contract for AKC Limited Registration puppies. (Show/Breeding contract available upon request to those who I feel will show the puppy to his/her championship.) Make sure you (and your veterinarian) are in agreement with everything in the contract including the Minimal Vaccinations Protocol and the Spaying and Neutering clause. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me for clarification and questions.

  • Interview

    I will look over the information you’ve included in the Puppy Questionnaire, then I’ll give you a call or e-mail for further questions and to answer any questions you might have for me. We can then set up a time for you to come meet me and my dogs, see where the puppies are born and raised, and ask any questions.  I must meet ALL members of your household before I will agree to hold a puppy for you.

  • Renters & Owners Of Shared Roof Residences

    If you rent a house or apartment, own a condo regulated by a condo board, live in a duplex, or live in any other multi-family or shared roof housing, then you must forward a letter from your landlord or home owners (shared roof) board with a signature/date on letterhead to me. Please see Renters and Owners of Shared Roof Residences for more information.

  • Deposit

    Once approved, you are welcome to leave a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold a puppy. If for any reason I do not have a puppy available for you, I will of course return your entire deposit. I will not hold a puppy for you without a completed Questionnaire, Shared Roof Residence Letter from landlord/board (if applicable), approval from me after meeting ALL members of your household, and deposit.

  • Updates and Pictures of Pregnancy/Puppies

    I will keep you informed with how the pregnancy, whelping, and puppies are developing with e-mails, pictures, and videos. I will also post on Facebook.

  • Visit

    Once the puppies are born, we can schedule a time to visit the puppies. The first 3-4 weeks are critical for puppies to not be exposed to any viruses/bacteria/diseases, so I will wait until after that time for visits from families. I like for families to come as often as they want or able to (within reason, of course.)  I’m pretty flexible about when and how often, but I do require at least one visit.  Plan on 1.5-2 hours to visit with the puppies.

  • Boning Up On Puppy Rearing

    After the puppies are about a month old, I will send out a great reference book for puppy training and rearing: Puppy Possibilities – A Positive Approach to a Well-Behaved Family Pet by Kathleen Goodman.  Even families with lots of experience have said they thought the book was very helpful.  Please read this book in the weeks prior to picking up your puppy.

  • Vet Appointment

    Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for your new puppy to be examined within 72 hours of the time you plan on getting your puppy.  If the puppy is coming home over the weekend, please see your vet no later than Monday.

  • Puppy Kindergarten

    Sign up for Puppy Kindergarten or S.T.A.R. Puppy classes that includes free play among the puppies before you pick up your puppy. I require that you ATTEND at least eighteen obedience classes before your puppy turns 9 months old and prefer that you continue formal training with your dog for at least one year, especially through adolescence. Let me know if you’d like help finding a good training center in your area.

  • Balance Due

    If you are planning on paying for the balance of the purchase price by personal check, then be prepared to have it to me by the day the puppy is six weeks old (42 days); otherwise you can pay by cash, money order, or cashier’s check when you come to pick up the puppy.  No exceptions!

  • Evaluations

    When the puppies are seven and a half weeks old, I will do the Avidog Temperament Testing When they are 8 weeks old, I will evaluate their structure and conformation, as well as have the puppies examined by my veterinarian.  I do not make my final decision as to who is getting which puppy until after that.  Any show, performance, and service dog prospects have priority over companion puppies and are selected first.  I will take your preference into consideration, but the final decision will be mine as to where each puppy will go.

  • Prepare Your Home

    Puppy proof your home and gather some basic items needed for your new puppy: Crates – one with a divider for home, and one for your vehicle (36″x24″x27″ minimum for girls, 42″x28″x31″ minimum for boys); 6′ leash; 12″-18″ (small) 1/2″ wide collar to start (he/she will grow into a larger collar in a few months); stainless steel food/water bowls; toys (especially some for teething, such as Kong); and a bed. (Links are for examples only.)  Don’t forget High Quality dog food, healthy treats, and bones!  The puppies have been eating Fromm Four-Star kibble.  Here is a website that is dedicated to reviewing the majority of dog foods out on the market: Dog Food Advisor

  • Puppy Party

    Plan on coming to pick up your puppy on the Saturday or Sunday after the puppies turn eight weeks old.  Everybody will meet at Handy Andy’s Community Room in Yarmouth, typically around 10:00 a.m. to go over paperwork and information. We will then head over to RRR to let the puppies have their ‘last supper’ with their dam, go potty, check microchips, and take pictures before going home with you. Plan for about 1.5 hours.

  • Enjoy Your New Family Member!

    Again, feel free to call or email anytime with questions.  Updates on the puppies are ALWAYS welcome.  Not only do I like to see pictures and hear stories, but I am very interested in updates on the pup’s health, good and bad, in case it might affect future breeding decisions.