Puppy Info.

Thank you for visiting this page.  It shows that you are interested in learning more about how we raise our puppies and how we match them up to future homes.  Since we are frequently asked certain questions a lot, we have done our best to answer some of them below:

Each Imagineer puppy comes with a puppy folder, which includes:

1)     AKC and ASCA registration applications.  We ask all our buyers to sign and fill these out at time of purchase, as well as provide checks to ASCA and AKC for the registration fees.  If a registered name has not yet been decided on, we will hold the papers and fill in the name when you inform us later.  This early registration helps ensure that all Imagineer puppies are registered. 

2)     Health guarantee.  Health guarantees can be viewed by clicking the link on the Litters page.  All puppies are up to date on vaccinations and have been wormed regularly.  Dates for vaccinations and wormings are provided on your health guarantee.  All pups are ASCA DNA-VP eligible.  A DNA application is included with your packet.

3)     Puppy photos.  Two photos are provided for the ASCA registration, but we normally have at least one or two extra for posterity’s sake for you.

4)     Pedigree.  Five-generation pedigree.

5)     ASCA membership application.  We heartily encourage all puppy owners to become ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America)  members, if they are not already so.  Membership in ASCA includes a subscription to the bi-monthly Aussie Times.  We also suggest owners join their local ASCA affiliate clubs or obedience or agility clubs.  These are great ways to learn.

6)     Eye exam results.  Litter eye checks are done between 6 and 8 weeks of age by a CERF board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.  

Raising of pups:

    Imagineer puppies are whelped in our laundry room adjacent to the kitchen.  When they start climbing out of the whelping box (sometimes at 2 weeks, sometimes not until closer to 4 weeks) they are moved to our finished basement and given plenty of room to spread out and play.  Usually at around six weeks they are moved to a kennel (for ease of cleaning) and are outside part of the day in a pen.  We take them on frequent walks around the property and continue to bring them in the house individually.

    Pups are handled regularly from birth and are exposed to many, many things here on our small farm.  They have their nails trimmed and are brushed regularly.  We play ball with them and provide plenty of toys for them to chew on.

    Pups’ tails are docked at two days old and dew claws are removed.  We follow the ASCA breed standard and will not leave tails on puppies.  We want to make sure pups are properly evaluated before placing them in any situation.  Therefore, we feel it might be a disservice to someone to blindly pick a pup for them at just a few days old and then obligate them to receive that pup no matter how its personality or structure develop.  We do occasionally have naturally bob-tailed pups.  Feel free to contact us and mention this if it is what you are looking for.  If you live abroad and are looking for a long-tailed pup, there are several European breeders with similar bloodlines that we recommend - please visit their web sites on our Links page.

Qualified homes:

    Imagineer pups are available to qualified homes.  Criteria is flexible, but mainly what we are looking for are owners committed to their dogs for life.  They must be willing to take their pups to puppy kindergarten or basic obedience before one year of age, provide proper veterinary care, containment and socialization.  They must keep us updated about their dog's training, health and temperament and notify us if they are no longer able to keep their dog.  

    ***Breeding quality pups are available only to those who are seriously dedicated to learning more about the breed and being involved in it.  Previous experience in some competitive venue is a prerequisite.  We don't sell dogs strictly for breeding.  Involvement through clubs and competition helps the owner learn more and meet other breeders and owners of Aussies.  We are always willing to serve as mentors, but do encourage learning from as many sources as possible.

    Imagineer pups do best in active homes with proper supervision and training that is firm, consistent and fair.  We have found that owners who train their pups and teach them proper behavior and socialize them thoroughly early on are far less likely to experience problems later on and bond better with their dogs.  For new Aussie owners, we recommend at least two sessions of basic obedience. If you don't have time for this, it is probably best to consider another, less active breed.

    We have always incorporated working bloodlines into our breeding program because we believe in the mental qualities and instincts of Aussies.  First and foremost, we always consider temperament.  Working dogs are not more hyper or busy than many strictly show-line dogs.  They do need to be active and trained, but are very capable of relaxing in the house and doing nothing at all when there is no work to be done.

    Aussies are generally good with children, provided they have been exposed to them regularly and are properly trained.  Dogs and young children should always be supervised when together.

    Aussies can be protective of their homes, some more so, some less.  A fenced area for exercise is highly recommended, particularly if you live in an urban or suburban area.  When out in public or properly introduced to strangers, Aussies should be accepting of them.  Some are friendly, some more aloof.   Just don't expect to be able to leave your Aussie unattended in the yard and have them allow the meter reader to come and go freely.


    Final evaluations on pups are done between 7 and 8 weeks of age.  We regret that we cannot do this sooner, as we understand that everyone is eager to know which pup they will be bringing home; however, pups need to be at least this old to get to know their personalities and to determine their structural strengths and weaknesses.

    We do not do a standardized, one-time puppy temperament test.  What we do is observe and interact with all the pups, both as a group and individually, throughout their puppyhood.  Pups change as they grow.  They have ornery days and angelic days. Sleepy days and spunky days. They act differently in different situations.  We will give a general evaluation of each pup.  No matter how extensively pups are evaluated, they continue to change and develop as they grow.   The environment and training that you provide and how you perceive and react to their behavior go a long way in determining that pup’s eventual character.

    Also, between 7 and 8 weeks pups are evaluated for structure.  Since we breed for dogs suited to performance events, our dogs are naturally very athletic and moderate in build.  For those who want to compete in conformation, it bears mentioning that our dogs are often slower maturing and not heavily boned or coated.  They usually do best in the breed ring after they have fully matured (as old as 2-3 years for males) and when shown under breeder judges who appreciate a more traditional-style dog or all-breed judges who emphasize efficient movement.  We will evaluate pups for structure as honestly as possible, just bear in mind that the determination of a pup as being ‘show potential’ is no guarantee of success, due to the subjective nature of the breed ring.

    Based on owners’ goals, expectations and needs, pups and owners are then matched up beginning at 8 weeks.  Since we don’t take quite as many deposits as there are pups, this allows some leeway.  We will usually suggest 2 or 3 pups to each owner and then let them choose.  Only rarely do we suggest a specific pup.  It all depends on how specific or flexible each owner is in their needs and what is available.

    It is not necessary to buy a full registration (breeding quality) pup simply to get a better selection.  The differences between breeding and limited registration pups are often not obvious to most people.  We do not maintain a pick-order.  There is no such thing as a ‘pick’ puppy, as each person looks for and values different traits.  The pup that one person picks may not be the one the next person would pick, and so on.

If you'd like to be notified of when the breeding occurs and of the puppies' arrival, please contact us with details about what you are looking for and any questions you may have.  Deposits ($100, deductible from the purchase price of $750 for limited registration [spay/neuter agreement] or $900 for full registration [breeding quality]) will be accepted after the litter is whelped. Repeat buyers (those who've purchased an Imagineer Aussie in the past) will receive a $100 discount.  

Interested? Contact us:

Deposits and final selection:

    Deposits are accepted when pups are born.  This way we know at least what colors and sexes we have and how many.  We don’t take quite as many deposits as there are puppies – this makes it easier later on when it comes time to match puppies and owners.  For example, if there are 8 pups in a litter, we might take 6 deposits.  After that, we maintain a waiting list and will also keep those persons updated as well and then let them know which pups are available after 8 weeks.

    Waiting list - If you are on the waiting list, don't be afraid that because a pup was not among the first chosen that there is something wrong with it.  Some of our own current dogs (Rush and Jay for example) were not picked by anyone at eight weeks.  Different people are simply looking for different things.

    Color and sex - We do not allow people to select puppies based solely on markings, color or sex.  Sometimes the most structurally correct pup may be the plainest marked of the bunch.  Sheep and cattle are not impressed by full white collars on dogs.   Markings and color are superficial and ‘pretty’ wears thin very quickly if the dog’s abilities or personality are not a good fit with your own.  We understand you may have preferences, just don’t make color or sex your only determining factors in choosing a companion who will be with you for as many as 15 years.  The more specific your desires are for a dog, the harder it will be for you to find that dog.  If what you really want to do is compete in Frisbee competitions, please do not ask us for a blue merle female with two blue eyes and a white collar.  If there is one in a litter, it may NOT be the best one structurally for that sport or the one whose temperament is suited to your situation.

     Puppy Pick-Up - Puppies must be picked up at 8 weeks of age, unless other arrangements have been made in advance.  After 9 weeks of age, a boarding fee of $50 per week will be charged, payable in advance, in order to hold the puppy for purchase.  The sooner the pup goes to its new home, the sooner its training can begin and individual needs be met.  If you are going on vacation anytime soon after puppies are supposed to leave and can't take your puppy home right away, it might be best to wait for another litter when the timing will be better.

    Females are not necessarily better companions than males.  We find the males are often more cuddly and affectionate, and they certainly are not more aggressive or protective than females.  A dog’s personality traits are a very individual matter, not determined by plumbing, but by overall genetics and training.  Our own intact males have free reign of the house and do not mark inside, as that is simply unacceptable behavior.   Another factor to consider when choosing a pup is if you already have a male or female dog in your household. Generally, a male and a female are more likely to get along in the long run than two males or two females, so we recommend selecting a pup of the opposite sex if you already have an adult dog.


    If you live more than a full day's drive away, you may want to consider having your puppy shipped via airlines.  Puppies shipped before 12 weeks of age are usually not traumatized by the event, as their memories are pretty short.  Shipping an older puppy or adult is fine for those that are well-socialized, outgoing, resilient and more trusting of strangers and new situations.  Those that are more reserved or going through a fear period are better off making a transition by meeting their new owners in person and traveling by car. 

    For air shipping, you will need to send us your own airline-approved crate (#200 for 8-10 week old pups, #300 for older pups and #400 for adults) or purchase one through a mail order catalog and have it shipped to us.

    The breeder (us) will need to get a health certificate for your pup to fly.  This will mean a vet visit at a cost of about $25.

    We try to find direct flights as often as possible.  Shipping can be done from Dayton  or Cincinnati and we do charge $25 to help cover gas and time involved in making shipping arrangements and transporting pups to the airport.

    We make the travel arrangements after checking with you about which airport(s) is/are close to you and what dates are most convenient for you to pick your pup up.   All major airlines have on their web sites information on shipping pets.  Shipping costs within the U.S. can range from $170 for an 8-9 week old pup, up to about $300 for an adult.  Dogs can be shipped within the U.S. COD - meaning you pay the airlines when you pick your pup up.  Please note: Due to personal time constraints, we will no longer ship puppies or adult dogs abroad.  We have listed several European breeders with similar lines on our Links page that we highly recommend, Feel free to contact them.

    We often use Delta Airlines for shipping.  For more info., go to Delta Pet Travel.

General advice to Aussie owners/buyers:

    Make sure you have the time and resources to thoroughly train and socialize your dog.  Genetics are only part of the make-up of a dog's behavior.  You provide the training and environment to help shape it completely. 

    As an owner, it is up to you to gather knowledge on training and behavior to better direct your dog's behavior in the way you prefer.  Puppies do not come already trained.  Many, if not provided with a leader, will become the leader of the pack.  Go to your local library, bookstore or online dog book source.  Attend classes at your local obedience club.

    Always supervise kids and dogs.  With babies and toddlers, we advise providing a gaited off area such as the kitchen or laundry room that the dog can have to himself when supervision is not possible.  Small children do not move, sound or act like adults.  They will pull hair, hug and chase dogs who do not always appreciate being pestered relentlessly.  Exuberant puppies will accidentally scratch or knock children down.

    Yes, Aussies shed, are energetic, and can be protective.  Remember that this is a long-term commitment.  Just like all people have their own unique personalities, so do all dogs.  Be prepared to be flexible, as well as firm and determined, in your approach to training your dog.

    When searching for your next (or first Aussie), find the right breeder for you.  Don't run out and buy the first available puppy you find - this purchase will be a 10-15 year commitment, so it's worth taking your time to get it right.  Don't restrict yourself to a specific eye or coat color - you wouldn't choose your future spouse by only dating blonde-haired, blue-eyed people, would you?  Don't restrict yourself to your immediate locale either - while visiting a breeder or picking up your pup personally may be important to you, sometimes the most conscientious, experienced breeder and most suitable puppy for you do not live in your town or even the next one, but several states away.

    When considering which breeder or litter to choose from, ask yourself a few, key questions:

 - Has this breeder produced dogs that are successful in the venue I want to compete in with my dog?  It would be a gamble to procure your future agility-hopeful from someone who only does conformation or get a conformation prospect from someone who doesn't show.  Breeders who are active in a certain venue will better know what qualities it takes for a dog to be successful in that arena and they will be specifically selecting for those traits, too.

- Is the breeder communicative and do they seem to care about placing their pups in the right homes, or are they just willing to sell to anyone who pays the price, no questions asked? Any breeder worth their salt should be open about what both their dogs' faults and virtues are, too.  Beware if every dog they own or every litter they produce is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  No dog is perfect.

- Is the breeder knowledgeable about the breed - its ups and downs as far as temperament, abilities, demands for care, and genetic health?  A breeder should be able to inform every buyer of possible health concerns within the breed or point you to sources of information for that.  They should be aware of the traits of their breed which make it suitable for some situations and owners, but not others.

- Has the breeder been involved with the breed in aspects like breed clubs, local obedience, agility or working clubs, and are they actively showing and/or trialing their own dogs?  Breeders who travel to shows and trials, teach classes in dog sports and are involved in the inner workings of clubs and registries learn highly valuable information about various breeds, behavior, and training.  They make contacts which serve as sources of information for them.  They learn about different lines within their own breed.  With such knowledge at hand, they, in turn, can serve as valuable mentors to you.