Ganderwood shows, competes with, breeds and trains Labrador puppies near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Our carefully bred, socialized, and trained English Labrador puppies are all trained as Versatile Companions or Ultimate Companions, the Versatile Companion earns their AKC CGC and come home at about 5 -6 months old. Pups know about 15 commands, have met 100 people, and have been trained in various distracting environments for the take anywhere companion. The Ultimate Companion has more advanced training and comes home at 9-10 months old. See 13 week old pups in training at right.
Ganderwood trained puppies are primarily obedient family companion dogs. They also serve as emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, PTSD dogs, calming dogs for autistic children, serving veterans, senior citizen centers, vocational schools with special needs individuals having Down's syndrome, etc.
Some puppies are taken by families to service dog trainers after a year old for further training which saves on overall service dog cost.
We serve Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio and Wisconsin. We also welcome families to fly into Kent County International airport, Grand Rapids, MI, or Chicago, O'Hara, rent a car to visit Ganderwood to learn to handle puppy and fly home or rent a car for return home.
Ganderwood also provides Puppy and Dog Training for most breeds and boarding in our home and kennel, see a video here.
Dogs have been part of my life since 4 years old when a friendly cocker spaniel named Princey taught me dogs were people's best friends, not something to be very afraid of. After Prince died, my family purchased a German Shepherd mix named Bonita. As a teenager, I taught Bonita to stay in the boundary of the acre yard - long before invisible fencing was invented! She ran and played there safely until she developed painful hip dysplasia for which we mercifully put her to rest. Because of Bonita's early death and suffering, we strongly believe in the importance of health clearances such as OFA for hips and elbows for all of our breeding dogs.
In 2004 we purchased our first Labrador named Ebony who is now retired as a companion dog for a PTSD veteran. We trained several of Ebony's puppies as hunting dogs which did very well for extreme hunters. Soon thereafter Dakota Rose,was purchased from another breeder. Dakota taught us so much about the Labrador breed. Her pedigree went up to the lovely Sandylands lines from England. She was a beautiful English type of labrador with a calm and affectionate personality. We showed her and competed in obedience with her. Today Dakota's legacy lives on through her daughter Sophie and granddaughter Abby. Her lines are so biddable and intelligent. We enjoy showing AKC and UKC conformation, Rally obedience and Obedience with our dogs.
Within a few years of Dakota coming to live at Ganderwood a couple approached us asking if we would be willing to train one of our puppies for them. They wanted to purchase a trained puppy local to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. We had been asked this prior to this but couldn't conceptualize what families wanted. This couple was different, they were very specific. They had done a significant amount of research and wanted a dog trained like the adventure dogs at Wild Rose Adventure dogs in the Ozarks but did not want the shyness often associated with British Labs and wanted a local breeder/trainer, they also wanted the commands encompassed with the training provided by Koven Companion dogs but not the $6,000 price! When we perused these websites, we realized we had already trained our keeper puppies the same commands which those kennels train. Hence we started what was then the Adventurous Companion training. Soon thereafter we were asked to train dogs for therapy which developed the Helpful Companion program. Along the way we ran into infertility issues with our own dogs so took in others dogs of a variety breeds. We found the best success came from our own carefully bred lines although the other dogs also gained a lot of obedience along the way. In early 2017 we combined the Adventurous and Helpful Companion programs to form the Versatile Companion puppy. This was done because we often ended up training all the of the puppies all commands for these programs anyway.
Our love and knowledge of puppy raising is a fully used talent as puppies stay with us until 5-6 months old. Prior to training our puppies, we never felt really comfortable letting pups go home at 8-9 weeks old. New families often worked full time, we feel puppies need more interaction than such a family can provide. Sometimes families did not take time or know how to train which let to them being discontent with their puppy. Research shows many dogs end in shelters due to lack of training. By keeping puppies at Ganderwood for thorough socialization and training, we have found higher quality families for our puppies and feel puppies are truly ready for their new homes once they leave. Since breedings are done first and foremost for ourselves for show and competition, the remaining puppies which we train and sell are beautiful conformationally, intelligent, and highly biddable.
Our puppies are great for busy professionals who have time to play with and exercise a dog but not time or know how for housebreaking or training a puppy. Families with a special needs child find our trained dogs very helpful, these include children with autism where trained dog behaviors calm the child. Often active retirees purchase a trained puppy as they have trained previous puppies and are well aware of the work, they have earned the right to skip the training stages and appreciate a well behaved young dog. Some of our trained dogs are owned by an individual who takes them to facilities where they work. These facilities include senior centers, mentally handicapped adult vocational schools, counselors, pastors who counsel children, etc. Some of the dogs also hunt. Over all the years we have found puppies quickly bond to their new families. Because they are potty trained, hence let out often, and trained a little every time they are fed and let out, they are very people oriented. Our training is done with treats and praise to keep the young puppies excited to learn and upbeat with their attitudes. Inexperienced trainers can ruin young puppies so some people think a puppy shouldn't start training until 6 months old but with our carefully gaged training methods, out puppies form wonderful habits before bad habits begin. As some of these trained puppies come back for boarding we find they all retain the things they have learned. Part of our training is to train new families how to handle and maintain training for their trained puppy. Over the years, we've changed our instruction book many times and spend more time with families upon puppy pick up. We give advice to families for the lifetime of their trained puppy.
By training all of our puppies, we get to enjoy them longer while helping busy families. It's a win win situation for all involved. We thank God we've been able to bless so many families and facilities with our trained puppies . It is a lot of hard work but so worth it!
Ganderwood welcomes new puppy families from all beliefs
For those who are interested in our true hope and joy, see our notes about why we believe in Jesus Christ:
We all have sinned:
Romans 3:10 There is none righteous, no, not one.
No one is saved or goes to heaven by being good.:
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh (person) be justified in His sight.
Christ took our sin for us:
2nd Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Christ lived right for those who believe:
Romans 10: 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The Spirit of God leads sinners to believe:
Roman 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit of God leads believers to live right:
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
He who believes will live eternally in heaven:
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
All verses taken from King James Version of the Holy Bible
Monday - Saturday
7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Closed for rest and worship
Drop-off and pickup
By appointment only