What is a Guardian Home?
A Guardian Home is a permanent home for one of our breeding males or females. Becoming a Guardian Home gives you the opportunity to have one of our top notch, “Pick of the Litter” puppies as a family pet. By placing the puppy in a home environment that will be their forever home from the time they are puppies, or by placing as a young adult, we are doing our best to ensure their happiness and best start in life.
There are always a lot of questions that people have about the guardian program. The collection of questions and answers below are our best attempt to address all questions right up front so someone does not feel like they weren’t really aware of how this program works. Hopefully the information doesn’t overwhelm you. It really is a very simple program even though it may seem like it has a lot of details. The main thing to remember is, if we as a people truly reject the idea of puppy mills, to my knowledge there is no better way than this guardian program to breed dogs in a humane, loving environment. People will find a way to get a dog for their family, and most people unknowingly choose puppy mills because it is the cheapest way to get dogs to the public. We value our dogs as family members and we hope that you can see how this program benefits families and our four-legged friends!
What guidelines would I have to follow?
In order to ensure the safety and health of our guardian home dogs, the following requirements must be met in order to qualify for our guardian home program:
- You must live within one (1) hour driving distance of our home and you cannot move away from the local area during the length of the guardian home contract.
- Guardian families must feed a dog food approved by us. We are advocates of health nutrition for dogs, and for feeding foods that will not contribute to health issues.
- You must provide regular health and veterinary care, including annual exams and vaccinations
- If the dog becomes sick or injured, we need the family to notify us right away so we are involved in all decisions regarding the treatment of the dog.
- You must keep in touch with us via social media and allow home visits
- You must keep the dog on a leash when outside of a fenced yard.
- We ask the family to practice safe handling of the dog. To not leave the dog outside if they are not at home. Don’t let the dog sit in the back of an open pickup. Use a leash in public. Provide basic obedience training so the dog has manners. All things that should be done to protect your dog anyway.
- You must provide proper socialization to people, children and animals
- You must provide regular grooming
- The guardian home is responsible for the transportation of the dog to us when needed for breeding, litters, or health testing. This is the most inconvenient part of the guardian responsibilities. Please think through this carefully.
What age do you start breeding the dog?
- We will usually breed on the second heat as long as all appropriate health testing has been completed and the dog passes the testing. If a dog goes into heat at any time beyond 12 months, you must notify us immediately so we can assess whether or not we will breed. This will depend on how many other girls are cycling and having litters, as well as the individual dogs age and situation. We would also like to be notified when your puppy has its first cycle, somewhere around 9-12 months of age, so we can have a calculated guess on when her next cycle will be.
How long is she with you when you breed?
- As soon as the family is aware the dog is in heat we will have them arrange to bring the dog to us by day 5 – 7 of the heat cycle. She will remain with us for about one week, and then they can pick her up and take her back home. .
How long is a dog pregnant?
- Dogs are pregnant for 63 days.
How long is she with you when she has the litter?
- She will come to us about a week before she is due with her litter. This gives her time to settle into our house, get used to seeing the whelping box. It is important that she becomes very comfortable with being in our house and being with us all the time. We do not want the mom to feel threatened by us when she is getting ready to whelp. She will go home after puppies are weaned. This generally is between 5 to 7 weeks of age. It is often dependent on the mom and how the babies are progressing.
Can we visit her when she has the puppies?
- We do not allow guardian homes to visit until puppies are at least 4 weeks of age. Please be aware though that no handling of puppies will be allowed. You may visit the guardian dog and spend some time with her if she is doing well with leaving her puppies for short periods of time. We do try to limit this visit to one hour as our schedule is very busy and puppies are not best served by being away from mom for longer than that.
Does this negatively affect the dog emotionally to go from the guardian home to the breeder’s home?
- No. There is an initial “Where is my family going?” when they bring her to us, but in every situation the dog is settled and comfortable and doing very well within an hour or two. We try very hard to give them so much attention and love the first couple days that it is a pleasant and enjoyable experience for them. This is also important as everything the mother feels causes things to happen inside her body that can affect the babies. The less stress and the more relaxed she is, the better it is for babies. So, it is very important that the guardian home not make the transition difficult for the dog. If they act upset or nervous or sad about leaving her, she will feel that even more greatly and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Bringing her and hanging out in our house with her for an hour or so and just pretending like it’s any other visit you’d make is very important. If we can have the family sneak out so the dog isn’t even aware they’ve left, that is usually best too. She rarely acknowledges for more than a couple of minutes that anything has happened.
What happens if the puppy gets sick or injured while in the guardian home’s care?
- While the dog is in guardian’s care and home, any illness or injury that happens is their financial responsibility. We must be involved in treatment plans and know what is going on and determining medications, but the family is responsible for those expenses. Health insurance is recommended during her breeding years. This insurance is for your protection because these dogs are extremely valuable as breeders.
What expenses do the guardians pay for and what things does the breeder pay for?
- The guardian home pays for any normal care items. Food, dishes, leashes, beds, normal vaccinations or wormings, flea meds, heartworm meds, toys, grooming needs etc. If the dog needs meds due to worms, illness, infection or anything unrelated to pregnancy, it is the guardian’s responsibility to pay for those expenses.
- The breeder pays for all expenses related to health testing for breeding purposes, all breeding expenses and litter expenses.
How many litters do you usually breed before retiring the dog?
- We contract for 4-5 litters. We may only breed for one, two or three times but we have the option to breed up to 5. We are concerned for the well-being of our program dogs. If we find that the girl has problems with deliveries or it would be unhealthy for them to breed again, we will stop the breeding program with her and she will be yours.
Who pays for the spay surgery?
- We pay for the spay surgery after the girl has had time to recover from the last litter. We will have this completed with our vet.
What happens if the dog doesn’t pass a health test like you want them to for becoming a breeding dog?
- At this stage in our business, we are typically placing puppies in their guardian home before the testing is done. We are very careful to know the lines we work with, and it’s not typical to have a health test come back so poorly that we have been unable to use the dog as a breeding dog. Remember, that breeding quality and pet quality are two different things. Just because a dog may not be the best breeding candidate doesn’t mean they aren’t the perfect pet. Most of the testing we do is very specific, and we have already thoroughly screened the line and health testing of parent dogs, so it’s not likely we’ll encounter a problem that would cause us to say we can’t breed with that dog.
- However, the biggest problem with placing puppies early is that environmental factors can come into play with the overall health of the puppy. Therefore we do provide education to the guardian family about appropriate exercise in those first 2 years.
What are the grooming requirements and do you want us to keep the dog clipped a certain way?
- We ask that families keep the puppy in a typical puppy cut. We want them to have the look they are supposed to have, especially when they come to visit us for pictures of them for the website.
- We do require that the dog be kept groomed and mat free. If you are unable to keep the coat in good shape yourself, you are required to use a groomer to do so. Guardian dogs are ambassadors for our program. It is important that they are maintained and not matted and in bad shape.
Is there a fee for the puppy?
- There is a “deposit” fee of $500 for the puppy. This fee is returned to the guardian family upon retirement of the dog from our breeding program.
- If the dog, by chance does not pass any required health testing, the dog is released from the breeding program and the fee is retained by the breeder.
If you are interested in becoming a guardian family, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 641-891-3289.