Guardian Home Program
Signature Doodles Guardian Program Philosophy
Thank you for your interest in our guardian home process. We are so thankful for our guardian homes and are always in need of others interested in the program so that we can continue the successful way our breeding program works without ever needing to kennel raise a dog.
The Basics of our Guardian Program
The following is how each involved benefits:
1. We do not believe that puppies or dogs are best served by being kennel raised. Dogs are social animals that adore their families and want to be with them, involved in their daily lives and participating as loved family members. By placing them 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. We never have to kennel raise a dog by utilizing guardian homes, and we feel best about this method and how it works in our breeding program.
2. The majority of our current guardian homes were either families who could not afford to purchase a quality Aussiedoodle or wanted the experience of raising pups for their family without the lifetime commitment to the pups they produce or simply liked the idea of how our programs works and wanted to be a part of it with us. For those who could not afford to purchase outright, the guardian home option is fantastic as the family only pays for normal vet care when a dog is placed with them. In essence, you get a top quality Aussiedoodle free and all you invest is a little time for bringing the dog to us or arranging to have the dog picked up when we need it for testing or breeding or whelping.
3. We benefit as a breeder because we do not need to have or utilize kennels. We do not have to care for more dogs than we are comfortable with or can manage easily in our own home. We know each dog has a forever home from the time they are young and a cherished member of a family until they pass into doggie heaven. There are always a lot of questions that people have about the guardian program, and we’ve tried to anticipate most of those and answer them below. Hopefully the info doesn’t overwhelm you. We’d rather address all the questions right upfront than to have someone feel like they weren’t really aware of how it worked. And, in all honesty, it’s a very simple program even though it may seem like a lot of details.
4. Many guardian homes eventually decide they would like a puppy out of their dog. Normally most pets would be spay/neutered and the owners wouldn’t have this option. With the guardian program since your dog will be having pups you will have the opportunity to see these precious puppies and get a pup if you choose to do so. You can either foster another guardian “grandpup” or purchase from the litter.
Where can I live and still be in your guardian program?
We require that you live within two hours of Decatur, IL
What guidelines do I have to follow when raising the puppy or dog?
- The family needs to feed Great Lakes Pet Food. We are advocates of health and nutrition for dogs, and for feeding foods that will not cause health issues down the road, like cancer, tumors, allergies, etc. The foods are easily found online or contact us. We would recommend all dog owners to consider these foods for the lifetime health of their pet.
- We ask the family to avoid all chemicals unless necessary and to not give supplements or medicines unless approved by us.
- 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. In many cases, we can save the family a lot of money if it is a simple issue, and in other situations, the treatment may need to be specific if the dog is going to be bred soon, or is pregnant.
- We ask the family to practice safe handling of the dog. Do not leave the dog outside if no one is 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 these things should be done to protect your dog.
- The guardian home is responsible either for the transportation of the dog to us or arranging for us to pick up the dog for breeding or having litters or for the initial health testing at between 1-2 years of age.
What age do you start breeding the dog?
We will usually breed females on their second heat, which typically starts between 12 and 18 months.
We usually do not breed males until over 12 months old.
How long is our Guardian Pet with you when you breed?
- As soon as the family is aware the dog is in heat in a cycle she will be bred. We will have them arrange to have her here or pick her up by about day 5 – 7 of the heat cycle. She will remain with us for about one week and then return home.
- A male dog will be in our home about three days for a mating.
How long is a female pregnant?
Dogs are pregnant for 63 days give or take four days.
What happens when she is ready to have her puppies?
You will bring your girl to us a week before she is due so she can settle in. We will whelp and raise the pups and mom will come back home when the pups are eight weeks old.
Can we visit her when she has the puppies if she is at your house?
You and your family are welcome to visit. No other visitors are allowed due to the risk of bringing in a lethal virus (Parvo) to the pup. The mom is usually VERY focused on her babies the first two weeks after she has her pups. Usually by the time puppies are two weeks old the mom is ready for little breaks from the puppies and enjoys seeing her family much more than earlier in the process. She is settled into being a mom, and things are much happier for all involved during the visit. We ask that you try to decrease the odds of bringing in a fatal virus by bringing in freshly-washed sneakers, putting them on at our front door. We will ask for you to wash your hands before handing pups.
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 she comes to us, but in every situation, the dog is settled and comfortable and doing very well within an hour or two. Remember they will already “know” us from the times we have taken them for testing or when we have “dog sat” for you. 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 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 during pregnancy and what do I have to do differently with the dog?
- Pregnancy is actually very easy. The dog may act a little more tired, or not eat normally for a few weeks. The last couple weeks of pregnancy she is usually becoming hungrier and sleeps more as time progresses. Otherwise, normal activity is typical and it is important to continue with walking the dog right up to the end. This helps during delivery. Being in shape is always best. Normal play and romping and running during the first half of pregnancy is great. After that, we limit activity to walks on a leash and no ball chasing type of activities. We suggest adding ¼ cup of yogurt or cottage cheese everyr day and an egg twice a week during the last 2 weeks of pregnancy to give extra nutrition.
- No chemicals may be given during pregnancy. We suggest no vaccinations, worming, and heartworm when possible during this time. If there is an illness or injury, we ask to be involved in determining how she is treated.
What happens if the puppy gets sick or injured while in the guardian home’s care?
While the dog is in your care and home, any illness or injury that happens is your financial responsibility, just as it would be if you had a non-guardian pet. We need to be involved in knowing what is going on and determining medications, but the family is responsible for those expenses. We have your dog’s best interest at heart so it is good to have us to consult with. If you are negligent and your dog is lost or dies when in your care we will ask for you to be responsible for our financial loss. If your dog is injured or dies and can no longer participate in the program and you were being responsible we will not hold you liable for the loss. Bad things can happen to anybody. Fortunately, we have never had a serious injury or loss to any dog in our guardian program.
What expenses do we pay for and what things does the breeder pay for?
- The guardian home pays for any normal care items for the dog. Food, dishes, leashes, beds, normal vaccinations or wormings, vet bills unrelated to breeding, toys, etc.
- We pay 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 up to 4 litters. Sometimes we don’t breed at all. So the number of litters depends on each case. We consider a litter 2 or more pups so if a mom has only one pup we don’t count it as a litter. A female averages three litters in our program. If the puppies are exceptional quality, they could have up to 4 litters.
Who pays for the spay/neuter surgery?
We do. This is usually about 2 months after the last litter of puppies is weaned or for male dogs on or before their sixth birthday (often before).
What happens if the dog doesn’t pass a health test as you want them to for becoming a breeding dog?
Our standards are very high. We adhere to the quality requirements of the ALAA as well as our quality ideas. 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 she/he isn’t the perfect pet. Your dog can pass all the tests, and we still may decide to remove it from the program. We aren’t bashful about removing dogs from our program. If we release your dog from the breeding program, we will spay/neuter your dog. You will still have gotten a quality dog for only the normal costs of having a pet.
What if I have a male guardian dog?
Male guardian dogs are usually used for breeding after 12-18 months. We ask that you make your dog available for breeding. Most of our guardian boys aren’t used for breeding very often. Most of the time the dogs will need to be with us less than 24 hours each time we pick him up.
Where can I board my dog?
If you ever need boarding, we would love the opportunity to watch your dog as long it fits in with our family schedule. Otherwise, you would board your dog as you would any pet when you vacation. It is always great to have the opportunity to play with one of the dogs we produced. We love the additional opportunity to interact with the dog and family.
What happens if we join the guardian home for a quality breeding dog but don’t intend to honor the breeding contract?
We make a great commitment emotionally and financially to our owners and guardian dogs. We ask that you only enter into our guardian program if you are willing to make the same level of commitment to your dog and to us. Unfortunately, we have been forced to put a penalty for those who break our contact as we find some want the discounted dog but have no intentions of honoring the contract. We want to work with you and for this to be a win, win, win for all involved. We work hard to select the best of the best of our dogs for our guardian homes. We have a financial penalty to discourage those that would want to get a discounted dog and break the contract by using the dog for their own breeding program. If you are willing to make an honest commitment to us and our breeding program we will be very flexible and will do all we can to make this program work for you and your dog.
We don’t want to be controlling or intrusive into a family’s life. We consider our dogs and owners like extended family and enjoy the interaction we have with them in the guardian program. We are very fair and reasonable and want to work with you to make this a win, win and win situation for all of us. We hope that you will consider partnering with us.
If you are interested in applying for our Guardian Home Program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org