What Is A Guardian Home?
Guardian homes are families that care for and raise a dog just as their own, while the dam or sire is also part of a breeding program. They mostly live a completely normal life, except for some breeding duties.
We prefer this to kennel breeding as it allows a dog to live a normal life filled with love, care, and attention.
If this sounds like something you would love to help with, please read on!
Here is a video showing just a few snippets of the wonderful lives of dogs in guardian homes in our program:
Want to know more?
Our Guardian Home Program allows us to expand our breeding program the right way, by keeping our dogs out of kennels and in homes where they live as cherished family members. A dog needs to be a part of the family to develop their full potential, and this is why we have the guardian program. We want the best for our dogs and they deserve forever families to love and spoil them.
Essentially Guardian Dogs are our dogs to breed and yours to love!
Is there a cost involved to be a Guardian Home?
We have found that people tend to take better care of something they have spent their money on. We do charge a small amount when placing a puppy in a Guardian Home. Most family's see this amount come back in full plus some when the dog is placed into the breeding program and has shown to have been care for well.
After each litter a financial payment may be paid when returned to the guardian home. At the succession of the females' final litters (4th or 5th) the guardian family is gifted with their choice of a cash bonus or a pick of the litter puppy.
What are the requirements to become a Guardian Home?
The most important aspect in being a Guardian Home is to provide love, care and attention for the guardian puppy. You are his/her family and forever home and accept the financial responsibilities for routine maintenance and medical care just as you would for any other pet you may own. This means general veterinary care for vaccines, deworming, accidents/injuries/illnesses, grooming, flea/tick prevention, regular exercise and training.
Guardian families must reside in a home with a fully fenced yard and are subject to a home visit prior to placement.
Guardian families must feed the same food we feed at Foothill Aussies and agree to give any other necessary dietary needs for pregnancy. We are advocates of holistic nutrition, and are passionate about feeding foods that will not cause health issues such as cancers, autoimmune issues, allergies, etc. This ensures not only good health during the breeding years, but far beyond. We want all Foothill dogs to live long, healthy, happy lives.
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.
Guardian Homes must reside in Northern California best if within a hour from Georgetown, CA and be flexible for dropping off and picking up the dog for health testing, vet visits, breeding, and whelping puppies. The Guardian Family is responsible for the transportation of the dog to us when needed for breeding, litters, or health testing. We do try our hardest to help with transportation when ever possible.
How many litters will a Guardian Female produce?
The health and happiness of our dogs is always our priority! We typically contract 4 litters for females. This will always be Foothill Aussies decision and on a case-by-case basis. We are concerned for the well-being of our program dogs. If it is determined the dog has difficulties 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. Once we have decided to retire the dog, the dog will be spayed, and full ownership will be signed over to the Guardian Family.
What happens during pregnancy and what do I have to do differently?
Pregnancy is actually very easy. Once the “magic happens“ the dog returns to her Guardian Family for her pregnancy. She will go home with “Pregnant Momma Notes” to help ease your initial concerns. 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 more hungry and sleeps more as time progresses. Otherwise, normal activity is typical and it is important to continue with daily walks. 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 do ask that no chemicals are given during pregnancy (flea treatments and most medications can be harmful to pregnant moms).
We have to be notified immediately of any illness or injury so we can be involved in determining how she is treated.
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. We stay in close communication any time the guardian dog is with us.
How long is a dog pregnant?
Dogs are pregnant for 63 days.
How long is she with you when she has a 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 and get used to seeing the whelping box before the babies arrive. She will go home after puppies are weaned. This will be between 6 and 7 weeks of age.
Does this negatively affect the dog emotionally to go from the Guardian Home to the Breeder's home?
No. We are the dog’s second family and they enjoy being spoiled with us. They have roam of our house and play with our kids even sometimes sleep in bed with someone before babies arrive, get lots of special food and treats, and tons of attention. Many of our Guardian dogs were born in our home and are happy and comfortable here.
What happens if the dog 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 the breeding years/contract period. This insurance is for your protection because these dogs are extremely valuable as breeders.
What are the grooming requirements?
We ask that Guardian Families keep the dog in a breed appropriate cut (Australian Shepard, Poodle, Aussiedoodle). We require that the dog be kept groomed and matte free. If you are unable to keep the coat in good shape yourself, you are required to use a groomer to do so. If the dog is brought to us with a matted coat, or a coat that is in bad shape, we have the right to take them in to our own groomer and have them shaved down or worked on, but you will be responsible to reimburse us for that expense before the dog returns to you. Guardian dogs are ambassadors for our program. It is important that they are kept in pristine condition.
What is the most important aspect of being a Guardian Home? This is the best question anyone has ever asked me. The answer is communication and trust! Communication is the key to this relationship being happy and harmonious for all parties involved. We truly want our dogs living full happy life's and become part of your extended family.
Good communication lays the foundation for a great relationship. We love getting regular photo updates and fun success story's in things like training goals. We want to be treated kinda like grandparents. Foothill is not looking to control your homes goals and lifestyle with a dog as long as its in their best interest. The goal is for your family to truly treat them like another family pet. Then be part of this amazing journey of healing others through our breeding program.
The next most important is to understand this dog is intended to be a breeding dog. This means you will have to part with the beloved pet for long points of time, of course we have a open door policy with guardian families and give you camera access to whelping rooms. We make this as easy on families as possible but this is always the hardest part especially the first time. All breeding choices of whether a dog is breeding stock, pairings, timing and any other breeding discussion are solely the Foothill Aussies decision.
What are the next steps?
Please reach out to let us know if you are interested and to set up a time to conduct a phone interview. We will let you know what puppies we have coming into our program and discuss your home and lifestyle. Please start by filling out the below application.