What is a Guardian Home?
A guardian home is simply a breeder owned dog already in his/her forever home. We believe that puppies or dogs are the happiest not being raised in a kennel. 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 when using guardian homes. Most guardian homes are families who cannot afford to purchase a one of our dogs. Others simply like the idea of how our program works and want to be a part of it with us. For those who could not afford to purchase a family pet outright, the guardian home option is a fantastic way to have a beautiful loving dog. We benefit as a breeder because we do not need to have or use 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. There are always a lot of questions that people have about the guardian program. The list of questions and answers below are our best attempt to answer all questions right up front so someone does not feel like they weren't really know how our program works. Hopefully this information doesn't overwhelm you. It really is a quite simple program even though it may seem complicated and we are here to help.
Hidden Joys – Guardian Program
Guardian Home Puppies Available Soon - Adoption Information Our Dogs Contract
The main thing to remember, is that if we as a people truly don’t like the idea of puppy mills, to my knowledge there is no better way than using a guardian home 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 truly value not only our dogs as family members and we hope that you can see how this program benefits families but also our four legged friends!
What guidelines do I have to follow when raising the puppy or dog?
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 cause health issues, things like cancers, tumors, allergies, etc. The foods we ask you to feed are easily found but are the same great food we feed our own dogs. We require the family to avoid all chemicals unless necessary, and to not give supplements or medicines unless approved by us. This includes flea, heartworm, or any other meds. We use Advantage and Frontline for the flea medications and your Vet will prescribe the heartworm medication. 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. We ask the family to practice safe handling of the dog. To not leave the dog outside if they are not at home. Do not 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. 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. We will not meet families or pick up dogs ourselves. This is the guardian home responsibility and part of how they earn the dog through the program. We do expect that the dog only come to us within 1-2 days of when needed and be picked up 1-2 days after they are ready to go. We are not a boarding facility and have dogs coming and going all the time. Should you be unable to drop off or pick up your dog, we can usually arrange for someone to do so at the cost of $100 per trip. If boarding is needed we can arrange it for $100 per week.
What age do you start breeding the dog?
We will usually breed on the first heat following when the dog reaches 12 months of age. 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. Again, please be aware that we will not house the dog for long periods before or after the times they are needed. If you are unable to drop off or pick up the dog within 1-2 days of when needed, you will be required to find someone else who can do so for you, or we can arrange for at the cost of $100 per trip.
How long is a dog pregnant?
Dogs are pregnant for an average of 63 days.
How long is she with you when she has the litter?
She will come to us about a week or so 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 amazingly comfortable with being in our house and being with us all the time. We do not want the mom to be stressed by being with us. Especially, when she is getting ready to whelp. She will go home after puppies are weaned. This will be between 6 and 7 weeks of age.
Can we visit her when she has the puppies?
We do not allow guardian homes to visit until puppies are at least 6 weeks of age. 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 affect the dog emotionally to go from the guardian home to the breeder's home?
Not really. There is an initial "Where is my family going?" when they bring her to us, but the dogs become settled and comfortable and do not mind 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 puppies. The less stress and the more relaxed she is, the better it is for puppies. 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 during pregnancy and what do I have to do differently with the dog?
Pregnancy is actually extremely easy. I have a list of what happens each week during the development of puppies, and I give that to our guardian homes at the time we begin breeding. 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 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. No chemicals may be given during pregnancy. We have to be notified immediately of any illness or injury so we can 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 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. 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 four litters. We may only breed three or two, or one, but we have the option of four. We are concerned for the wellbeing 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 and have her hormone levels return to normal. This is usually about 2 months after puppies are weaned. We pay up to $200 for the surgery to the vet directly, so if you choose a vet that charges more than this amount please be aware you will have to pay the difference. The average spay fee is $263 nationwide, but some vets charge as much as $400.
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 won’t breed with that dog. However, the biggest problem with placing puppies early is that if the girl were to have borderline tests and we decided not to use her in our breeding program, it makes financial sense for us to sell her as a pet. We recognize the hardship on the family and the dog if we were to have to sell the puppy. If the guardian does not want to give up their pet and a dog is not utilized as a breeding dog for ANY reason before they are 2 years of age, the guardian home would be responsible to pay $1,000. In some cases we might waive all fees based on our working knowledge of our guardian family.
What are the grooming requirements and do you want us to keep the dog clipped a certain way?
We ask that families keep the dog in one of the typical grooming for the breed of dog. The most important part is the head and ears. We want them to have the look the dog is supposed to have, especially when they come to visit us the first time around 9 months of age as I try to get a lot of pictures of them for the website. It's very easy and most groomers will do okay if given specifics when you take the dog in. If you do the grooming or cutting yourself, it's not that difficult and we can give help on how to do it. It's actually quite fun. I enjoy my time clipping away at the coat. We do require that the dog be kept groomed and matt 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 is returned to you. Guardian dogs are an extension of our breeding program. It is important that they are maintained and not matted and/or in bad shape at anytime.
GUARDIAN HOME PROGRAM
At Hidden Joys Homestead, llc we believe that every dog deserves to have a loving, forever home. All of our dogs are part of our family and live in our home rather than kennels so that we know they are getting as much attention as possible. Because of this we have decided to offer a Guardian Home Program. 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. Rather than buying this puppy you will be putting down a $500 deposit (3-4 litters or up to the age of 6 for females & up to the age of 7 for males). Hidden Joys Homestead, llc will retain ALL breeding rights. We reserve the right to cancel our guardianship program at anytime if we deem necessary. Once retired, he/she will be required to be neutered/spayed at our expense within 2 months.
If you are a Guardian for one of our females you will be compensated $300/litter over 6 puppies once her puppies go home. You are welcome to schedule a visit while she is with us and play with the puppies!
As a Guardian Home you will be required to pay for the everyday expenses of owning a dog including annual exams, vaccines, food, etc. We will pay for all breeding related costs including health testing.
Becoming a Guardian Home is not for everyone. You MUST be willing and able to follow these requirements:
Have previous experience with dogs.
Be willing to teach basic commands such as sit, stay, lay-down, and leave it, bed.
Be willing to socialize puppies. This is very important!
He/She must be an indoor pet and never left unattended outside.
Feed a premium, quality food.
All other dogs in the home MUST be fixed if they are the opposite sex.
Provide regular exercise.
Willing to let us, the breeder, visit your home.
Contact Breeder immediately in the event of a serious illness or accident.
Send a copy of all vet visits to Breeder.
Must not allow he/she to mate with any unapproved dogs.
Provide veterinary care when needed.
If you are a guardian for a female dog, you must be willing to drop her off for 1-2 weeks while she is bred. Then drop her back off 1 week prior to her whelping date. She will stay with us until the puppies are weaned.
If you are a guardian for a male dog, you must be willing to drop him off for 3-5 days for breedings unless arrangements are made ahead of time for us to pick him up.
Be able to communicate with us, the breeder, about scheduling testing, mating, whelping, and anything else breeding related.
If you are interested in becoming a Guardian Home for one of our dogs, ask us about our Guardian Home program. We look forward to hearing from you!
Info about breeding Females
Caring for a pregnant dog....
Puppies are exciting. If you are new to the world of breeding, or you are a guardian family of a mother - awaiting the birth of a litter, the wait can seem eternal. Luckily for us (and for the dog), the gestation period in dogs is much shorter than the gestation period in humans.
You will be caring for a pregnant dog who will have her puppies when with the breeder. The details given here are for information purposes and education.
- ALERTS!!!! Please read and take these warnings seriously FOR PREGNANT DOGS.
- PLEASE WATCH YOUR DOG – AND DO NO LET THEM BOUNCE OR BANG OF SHARP CORNERS OF FURNITURE WHILE PREGNANT.
- NO EXPOSURE TO OTHER DOGS IF POSSIBLE
- EXTRA FOOD IS Crucial – BUT DO NOT FEED EXTRA TYPES OF FOOD SUCH AS PROTEIN.
A probiotic is required daily for all guardians- even when pregnant.
- EXTRA SLEEP, WATER AND TLC FOOD IS RECOMMENDED.
- NO RUNNING OR EXCESSIVE EXERCISE AFTER 4 WEEKS OF PREGNANTCY.
- NO MEDICATIONS, SHOTS OR VET VISITS UNLESS DISCUSSED WITH THE BREEDER.
- IF YOUR SUSPECT YOUR DOG IS SICK OR DELIVERING EARLY CONTACT THE BREEDER IMMEDIATELY
- PLEASE BE SURE TO LOOK AT YOUR DOG TO RECOGNIZE A HEAT AND REPORT IT TO THE BREEDER ASAP!! EVEN IF SHE IS NOT BEING BRED.
- how long does a dog’s pregnancy last? 63 DAYS PLUS OR MINUS 5 DAYS.
VITAMINS AND PROBIOTIC
As with people we can imagine the benefits for us is the same as it is for dogs
All dogs can benefit from probiotics, which aid digestion and modulate the immune system. Probiotics produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which inhibit the growth and activity of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, as well as providing other benefits to the intestines.
The multivitamin is for overall good health especially for breeding dogs - it’s important that the vitamin has a folic acid in it.
Travelling for pregnant dogs:
Our experience with having guardians visit us or go on long car rides or extended stays away from home for pregnant dogs past the middle of their pregnancy has caused loss of litters.
Our vet is suggesting that after a dog has been bred it’s best not to take them away from home which includes bringing them to the us before a week before she is due.
So planning a vacation in the middle of your dogs pregnancy is not advised.
Friends & family purchasing pups:
We do offer friends and family a position in your dogs litter but we do need to have those reservations in as soon as we know your dog is being bred- so we can get them a position on that list. We do offer a $200 discount on one puppy per litter for a direct family member.
The fall season also brings mud snow and Matted dog coats lol. It’s important to keep your dog brushed and keep the grooming going so that we don’t end up with matted or dogs it’s very important to be on top of it if you need help with grooming please reach out.
Satin ball recipe:
If you have a dog you’re trying to add weight on after a pregnancy or a dog that is super hungry during pregnancy here’s a recipe for something called satin balls that can be given as well as regular kibble -
1 to 2 positive can make a difference on weight gain for your dog.
1 pound ground beef (high fat content)
1 jar all-natural peanut butter
12 raw egg yolks
1 cup rolled oats soaked in milk
2 cups dry dog food, crushed fine
2 packs cream cheese
½ cup corn oil
1 cup cottage cheese
additional crushed dry dog food, as needed
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Freeze into meatball-sized balls and thaw as needed.
How to detect a dog in heat
We’ve had a few issues with guardians missing heats or heats not being detected until later in there cycle.
It’s important to watch the behaviour of your dog. When you see them becoming clingy, a little more needy - that’s usually the first indicator of the heat. Keep looking at the vulva and looking to see if it is swollen and of course a show of blood.
Just a bit of advice regarding dog parks - it’s important to realize that often there are people there that don’t have very good control on their dog and aggressive behavior can happen quite easily from other dogs attending the park.
The biggest concern is your dog getting a virus or being infected with the bacteria as dog parks usually aren’t the cleanest places.
There is risk of your dog getting hurt or your dog developing fear against other dogs.