We have openings coming up for guardian homes. Please read the following information below before applying.
Please fill in an application form to start the process.
We are growing and looking for families to be a part of our Guardian Family program! A guardian family is one that loves and cares for one of our intact male or females while they do their breeding here and have their litters here in our home. The family gets the benefits of a quality puppy or dog as well us support from us. This enables each puppy to belong to a loving and caring family that can provided undivided attention as well as Bow Valley Labradoodles to expand our program.
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, there is no better way than this guardian program to breed dogs in a humane, loving environment. 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 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.
- All vaccines, dewormer and grooming need to be current. We ask our guardian families to communicate with us any appointments and deworming/vaccines given prior to any upcoming breeding times (at least a month in advance in particular for our girls to ensure the safety of our girls and any potential pregnancies).
- 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.
- 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. Please keep any candy, cleaners, or harmful foods to dogs up and away as this can cause death if not caught in time in the case of accidental ingestion.
- 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. A leash must be used at all times in public. Provide basic obedience training so the dog has manners. All things that should be done to protect your dog anyway. We ask our families to stay away from off leash dog parks while the dog is intact (protects the dog as well as prevents any unplanned and unwanted pregnancies)
- 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 else to do so at the cost of $100 per trip.
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 7-9 months of age, so we can have a calculated guess on when her next cycle will be.
- For our males once they have passes their preliminary tests and we are satisfied with any pre-training we can breed them around a year if they are mature enough.
How long is she with you when you breed? How long will the stud be with you?
- 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 ask one of our dog transporters if they are available for $100 per trip.
- For our males they are here for breeding times for a couple of days. Depending on distance the male may be able to go home and be returned when we need to do the next breeding session. Typically we keep them both here to minimize stress and lots of driving for our families.
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 between 7 - 9 days 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 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 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 during pregnancy and what do I have to do differently with the dog?
- Pregnancy is actually very 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 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. After the contract has been fulfilled, Bow Valley Labradoodles will give the guardian home permission to spay the dog at the guardians expense. Once proof of the spay is provided to Bow Valley legal ownership is than transferred to the guardian family.
- For our males dogs they will go through their testing and once passed have to be available to Bow Valley Labradoodles during certain times of the year. He will either visit us for a period of time on one day or we can keep him here for a few days depending on timing for breeding. Our males will stay in our program until they are 6 years of age at which time they will be neutered at the guardians expense and once proof is provided of the neuter ownership will be transferred over to the guardian family.
Who pays for the spay or Nueter surgery?
- The Guardian family pays for the spay or neuter 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. For males it before they are 6 years of age.
What happens if the dog doesn't pass a health test like you want them to for becoming a breeding dog?
- The Guardian program allows for a family to have a “breeding quality” dog for only $875.00. In addition, our guardian families of our females that pass receive $100 for each puppy born in a litter, to a maximum of 4 puppies, for each litter that your dog has for Bow Valley Labradoodles, in consideration for your time away from your pet and for taking such great care of her ($100 for each litter sired by males). If the puppy fails to meet the high testing standards we have set for our breeders’, then the Guardian Contract would revert to a pet contract for no additional charge. If we decide for any reason not to use the dog as a breeder, the dog would be neutered or spayed, at your expense, and you’d retain ownership under a pet contract. Our health warranty is the same for any dog raised at Bow Valley Labradoodles, whether it is in a Guardian Home or a pet home.
- At this stage we occasionally place puppies in their guardian home before the testing is done. Most often we wait until 5-6 months of age to receive the preliminary test results. 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.
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 cuts for a Labradoodle. The most important part is the head and ears. We want them to have the look a doodle 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 I can give specifics 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 returns to you. Guardian dogs are ambassadors for our program. It is important that they are maintained and not matted and in bad shape.
Some of the other benefits:
- Guardian Families can schedule trips during breedings/whelpings without worry or cost of kenneling their pets
- The dog doesn’t need to be re-homed as an adult after retiring.The dogs are well socialized and in stable, loving home environments. The dogs are well-loved, cherished family members
There are a few requirements for providing a Guardian Home for one of our dogs:
- Guardians must have some previous dog experience, especially for families interested in a male.
- Guardians must NEVER hit the dog with an object or their hand as a form of discipline.
- Guardians must live in a house with a fully fenced yard.
- Guardians must keep the dog on a leash when outside, unless the dog is in a fenced area.
- Guardians must take their dog to formal puppy classes, as well as further obedience classes and must achieve Canine Good Citizen Award with their dog.
- Guardians must ensure the puppy is socialized to adults (male and female, people of colour and people in hats, masks, costumes, etc.), children of all ages, other dogs and other species (ie cats).
- Guardians must provide appropriate veterinary or emergency care when needed,including vaccinations, de-worming, etc.
- All veterinary care is to be discussed with and approved by breeder, prior to any treatment taking place. Guardian’s veterinarian must be made aware that dog is a Guardian Breeding dog and that breeder is to be added to dog’s chart as co-owner.
- Guardians must feed the dog approved quality kibble (we use TLC) or a balanced RAW diet, along with required supplements, which change when females are pregnant.
- Guardians must not allow the dog to participate in extended strenuous running on concrete or other hard surface before 18 months of age.
- Guardians must not allow a female around intact males during her heat cycle.
- Guardians must not allow a male to breed ANY females other than those chosen by the breeder at a time determined by the breeder.
- Guardians are responsible for all transportation of bitch/stud to breeder at any time that bitch/stud is needed for health testing, progesterone testing, breeding or whelping. These times will be planned between breeder and Guardian.
- Guardians and all others that live within the home must be interviewed by the breeder.
- Guardians must communicate, cooperate and coordinate with the breeder regarding testing, matings, whelpings, and other breeding related activities
In order to qualify to become a guardian family we do ask that the dog is not left at home for more than 6 hours a day. We prefer that there is another dog in the family. Our dogs are used to our family being home for the majority of the day and absolutely love socializing with their people.
If you are interested in finding out more information and becoming a guardian family please contact us.