Guardian Home Program
Here at Willowway we have a saying. The Willowway is the only way.
As a family that adores and appreciates our dogs, we do not believe that our furry, loyal and loving friends are well served raised in kennels. By placing puppies or young adult dogs that are part of our breeding program in a loving forever home, we are doing our best to ensure their happiness and give them their best life. Guardian home families reject problematic and often unhealthy puppies for mass breeders (aka puppy mills), but may not be able to afford a purebred dog or hypoallergenic poodle or doodle from a well-respected and trusted breeder.
We are very selective in who we entrust with our dogs. Guardian home families must be prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for the dog. Please read through this information thoughtfully and carefully if you are serious about becoming a guardian home family. Working together, we can help provide an ideal living situation for both you and your dog!
For guardian homes adopting a male dog, we would provide 24hr notice prior to picking him up for service, which would generally take 2-4 hours. If you are asked and able to take the stud to the Veterinary office for service, we will pay you $100 for your time.
If you are a guardian home to a mama dog, you will need to watch for and communicate with us at the first sign of heat-cycle bleeding. Over the next two weeks, we will pick her up 2-3 times to test her progesterone levels and have her bred. (A dog’s gestation period is 63 days.) We will then need to take her to the Vet approximately four weeks after breeding for an ultrasound to verify pregnancy. Then about three weeks later for an x-ray to get an accurate puppy count. About 5-7 days prior to her due-date, she will come to live with us to whelp her puppies. Over the next 6-7 weeks, you are welcome and encouraged to visit her. When the puppies reach about 6 weeks, they will be weaned and on solid foods, and mama will be ready to return home.
We breed our moma dogs 4-5 times in total and only when they are healthy and have fully recovered from their last litter. Once momma is done having puppies, she will be spayed (at our expense) and retire to her wonderful life and full ownership will be transferred to you.
What guidelines do I have to follow when raising the puppy or dog?
· We ask that you feed the same high-quality dog food that we use, which provides for a healthy, nutritional balanced diet to ensure proper digestion, quality coats and reduces food related risks of diabetes, tumors, cancers and allergies. Your dog may beg for table scraps, but you’re doing them a huge disservice if you give in. Table scraps make their own food less appealing and is the biggest contributor to health-related issues, such as: obesity, diabetes, cancers and food allergies. It must be avoided.
· We require guardian families to be highly cautious or avoid all together chemicals or poisons used for abatement of rodents, pests and insects.
· If the dog becomes sick or injured, we need to be notified immediately, so we are involved in any decisions regarding the health of the dog.
· We ask guardian families to practice safe handling of the dog. Do not leave the dog outside when no one is home. Use a leash on walks and when away from home. Provide basic obedience training so the dog has manners. Things that should normally be done to protect the well-being of your dog.
· If you’re leaving on a short trip or vacation, let us know, if we can we will be happy to watch the dog. If we are unable to watch the dog and you have to make other arrangements, please provide us with the name and number of where they will be. Services of a male dog may be needed while you are away.
What age do you start breeding the dog?
· We will usually begin breeding on the second heat cycle or a minimum of 13 months old. If a dog goes into heat at any time after 12 months of age, you must notify us immediately so we can assess whether or not to breed her. Our decision could depend on how many other girls are cycling and having upcoming litters, as well as her age and current 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 a dog pregnant?
· Dogs are pregnant for 63 days.
How long is she with you when she has the litter?
· Momma will come to us between 5 - 7 days before her due date. This gives her time to settle in and get comfortable at our house and get used to the whelping box. 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?
· Momma is very protective of her puppies and needs minimal commotion for the first 3-4 weeks. After that initial period, we welcome visits from guardian families.
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’s brought to us, but in every situation the dog is settled and comfortable and doing very well within a few hours. We spend the first few days showering mama with love and attention to help with the transition. We want mom to feel completely safe and relaxed. This will help mom to have a better overall experience and a better delivery.
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. 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. Staying in shape will help with delivery. The last couple weeks of pregnancy she will sleep more and her appetite will increase, but walks on a leash of 15 minutes or less are encouraged. This helps during delivery.
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 use of medications.
What expenses do the guardians pay for and what things does the breeder pay for?
· We pay for anything that has to do with the dogs reproductive and breeding needs.
· Guardian homes will pay for everything else: food, dishes, leashes, beds, crates, normal vaccinations, wormings, flea meds, heartworm meds, toys and grooming.
How many litters do you usually breed before retiring the dog?
· We contract for 4-5 litters. However, the health and well-being of the dog is paramount. If we find that the girl has problems with deliveries or it would be unhealthy for them to breed again, we will spay her (at our expense) and transfer full ownership.
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 a breed appropriate cut. Your groomer should know. Doodles will typically get what’s called a “Teddy Bear” cut..
· Grooming is a big part of proper dog maintenance. Regular brushing will keep them looking good and feeling good as well as matt free.