GUARDIAN/Foster Home Program:
Because we are a hobby breeder who lives in a regular family household without full-time kenneled dogs, we do need puppy guardian homes. In order for a breeder to build up their own bloodline, it is necessary to breed several litters each year. The best prospects (puppies) are kept back to develop and train to see if they will eventually fit into the breeding program. The way the guardian program works is, I place my "pick of the litter" females i purchase in guardian homes. The dogs live in these homes for their entire life. The guardian parents do not pay for the dog, we give the dog to them.
Anyone who owns or has been owned by a schnauzer knows that schnauzers are people dogs. Schnauzers crave human companionship. They do not do well in kennels as their need for people is so strong that a kennel atmosphere can make them destructive, yappy and withdrawn. Those characteristics do not translate into a good pet or parent.We are a family of four who loves dogs and chooses to carefully and selectively breed a few females each year. Since we have no desire to have dozens of dogs running rampant in our household, but we want to breed more than one litter a year, we developed the Foster Family Program.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS:
We place our breeding females in selected foster homes between the ages of 8-12 weeks of age. These females are either bitches that have been purchased or they are "pick of the litter" female puppies that we select to keep back to see if they are good enough to enter our breeding program.
The foster family pays nothing for the puppy. They do agree that the dog will live as a house dog and in the family unit. Placing dogs in foster homes results in a far better life for a dog than living in a kennel. The foster family program is a good deal for the dog, a good deal for the foster family and a good deal for my breeding program. In my opinion, it is one of those "win-win" situations for everyone involved.
We are very selective in who we choose to become a foster family. The foster parents go through a detailed selection process. The ideal person is one who has just had a 10 or 11-year-old dog that has died of old age. This is a person who knows how to take care of a dog. We do not give dogs to people that want farm dogs, nor do we give people dogs that are going to keep them in an outside dog kennel. We also do not give dogs to people who have just had a dog that was accidentally killed (if it happened once it can happen again).
We try to make sure none of the dogs are placed in homes further than 1-2 hours away; however, exceptions are made.
Should the people spay the dog or refuse to allow us to breed the dog they agree to pay $5000
When we no longer wish to breed the dog the foster parents are required to spay the dog and provide a letter from their Vet confirming the spay was complete.
In addition if the foster parents do not tell us when a bitch comes in season (even if we do not plan on breeding it) they are liable for the price of a litter.
We track the females heat cycles. By knowing every heat cycle we can anticipate which bitches are going to come in season in which month. This allows us to plan a breeding season. That is the reason we threaten to take a bitch away if the foster parent does not tell me about a heat cycle. We also feel that this rule forces people to be more aware of what is going on with their dogs. They end up noticing other problems that come up besides heat cycles. Often we will decide not to breed on a heat cycle.
As a puppy grows up we monitor their temperament. We either go to the foster home or ask that the pups be brought to us occasionally. We will give free yearly booster shots to the foster dogs if they are brought back to our home. There is no charge for this. This is incentive for the foster parents to stop by every now and then.
If it is determined that a bitch is suitable for breeding, it will get bred here. She will come here, get breed and then go home again. She then comes back to us (5 days before whelping) to have the puppies. When we wean the pups (usually at 6 weeks) it goes back to the foster home. It is important to make sure the female stays with us for 4 or 5 days after it is taken off the litter. Some bitches go through extreme separation problems and would run away from the foster home if they were allowed to go home right after they come off of the litter.
The most we breed a female is twice year with a skip in-between. The most we breed in a lifetime is 5 litters. We will gladly pay a stipend per puppy per litter of $100 per puppy to help cover cost of food and vet care to be determined at the time of breeding.
When we reach a point where the qualities of puppies from a particular foster dog is not as good as the majority of the breeding stock we will drop the female from the breed list and ask the foster parents to get the dog spade and it then becomes their dog.
By constantly adding and subtracting dogs from the breed list we are continually able to improve the bloodline. Usually we will breed a bitch 2 times to 2 different stud dogs before we would drop it off the list. The decision to drop a bitch would be made on the quality of the puppies she produced. The problem is you need to wait awhile to monitor the development of a litter before deciding if the litter is "Very Good" - "Good" or "Could be Better."
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FOSTER HOME:
• Own their own home or rent with landlord's written permission that it is okay to keep a dog
• Have their own car
• Prior experience with schnauzers or poodles is a plus but not necessarily required - but prior dog ownership is a must.
• Be prepared to have their own vet listed as a reference
• Fenced backyard - or large enough property
• Be available to drive dog to and from our home come time for whelping and/or breeding. Some cases I can meet you half way.
* Be willing to crate train and housebreak.
* Afford to feed Lifes Abundance food and vitamins as recommended .
* Children over the age of 6 years old with no babies in the house. (This is not because of any danger, but rather that homes with babies tend not to have time to devote to a dog, in spite of good intentions.)
• Capable of moderate exercise
• Keep us updated on the puppy at least once a month, and when in heat, we must be notified so that we may keep track of the dog's cycles, with pictures every 1-2 months for us to follow the puppy's progress.
• Be willing to socialize the puppy by taking it everywhere possible and showing her life in general • Be willing to at the minimum take the puppy for obedience training
* Keep the dog groomed
*Provide dental care or necessary extra care as deemed needed.
*Provide medical attention in case of emergency.
*Keep insurance on dog
The foster parents are required to keep the dogs current on rabies, heartworm. The reason for this is that the state of Texas does not allow us to give Rabies shots or administer heartworm medication. We ask that the dogs be put on once a month heartworm pills during the mosquito season.
Foster Parents will be expected to have a dog crate of some kind in their home. Dog crates are used to housebreak dogs. We do not place dogs in homes where the dogs are allowed to run loose. That is just asking to have accidents and valuable articles chewed up. Our dogs are not meant to be kept as outside dogs.
If at any time something changes in a foster home and they are no longer able to keep a foster dog there is no problem with them returning the dog back to me. When this happens we will either place the dog in a new foster home or we will sell the dog, depending on the quality of her and her pups.
When people ask if we split the litters with foster parents, the answer is usually "NO." The only way we would ever consider splitting a litter with a foster parent is if the person puts a title on the dog. That is a rule that is cast in stone. Most foster parents find the pups cute, but they don't want more dogs. The kinds of people that take these dogs are not interested in breeding. If they are good foster parents and want another dog, we will give them a second one.
Any negative comments we have ever heard about not splitting litters have come from people that are not in the program. These people think it is not fair to let another person raise a dog and then we take all the pups from "the dog". Our position is that there are a lot of people in the world that have no interest in breeding, that make absolutely great pet owners (foster parents), that would never in their life consider paying $3000 plus for a puppy. For many they cannot afford it, for the rest, a $3,000 pet is not a priority for them. These people appreciate having a quality pet live in their home and the fact that we occasionally take a litter is of no concern to them, especially when they see the quality of my operation. They know the dog is well taken care of when it comes here.
If a person is interested in breeding then this is not a program for them. They should purchase a dog and get into the business.
We also get asked by an occasional foster parent if they can whelp a litter at their home. The answer is "NO". There is too much that can go wrong during a delivery.
From a breeder's standpoint, the only negative aspect of this program is the fact that you give up the sale of a puppy at the time that you place it in a home. You also do not have the option to sell the foster dogs if and when people call and want to buy older females.
It is our opinion that more people in this country should start programs like this. If we are to improve the breed of dogs (and it does not matter what breed we are talking about) we need to improve the way we breed. This program works.
Questions and Answers?
Who qualifies for a foster dog?
We are very selective in who we choose to become foster families. We want to make sure that our dogs go to safe homes where they will be well cared for and not allowed to escape and get lost or get run over by a car. We expect the dogs to be house dogs. We look for people who have had dogs before. The ideal person is one who has had a dog die of old age. This is a person who knows how to take care of a dog and is willing to make a commitment for life to one of our dogs.
We do not give dogs to people that want a watch dog, farm dog or to someone who wants to have them as a kennel dog. We will also not place a dog in a home where a dog has been accidentally killed (if it happened once, it can happen again.)
Foster families need to fill out an application form and be willing to provide references that can be contacted during the approval process.
We require in home visits to make sure the dog is being well taken care of.
How often does a female come into heat?
Females come into season twice a year. We typically only breed a female once a year. As we have more females than we need for breeding, not all of our females are bred every year. Since I am always on the look out for the "perfect mom", if I find her, I will breed her once a year. A female will generally be retired on or before her seventh birthday. Occasionally a "perfect mom" will be bred longer. The fact is that if a female is in good health, having a litter keeps her hormones flowing and she stays in excellent condition as a result. How many litters she will have in her lifetime is determined by her overall condition, the quality of her pups, her attitude and temperament as a mother, the ease of labor and delivery for her and how quickly she recovers optimum health after a litter.
Can I be there when puppies are being born?
When a female comes to us to have her puppies, we encourage visits and involvement from the foster family. We prefer to deliver the pups alone, as it can be very demanding and time consuming. After puppies are born we can set up a time for your visit. The interactions benefits everyone.
What about grooming my Schnauzer?
You are responsible for grooming. However, if a bitch needs grooming before leaving me after having babies, I will groom her.
What if I already have a dog in my home?
Depending on the personality and age of the dog already in a home, a dog may or may not be placed where there already is another dog. We will never place a female in a home where there is an un-neutered male (must provide proof). We will also not place a female in a home where there is another large female. Females fight with females. We try to eliminate bad situations by limiting the environment our dogs are placed in.
How far away do you place your dogs?
I prefer not to place my foster dogs in homes that are more than a 2 hour drive. In some cases, where we have an "ideal" family, we will make an exception.
Do we ever place older dogs in foster homes?
Some people know how much work it is to raise a puppy and would prefer not to go through the house breaking and chewing stages of a puppy. An older dog is a perfect solution.
Occasionally we have a young adult (and sometimes an older female) that we would like to place in a foster home. These are dogs that have been in foster homes and find themselves back in our home due to a divorce, relocation or sudden and severe family illness. Sometime people simply decide they can't carry on with the program and the dog finds its way back to us.
What about Medical Issues and the dog?
The foster family is required to keep the female current on rabies and heartworm medication (we can provide yearly boosters if needed at time of breeding). Flea prevention is at the discretion of the family however, if a female comes to us for breeding or whelping with fleas, the family will be charged for the cost of treating her. We strongly recommend treating your pet with Activyl monthly during the warmer months.
If there are any medical expenses as a result of a breeding or litters, this is taken care of by us.
What if something happens that causes the death of the dog that is beyond my control?
While we all try to make sure that everything is done to prevent harm or things by accident happening to our dogs, things can happen. We understand that. We would require a vet letter stating that the accident which resulted in a death was something that could not be prevented and that you were not at fault. If the bitch has not had a litter yet and you were negligent, you would be responsible for the purchase value of the dog as if you had purchased it. If the bitch has already had a litter, we will would not hold you responsible for repayment but would not place another puppy in your home.
How do I know when a dog should be bred?
We track a females heat cycles on our computer so we can anticipate when she will come in season next. We plan our breeding's based on the information that the foster family provides to us. This is why it is important that the information be accurate and delivered in a timely fashion.
We will be happy to go into detail with foster families regarding the signs of an impending heat and what to look for.
What if we decide that we don't want to be a part of the program anymore?
If at any time something changes in a foster home and they are no longer able to keep a foster dog, there is no problem with them returning the dog to us. When this happens, we will either place the dog in a new foster home or sell it depending on her quality and that of her pups.
Do we ever foster male dogs?
No, I do not foster out male dogs.
How much is the stipend? We pay $100 per puppy per litter for you to be able to afford vet care, food and grooming.
Under what circumstances do we take a dog out of a foster home?
There are only a few reasons that we would take a female out of a foster home:
1. If we find out they are allowing the dog to run loose without supervision.
2. If the female gets accidentally bred.
3. If the foster parents do not tell us when a female comes into season (even if we don't plan on breeding it). We will warn the foster family once and take it away if it happens again.
4. If someone is arrested for a criminal offense.
5. If someone moves without informing us that they have moved.
6. If someone allows a dog to become way, over weight and does not take steps to correct this.
7. General health and appearance of the dog is not good and dog is over weight*
8. If the dog is neglected or abused in any way.
9. If the dog is not kept current on rabies and heartworm medication.
10. If you do not feed Life's Abundance food.
11. If you do not keep insurance
Also, if the bitch dies, either from careless accident or neglect on the part of the Foster Family, they must pay Schnauers Of Taylor the current worth of the bitch. This will be stipulated in the contract.
Also, it should be noted that the process of whelping is not always perfect. Things can and do go wrong, and when you are whelping a litter, this thought it always in the back of your mind. Worst case scenario, you could lose your dog in the process, though more often than not - things do go smoothly. However, it is important that you fully understand this risk prior to being a part of our foster program.
*If you allow the bitch to become over weight and not healthy at time of breeding and we can not breed, we will allow one heat to get her weight under control. If it is not where we would like to see on next he it you will be asked to pay current rate of a puppy as price of your bitch. If you will not pay me that amount then I will have no other option than to take the bitch back into my care.