Frequently asked questions
What kind of puppy goes into a guardian home?
A puppy that goes into a guardian home is the pick of the litter, meaning that we have evaluated their health, temperament, and taken several other factors into account to determine that they fit what we're looking for to continue our program.
What are the benefits of being a guardian home?
Not only do you get an amazing dog without having to pay the $2,000-$3,000 we normally ask for our puppies, but you are able to be a part of a pretty amazing experience. We consider all of our Unipop Doodle owners to be part of the family, but when you become a Guardian Home, you truly become part of the team. In addition to adding an awesome dog to your family, you are able to participate in our program, helping to provide other families with the perfect dog for them, bringing happiness and joy to their families around the country.
What are the requirements to be a guardian home?
We want the best possible homes for all of our Unipop Doodles. We have a series of requirements for our guardian homes to ensure the best possible experience for both the family and the dog! To be considered for a guardian home, we ask that your family be willing to meet the following requirements:
• Live within 2 hours of Trenton, NJ or within 2 hours of Amherst, VA
• Have a yard with a physical fence (this is as much to keep unwanted dogs out as it is to keep your dog safe!)
• Commit to all the medical and grooming costs associated with owning a Doodle, as well as commit to training the dog to a basic level of obedience at the very least
• Commit to ensuring the dog is well socialized
• Be willing to bring the dog to visit our home every 3-6 months (either for playdates or for boarding if you’re out of town and we are available) this is to make sure your female is comfortable in our home when it comes time for whelping
• Send regular photos and updates to us to use on our website and our social media
• Agree to raise the dog as an indoor dog, using all precautions to keep him/her safe at home and while traveling
• Commit to sharing all veterinary records and results with us, both in case of emergency and for routine visits(we also require a vet reference prior to being approved as a guardian home)
• Be willing and able to identify when a female is in heat and notify us ASAP (we can teach you!)
• Dogs we place in guardian homes may not live with an intact dog of the opposite sex
At what age will you begin breeding the dog? How often will she be bred?
As soon as you are aware that your dog is in heat, we need you to let us know. We will begin breeding females around their second heat cycle (when they are about a year and a half), and using male dogs as studs around 18 months. Research has shown that females bred with back-to-back cycles are healthier long term, with lower risks of health issues, and have healthier litters. Generally, females in guardian homes will have 3-4 litters total before being spayed. With this in mind, we consult with our veterinarian for the best plan for each of our females
What happens during pregnancy?
During a dog’s pregnancy, life goes on pretty close to normal. A dog’s gestation period is 63 days (give or take a few days) and while we expect that families will give extra care to a pregnant mama, there isn’t too much that will change in the daily routine. She may be a little more tired for the duration, and becomes hungrier as time progresses. Normal activity, however, is typical and important - keep taking her on walks up until she comes to us. Normal play and romping around during the first half of her pregnancy is great, but after that we ask that you limit the “play” activity like ball chasing and excessive running/wrestling (offering her other activities like enrichment, walks where she can sniff at her leisure and mini training sessions are a great way for her to expend excess energy without overdoing it and keep her from getting bored).
Extra caution should be taken in regards to where she goes and what she eats while pregnant. If there is illness or injury, we ask that we be notified as soon as possible to help make any decisions on how she is treated by the veterinarian.
What happens when a mom is ready to have her puppies?
Moms in guardian homes return to us about a week before she is due so she can settle in and get comfortable. We can either pick her up if you live within 2 hours of Trenton, NJ or Amherst, VA, or you can drop her off. Normally, the goodbye is hardest on our guardian families and not our mamas! Because she will have visited our home on a number of occasions, it will feel like a normal playdate for her. It is important for guardian families to treat drop-off like a playdate so as to not stress mama out too much. She will settle into our home and her whelping space and we will shower her with tons of love and affection while monitoring her for signs of labor and preparing her for puppies (this often includes trimming/shaving her belly so it is easier for puppies to nurse, so don’t be alarmed when she looks a little funky when we send photos to you!).
Can we visit our dog when she has the puppies?
We ask that you wait to visit your mama dog until she is ready - usually after the first week or so. Until then, she is 100% focused on her babies. After that, we welcome visits! Mama dogs are ready for little breaks and will enjoy seeing her family by that point. We do, however, ask that you be aware of what dogs you have interacted with prior to visiting to decrease the risk of parvovirus, which is a lethal virus. We will also offer hand sanitizer to help mitigate the chances as well.
We will also keep you updated regularly on how she is doing (we love to send photos) to make the separation a little easier for you. We know it can be tough!
What happens if my puppy gets sick or injured while in the care of the guardian home?
If your puppy gets sick or injured, you would take care of her like you would any other dog - consult a vet and provide the appropriate care. We just ask that you keep us in the loop!
If your mama dog gets sick or injured while she is pregnant, we ask that you call us ASAP (after the vet of course), so that we can be a part of any major medical decisions regarding her health and safety, as well as the safety of her puppies.
What do we pay for as a guardian home?
As a guardian home, you will be responsible for the normal costs of owning a dog - grooming, food, normal veterinary visits, etc. We pay for any costs associated with breeding and pregnancy, including health testing, vet visits for mama dogs, and any supplements for both females and males.
How long will the dog be with you when she has her litter?
Our mama dogs come back to our home the week before they are due and remain with us until the puppies are fully weaned (around 8 weeks) and ready to go home. Technically the puppies are mostly weaned by 6 weeks, but those last two weeks are important to socializing the puppies - mama is teaching her babies how to be dogs!
What training is expected for a dog in a guardian home?
We know that training can be a daunting part of bringing home a puppy, but training is crucial to having a dog be a successful part of our program. But it isn’t anything crazy, we promise! At the bare minimum, we ask that you train the dog to be well behaved in the house, potty trained, and comfortable being handled by us and a veterinarian (especially their mouths, paws, and being held on their back or side for scans and tests). We also ask that they be socialized and comfortable with people of all ages and other dogs. We have a few training tips on our resources page to get you started!
What happens if a dog put in a guardian home doesn’t end up in your program?
If a dog we place in a guardian home ends up not being the right fit for our program (for whatever reason), we release the guardian family from the contract and the dog is theirs to keep as originally planned. We will pay for him/her to be spayed/neutered.
What happens if I have a male in a guardian home?
Having a male in a guardian home is much different since we will only use them possibly a couple times a year, for our females and occasionally females from other breeding programs. There may be times the guardian home would be responsible for transporting the dog to the vet for collection(we would cover the price of all breeding related vet vists.) The dog would need to stay intact until about 4 years old, at which time we would cover the cost for neutering. The biggest responsibilty for a male guardian home is to ensure he does not get to any unapproved females for unwanted pregnancies.