I believe the best socialised puppies, who make the best family dogs come from dedicated breeders like myself whose puppies are born in the home and are much loved members of the family. My puppies are born, brought up in the home, loved and socialised from the minute they are born.
My reasons for seeking Guardian Homes in the future is due to the logistical problem in the above scenario – most home breeders can only accommodate a limited number of adult dogs. So, for a small home breeder like myself once I have reached this limit there are only three options to consider as keeping dogs outside in kennels is just not an option I would ever consider and Australian Labradoodles as a breed do not cope well in kennel environments.
So I either:
1. Stop breeding
2. Rehome a much loved pet who has produced pups that have given joy to many families
3. Find a guardian home for a puppy with a suitable family who will love and cherish the pup for the whole of its life, build a relationship of trust and can embrace the values of myself the breeder.
Option 1 would result in the loss of my valuable experience as a well-researched and educated breeder and the loss of my valuable line of healthy, good tempered Australian Labradoodles.
Option 2 is not an option as there is no way that my loved dog could be sent away because he/she was no longer “useful.”
Option 3 allows myself as the breeder to continue to provide healthy, loving pets and at the same time provide the dog with a stable, long term, happy home life.
The guardian homes are always close to myself, the breeder, to allow the puppy to continue the bond she formed with me during her first crucial early weeks meaning that there is no stress when she returns to me to give birth.
Becoming a guardian home is not something to be undertaken without due consideration, and not a decision I have personally taken lightly. I have an exceptionally high standard of care for my breeding dogs, and expect no less of a Northbound breeding dog placed in a guardian home.
GUARDIAN NANCY, 2018
We have been a guardian home for Nancy for almost 2 years now and it has been the most amazing experience.
We brought Nancy home in July 2018 and the support, guidance and knowledge Johanne has provided us with is second to none. Without her knowledge and expertise we would have struggled with all aspects of being a puppy owner.
She is always available to speak with for a friendly natter or to ask questions about diet, training and any struggles we have faced and this has been an amazing help.
Johanne is not just a breeder, she goes above and beyond for her dogs. Always keeping us up to date with new training programmes, new food recommendations and everything she does is always to benefit her dogs and their owners.
I could not recommend Johanne highly enough and we are so grateful to be able to be a guardian home for Nancy.
The right guardian home must be committed to the following;
- essential socialisation
attending training to a minimum Kennel Club bronze award
feed exactly the same food I feed whilst in my breeding programme
maintain a healthy body condition for breeding
appropriate exercise to the age of the dog
grooming and ear care
the guardian girl must also spend a catch-up weekend with me every 5-7mths.
to not allow the dog to go up and down stairs prior to hip/elbow xrays.
Additionally the right family home must show common sense and regular communication with me.
The guardian home is entrusted with a critical part of my future breeding programme and business, this privilege must be respected and we must have a relationship of honesty.
The puppy placed will remain the legal ownership of myself whilst he/she is a Northbound breeding dog, and ownership only transferred to the guardian home once the dog is neutered at my expense.
The puppy will return to me for health testing, mating and again for birthing (c.7weeks in my care). The female dog will spend approximately two thirds of her time in the Guardian home (prior to spay), and will be required for occasional stay in the Northbound breeder home in the first two years in order that she feels happy and comfortable here before returning to whelp.
I will happily take in the girl whilst in season if a Guardian Home prefers this.
All health testing and vet related breeding costs are the responsibility of myself the breeder, all routine costs and insurance are the responsibility of the guardian home.
I expect the guardian dog to not go upstairs or sleep upstairs prior to hip scoring.
I provide all guardians with a Tractive GPS device to attach to the dogs collar to give that extra security and peace of mind.
GUARDIAN BESS, 2019
We have been a guardian home for Bess since September 19, we’re loving every minute of it and its been one of the best decisions we have ever made. We had been thinking about getting a dog for a while before becoming guardians, but as a couple who both have allergies we were concerned about getting a dog, one of us having health issues, then having to give it up. We looked at different hypoallergenic dogs and were really attracted to Australian Labradoodle as a breed, they ticked all the boxes. Through breeder searches we found Northbound on our doorstep and read about being a guardian on the Northbound website. This was something that appealed to us and fitted into our lifestyle.
We arranged to meet Johanne (and her dogs) and we had a good honest chat about what we were looking for, our concerns re: allergies and what being a guardian entailed. We felt being a guardian was the right thing to do for our first dog. Added to that we had the peace of mind that if we did suffer health wise were not obligated to keep a dog and we knew returning to Johanne would not be an issue.
Johanne identified the dog for us and we took an 8 month old Bess into our home and she is absolutely perfect – healthy, excellent temperature, great with people, children and other dogs. She is now a massive part of our family and its been an amazing experience.
The support and guidance Johanne provides is invaluable and she is always available for advice, being new to dogs this is just what we need. She advises on training, exercise, food etc to ensure Bess grows up to be as perfect as her other dogs (of which we have also looked after for short periods). She provides this support and advice for all the guardian homes and also owners of her dogs.
Can’t recommend Johanne highly enough and would happily chat to anyone thinking of becoming a guardian.
A question often asked by guardian homes is; will the dog miss me too much? Actually, the dog really doesn’t!
We perversely want our dogs to miss us so we feel an odd gratification that the dog needs us. The pups that go into guardian homes have lived with me for a while or been bred by me. This means I am very much their home and family too.
This is a positive thing for the dog as they have two homes that love her/him dearly and can fit in beautifully with both. I have never had a guardian home dog come back to me and pine for their guardian home family….it just doesn’t happen.
They have a wonderful time here with me and my other dogs.
Another question raised is; can I come and visit when my guardian home girl has had her pups?
Absolutely, I would expect you to come over and visit, it’s not a problem at all.
The gorgeous girl, once she has fully raised her puppies will be returned back to you in the best condition.
Finally, what if I don’t want the girl to return to you and have a litter?
That will never happen, because that is why my chosen girl (or stud) is in my Northbound breeding programme and in a guardian home not a pet home.
So being a guardian home is probably not the path to suit you.
Or you accept my girl will come back to me for her health tests, mating and raising of pups, or he/she is returned to me permanently. It really is that simple.
It is worth noting that should the guardian home dog not be kept in a healthy condition as assessed by a vet or the guardian renege on the agreed legally binding contract, or the dogs upbringing is in conflict to my high standards, then the dog will be removed from the guardian home with immediate effect and a potential financial penalty based on business loss should the male/female dog be unable to fulfill their contract terms. This has occurred on two previous occasions, and I have no qualms about removing my breeding dog from your home.
However, removal of a guardian dog is highly unlikely to happen as both parties are fully aware of the conditions of the guardian home contract, we do build up a friendship, a trust in each other and a love for this delightful breed.
Plus I fully support and mentor my guardian homes on all areas of puppy and dog development, training, exercise and feeding.
Preference will be given to current Northbound puppy owners, family or friends in the North West area, although other North based homes will be considered if suitable.
GUARDIAN TIMMY, 2020
We were a little apprehensive about being a guardian home at first, worried it would mean lots of challenges and us feeling out of our depths. Rescue dogs were all we had known, having our first puppy be a prospect stud dog was another layer of concern!
We were proven wrong and have loved every second being Timmy’s guardian home. We have fallen in love with this breed! it is a real honour to be apart of the Northbound programme, Johanne goes above and beyond for guardian homes, she is extremely passionate about raising healthy and happy dogs.
Johanne has been there every step of the way, no question too silly and she will support you throughout. We have learnt a great deal about what goes into ethical breeding and the welfare of these dogs from health tests, feeding, grooming, mating… you name it! Johanne has a wealth of knowledge, any difficulties you may face she will be there at a drop of a hat to offer assistance to ensure that you feel comfortable with being a guardian home.
There is a real community at Northbound with arranged dog walks with other owners, speaking to other guardians and a private Facebook group which offers support, humour and a shared love for the Northbound dogs. You automatically feel very welcomed and we wouldn’t go anywhere else to get a dog!
Thank you for entrusting us with Timmy, we couldn’t ask for better support or a better breeder.