We now have a Puppy Foster Program available at Hartland Kennels. This section will explain why we are using it and how the program works. It will also let you know how you can apply to become a foster family and why it would benefit you.
The Basics of the Foster Program:
In order for us to give our dogs the best possible home it is important for us to limit how many dogs we keep at our home and kennel. As a breeder however we need to keep, evaluate and add quality bloodlines to our breeding program. We like to keep a few of our pick puppies to monitor their growth and development. Some will eventually fit into our breeding program. We prefer to place these pick female puppies in foster homes. The foster parents do not pay anything for the puppy, we give the dog to them to raise and love and keep as long as they like.
This program allows local families an opportunity to own one of the best German Shepherds or Mastiffs available without paying for it. The family must be approved as foster parents and agree to abide by our contract.
As a foster puppy grows up we monitor her temperament, drive and health. If the female is exceptional, she will be used in our breeding program. Before any dog is bred we will x-ray her hips (at our expense) to verify that she does not have hip dysplasia.. If the hips are not good we ask the foster parents to have the dog spayed and our breeding rights are terminated.
When a female is 2 years old she will come back to the kennel when she comes into season. After getting bred she will go back to her foster home. Then 4 or 5 days before whelping she comes back to the kennel and has her babies here and stays until she weans the pups (at 5 to 6 weeks). Females come into season twice a year. We only breed a female once a year for up to 4 breedings.
When a female is at our kennel we encourage visits from the foster parents. They can stop as often as they want and walk their dog and play with the pups. The foster home program is a good deal for the dog, it’s a good deal for the foster parents, and it’s a good deal for our breeding program. It’s one of those “win – win” situations for everyone involved.
Who Qualifies for a Foster Dog?
We are very selective of who we choose to become a foster family. Our primary concern is that our dogs go into safe homes where they will be well taken care of and not be allowed to escape or get bred while in season. We expect the foster parents to allow the dog to be a house dog. We look for people who have had dogs before.
We will not place a dog in the following homes:
1. Where the dog will be an outside dog only
2. Further than 150 miles from our kennel.
3. Everyone in the household does not feel this is a good idea
4. Families that are interested in breeding dogs (we are not placing dogs for breeding, only fostering)
5. Where there is not a secure, fenced yard.
6. If we are not allowed to visit dog or Foster Home. When a female is at our kennel we encourage visits from the foster parents. They can stop as often as they want and walk their dog and play with the pups. The foster home program is a good deal for the dog, it’s a good deal for the foster parents, and it’s a good deal for our breeding program. It’s one of those “win – win” situations for everyone involved.
What are the Foster Family’s Responsibilities?
While the foster family does not pay for the puppy (or young adult), they must agree to purchase a dog crate and a collar & leash. They must also agree to feed an approved quality kibble. The foster family must have a fenced back yard, a dog kennel or an in-ground fence system (like Invisible Fence).
Foster homes should have the following:
We will not place a dog in the following homes:
• Own their own home or rent a home with landlord’s written permission that it is okay to keep a dog
• Have their own car that is large enough to transport the dog.
• Prior experience with large breed dogs is a plus but not necessarily required – but prior dog ownership is a must.
• Be willing to crate-train, housebreak and teach the puppy basic obedience and good manners.
• Afford to spend approximately $100 per month as is usually required for dog ownership in general – which will include feeding a quality kibble, as well as regular vet checks and vaccines.
• Be prepared to have their own vet listed as a reference
• Fenced backyard or means to contain the puppy.
• Be available to drive dog to and from our home come time for whelping and/or breeding. (In some cases we may be able to meet you partway)
• Capable of moderate exercise.
• Children in the home over the age of 5 years old. (This is not because of any specific danger, but rather that homes with babies tend not to have time to devote to a dog despite best intentions.)
• Keep us updated on the puppy’s progress as well as all heat cycles and send photos on a regular basis.
What If I Have Another Dog Already In My Home?
We would never place a female puppy in a home where there was an un-neutered male. We also would not place one in a home with another large female.
Who Owns The Dog?
The foster family own the dog however the AKC registration papers remain with the breeder until the breeding obligations are met. The foster family will assume all liability for the dog and are responsible for the dog for her entire life. Once the breeding obligations are met, the foster family agrees to neuter/spay the dog. If at anytime the foster family can no longer care for the dog they agree to return her to Hartland Kennels. The dog may not be sold or given to any other party.
Do You Ever Have Older Dogs, Rather Than Puppies To Be Placed In Foster Homes?
Some people know how much work it is to raise a puppy and would rather not go through the house breaking and chewing stages of a puppy. An older female is a good solution for these people. At times we have young adults (and sometimes older females) that we would like to place in a home. These older females are all very nice dogs. They are house trained and have some basic obedience.
What About Medical Issues And The Dog?
It is the responsibility of the foster parents to make sure the dog remains in good health. The foster parents are required to keep the dogs current on routine veterinary care, shots, rabies and heartworm. We would take care of any medical expenses as a result of the breeding or litters.
How Do We Know When A Dog Should Be Bred?
The foster parent must keep us informed of the female’s cycles. Females come into season 2 times a year. When a female starts to cycle or drip blood we expect to get a phone call or email. If we plan to breed the bitch we will inform the foster parents ahead of time. Females are usually bred on the 11th and 13th day of their season. We take them into the kennel about the 6th day.
Do I Ever Split Litters with Foster People?
When people ask if I split the litters with foster parents, the answer is “No”. This is really not a program for someone who wants to be a breeder. We ask our foster puppies be taught basic obedience and taken to at least one set of puppy obedience classes. We do offer an incentive to foster families who choose to continue to train their dog. If the dog is titled in any AKC or SchH event we will offer the proceeds of one of this female’s puppies to the foster family for their efforts and expense. We do not require foster families to title their dog but encourage and support any activity that provides you bonding time with your dog.
Under What Circumstances Do We Remove a Dog from a Foster Home?
Our desire is to never have to remove a dog from a foster home, but should any of the following occur, we would be foreced to remove the dog: The dog is allowed to run loose when there is no supervision, the bitch gets bred by accident, the foster parents do not tell us when a bitch comes in season, the dog is neglected or abused, the foster family moves without informing us, or the dog must be rescued from an Animal Control facility. These reasons will be discussed in detail before any puppy is placed in a Foster Home. The Foster Parents must agree to all terms with the kennel and sign a contract with the breeder. Also, if the puppy dies, either from careless accident or neglect on the part of the Foster Family, they must pay Hartland Kennels the current worth of the dog. This will be stipulated in the contract.