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What is a Guardian home?

A guardian program is a strategy used by responsible breeders to ensure that their breeding dogs receive proper care and attention while also maintaining a manageable number of dogs on their premises. Here’s how it typically works:

1. **Selection of Guardian Homes**: I identifies suitable homes for their breeding dogs. These homes are often local to the breeder and may include families or individuals who are interested in having a high-quality purebred dog but may not necessarily afford the full purchase price.

2. **Guardian Agreement**: The breeder and the guardian enter into a formal agreement that outlines the responsibilities of both parties. This agreement typically includes details about the care, health, training, and breeding of the dog.

3. **Ownership**: The breeding dog remains the legal property of the breeder, but it lives with the guardian family as their pet. The guardian family is responsible for the day-to-day care and expenses of the dog, such as food, grooming, veterinary care (excluding breeding-related costs), and training.

4. **Breeding Responsibilities**: When the dog reaches breeding age and passes health tests, it is temporarily returned to the breeder for breeding purposes. After completing the agreed-upon number of litters or breeding cycles, the dog may be spayed or neutered and officially retired from the breeding program.

5. **Health and Care Standards**: The breeder ensures that the dog receives regular veterinary check-ups and necessary vaccinations. They may also provide guidelines on nutrition, exercise, and grooming to the guardian family.

6. **Reproductive Management**: During breeding cycles, the breeder may coordinate with the guardian family for estrous monitoring and breeding management. The guardian family must follow the breeder's instructions to ensure the health and well-being of the dog and the puppies.

7. **End of Program**: Once the breeding dog is retired, it remains with the guardian family as a pet for the rest of its life. Some programs may include provisions for the transfer of ownership to the guardian family at the end of the breeding career, depending on the initial agreement.

**Benefits of a Guardian Program:**
- **Improved Welfare**: Dogs in guardian homes often receive more individual attention and care than if they were in a large kennel environment.
- **Health Monitoring**: Close proximity to the breeder allows for regular health checks and prompt veterinary care if needed.
- **Maintaining Quality**: Allows breeders to maintain a high standard of care and genetics while managing a smaller number of dogs directly.

Overall, a guardian program allows responsible breeders to expand their breeding program without compromising the welfare of their dogs, ensuring each dog receives the attention and care it deserves throughout its life.

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