Have you heard of dog guardianship, but you’re not exactly sure what it entails? Are you looking to buy a new dog, but you’re not really sure if you can afford it? Becoming a Guardian Family for a dog breeder may be your best option. It’s an excellent way to bring a new pet into the family without having to fork out hundreds of dollars.
That said, not everyone is suitable to be a Guardian dog owner or family. If you’re unsure whether or not you’d be a good fit, read on to hear our pros and cons of being a Guardian dog owner.
What Exactly is a Guardian Dog Owner?
First, let me tell you a little more about what a Guardian dog owner is, so you can get a better idea of what your role would be.
A Guardian or Guardian Family is a person or household that agrees to raise and care for a breeder’s dog as a beloved family pet. This is a formal contract between the Guardian and the breeder to keep the dog in good health, and to allow the dog to be bred a certain number of times before they are retired.
Dog breeders use Guardians to ensure that their dogs have happy, healthy, fulfilled lives. It is far more humane than the alternative of puppy farms, which do not provide the love, care, and attention any dog needs to thrive.
In most cases, the Guardian or Guardian family becomes the dog’s permanent owner after it has produced a certain number of litters. Every case is different depending on the contract.
Pros and Cons: Being a Guardian Dog Owner
If you’re wondering, Should I be a Guardian home for dog, you’re in the right place. Below, I’ve rounded up the pros and cons of being a Guardian dog owner or family so you can make the best decision. As the old saying goes, a dog is for life. Make sure you’re in the right position to take on the role before making any commitments.
Here are the pros of being a Guardian dog owner.
It Reduces the Cost of Having a Pet
While this should not be the sole reason for you choosing to be a Guardian owner, it certainly is a benefit. Agreeing to act as a Guardian owner usually means that you won’t have to pay anything to have a pet. That means you may be able to have an expensive breed without having to pay the regular price for it. In some cases, an initial deposit may be needed. Once the contract is fulfilled, the dog is legally yours to keep.
In some instances, you will also receive help with medical bills and other costs, depending on your legal agreement with the breeder. However, it’s important to check whether or not this is the case before signing the agreement. If you think you won’t be able to afford the medical bills, food, and other expenses, being a dog Guardian probably isn’t the best decision.
Most of the time, it is down to the Guardian to cover medical expenses and insurance. The dog breeder will fund all breeding-related expenses.
You’ll Get the Best of the Litter
A great benefit of being a Guardian owner is that you generally get a very healthy, well-behaved dog. That’s because dog breeders only choose the best puppies of a litter — those showing signs of good health and temperament — to be breeders. That means you get to take care of a dog that’s going to be healthy, friendly, and well-behaved. In fact, the majority of times, you’ll even be able to choose the dog yourself.
When you buy a dog, you never know what kind of temperament or in what kind of health it really is. You could end up paying all that money, bringing her home, and then several weeks later forking out hundreds if not thousands on veterinary bills.
As a dog Guardian, it will still be down to you to keep the dog healthy and happy, but at least you’ll be starting with a very promising base. That makes your life A LOT easier!
You’ll Be Sparing Her from a Miserable Life on a Puppy Farm
While many people don’t agree with dog breeding, deeming it a cruel and inhumane practice that serves the purpose solely of making a profit, it’s probably always going to exist. You can make life a little more enjoyable for the dogs being bred by providing a safe and loving home.
Without Guardian Homes, breeding dogs would be forced to live only on puppy farms — typically, large-scale commercial operations with poor living conditions. At puppy farms, dogs are usually kept in overcrowded, dirty environments and confined to small cages without ever being allowed to walk. Most of these dogs end up suffering from a range of health and behavioral issues as a result of not being housed or cared for properly.
As a Guardian dog owner, you can give your dog the life it deserves. You can give it lots of love and attention, take it for walks, feed it nourishing food, and cater for its every need. It’s one less dog suffering on a puppy farm.
You’ll Have a Lifelong (Well, Almost) Companion
Research shows that people with pets experience greater health benefits than those without. Since you’ll be a dog owner for life once you’ve fulfilled your contract duties, you can expect to enjoy the many benefits being a dog owner brings.
For starters, pet owners are less likely to suffer from mental health conditions like depression than those without pets. Another study shows that people with pets have lower blood pressure than those without pets. And just to put all the health benefits of having a dog into perspective: research shows pet owners over 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to the doctor than those without furry friends. In a way, having a dog is an investment in your overall well being.
This just goes to show that being a Guardian dog owner can keep you just as healthy and happy as your Guardian dog. You’ll be doing each other a favor.
Here are the cons of being a Guardian dog owner.
It Requires You to Stay in the Same Place for the Next Few Years
Since you’ll need to live close to the breeder, you won’t be able to relocate — or at least, not far away — while you’re under contract with the breeder. For at least the next year or two (possibly more depending on your contract), you’ll need to live close to the breeder.
This also means you won’t be able to travel around regularly, as you’ll need to be available for meetups with the breeder. Like vacationing for a few weeks at a time? Then you’re probably not the best candidate for being a Guardian dog owner.
As a Guardian owner or family, it is your responsibility to keep the dog close for when checkups or breeding is required. Plus, it goes without saying that it’s not really fair on the dog to keep traveling around if it means he’s forced to live in kennels for long periods of time. He’s supposed to be a family member after all.
Make sure you’re happy with the idea of staying put for the next couple of years or so before jumping into being a Guardian pet owner — for your sake and the dog’s.
It Can Be Time Consuming
Whether you’re a regular dog owner or a Guardian dog owner, having a pet takes work and time. As a Guardian, it will be your job to keep your pooch well-trained. That doesn’t mean you need to train your dog to be like Lassie, but it does mean incorporating some basic obedience to keep things in line and reduce stress on the dog. Just make sure you maintain consistency with the rules and expected behavior to save confusing your dog and weakening the effectiveness of the training.
As a Guardian, you need to be willing to socialize your dog and devote the time to exposing her to other people and animals. What’s more, you’ll be expected to work with the breeder from time to time. From extra vet visits to checkups and delivering her for the breeding period, you’ll need to find a balance between your family life, work life, and pet’s needs.
It’s extremely important to consider how much free time you have. How much can you really dedicate to taking care of a new family member? It’s not fair on the dog or you if you don’t have adequate capacity to cater for her needs.
You’ll Be Dealing with Blood
Squeamish? Then you’ll probably want to skip it.
When female dogs go into season, they’ll experience vulvar swelling and vaginal bleeding. This usually becomes apparent a few days after she has come into estrus. Some female dogs experience heavy vaginal bleeding, while others have minimal bleeding. This means you’ll be dealing with blood. If that’s an issue for you, becoming a Guardian dog owner or family probably isn’t for you.
From the start of the heat period, she will be attracted to male dogs. Mating will not begin until about 7 to 10 days into the cycle. At the beginning of the cycle, she’ll experience discharge that is thick and bloody, but towards the end the discharge will become watery and blood-tinged.
During this time, it will be your responsibility to deal with the blood, and keep her away from undersexed dogs. If you think you can handle the responsibility of dealing with a female dog in heat, go for it! If not, I recommend steering clear!
You’ll Have to Give Her Up For Weeks On End
Probably the hardest part of all: having to give your dog up for weeks on end every year. As part of your duty as a Guardian dog owner, you’ll be expected to return her to the breeder for about nine weeks whenever she’s ready to whelp her litter. That’s a long time without your beloved pet! For many people, it might simply be too long.
Without a doubt, it’s emotional and even more difficult if you have young kids, as it’s a difficult concept to explain. On the plus side, you get the joy of knowing your dog is going to have babies that will make another person or family just as happy as she makes you and your kids.
However, it’s definitely worth contemplating before becoming a Guardian dog family or single owner. Can you really deal with the pain of giving her up for several weeks at a time? If it sounds too difficult, you may not be the best candidate for a Guardian pet owner.
Requirements for Becoming a Guardian Dog Owner
If you are serious about becoming a Guardian home, you must have the following:
- Previous experience with dogs
- Ability to teach basic commands such as sit, stay, and leave it.
- Live close to the breeder and be willing to stay in the same place for the agreed period of time.
- Willing to let the breeder visit your home.
- Have a fully fenced yard.
- Provide proper veterinary care, grooming, and vaccinations.
- Provide regular exercise.
- Notify the breeder when your female dog begins her heat cycle.
- Ensure that the dog is well socialized with other dogs and people.
- Not allow the dog to be around intact males during the heat cycle.
- Not allow another person to breed other females without your breeder’s permission.
Of course, the rules and requirements for being a Guardian owner will depend on the breeder and the specific contract. For example, in some cases it may be down to the breeder to pay all veterinary expenses. It’s best to discuss everything with the breeder before signing a contract to check you’re willing to commit to all the requirements. Only when you are happy with everything, should you sign the contract.