Guardian FAQ

At High Desert Labradoodles we absolutely love our dogs, and it’s important to us that our breeding dogs all be a part of a family…your family!  As our breeding program grows, we’re able to do this with our Guardian Home program.  Sometimes the information given to you at the time you picked up your puppy can be overwhelming.  This page is designed to help answer questions for you as a Guardian Home as well as provide you with tips on things to look for.

Frequently Asked Guardian Questions:

Q. Should I microchip my Guardian Dog?


A. No. Every one of our breeding dogs will be microchipped by us and at our expense when they come here for their testing prior to their breeding career starting.

Q. Can my Guardian Puppy go for a run with me?


A. Dogs and their bones are very similar to humans in that their bones are not fully developed and fused at the time we place them in your home. As they grow and mature their bones and joints will begin to connect into their final positions. We ask that running be limited until the dog is 9-months old. That does not mean you cannot play fetch in your backyard or go for a light jog with your puppy on a leash. However try to keep the puppy away from a full sprint in that 9-months when at all possible. Jogging and jumping around is completely fine and normal for a puppy. Also, limit and try to avoid taking your puppy on jogs on cement for the first 9-months to allow its joints and hips to grow well.

Q. How often do females come into heat?


A. About every 6-8 months

Q. How long does heat last?


A. heat cycle typically lasts 18 days.

Q. When will her first heat be?


A. Anywhere from 8 – 12 months. Every dog is different and can vary based on the genetics from their mother.


Q. How will I know she’s in heat?


A. There are 5 main signs to notice if she is in heat:

1. Swollen vulva: You should keep the hair neatly trimmed in this area at all times to keep infections from forming. This will also allow you to easily notice if becoming swollen.

2. Bleeding: This is usually the first sign you will notice. Discharge varies during the cycle, and it is initially bloody to clear or straw-colored. The amount of discharge varies from slight to heavy, depending on the dog, as does the length of time discharge occurs.

3. Licking Vulva Area: Most dogs keep themselves very clean so if you see excessive licking this is a good sign. Dogs still need to wear diapers during the heat cycle to prevent soiling bedding and the house as well as keeping them safe during the heat (we will explain more on diapers later).  

4. Agitated, Nervous, or Nesting Behavior: Your dog might appear more anxious than usual or more clingy, or she might collect toys and stuffed animals in a sleeping area as well as digging at her bed.

5. Urinating Frequently:  Frequent urination is a way of marking and letting other dogs know she is in heat. Although urinary tract problems are also indicated by excessive licking of the genital area or frequent urination. If you are not expecting a heat it is important to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect a urinary tract infection.

Q. Does she have a bloody discharge the whole 18 days?


A. No. She will likely have a bloody discharge for the first week but then when the female is receptive to males, her vaginal discharge decreases in amount and is straw-colored. Some females may have small amounts of discharge during most of the 18 days, but some stop after around 10 days. It is important to keep her safe and protected from other dogs during the full heat and not just when she stops “spotting”.

Q. Will I have to worry about her getting bred by other male dogs?


A. A female in heat can attract male dogs by her scent so it’s VERY important to not let her outside alone unsupervised while she’s in heat, even if you have a fenced yard. Dog’s will go under, over, or through a fence to get to a female in heat. If you take her on a walk during her heat it is very important to have her diaper on her at ALL times as a male dog can mount her in a matter of seconds. Sometimes faster than you could ever react.

Q. I think my guardian dog should have hit her heat already. Did I miss it?


A. We advise every female guardian home to have a doggy diaper. You can buy disposable ones at a local pet store, but we prefer the cloth ones. They can be washed and reused. We simply put a human female hygiene pad inside of it and use it that way. We ask our Guardians to start putting this on their female puppies around 8 months of age for about an hour a night. If you put it on her while you’re watching tv or during dinner time every day for a short while then you will easily catch the first signs of a heat on the first day. The moment you see “spotting” you will know she has just started her heat.

Q. When do I let you know she is in heat?


A. Please let us know the very first day she is in heat. Even if we do not plan to breed her on that heat, all of our scheduling and planning for your guardian dog is planned off of her first day of the heat. If we do plan to breed her that cycle it is essential to notify us on the first day so we can work with you on scheduling out her ovulation testing and breeding plan.

Q. How much should I feed my dog during pregnancy?


A. Your pregnant dog will not overeat. Keep in mind that they have multiple puppies taking valuable nutrients and food from them. While you don’t need to keep food down all the time, if she wants to eat then let her eat. Pregnant dogs can become moody and finicky eaters so it is important to ensure they are eating each day for the safety of the puppies. Small portions many times throughout the day typically go well for mama dogs in the later stages of pregnancy. Also, putting food in their kennels at night will allow them a snack to eat at night. Items that pregnant dogs usually love and helps with the development of the placentas inside her:

Cottage Cheese – You can serve this direct or mix it in with their dog food.

Nancy’s Organic Whole Milk Plain (unflavored) Yogurt – You can serve this direct or mix it in with their dog food.

Ground Beef & Rice – Cook up unseasoned ground beef and white rice. Mix 2 parts rice with 1 part ground beef and serve directly.

Eggs – They are a great source of calcium. Scramble up an egg and serve mixed in with food or direct. You can also just crack a raw egg in her dog food and mix it in. It will add flavor and make it enticing for her.

Chicken Broth (low sodium) – Every mama dog will find the smell and taste enticing. You can drizzle it over her food or serve it to her as a drink for increased caloric intake, but keep in mind we need her to eat and not just drink.

String Cheese Stick – This has great calcium and most Labradoodles love it.

Beef Grease – If you cook meat (steaks, hamburgers, etc) then you can save the grease and drizzle it over their dog food. It will add flavor to make it enticing and add to the caloric intake.

Q. How long will my female Guardian dog be gone from my home?


A. We will have you deliver the dog to us about a week before her due date. We will keep her for about 7 weeks total as the goal is to send each mama dog home around the puppies 6-week mark. Every mom and litter is different in how they wean and are ready to be independent of each other so some litters will be earlier or later than others.


Q. Will my dog act differently during pregnancy?


A. She will be more fatigued at times and want to sleep or lay around more. She also may be moody in that she doesn’t want to be pet at times or bothered. This is completely normal (especially for first time moms). Please let us know if you have any concerns, but remember that she’s growing little puppies in there so her instincts are taking over and she’s letting her body do the work.

Q. Should I have her groomed before she comes to have puppies?


A. We ask that every expectant mother be groomed following her heat. About two weeks after she has been bred is the perfect time to take her in to be groomed or groom her yourself as her heat will be done and she will not be showing any signs of pregnancy yet. We ask that they be cut shorter 3/4″ blade or “Puppy Cut” so that her fur is short for when she delivers. We also ask that you bathe her the night before or day of that you are bringing her to us so that she is clean and ready to snuggle with her puppies. Prior to her babies coming we will be shaving her belly very short, if not done already,  to make nursing easier.

Q. Will she be sad to come home and leave her puppies after she’s done raising them?


A. While mama dogs are very attached to their puppies when they’re born, and rarely leave their whelping pen, they start to wean them naturally when the puppies are about 4 to 5 weeks old. Slowly they nurse them less and less and start to become more and more interested in getting out and about for periods of time away from their puppies. By the time the puppies are 6 weeks old, the mama dog is ready to be away from them! 🙂 She’s happy to be back home with her family again and does not experience separation anxiety or postpartum blues.


Q. Will she be confused/miss us when we have to bring her to have her puppies?


A. Our guardian dogs love people and are happy to be here with us and also having the opportunity to potentially play with the other dogs here. We stay familiar to them by spending multiple days with them when we test them and do their official pictures for our website.  We spend time bonding with them, training them for our home for when they return, and learning their little personalities.  We make sure she feels as at home here as much as possible and has a comfortable, relaxing setting to have her puppies. Once they’re born, her puppies are all she will think about and will want to be with them constantly. So, no she won’t be sitting around feeling sad about where she’s at.

Q. Can we visit while our guardian dog is at High Desert with puppies?


A. Due to the easy spread of disease to unvaccinated puppies, we are very cautious with our puppies until they are 7-weeks of age and get their first round of vaccinations.  We love you to experience their growth and sweetness through our pictures and videos we post on our social media platforms and our website blog.  When you come to pick up your recently weaned mama dog, we will almost always allow you to see and possibly even interact with the puppies, but please communicate with us before if you’d like to do this so we can evaluate if it will be safe for our puppies at that specific time.  Every litter is different and each litter brings with it its own joys and challenges.  Being part of the guardian program is an exciting way to be part of our breeding program.  You’ll get to see your guardian dog’s puppies go on to be placed with families who will get to experience the same love and companionship your guardian dog brought to your family!

Q. How many litters would a female have?


A. Based on the contract that you signed with us, we reserve the right to breed up to 4 times.  However, depending on our needs and her individualized breeding plan we may decide to do less litters with her, but that is up to us & our evaluation of each dog. We take great pride in always putting our dogs health first while also producing high quality puppies.

Q. How much will my stud boy be used & for how many years?


A. Based on the contract that you signed with us, we reserve the right to to keep our boys active for as long as we feel we need or have use. We take great pride is keeping our breeding dogs happy & healthy. Most stud boys are neutered around 5 to 7 years of age, but this can vary from dog to dog. We typically try to limit our stud boys to around 4 to 5 breedings a year, but again each dog has a separate breeding schedule. Communication with our Guardian Homes is a priority to us & we aim to keep everyone on the same page with breeding plans.