Q. What is this "fostering" business all about?
As a Standard Poodle breeder, I want what most of us want. My goal is to match bloodlines, temperaments and talents in order to create a generation of poodles better than the generation before them. I believe this to be the greatest goal of a good breeder. Is the outcome of your litter an improvement / good addition to the breed? I strive for this as I know all responsible breeders do. But there lies the age old qaundary... How do you know without a doubt that you are keeping and breeding your best? The hard fact is, we don't. None of us do. Those of us in the Poodle world who choose to further the breed try their hardest to choose one, two, or even three puppies from a litter as the very best few. These are the young ones who will be watched carefully for all of the traits that we are looking for. It is these select few who will give us the next generation. But there lies yet another problem many of us face. How do you watch these few grow and develop but still offer each puppy the one on one attention it so desperately deserves? The solution to this is a practise many breeders have adopted. This is the foster program, as I call it, that goes by various names depending on breeder.
Q. So now I know "why" but what about "how"?
At times I will have a litter of puppies with a very special starlet(s). These are my "picks" the puppies that I would like to keep. For various reasons, it just might not be the right moment to add these dogs to my home. At that time I will begin the hunt for the perfect foster home. These will always be located no further than a few hours from me.
The puppy will be placed with them at no cost (though they will be responsible for the day to day pet expenses) and in almost all senses will become a part of their family. They need not compete with the dog though obedience training is strongly suggested and the only MUST is plenty of love and attention. I only require the right to visit from time to time, noting the puppies development physically, mentally, and socially. After all, this might very well become a parent of the next generation of Alemir Poodles.
Q. Okay, when then do you decide if MY new puppy will enter your breeding program?
Sometime between the point of their reaching sexual maturity and two years of age, I will make my final decision as to "Do I really think this is the dog that best fits all of the criteria I am looking for?"
Q. What if it doesn't?
If at this time, I've decided that for whatever reason this dog will not be entering my breeding program, then the foster parents will be responsible for having the dog spayed and it will be completely signed over to them as the full owners, just as things would be if they had purchased the puppy outright from the beginning.
Q. What if it does?
If at this time I DO decide that this is a dog with everything I am looking for, then I will have all of the required health testing done at my expense and only AFTER that comes up clear and in good order will I begin to review everything I know and observe of this dog to find the best mate possible. All costs will be mine. The foster dog will return to me for breedings. If it is a bitch then it will also return to my home to whelp the puppies where they will all stay until the puppies are weaned at six weeks, at which time the foster dog will return to your home.
I will never breed more than three litters from a single bitch, nor will she be bred past the age of six. There will be many times that after only a single litter the dog will be spayed and retired from my breeding program.
At the time that the foster dog ends it's breeding career and is spayed or neutered (at my cost) all registration paperwork will be prepared to acertain that the dog is completely and wholly owned by you.
Q. What is the difference between fostering and co-owning then?
Co-owning a puppy is a different matter completely. The pup in question will hopefully have a long and successful show career before it, whether in the conformation ring or one of the many performance areas. Right from the beginning, both parties (and in some cases more than two parties) will be registered as co-owners of the dog and for the rest of it's life will share in all of the desicion making, costs, trials and triumphs of owning the dog.