Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are Guardian Homes?
A. Most of our dogs live in Guardian Homes. This means that our dogs have permanent families and only come back to our home to be bred or to have puppies. We do not arrange for guardian dogs to be present in our home for visitors.
Q. Do you have older puppies or adult dogs available for sale?
A. No. Our breeding dogs are all moved into their own guardian family at a young age where they have a permanent home unless they are required for breeding or raising puppies. Our puppies are placed with their families at 8-9 weeks of age. We've only once ever had a puppy returned to us by their adoptive family due to life circumstances. It is possible to have a puppy stay on with a trainer for basic training and socialization, but this is at significant extra cost and must be arranged in advance.
Q. Where are your puppies raised?
A. All of our puppies are raised in our home. We have pens set up in our main living areas. We also make sure puppies are used to visiting the outdoors as it helps to fast track their potty training! Please don't ask to visit our 'kennel' or our 'facility'- it's a dead giveaway that you haven't spent any time familiarizing yourself with our programme or our website.
Q. Can we visit?
A. Unfortunately we do not routinely host visitors to our home. We only have one Whoodle that lives with us, the rest of our dogs live in guardian homes. One dog is not enough to give you a sense of what a Whoodle is like because is it a mixed breed where each individual dog can inherit a unique combination of Wheaten or Poodle traits.
We prioritize the bio-security of our home environment. We view ourselves as the caretakers and not the owners of our puppies, and it is our responsibility to safeguard these little lives for their very eager waiting families. Diseases and viruses like Parvovirus can be tracked by shoes, paws, and even car tires and can be fatal to our puppies and can prevent us from raising puppies in our home for years to come.
We also prioritize a calm environment. Stressed mother dogs = stressed puppies. A dog that normally loves visitors and people can be protective and cautious of visitors when she has new puppies. We find that having strangers visiting our dogs and puppies can affect the milk production of our mother dogs and the feeding schedule of the puppies which is critical for newborn puppies.
A short visit is not enough exposure to give you an idea of how your allergies will be triggered by living with a dog. Some individuals have no reactions to our dogs, but have severe symptoms once a dog is sharing a living environment. Other individuals may react to our dogs at a visit, but may adapt once a dog is in their home. No dog is allergy free. Even a dog with minimal shedding will still have dander and secretions that an individual with dog allergies can react to. A good idea is to dog-sit a Whoodle (or a comparable breed) to see how long term exposure in your home environment will trigger your reactions.
Q. Can I be on your wait list?
A. Our reservation lists are litter specific. This means that we have a limited reservation list for each litter so that you will know who the parent dogs are as well as our best estimations of the size of puppies you can expect, the timeline you can anticipate, and what colours we may see. Please remember that we are at the mercy of mother nature and the unexpected may happen! Our reservation lists will only open once we have the safe arrival of healthy puppies. We do screen our future puppy parents. We need to know that our dogs are going to responsible homes, not just loving homes. We do expect our puppies' families to attend obedience classes, provide necessary vaccinations and vet care, and have the puppy spayed/neutered as early as your vet recommends. Please read our 'puppy reservation process' page on our website for more details about reserving a puppy.
Q. Can I request a specific gender or colour?
A. Every litter is a surprise. We can't control what genders and colours appear. We ask that each family keeps an open mind and remembers that temperament is the most important in our decision to place a puppy with their family. The more specific you are about what gender and colour you are looking for the harder it is for us to match the right temperament of puppy with your family, and it may result in your family having to wait longer for a puppy.
Q. What is puppy matching?
A. We conduct socialization testing with our trainer between week 6-7 and then match our puppies to their families. Socialization testing is a great way to provide us with more information about a puppy's adult characteristics. We also spend time each day with each puppy while they are with us so that we know their personalities and how they cope with challenges. For example, we will be able to see which puppies are more outgoing and which are more submissive. We want your family to have the best experience with a new puppy, so we match each puppy's temperament with your family and lifestyle. We do have a small questionnaire that each family will fill out about their lifestyle. We also ask families to tell us their top preferences for gender and colour based on the genders and colours of the litter. Temperament and character are our most important factors in pairing a puppy and a family, but we do take into consideration your preferences for colour and gender.
Q. Why do you do puppy matching?
A. Matching puppies to their families is the most fair way to do puppy selection AND it results in the best puppy ending up with the best family. There is no 'first pick' or 'last pick' since every puppy and every family is given equal consideration. We spend each day with our puppies and we see their characters and personalities, this means that we are the most informed to make the final choice about which puppy should go home with which family. Visits are not long enough to give you an accurate understanding of a puppy's character- the most outgoing puppy could be fast asleep while the most submissive puppy could be busy romping with the other dogs. We have families with special circumstances (ie. children with special needs or a desire to participate in therapy training) who are looking for specific qualities in a puppy which requires our diligence as breeders to screen and evaluate puppies to meet the needs of their family. We also have families from far distances who would be unable to participate in a 'puppy pick day' and we want to make sure they are treated fairly.
Q. What do you look for in an application?
A. We look for experience and understanding of dogs. If you are looking to bring home your first dog we like to see that you have pet-sit dogs for family and friends to ensure that bringing home a canine companion is the right long-term decision for your family. Pet sitting is also a good way to test allergies for an extended period of time. We LOVE to see that families have done their homework. Please let us know what books you have read or websites you have reviewed to provide yourself with an understanding of puppy training and canine behaviour. Please be sure to research and understand the critical socialization window for puppies. We also like to see that you have explored your local options for veterinary services, grooming, and positive reinforcement training and socialization classes. What happens in the first 3 months of a puppy's life has lasting consequences on its adult behaviour so we need to know that families are prepared to hit the ground running with training and socialization the moment a puppy comes home. We want the addition of a puppy to your family to be a forever success.
Q. Do you dock tails.
A. No. Puppies that we raise will not have their tails docked (cut short by a veterinarian). Docking is not a necessary procedure for our puppies, it is cosmetic. Our puppies would have to visit the vet within 48 hours after birth to have the procedure done before nerve endings in the tail mature. We are not interested in taking the puppies away from their hormonal mother so soon after birth for an unnecessary procedure, and in doing so we could even risk the stressed mother rejecting her puppies when they return. Research has indicated that a docked tail may negatively impact a dog's ability to communicate with the canine world and could even make them a target for other dogs' insecurity and aggression.
Q. Do you ship puppies?
A. We prefer not to ship our puppies although it is possible for international families. If a puppy needs to travel we ask that families make arrangements to drive or fly out and accompany their puppy. Accompanying your puppy dramatically shortens their journey. We like that a puppy accompanied by a passenger stays safe, secure, hydrated, fed, clean, and provided with emotional support and reassurance. With our commitments to our dairy farm, work, and raising puppies we are not always able to drop off puppies or accompany puppies on flights. All costs of shipping or travel are the responsibility of the puppy's family. We are not responsible for the potential for loss, injury, or illness as a result of travel.
Q. We live outside Canada, can we bring a Hillmeadow Puppy home?
A. International families are responsible for contacting their government organizations concerning the details of pet importing. Please do so BEFORE contacting us or applying for a puppy. Many countries may require a puppy to have its full vaccines and proof of vaccine efficacy before allowing the puppy to cross the border. This means that the puppy would have to remain with us until it is a minimum of 16 weeks old. Puppies that remain with us past the litter's take home date will begin one-on-one puppy training and early socialization at an additional cost per day for boarding and training. We will not allow a puppy to stay on without early socialization and training as it is not within the puppy's best interests. This includes crate training (including overnight trips outside to do their business), potty training, bite inhibition, leash familiarization, lots of early socialization experiences, and basic obedience. Depending on our availability, puppies may be sent to stay with a reputable trainer. We are not responsible for researching and applying for import, nor are we responsible for the cost of any additional medical or travel requirements for import. Costs for boarding/training are estimated to be 100$ a day which does not include grooming or veterinary services.