- Are you able and willing to get up a bit earlier in the morning to train and exercise your dog before work?
- Can you devote adequate time to attend training classes, quarterly assessments, and Eye Clinics?
- For brood fosters, can someone get home every 4 hours during the last two weeks of pregnancy to let the dog out to eliminate?
- Can you make the long-term commitment to foster a brood or stud throughout their breeding career (typically until the dog is 6 years old for a brood and 8 years old for a stud)?
- Can you devote the time to transport the dog to the Canine Development Center for breeding and health care?
Ability to keep the dog safe
- Are you willing to keep the dog on leash or in a secure fenced area whenever it is outdoors? Are you willing to stay outside with the dog to supervise its activities?
- Are all family members willing to accept the responsibility of keeping the dog safe? This includes taking care that doors are securely shut and making sure that items that could be harmful if chewed or eaten are out of the dog’s reach?
- Please be aware that breed dogs are sexually intact and must be prevented from any extra-curricular sexual activity.
- Is everyone in the family willing to foster a breeding dog and utilize the Guiding Eyes training methods and philosophy?
- Is anyone allergic to dogs?
- Are other dogs and cats in the family agreeable to having a new dog in the house?
Enjoyment of dogs
- You don’t need to know how to handle a dog, as we will teach you, but do you feel comfortable around larger dogs?
- Do you mind dog hair, cleaning up after the dog, lots of sloppy kisses, and the other aspects of having a dog around?
The Differences Between Caring for a Brood or Stud Dog
Though it’s important to remember that the gender of the dog does not determine the personality of the dog, there are important differences between stud and brood dogs that you should consider – and we can help find the perfect match for you.
A stud is required to visit Guiding Eyes an average of 25 to 30 times per year, and sometimes on as short notice as the same day. This requires that a stud foster have a flexible schedule.
Time away from home is more frequent, but for shorter periods, for studs than for broods. For example, studs called to the Breeding Kennel will be mated twice over three days (but each visit takes less than one hour), whereas pregnant broods will spend weeks at the Breeding and Whelping Kennels.
Stud fosters need consistent, skilled dog-handling abilities to maintain a well-behaved dog, because of a stud’s size and hormonal drive.
There are fewer fosters available for dog-sitting studs than broods. This means you may have to work harder to find a sitter for your stud.
About 5 new studs are kept for breeding each year, compared with 25 broods. Thus, you may wait longer for the opportunity to foster a stud.
Fosters of studs must transport the dog to the Breeding Kennel for breeding appointments, usually with 3 days advance notice, but occasionally with only 24-hour notice. The dogs are usually mated twice, 2 days apart.
The foster may arrange to leave the stud for a few days, or schedule while-you-wait appointments. If the stud is left at the Breeding Kennel, the foster must pick up the stud promptly as arranged or when called by CDC staff.
The foster will also need to bring the stud to the Breeding Kennel during the workweek for collection and storage of semen for freezing. This may occur multiple times as needed.
Broods typically spend three weeks twice a year in the Breeding Kennel during their heat cycle (based on 6-month intervals), whether being bred or not.
Broods stay at the Whelping Kennel for 5 to 6 weeks to deliver and care for their puppies.
In general, broods tend to be easier to handle.
Brood fosters require additional training, provided by Guiding Eyes, to care for the brood during pregnancy and upon her return home after whelping.
Fosters of broods must perform daily wiping of the external genitalia around the expected time of heat, to determine whether heat has started. The day heat starts, the foster must call the Breeding Kennel at (845) 230-6418 and deliver the brood within 36 hours. After heat or whelp is concluded, the foster must pick up the brood promptly when called by kennel staff.
During pregnancy, the foster will take need to take the brood to the Breeding Kennel at least once for an ultrasound appointment, normally scheduled during the workweek (daytime hours).
The foster volunteers and the staff at the CDC work as a team to ensure that the dogs are kept in the best possible condition. Our foster volunteers are our diplomats, showing off our wonderful dogs to their communities each time they leave home. They also are a vital link to the success of our Puppy Raising Program, by including the raiser in the new career of the brood or stud that the raiser nurtured as a tiny puppy.
As a foster, you will not just be giving a home to a brood or stud, you’ll be joining an extended family of Guiding Eyes volunteers and staff, all working towards the mission of giving independence to visually-impaired individuals.
Fosters should feel free at any time to ask questions, understand everything that is happening with their dog, and bring any problems or concerns to the Brood Stud Program Manager.
Upon receiving a dog, each foster will sign a Foster Agreement that addresses the requirements and policies that will continue throughout the dog’s breeding career. This agreement is updated yearly at the annual Eye Clinic.
Before you receive your dog, you will need to attend weekly training sessions on dog handling and health care. Each foster attends lessons until they are able to effectively handle a dog. On average, fosters attend 4 to 6 lessons before getting a dog, and 3 to 6 lessons after receiving a dog. Because skill levels vary, you may need more or fewer lessons.
The foster is responsible for providing equipment for their breeding dog, such as leashes, nail trimmers and toys. Please refer to the Equipment List for more information.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides each brood or stud with a slip collar and a buckle collar carrying an ID tag (showing the Canine Development Center phone number and address) and a rabies vaccination tag. In addition, once the dog is an official breeder, the foster must obtain a town or state license, and an ID tag with foster contact information. The dog must wear its buckle collar, with identification, at all times, whether in the house or out. ID tags must be attached to the collar’s buckle, not to the D-Ring. If the collar is lost or damaged, the foster is expected to purchase a new one, and notify the Brood/Stud Manager in order to obtain new Guiding Eyes and rabies tags.
Please read Taking a New Dog Home for tips on taking the dog home for the first time.
The foster must transport the dog to Guiding Eyes Training School in Yorktown Heights, NY for a professional photographer to take a portrait. This will occur on the scheduled photo day after you get your dog. Photo days are once a month on Fridays.
Both the Breeding Kennel and the Whelping Kennel are staffed 365 days per year, opening at 7:00 am and closing at 7:00 pm. The staff is reduced after 4:00 pm, but is able to admit/discharge dogs up until 6:30pm. Sometimes it is not possible for the staff to answer the phone. Please leave a message and someone will answer your call within one hour. Calls are not monitored when the kennel is closed, but if you have a medical emergency, please refer to our Emergency Vet Contact information. Please notify the appropriate kennel if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late for an appointment. There is preparation time needed on both admits and discharges, and keeping scheduled appointments will allow us to minimize wait times. Please do not arrive with your dog without an appointment or speaking with someone first. This will allow the kennel to be prepared for your dog’s arrival.
You should bring your dog’s head collar, and Frontline and Heartgard if staying through the first of the month. Do not bring beds and toys because the kennels have their own supply. Remember to take your leash with you once the dog is admitted.
Provide Transportation To and From Guiding Eyes
On average, a stud will make about 30 trips per year, and a brood about 15, to Guiding Eyes facilities in either Patterson or Yorktown Heights, NY. Guiding Eyes will attempt to give the stud foster 2 to 3 days notice but, in some cases, a trip the same day as notification will be required.
All breeding dogs must visit the annual Eye Clinic (continuing even after retirement), attend Quarterly Assessments, and go to either Patterson or Yorktown Heights Guiding Eyes facilities as needed during the workweek (daytime hours) for medical care and any training or support.
In addition to the travel commitments above, fosters of broods must perform daily wiping of the external genitalia around the expected time of heat, to determine whether heat has started. The day heat starts, the foster must call the Breeding Kennel at (845) 230-6418, and deliver the brood within 36 hours. After heat or whelp is concluded, the foster must pick up the brood promptly when called by kennel staff. During pregnancy, the foster will take need to take the brood to the Breeding Kennel at least once for an ultrasound appointment, normally scheduled during the workweek (daytime hours).
In addition to the travel commitments above, fosters of studs must transport the dog to the Breeding Kennel for breeding appointments, usually with three days advance notice, but occasionally with only 24 hour notice. The dogs are usually mated twice, two days apart. The foster may arrange to leave the stud for a few days, or schedule while-you-wait appointments. If the stud is left at the Breeding Kennel, the foster must pick up the stud promptly as arranged or when called by CDC staff. The foster will also need to bring the stud to the Breeding Kennel during the workweek for collection and storage of semen for freezing. This may occur multiple times as needed.
Keep The Dog Safe
When outside, Guiding Eyes breeding dogs must always be on leash or in a secure fenced area, and always monitored by a responsible adult. To avoid temperature- related injury, the foster should walk the dog in the early morning or evening during hot days, and mid-day when it is very cold.
Maintain The Dog in Proper Condition
It is critical for fosters to maintain their breeding dog in peak condition, for both the health of the dog and the success of breeding. Just as in people, proper conditioning is a daily process and not something that can be ignored and then caught-up with on an urgent basis. The ability of the brood to deliver puppies quickly and with fewer complications is directly related to her physical condition and stamina. Similarly, studs must be well-conditioned to have the stamina for successful breeding. Dogs that have been kept in peak condition will have:
- increased stamina and stronger abdominal muscles, thus reducing or preventing stillborn puppies or the need for a C-section delivery during whelping
- greater longevity and quality of health by reducing or preventing debilitating joint disease
- easier weight maintenance due to more muscle mass
- a happier and more energetic outlook
Proper condition can be attained and maintained through exercise and weight management.
Dogs are required to have a minimum of 21 miles per week (three miles/day) of walking or running on leash. Optimum exercise is 35 miles per week (5 miles/day).Please make sure that you don’t put your dog at risk of heat exhaustion (heat stroke) − a potentially fatal condition − by exercising in very hot weather.
Fosters must maintain the dogs at the Guiding Eyes-determined target weight. Dogs that are more than five pounds overweight may have to be returned for re-homing until the dog’s weight is corrected. If the foster cannot properly maintain the dog’s weight, permanent re-homing will be required.
Tips for Maintaining Target Weight
- Feed the correct amount of food. When you get your dog, you will be instructed on the frequency of feeding and quantity of food necessary to keep the dog at its target weight. Measure the food accurately and do not “round- up” portions.
- Substitute affection for treats. Treats are fattening.
- Exercise your dog by walking or running on leash 3 to 5 miles a day, in addition to any playing in the yard or house.
- Weigh your dog every two weeks. You may use our scale at Guiding Eyes anytime.
- Notify the Brood/Stud Coordinator if you think the dog’s weight is either increasing or decreasing.
Obtain Veterinary Care
Please see Veterinary Care section under Support we provide.
Communicate with The Puppy Raiser
Every breeding dog has at least one puppy raiser who loved and nurtured a small puppy into the dog you now have. Guiding Eyes is committed to allowing raiser families to continue to be a part of their breed dog’s life through communication with you, the foster. Foster volunteers are expected to communicate with their breed dog’s puppy raiser(s) every other month during the first 12 months of placement, and quarterly thereafter. Fosters are encouraged to send photographs and updates on important events in your dog’s life.
If the foster relocates outside the required maximum distance from the Canine Development Center, or is unable to meet the requirements of the Foster Program as outlined in the foster agreement, Guiding Eyes will take back the breeder and place it with another foster.
Brood Stud Foster Application
We’re delighted that you’re interested in this special and rewarding opportunity. Please fill out this electronic application, and we’ll be in touch in 7 to 10 business days to discuss your application in greater detail.
For additional information, please contact the Brood/Stud Program.