We absolutely love to 'talk dogs' and share our beautiful Cobberdogs; but, the reality of having constant visitors in our home is not practical or wise. We have outlined our concerns with visiting below:
The bio-security of our home environment is our utmost priority. Lauren is a clean-freak (her nursing background certainly drilled in those infection control principles!) and we do our best to keep our dogs' environment as clean as possible. Dangerous bacteria, parasites, and viruses can be inadvertently brought into our environment by visitors (this is a significant risk from individuals and families that have been visiting other breeders, shelters, or rescue organizations) which is why our veterinarian team has strongly advised us not to welcome visitors into our home in order to keep our puppies safe. If these bacteria, parasites, or viruses enter our environment, they could be fatal to our wee puppies who have immature immune systems and could also prevent us from raising puppies in our home for years to come. We are the care-takers and not the owners of our puppies.We take our responsibility to safeguard these little lives very seriously, and we know you would appreciate how conscientious we are if it is your family that is patiently and eagerly waiting to bring home your puppy.
However, we do feel that it is important for families to see a breeder's environment and how they raise puppies, so we do our best to post lots of photos and videos on our Facebook and Instagram accounts when we raise litters. We have passed a SAFE homestudy and have had clear police checks.
Our dogs normally love people of all shapes and sizes; however, when a momma dog is in the end stages of pregnancy or is raising newborn puppies, she needs her peace, privacy, and routine. A social new momma could ignore her puppies to hang out with visitors resulting in puppies not being fed, cleaned, or kept warm (newborn puppies can not regulate their own body temperature). We could also have a new momma become overprotective with the threat of strangers wanting to handle her puppies. A stressed and protective momma can accidentally step on and/or injure one of her puppies. Not only this, but a stressed momma is overproducing the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol then enters the milk supply and the puppies can become stressed, research studies show that stressed puppies become stressed adult dogs.
The dogs that live or stay with us are all intact and influenced by fluctuating hormones. These hormones can affect their behaviour and may give you an inaccurate idea what a pet Cobberdog is like.
Time If we regularly hosted visitors, we would be spending all of our time cleaning, preparing for, and welcoming visitors a minimum of every weekend, and likely most evenings too. This would significantly take away from our time spent caring for our dogs and raising puppies which is our priority. We also have commitments to our farm, family, friends, and church- we put in more than full time hours caring for puppies and corresponding with families, so it is important that we try to maintain some balance and make time for our personal lives too. Our responsibilities for our dogs and our farm are varied and unpredictable (no one can predict when a cow will calve!) so it would be difficult to designate and keep appointments to host visitors.
The amount of interest in our puppies far outweighs the amount of puppies that we raise. Many families are looking for a puppy right away, while most of our families can expect to wait a year before bringing home a puppy. It unfortunately doesn't make practical sense to host families that may not want to wait to bring a puppy home from our programme.
We are a home based breeder. We only have 2 Cobberdogs that live permanently in our home, the rest of our dogs live in guardian homes. A guardian home is the dog's permanent home and family, they only come back to us for breeding or raising puppies. We respect and value our guardian homes, and understand that it is not practical to have the dogs travel back and forth to our home to meet with interested families. Guardian families have busy lives too, and it would be difficult to align their schedule with ours and the interested visitors.
Visitors are essentially strangers. Our home is isolated in a rural environment. Lauren is a young woman and might have to host visitors on her own depending on the farm's needs. It isn't wise for a young woman to entertain strangers alone in her home. There are incidences of breeders being physically and sexually assaulted. There are also unfortunately many case of breeders welcoming visitors in their home only to have the visitors return and steal the puppies. We have to keep our home, puppies, dogs, and family safe.
Instead of hosting visits with each family, we host 'Romps'. A Romp is an event held at a local park. These events are open to past puppies and their families as well as interested families. We are on hand with our own dogs, and guardian families and dogs will try to attend as well. This is the absolute best way to meet a lot of Cobberdogs in a short amount of time which is ideal for an accurate understanding of what the breed is like. Dates for Romps will be posted on our Facebook page as an 'event' and we will also provide details on our website. Dates vary depending on our schedule on the farm and with our dogs. We do our best to only host Romps when we have vaccinated puppies or have a break from having puppies in our home.
Following our Facebook page at 'Hillmeadow Cobberdogs' is an excellent way to discover what daily life is like for our dogs. We do our best to document our journey of raising each litter so that families can see our home environment and understand how we raise puppies.