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Leerburg Foster Home Program

Foster Home Program

Foster Home Program

My name is Ed Frawley, I own Leerburg Video and Kennel. I breed German Shepherds and produce dog training videos for a living.

If you have come to this URL you have done so as a result of finding my advertisement in the Eau Claire newspapers concerning my German Shepherd foster home program. This page will attempt to explain the foster home program.

Who I am:

My kennel (Leerburg Kennels) is one of the top German Shepherd breeding facilities in North America. In fact it's one of the top German Shepherd working dog kennels in the world. It just so happens, I live in Menomonie, WI. My kennel web site is the largest working dog web site on the Internet. It currently has over 10,000 printed pages.

If you want to get a feel for what I do, visit these sections on my web site:

  1. A list of over 250 articles I have written on dog training
  2. A list of 80 dog training videos that I have produced in the past 20

  3. Information on our litters which includes a large number of testimonials
    from people who have my dogs

  4. The table of contents for my kennel business
  5. The table of contents for the entire web site

I have owned German Shepherds since the early 1960's and bred them for 28 years. Since 1978 I have bred over 300 litters of German Shepherds. My bloodlines are all imported from Europe. They are not American bloodline dogs. There is a definite difference between German Bloodline Dogs and American Bloodline Dogs.

I breed working dogs with good temperaments. My dogs are sold as police service dogs, competition obedience dogs, schutzhund dogs and personal protection dogs. While my dogs are bred to be protective they are not sharp dogs. They have good temperaments. Good temperament means a dog gets along with children and is not dangerous to be around.

I have built a well known bloodline of German Shepherds and am well known among professional dog trainers all over the world. My dogs are in demand in this country and around the world (although I will not sell my dogs outside the United States and Canada)

Leerburg Puppy

The Basics of the Foster Program:

My breeding program has been built with the help of my foster home program.

The way the foster program works is, I place my "pick of the litter" females in foster homes. The dogs live in these homes for their entire life. The foster parents do not pay for the dog, we give the dog to them. We also sign the ownership of the dog over to the foster parents and they sign a restrictive breeding contract with Leerburg.

We currently have about 12 dogs in local foster homes near Menomonie and Eau Claire WI.

This program allows local people an opportunity to own one og the best German Shepherds in this country without paying for it. (These are pups that sell for $1800). If someone qualifies as a foster parent and they are given on of our dogs.

As a foster puppy grows up we monitor its temperament, drive and health. If the female is good enough, she will be used in our breeding program. Before breeding the dog we x-ray her hips (at our expense) to verify that she does not have hip dysplasia. If the hips are not good we ask the foster parents to have the dog neutered and our breeding rights are terminated.

When a female is 2 years old she will come back to the kennel when she comes into season. After getting bred she will go back to her foster home. Then 4 or 5 days before whelping she comes back to the kennel and has her babies here and stays until she weans the pups (at 5 to 6 weeks).

Females come into season twice a year. We only breed a female once a year. We have 5 to 10 litters a year, and not all of the females are bred every year.

I am constantly searching for the super female. Should someone get one of those super females, they will be bred every year.

When a female is at our kennel we encourage visits from the foster parents. They can stop as often as they want and walk their dog and play with the pups.

In my opinion placing dogs in foster homes results in a far better life for a dog than living a life in a dog kennel. The foster home program is a good deal for the dog, it's a good deal for the foster parents, and it's a good deal for my breeding program. It's one of those "win - win" situations for everyone involved.

If for some reason I don't like a female when she is old enough to breed, or when I am through breeding a female, we will ask that she be neutered. When that is done the breeding contract is null and void.

I am often asked how long I breed a female. The answer is that this depends on the quality of the bitch and her puppies. As I have already mentioned, I have been breeding German Shepherds since 1978 and have had over 320 litters of German Shepherds. In that period of time I have only had 4 or 5 females that I bred past 8 years of age.

The fact is that if a female is in good condition having a litter keeps her hormones flowing and she stays in excellent condition as a result.

Leerburg Puppy


Questions & Answers on the FOSTER Program

Who Qualifies for a Foster Dog?

We are very selective of who we choose to become a foster family. Our primary concern is that our dogs go into safe homes where they will be well taken care of and not get run over by a car or allowed to escape and get lost. We expect the foster parents to allow the dogs to be house dogs. We look for people who have had dogs before. In fact the ideal person is one who has just had a 10 or 11 year old dog die of old age. This is a person who knows how to take care of a dog.

We do not give dogs to people that want farm dogs, nor do we give dogs to people who are going to keep them strictly as an outside kennel dog. We also do not give dogs to people who have just had a dog that was accidentally killed. (If it happened once it can happen again.) I also do not give dogs to people who have any type of criminal history. I am not concerned about traffic tickets, but any type of criminal activity for either of the spouses will not work.

What are the Foster Family's Responsibilities?

While the foster family does not pay for the puppy (or young adult), they must agree to purchase a dog crate and a leash. They must also agree to feed an all natural diet or all natural kibble.

We provide dog training videos (free of charge) to all foster homes. The dog kennel is my hobby, my business is producing dog training videos. We have training videos on just about anything anyone would have an interest in from Basic Obedience, to Competition Obedience, to Agility, Personal Protection, Search & Rescue, and Police K9 Training. All of the videos are free to foster parents.

The foster family must have a fenced back yard, a dog kennel or an in-ground fence system (like Invisible Fence). Through my mail order business we sell an in-ground system called Innotek Fencer. My foster families can purchase this fencer at my wholesale cost. In fact, the foster families can purchase any training equipment that we sell in our business at our wholesale cost.

What If I Have Another Dog Already In My Home?

We usually do not place foster dogs in homes where there is already another dog. It's a rare occasion that this would happen. We would never place a female in a home where there was an un-neutered male. We also would not place a female in a home with another large female. Females fight with females, males fight with males. We try to eliminate bad situations by limiting the environment our dogs are placed in.

How Far Away Do You Place Dogs?

We seldom place dogs in homes further than 50 miles away from Menomonie, although in certain cases we have gone as far as the Twin Cities.

Who Owns The Dog:

The foster parents own the dog. The AKC regiustration papers are in the foster parents name. When we place the dog we sign over the ownership to the foster parents. They in tern sign an exclusive breeding contract with Leerburg Kennels.

Do You Ever Have Older Dogs, Rather Than Puppies To Be Placed In Foster Homes?

Some people know how much work it is to raise a puppy and would rather not go through the house breaking and chewing stages of a puppy. An older female is a good solution for these people.

At times we have young adults (and sometimes older females) that we would like to place in a home. These are dogs that have been in foster homes and have come back to the kennel. There are a number of reasons this will happen. Some people get divorced and find themselves living in apartments where they can not keep the dog, some people move away from the area, and some people simply decide they do not want a dog any longer.

These older females are all very nice dogs. They are house trained and have some basic obedience. I always feel sorry for a dog that has been a house dog and then comes back into a kennel environment; it's like going to prison. They go from a one on one relationship to a place with limited time spent with them.

What About Medical Issues And The Dog?

The foster parents are required to keep the dogs current on rabies and heartworm. The reason for this is that the state of Wisconsin does not allow me to give rabies shots or administer heart worm medication. We ask that the dogs be put on once a month heart worm pills during the mosquito season.

If there are any medical expenses as a result of the breeding or litters this is taken care of by us.

We do not allow ANY VACCINATIONS to be given to our dogs - NONE!!

It is the responsibility of the foster parents to make sure the dogs remain in good health.

Do You Place Males In Foster Homes?

No, I import my stud dogs from Europe or I keep a male back for breeding here at the kennel. We usually have 3 or 4 stud dogs. If someone wants a male dog we will be happy to sell them a dog but we do not place our males in foster homes.

How Do We Know When A Dog Should Be Bred?

We have a computer program to track the female's heat cycles. By inputting every heat cycle we can anticipate which bitches are going to come in season in which month. We plan our breeding season around a computer print out. That is the reason the foster parent must keep us informed of the females cycles.

Females come into season 2 times a year. They will blow their coat (shed) at 2 to 8 weeks or so before coming into season. When a female starts to drop blood we expect to get a phone call. If we plan to breed the bitch we will inform the foster parents ahead of time. Females are usually bred on the 11th and 13th day of their season. We take them into the kennel about the 6th day.

What if We Decide that We Do Not Want to Stay in The Program?

If at any time something changes in a foster home and they are no longer able to keep a foster dog there is no problem with them returning the dog back to the kennel. When this happens we will either place the dog in a new foster home or we will sell the dog, depending on the quality of her and her pups.

Do I Ever Split Litters with Foster People?

When people ask if I split the litters with foster parents, the answer is usually "no." This is really not a program for someone who wants to be a breeder.

The only way I ever consider splitting a litter with a foster parent is if the person trains and puts a Schutzhund title on the dog. That is a rule that is cast in stone. Most foster parents find the pups cute, but they don't want more dogs. The kind of people that take these dogs are not interested in breeding. If they are good foster parents and want another dog, I will give them a second one. I have 3 people with 2 dogs.

If a person is interested in breeding then this is not a program for them. They should purchase a dog and get into the business.

Are Foster Parents Ever Allowed To Whelp The Litter?

We also get asked by an occasional foster parent if they can whelp a litter at their home. The answer is "NO." There is too much that can go wrong during a delivery. I convince them of this by letting them watch the video I have produced titled "Whelping Puppies" (video #118). That usually does the trick.

Under What Circumstances Do We Take A Dog Away From a Foster Home?

There are only a few reasons that we would take a bitch out of a foster home:

1. If we find out that they are allowing the dog to run loose when there is no
2. If the bitch gets accidentally bred
3. If the foster parents do not tell us when a bitch comes in season (even if
we do not plan on breeding it), we will warn the foster parents once and
take it away if it happens again.)
4. If someone is arrested for a criminal offense
5. If someone moves without informing us that they have moved
7. If someone allows a dog to become way, way over weight and does not
take steps to correct this

Additional Questions:

If you have further question, feel free to e-mail me at I check my e-mail several times per day.

If you would like to talk to someone on the phone, our number is 715-235-6502. I have 3 secretaries that work in my office, (in addition to my kennel staff.)

Kennel Visits:

We do not train dogs for people. We also do not board dogs so our kennel is not open to the public. Once a person talks with us and it is determined that they qualify for a foster dog they are welcome to come to the kennel for a visit. We prefer these visits to be during business hours, but if this is not possible we will set up appointments for a visit after work or on a Saturday.


June 27, 2000

Dear Ed:

Just an update on Wendy von Leerburg (call name Lindy). She's doing wonderfully. I was so lucky to come across your ad for fostering dogs. We raise purebred Arabian horses of spanish descent, and the Spanish program of the 1930's to the 1970's was totally closed to outside influences, and any inferior animals were eliminated. so, I understand the importance of maintaining the integrity of a program. I agree with your philosophy about breeding working dogs vs show dogs.

Anyway, back to Lindy. Both ears are up, she's housebroken, quiet in the house and in the crate, great with our son, getting along fine with our (neutered) basset hound, and is doing better with our multitude of cats. She's never hurt one, but loves following them around hoping to make them run. I read your web article on cats and dogs, so we'll just keep at it. Our vet says she's one of, if not the best, shepherd he's ever seen. A month ago, I had her on a walk in our woods where she'd never been. We came home after dark, and she followed our trail back down the hill by scent. What a good dog! She's very eager to please, not a hard dog at all. We're mostly doing sit/stay right now. She works well on and off the leash, and will immediately come to you from anywhere in our yard. When she sees something new, she comes to me and leans against me until she figures it out. I'm taking her around a lot in the country, and in the next few weeks she'll go into town with me every day for two weeks to accustom her to that. Thank you, thank you for affording me this opportunity.



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