Monday, March 29, 2010

Expectations during the Bitch’s Pregnancy

The gestation period for dogs is much shorter than the gestation for human beings. While the development of a human being is approximately nine months long puppies develop in the womb much more quickly. The typical gestation period for dogs is approximately nine weeks or between 58 and 65 days. New breeders may be curious about what goes on during this time. They may also be anxious about what they can expect. This article will outline the development of a dog during the gestation period as well as the changes occurring in the mother.

The fertilization process takes place during the first week. At this time the embryos consist of just two cells and these cells are in the oviduct. During this time the bitch may experience morning sickness as well as changes in her personality. Her diet and exercise routine should not be modified at this time with the exception of a bitch that was sedentary should begin light forms of exercise to strengthen her for the birthing process. The bitch should not receive any live vaccines during the pregnancy and flea treatments should not be used.

The embryos grow rapidly during the second week. They start out as just four cells and rapidly multiply to 64 cells. During this week the embryos also enter the uterus of the bitch. The bitch may continue to experience morning sickness and diet and exercise should remain consistent with week one. During week three the embryos are implanted in the uterus. The care and feeding of the bitch does not change during the third week.

During the fourth week of gestation the puppies really begin to take shape in the uterus. The eyes and the spinal cords develop and the faces become recognizable. Changes in the bitch also occur during this time. The bitch may begin to experience clear discharges from the vagina during this week and mammary development will also begin. Late in the fourth week it is also sometimes possible to feel the puppies in the uterus. A veterinarian may be able to determine the size of the litter at this time.

During the fifth week of gestation the puppies continue to grow and develop even more. The fetuses really become recognizable at this point as they continue to grow in size and develop toes, claws and whisker buds. It may also be possible to determine the gender of the puppies at this time through the use of ultrasound devices. Up until this point the eyes of the puppies have been open but during the fifth week they close. The weight of the bitch will begin to increase during this time and she begins to swell in size. During this time you will want to switch the bitch to a puppy formula food to increase the amount of fat in the diet and begin giving a multi vitamin formulated for dogs each day.

The sixth week of gestation is an exciting time as the skin pigment of the puppies begins to develop. The hearts of the fetus can also be heard with the use of a stethoscope. The abdomen of the bitch will continue to grow and it is a good idea to begin adding cottage cheese or eggs to her meals for added nutrients. She should also begin sleeping in the whelping box so she becomes accustomed to this area.

During the seventh week of gestation the fetuses are continuing to grow and the bitch is also increasing in size. Her meals should be increased slightly again and expect the hair on her abdomen to begin shedding as her body prepares for birth.

The eight week of pregnancy is the point from the birth of the puppies may come at any time. The fetuses have developed sufficiently and live births are viable at this point. The nutritional needs of the bitch continue to increase as lactation begins. Adding an extra meal will help to meet these needs.

The ninth week of gestation is considered to be the final week. Most bitches deliver around this time. The fetuses continue to grow in the uterus. The bitch may begin nesting in preparation of the births. As labor approaches the appetite of the bitch will likely decrease and her temperature will drop to around 98-99.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dealing With Disputes over Your Puppies

One of the saddest moments for a breeder is always the day when the puppies head off for their new homes. However, this is also one of the most rewarding days. Sure the breeder is going to miss the puppies he has bonded with for the last seven to ten weeks but knowing he has selected an excellent home for the puppies helps to ease this sadness and gives the breeder a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. However, once the puppies walk out the door, they are not completely out of the breeders’ lives. Some breeders will receive periodic updates on the growth, well being and accomplishments of the puppies. However, other breeders will receive nothing but complaints about the puppy from the day it arrives in its new home. For these breeders dealing with disputes over the puppies can be very stressful but it is also a fact of life all breeders must deal with. This article will provide some advice for dealing with these types of disputes.

The importance of a well written and legally blinding contract cannot be stressed enough. Other breeders with more experience as well as lawyers can be very helpful in the process of developing the contract language. The lawyer will be useful for the purpose of ensuring the language of the contract is binding and not able to be misinterpreted. The lawyer will also help to make sure the contract does not contradict any state laws relevant to the sale of puppies. Other breeders can help in creating the contract by ensuring common health concerns are included and providing guidance on what types of items in to include in the contract. The contract should be developed long before buyers are even placed on the puppy list. Potential buyers should also be provided with the contracts well in advance of the purchase of the puppy to ensure they are fully aware of the terms of the contract.

One of the most heartbreaking concerns for both the owner and the breeder includes a serious illness, or even death, of the puppy. The contract documents should include provisions for how these types of situations will be handled. A responsible breeder will provide quality care to the puppies and should be aware of any life threatening health risks. Puppies with these types of health risks should not be sold. However, there is always the possibility for serious problems to either be missed or to develop rapidly after the sale of the puppy. If the contract carefully spells out how this issue will be handled, it should not be too difficult of a situation. However, if the contract details are not clear and state laws do not apply to the situation it might be worthwhile to employ the services of a mediator to assist in the negotiations. This is especially helpful if the buyer is irate and difficult to deal with.

When all else feels, a responsible breeder should be willing to do whatever is best for the puppy in a particular situation. Whether the best option is to take back the puppy and provide a refund or the best option is to leave the puppy in the new home and offer other types of compensation, the breeder should be willing do whatever it takes to ensure the puppy is happy and healthy. Puppy buyers may complain about a number of things including, but not limited to, too much shedding, not potty training quickly enough or even fur that is not soft enough. The contract for the puppy may not necessarily have provisions for taking back the puppy and providing a refund for the reasons specified by the buyer but in the long run it will likely be better for the puppy to return to the breeder.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Choosing a Stud Dog

Choosing a stud dog is an important part of the breeding process. Most potential breeders will spend a great deal of time preparing their bitch for breeding. Whether they purchase the bitch as a puppy or an adult dog they will carefully evaluate the dog physically, socially and according to temperament to ensure the bitch they select for the breeding process is of the highest quality. Responsible breeders will also have their dogs undergo a series of health examinations to obtain certifications declaring the dog is free of eye, joint and other health problems which are undesirable. This same amount of diligence will apply to the process of selecting a stud dog for a breeding. This article will outline some of the factors to consider when selecting a stud dog.

Before a breeder begins the process of selecting a stud dog, it is extremely important to carefully examine the bitch. Hopefully, by this point in the process the bitch has already received all of the necessary health certifications and is evaluated to have a temperament that is suitable for breeding and matches the qualities the breeder would like to replicate in future litters. However, these are not the only considerations when evaluating a bitch for breeding. The owner should also carefully evaluate the bitch with a critical eye when selecting a stud dog. It might even be worthwhile to have other knowledgeable breeders examine the dog and evaluate her physical structure as well. During this evaluation process you will likely find small flaws in the bitch which should not necessarily preclude her from breeding but there should be attempts made to correct these flaws in future litters. When you carefully evaluate your bitch for slight flaws you can select a stud dog likely to assist in correcting these flaws and it will help you to select a stud dog that compliments your bitch well.

The simplest and most common theory on selecting a stud dog involves breeding like to like. Based on this theory a stud dog will be selected based on his overall ability to compliment the bitch in terms of appearance. Litters produced from these breedings are likely to produce puppies that resemble the parents which share a similar appearance and structure. As long as the appearance is acceptable according to breed standards and the structure of the parents is sound the puppies produced from a like to like breeding are likely to have an acceptable appearance and be physically sound.

Line breeding is the more complicated method of choosing a stud dog. During the process of line breeding the pedigrees of both the dog and the bitch are carefully examined. In-breeding involves breeding a dog and a bitch that share commonalities in their pedigrees. This means there are several dogs and bitches that exist in the lineage of both the dog and the bitch. This type of breeding can be risky and is only recommended for experienced breeders who have carefully researched the pedigrees. Another type of line breeding is called outcrosssing and involves matching bitches and stud dogs that share no, or very few, common ancestors in their lineage. Care is still taken to ensure the pedigrees are of a high quality.

Whether you decide to select a stud dog based on like to like breeding or line breeding you will likely narrow your choices down to a few worthy dogs initially. After the potential stud dogs are narrowed down to a few options, it is a good idea for the breeder to contact the owners of each of these dogs. During this contact the breeder can learn a great deal about the potential stud dog. The owner should be able to provide any available health certifications as well as information about the litters sired by the stud dog. They should also be able to speak to you objectively about the strengths and weaknesses their dog offers. This is important because it will help you to make the best possible decision for your bitch. Breeders should be wary about stud dog owners who do not produce health certifications and cannot elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of the dog.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Arranging Your Breeding Schedule

Arranging your breeding schedule is an important part of the breeding process. Of course dates could change depending on the timing of your bitch’s heat cycle but it is important to have at least a general idea of when you expect the breeding to take place. This will help to ensure time is not lost and your bitch’s heat cycle does not end before you are able to complete the breeding process. This article will provide some tips on how to arrange your breeding schedule to try to avoid potential complications.

Knowing the heat cycle of your bitch is a very important part of the process of arranging your breeding schedule. Most responsible breeders wait until the bitch is at least two years old before the first breeding. There are a number of reasons to do this but one of them, which is relevant to the breeding schedule, is it will help the owner to determine the time of the heat cycle more accurately.

Another factor to consider when arranging your breeding schedule is the availability of the stud dog. Responsible breeders will select carefully evaluate stud dogs and make a decision on which one to choose well before the bitch is due to enter a heat cycle. When the stud dog is selected it is very important to inform the owner of the estimated timing of the heat cycle. Based on this information the owner of the stud dog can tell you whether or not the stud dog is available for breeding around that time frame. If the stud dog is available and you enter a contract for stud dog services, the owner will attempt to keep this time available. This does not guarantee the stud dog will be available when your dog is in heat though because the heat cycle of your bitch may not occur during the estimated time frame. The stud dog may be providing services for other bitches as well and their heat cycles may interfere. For these reasons it is worthwhile to select a backup stud dog.

At the first sign of your bitch entering a heat cycle, it is time to contact the owner of the stud dog and begin making arrangements for the breeding. If the stud dog is local, these arrangements will be fairly simple. However, if the stud dog is not local you will have to make shipping arrangements. During this time you will also want to take your bitch to her veterinarian for testing. Progesterone testing will help you to pinpoint the ideal time to start breeding and minimize the potential for the breeding to not be successful. You will also want to schedule testing to rule out brucellosis to assure the stud dog owner that your bitch is free of this venereal disease before the breeding.

The bitch should arrive at the home of the stud dog when she is ready to be bred. All of the necessary paperwork, including health certifications, should arrive with the bitch. If you are driving her to the location can bring the paperwork with you and make arrangements to ensure the stud dog will be available at the time of your arrival. If your bitch is being shipped you will have to provide the stud dog with the shipping information and make arrangements to ensure the paperwork stays with your bitch and is transferred to the stud dog owner. You will have to contact the airline handling the shipping arrangements about the proper procedure for this. It may be as simple as taping the information to your dog’s crate or they may provide an alternative method for handling this paperwork.

You should expect your bitch to remain with the stud dog for approximately one to two weeks. This will allow adequate time for the breeding to take place. When the bitch returns home to you, you should also receive paperwork detailing when the breeding took place. You should also receive health certifications, contracts and pedigrees relevant to the stud dog.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Breeding Puppies for Fun

Ah, the joy of puppies! There is absolutely no mistaking the fact that puppies are just plain fun. They are tiny, adorable, live life with no fear and do the cutest things. The fun part of raising puppies can make anyone smile and that is why many breeders get into the world of breeding. They get caught up in the fun aspect of breeding a dog or a bitch which often includes playing with the puppies. Sure there is work involved but for breeders who do it for the fun of it, the amount of work involved is worthwhile. This article will provide some basic information for potential breeders who want to start breeding puppies for fun.

First and foremost, breeding puppies will be a great deal of fun. From the joy of seeing their sleepy little faces when they are first born to the overwhelming happiness you will experience while seeing them play together on their last days before going to their new homes, it is definitely a lot of fun to breed puppies. If you are one of those people who thinks anything is worth the fun of raising a litter of puppies than breeding puppies for fun is for you.

Since you are considering breeding puppies for fun we will take a look at some of the fun moments you will definitely experience while breeding your bitch and raising a litter. Who can resist the urge of puppy play time? Litter size can vary but regardless of the size of the litter, you will likely have hours of fun just watching these little guys play together. Their games of chase and wrestling are not only adorable and fun to watch but they are actually a really important part of the socialization process. During these games the puppies play together they learn a great deal about important topics such as pack order and bite inhibition. These skills puppies learn early on through interactions with their littermates will help them to be better socialized adult dogs that know how to interact with other dogs. For many breeders the fun begins to wane as puppies become more active, and often destructive, and it may be tempting to send the dogs to their new owners but it is important to not give in to this temptation. Keeping the puppies together until they are at least seven weeks old will give them ample time to learn how to interact with other dogs. They will still need additional socialization in their new homes but these formative weeks will really help the puppies to start on the right foot.

Another fun aspect of breeding puppies is experiencing the rewards of finding the right home for each of your puppies. A truly responsible breeder makes placing puppies in the right home a top priority. Potential buyers should be carefully screened before placed on a list to purchase one of your puppies. You should carefully consider the needs of the particular breed you are producing when selecting a home. For example some very active breeds such as Border Collies and Australian Shepherds require a great deal of physical and mental stimulation to be truly happy. These dogs are best placed in homes where the owners have a great deal of time to spend giving the dogs this physical and mental stimulation. This is important because without this mental and physical stimulation the dogs may create their own fun and their own jobs. However, when a dog such as a Border Collie takes on the responsibility of creating his own job it will most likely not be considered ideal behavior by the owner. For example an under stimulated Border Collie may decide that digging holes in the backyard or shredding couch pillows are his job. These types of destructive behaviors often lead owners to return the puppy to the breeder or surrender him to a shelter.

Finally, it is important to mention breeding puppies can be fun but it is also a lot of work. From providing the mother with proper pr-natal care to cleaning, feeding and caring for the puppies until they go to their new homes, there is a great deal of work involved. Potential breeders who go into breeding for the fun of it but realize it is also a great deal of work are likely to be more successful than potential breeders who underestimate the amount of work involved.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Deciding to Breed Puppies

Making the decision to breed puppies is a very serious one. It is far too easy too take one look at an absolutely adorable puppy and decide that you would just love to have your own house full of puppies. Puppies have a way of doing this to people. They sit there looking so cute and innocent that many people get tricked into thinking that puppies are no trouble at all. However, the exact opposite is true. Sure puppies are a lot of fun and raising them can be very rewarding but they are also a lot of work. They can also be quite expensive. For these reasons it is very important to proceed with caution when deciding to breed puppies instead of giving into those adorable little faces and jumping into the decision to breed too quickly. This article will outline a number of factors potential breeders should consider before they take the plunge.

Wanting to breed puppies for fun is certainly a worthwhile reason to want to breed but this should be tempered with a desire to produce top quality puppies along with a will to be a responsible and conscientious breeder. There are certainly many hobby breeders out there who just really love a particular breed and got into breeding for the fun of it. This is fine as long as they are also responsible and conscientious. There is one caveat to breeding puppies for fun though. The caveat is that not everything about the breeding process will be fun. It is important to understand playing with the puppies and socializing them is certainly a great deal of fun but there is also a lot of hard work involved in caring for the puppies. Breeders who wish to start breeding for the fun of it will likely find the process rewarding as long as they are responsible, conscientious and realize there will be work involved in the breeding process.

Wanting to breed puppies for profit is another common reason for potential breeders looking to start breeding. It is certainly possible for breeders to profit from breeding their dogs or bitches but profit should never be put above the well being of the dogs and bitches involved. There are actually many breeders who wind up losing money on each litter just because there are so many expenses involved. These expenses include standard expenditures such as health certifications, stud fees and pre-natal care for the bitch. However, they can also include a number of unexpected expenditures such as emergency veterinary care for the mother, the puppies or both. Emergencies such as emergency c-section for the mother or care for sick puppies can add up quickly and impact the ability to profit from a litter. Another area where many breeders also lose money is in buyers backing out. Buyers are often lined up before the puppies are born and these buyers may have pre-conceived ideas about the type of puppy they want including the sex, color, size or structure. After the puppies are born they may find these requirements are not met and they are no longer interested in purchasing a puppy. If the breeder is not able to line up another home for the puppy, they may wind up keeping the puppy or selling it as an older dog for a lower price.

Potential breeders should also carefully consider how much time they have available to dedicate to a litter of puppies. Sure the puppies will sleep quite a bit when they are very young and will be fed by the mother but even during this time they will need their whelping box changed regularly, will need social interactions to help them to learn to bond with people and will need limited amounts of exercise. As the puppies get a little older and begin to wean, they will need to be fed, cleaned and exercised on a regular basis. They will also need to begin potty training and they will start to become more active and spend less time sleeping. This means you will be working hard to ensure the puppies are staying out of trouble. Keeping your house puppy proof will help but mischievous little puppies can always find a way to get into trouble even in the most carefully puppy proofed home. Potential breeders should make sure they have the time for all of this.