Before Breeding From Your Bitch | 5 Vital Questions You Must Ask Yourself

Breeding from your bitch

Breeding from your bitch requires forward planning, There are a number of questions which you should ask yourself before breed from your bitch. You should only proceed if you can answer them satisfactorily.

Question 1

Do you have the space After Breeding From Your Bitch?

Consider the requirements of breeding a litter in terms of space. You must have a secluded, heated room for whelping. This room must be capable of being darkened and, ideally, it should be fitted with a wash basin and it must have handy electric points.

The bitch and her puppies will remain in this room until the pups are about three weeks old. The breeder will spend a lot of time here too, probably several nights as well as a considerable part of the day especially during the early stages.

Locations To Consider After Breeding From Your Bitch

The location should not be near a front door or where there may be sudden alarming noises, nor should it be accessible to other dogs or cats. On the other hand the bitch should not feel her whelping location is one totally alien to her.

Breeding from your bitch
Breeding from your bitch

To put her in the garage, for instance, or a kennel new provided at this time, may indicate to her banishment from her familiar home, and she may hold up her whelping dangerously if she does not feel comfortable in her Situation.

It is not wise to count on using a glass-roofed house extension at any stage of whelping or rearing puppies as these rooms heat up too quickly and also lose heat very rapidly in colder weather and at night.

Temperature of the environment is a highly critical factor in rearing puppies. Many people find a spare bedroom ideal to convert to a whelping room.

In contrast, when the puppies are about three weeks old, they must have an entirely different environment. They need to be in a ‘busy’ place With their dam, where they can see and be seen.

A partitioned-off corner of the kitchen often fills the need ideally. The puppies require a ‘little house’ to retreat into (this could be a large cardboard carton on its side). The ‘house’ should be placed within a playpen which can be expanded by adding extra panels to accommodate the puppies’ increasing activity.

In addition, there must be a separate bed for the dam, within the same room but where the pups cannot get at her, so that she can get some much deserved and needed peace. If you have a medium to large breed, you will find that several puppies of eight weeks plus can scarcely be accommodated in the average kitchen.

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Yet it is vitally necessary to make plans for keeping pups of this age which may not have been sold. Such pups need space, and they need socializing. It may prove possible to make an enclosed area of the garden containing a rain and sun-proof shelter in which these growing pups can spend at least part of each day.

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You will also need a room in which to interview buyers and show them the puppies.

Experience shows that each customer needs to visit at least twice, sometimes more often. Buyers tend to come in family groups at week-ends and they will stay a long while, maybe for as long as two or three hours. This is necessary because you will want to talk in depth to them to check their suitability, and the buyers will want to take a long while choosing their puppy, since this is, for them, a very important buy.

Because other members of your family may not take kindly to having their living-room or kitchen occupied continuously over the week-end, it is as well to have another room available in which to see your customers.

There should be a small playpen set up in which you can put the puppies which are available for their choice.

You should have all the paperwork (pedigrees, photographs, feeding charts etc.) to hand as well as books on your breed.

It is unwise to leave unfamiliar people alone with your puppies for long, as the pups may be mishandled by children and adults who are unused to holding wriggling puppies.

Question 2

Do I Have Enough Time After Breeding From The Bitch?

Looking after a whelping bitch, rearing and selling puppies involves a long term commitment, perhaps four months of fairly continual work when the bitch and her family must have first consideration.

Around the time of mating there is need for a week of flexible time when you are able to take the bit h to the dog on the day the bitch shows that is ready. Many stud owners will want the mating to take place during the daytime.

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Breeding from your bitch

Around the time of whelping, on average two months or so after mating, the bitch will need constant observation for several days. For a Week after whelping, your presence is constantly required until maternal behaviour is established and the puppies can be seen to thriving.

If your bitch is doing her job well your workload will lighten for two weeks, but once weaning starts, feeding the puppies (up to five times a day) and cleaning up after them (almost continually), as well as socialising them for several hours a day, is an 18 hour a day job for one person with a sizeable litter.

This routine goes on with increasing intensity until the last puppy is sold Dog breeding is labour-intensive work.

Have you the temperament?

Baskets full of pretty puppies on a birthday card are one thing bringing those puppies into the world and looking after them is quite another.

Almost inevitably, in your litter there will be some puppies born dead, some which may die later on, some which are congenitally deformed, and probably some which are surplus to the number you can hope to sell to the right home.

Will you grieve for the dead and dying? Are you clear-thinking enough to decide that the greatest kindness is to have some puppies put down at birth? If you can cope with these decisions, will your children be able to take them in their stride? Many people want to produce a litter from their bitch in order to give the children experience of seeing mating and birth, but for some, the total package of deformity, death or elective culling may be too much to handle.

Have you the money?

Having a litter involves a considerable outlay of money before you see any return on puppy sales. To begin with you will have to pay a stud fee, which can be considerable for a good dog, veterinary fees, travel to the stud, extra food for bitch and puppies (your bitch requires more during the latter part of her pregnancy and at the peak of lactation), some equipment, extra heating and lighting, washing powder and cleaners, telephone and stationary, Kennel Club registrations, puppy insurance, advertising, photographs etc. In addition, if you are improvizing whelping accommodation within your house, you must allow for a certain amount of wear and tear on carpets, furnishings and paintwork. This is inevitable if you allow, as you probably must, growing puppies to run around for exercise.

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You may eventually get some or all of this money back from puppy sales. but if disaster occurs you could lose quite a lot or even all of it especially if the bitch has to have a Cesarean and the puppies eventually die. At any rate, you will see no return for four to five months after the mating, until the puppies are ready to sell. Most pet owners who take one litter from their bitch find themselves out of pocket in the end, especially if other paid work is given up in order to look after the litter.

Have you the market?

If there are a several established breeders in your area producing puppies in your breed, the outlook for selling your litter is not good. There are no greater panic- inducing situation than having several eight to 13-week old puppies on your hands and no buyer forthcoming.

It is unrealistic to think that other breeders will send you customers; they would rather, quite understandably, persuade these buyers to wait until they have their next litter. The only help you are likely to get with sales is if you have used a well-known stud dog whose progeny are in great demand.

In general, new owners want puppies up to eight weeks old, especially in medium to large breeds, and they are quite correct in making this preference.

If you have not sold your puppies by that time the only way you can make them appeal is to house-car-lead-train them and have them fully vaccinated and socialised.

Unfortunate, the selling price of puppies goes down the older they get, so the cost of our time is unlike to be repaid.

The time of year, the scarcity or abundance of puppies locally at the time, the colour and sex available, the show wins and the breeding of the stock involved, as well as the hard-won reputation of the breeder, all have a major effect on sales.

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