Tips for litter of puppies(22 Posts)
We will be having our first litter of puppies in the new year and would be grateful of any handy hints and tips that others have picked up from their experience - stuff you might not find in a book!
Thanks very much in advance
What breed and how far through the whole process are you?
Get yourself set up with a mentor before doing anything, usually the go to person would be the breeder of your bitch. They can help you with evaluating conformation, health screening, studying pedigrees, looking at inbreeding coefficients, picking the most appropriate stud dog, care of the bitch during pregnancy, whelping, pretty much everything right up until the puppies leave. Books and online information sources are useful but really nothing beats having someone experienced on hand (either in person if possible or happy to be contacted any time day or night) to guide you through the process the first time and offer advice or support should you need it.
I would highly recommend using the Puppy Culture programme, it's the absolute gold standard of puppy raising and nothing will give puppies a better start in life. You can see a brief summary of the sorts of things involved on this breeder's site and there's also a Puppy Culture FB group but I really would either get the DVD or VoD so you can watch and re-watch as much as you need to.
The KC have some useful online resources including a novice breeder checklist and templates for various advice sheets, etc. which you may want to include in your puppy packs.
Start putting feelers out for interest in the litter within your breed/sport/working community fairly early on, it's preferable to have as much time as possible to vet potential new owners. Champdogs have a guide to breeding and selling puppies and a guide to interviewing puppy buyers which are both well worth reading. I'd also suggest looking at their guide to buying a puppy and the accompanying list of questions to ask a breeder so you've got an idea of what people who have done their research will be looking for in a breeder.
It's well worth getting set up on Champdogs (if you're breeding pedigrees, obviously) to advertise there, you can actually advertise planned not just those already on the ground. Once the litter is born you can also advertise them via the KC, again if they're pedigrees. Breed clubs will generally have a puppy list as well which the litter can be listed on.
Just thought I’d gather a few more links that might be useful:
Guide to Responsible Breeding - from the American Kennel Club but lots of relevant information wherever you’re based
Breed Health Information Index - lists the available health tests for most breeds, the various breed specific conformation related health concerns and also the heritable health conditions present in each breed which currently can’t be tested for
UFAW Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals - more detailed information on some of the heritable health conditions affecting various breeds
BVA Health Schemes - Information about the various health testing schemes run by the BVA (hip and elbow scoring, eye testing, Chiari Malformation/Syringomyelia screening), at least some of which are relevant for many breeds
Understanding the Coefficient of Inbreeding - an excellent explanation of COIs and why it’s so important to consider them when breeding
Kennel Club Mate Select - various useful tools for looking up health test results (though bear in mind not all relevant test results are necessarily displayed), working out potential COIs, etc.
this is a useful article for anyone thinking of breeding.
Erm...don't do it??? Unless you have a rare that is dying out.
If you do feel you simply must breed, please please make sure your dog has all the correct testing for their breed. And make sure the stud has the same.
Also make sure you have a decent vet nearby in case things go wrong at any point - a horrible thought but one many don't consider!
Have £2000 sitting in a bank account ready for a Caesarian should she need one!
Having to ask for advice on here would suggest you don't know what you're doing. Why are you having puppies?
Another clueless backyard breeder pumping out puppies to clueless homes
Seemed like a good idea to pay off Christmas, eh, OP?
As usual Cornflake has come up with great resources.
Lesson two: never ever ask or even mention breading your pet on MN.
As a previous poster has said, make sure you have the spare money for any emergencies or you can lose both pups & mama dog.
Get the number of a good carpet cleaner for when they are in their new homes.
When you start to wean get a whistle and blow it when they are feeding - we use three short blasts - then move to blowing immediately before food, then they will link the whistle with coming to you for food and will come when called. Give all the new owners a whistle (need to ensure you get the same pitch) and they can use it for recall. Works well to ingrain recall early in gundog pups at least.
Ooh goodness. Ummmm well thank you for the helpful posts and pointers, really grateful.
For those who have jumped to some very incorrect assumptions...We are brood stock holders for the Guide Dogs. So these puppies are being bred carefully and responsibly to go on to change people's lives.
I am certainly not a backyard breeder trying to make money to cover Christmas. This is a volunteer position that incurs time, energy and cost by our family to support s fantastic organisation.
However this is both our and her first litter and although we have a huge amount of support from our supervisor, I want to be as prepared as possible.
Our bitch is a Labrador. And all the veterinary side of things is in place and covered - a prerequisite before you can take on this role.
Thanks again for the positive posts - any more help always welcomed
Cornflake - thank you very much for the time it must've taken you for all that info.
She has currently just come.in to season so is at the breeding centre to be mated..so very early on in the proceedings! They choose the stud and she has been extensively health checked so that side of things is covered.
The puppy culture site looks brilliant - will get reading/ordering. Thanks again!
Then your best bet is to work directly with other volunteers who have had brood bitches. They will be able to give you some great insights into what to expect, how to handle things, when to ask for outside help (vet etc) - I'm guessing you are part of a group or have access to other GD volunteers online?
I will apologise for jumping to conclusions...but unfortunately at this time of year BYB with no idea what they are doing become the norm. And I hate watching the rescues I work with try desperately to pick up the pieces.
From what I've seen of the GD organisation they have some fab people on hand to help out so hopefully can point you in the direction of other volunteers who have experienced this too.
Apologies OP, I've had a bit of a week so far
and it's only Wednesday with hapless people breeding their dogs, so jumped to conclusions very quickly.
My mum's neighbour allowed her JRT to have pups with the dog across the road.She ate all six pups, which they had no idea would happen. Secondly, my friend's neighbour allowed their Newfie and GSD to breed, didn't realise the GSD was pregnant until they found the pups, four of which were already dead. This is the standard of dog ownership I have come to expect.
A litter of lab pups will be amazing to watch, if exhausting! Get your self loads of floor cleaner and vet bed cut into pieces you can bung in the washing machine. A doggy playpen can also be a lifesaver, or a stairgate for the room where you are keeping them.
Not to worry - totally understand the reactions. On reflection, I should've put a bit more info in my original post.
We're very excited - though a little apprehensive - about the puppies. Will definitely try and link up with some other volunteers - aren't many in my area but will try and use the internet to connect with some. Thanks for all the tips!
It is exciting - a friend of mine has a male pup they are hoping will be used for breeding. Perhaps not quite as exciting as having the bitch at home but still!
I know that she has a lot of GD connections via a group on FB, could that be a possibility for you?
@medicalmumof4 I would just like to say that you are doing an amazing service. From experience of getting our lab boy earplugs will be needed when they get a bit older
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