Saturday, January 22, 2011

What's on the agenda today?

1- Research de-whining a dog (kidding)
2- Buy a thong for my bitch (not kidding)

Lexis has started her second heat, six months from the first. I was hoping she'd put more time between them but it was not meant to be.

The last thing anyone wants are Schnauzer/Shepherd crosses. Kev & I know the routine and it's no big deal. When we aren't home I'm super paranoid and crate Lex in the basement with the solid door leading down firmly shut. I've read too many oops litter stories and have no desire to write my own.

Lex is supervised at all times when let outside. Our next door neighbor fosters a bulldog for a breeder.... He knows and enjoys his job! And I doubt the Seal cross and Mennonite mongrel in the yard behind us have left their yard long enough for a vet visit, never mind a neutering. Next to them we've got an intact American Bulldog, and a couple of doors over from us there is an intact Shepherd, beside them it's an intact Rottweiler.

Is it just me or is that a whole lot of canine testosterone for one North American, tiny city block?

In my case, Bullet is co-owned with his breeder. Bullet's got a nice pedigree, he's a good worker and his heath tests have so far been excellent. Will he ever be bred? Highly unlikely.

I'm keeping Lex as-is, for now anyway. I am not a breeder and have no desire to become one, but I want to see how she grows up. Will she ever be bred? Highly unlikely.

Glory has been spayed.

Because you CAN breed a dog does not mean you should. It is one hell of a responsibility that too many take lightly and do for the wrong reasons... like because they think they'll make money. Or because they have the best dog ever, and he/she is special. Guess what? Death row at your local shelter is full of amazing dogs, out of special dogs just like yours.

So you want to breed your dog?
Ask yourself a few questions first:

Is your dog from a reputable breeder who tests the health, mind and body of their breeding stock and has all the titles and documents to prove this? Can they also provide pedigrees full of dogs that have themselves been tested? (Not just one championship or two, four generations back. That is meaningless.)
No? Then don't breed your dog.

Are you prepared spend the money and time it takes to test your dog's health, mind and body? To get the "proof"... X-rays, blood tests, titles, etc. before breeding?
No? Then don't breed your dog.

Anyone can say their dog would excel in field trials, on the schutzhund field or in the agility ring, etc. Many do just that - talk. The real proof is in the judging. Training and trialing tests the dog's structure and mind. Their willingness to please. Their longevity and overall health. Their temperaments. Most puppies end up in pet homes but the traits above are all necessary for a well-balanced, healthy, happy family companion. By testing their dogs, breeders KNOW the good and the bad and can communicate that to a puppy buyer and make a good match.

No dog is perfect. Are you willing to be honest about your dog to puppy buyers as well as other breeders? Hiding a health problem or temperament fault does not improve the breed. If, for example, your stud dog starts to have seizures at the age of 5 you can't pretend it doesn't happen and keep allowing other breeders to use him. No matter how nice he is, or how much money you'll lose. The breeders who have used him should be informed. Those would be tough calls to make and some people could get angry with you... Can you be honest and deal with situations like this?
No? Then don't breed your dog.

Do you have a waiting list before you breed? Reputable breeders don't need to advertise their litters in the local classifieds, on Kijiji or Craigslist.
No? Then don't breed your dog.

Not everything goes as planned. Are you prepared for emergencies with the bitch or puppies? These emergencies can and will hit your emotions, bank account and sleep patterns. Are you willing to chance losing your special girl?
No? Then don't breed your dog.

Are you willing to spend time with the litter and provide enrichment? Handle the puppies, introduce them to novel objects, textures, sounds, etc? Keep track of each dog's personality? Keeping them in a kennel until they are sold is not acceptable.
No? Then don't breed your dog.

Are you prepared to keep any and all puppies that don't find the perfect home? One person's "pick of the litter" is different from another person's "pick of the litter" and it's your job to match the best dog for the home. There is more to it than first-paid, first-served. It is also very possible to end up with more puppies than homes, do you have the space, time and money to deal with this?
No? Then don't breed your dog.

The job doesn't end there. Will you provide support for your puppy buyers? Will you take back any dog, at any time, in his/her life?
No? Then don't breed your dog.

So you still want to breed your dog?

Before you do, visit your local shelter. Offer to foster a few rescue dogs. Get a good look at the other side and fully understand it.

There is a market for well bred puppies and breeding your animal is not a bad thing to do if you do it well. Just realize the job you are taking on and do the best you possibly can. Don't do a disservice to the dog population by adding more lives that end up on a cold table at the shelter, breathing their last breath... all because you need some money or because you think your dog is special.

Breeding is one hell of a responsibility all right. Proceed with care.


Kane Augustus said...

Wow! A thong on a dog... that's an image I never anticipated. Ever. And never want to again, thank you very much. ;)

How are ya, bud?


Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Nice contribution to the breeding info out there. If more people took it that seriously, it'd be great and there wouldn't be a so many unwanted dogs in shelters.
How to de-whine a dog............

Take the bottle away. lol

workingdobes said...

Great post Tracy! I will send clients to it when they tell me they don't want to spay their new puppy they got off kijiji because they think it was a "really nice temperament" and they want their kids to see the miracle of birth...

K9-CRAZY said...

I hope I didn't miss anything on the list. Some might think it's too harsh but it's what I truly believe.

I'll post a picture of Lex in her thong Kane. Just for you ;)

Soo said...

I've been thinking about this post a lot and agree with everything you say. But I think there's another requirement that really rules out most breedings. The last question that needs to be asked is: Is there a logical and realistic reason to believe that you will produce better than what is already being bred (or alternatively - is there a logical and realistic reason to believe that you will produce better than the dogs being bred).

Most of the time, that answer is "no." And it makes much more sense to buy a dog to show/work.


Lena said...

Amen! Very nice post! :-)
I agree with you wholeheartedly, and also with the commenter before me.