During post scan discussions, the subject of puppy price is generally raised. Some clients, particularly those new to breeding, will ask me my thoughts on their expectations with regards to puppy fees. I try my best, in the main, to remain impartial. After all, it’s not for me to comment on or judge as to what people would like to receive for their babies come their 8 week birthday. I do however tend to offer the same advice, no matter the breed.
Don’t under sell yourself, for the work and cost you intend to put into your pups, don’t then offer them as the cheapest of that breed on the market. Some breeders feel that to get ahead of the rat race they should advertise their puppies cheap as chips to secure a home before someone else on “pets for homes” or some other equally as over used internet or social media site does. I don’t feel this is the case, I think if the psychology of it is assessed, the type of homes you pick up at such a low level aren’t generally the best pet home you’d want your pup to be in. By the same token, pitch your puppy price too high, you risk pricing yourself out of a good home and into the realms where only breeders and those who wish to make money from your pup to try and recover their costs are even slightly interested. Price the pups too low, and people assume they’re inadequate or something is wrong and pass by your advert.
Th current climate with the pandemic and lockdown in place has sent puppy sales and enquiries through the roof! We as breeders generally receive 4/5 enquiries a week. At the minute we are reaching ten enquiries a day on some days and no less than 4 a day om others. I’ve noticed generally this has pushed the price of a pup upwards even with the cross breeds with 3 or 4 different breeds clear in their heritage.
There are a number of current “high profile” breeds that are commanding a high price label themselves. If you take a peep at any of the websites where the sale of animals is allowed you’ll find all sorts of breeds advertised at £5000 + with descriptions such as “rare” and “desirable” or “exotic” and from “fantastic bloodlines” from far out places such as Russia, America and the eastern countries. Particularly in recent years where it seems to be quite easy to bring a dog in from abroad or ship and inseminate semen cross continent.
French Bulldogs seem to have been the breed of choice for breeders looking to cash in on a trend for the last few years with “rare” colours raising upwards of £3000 per pup although I do feel buyers are becoming more savvy in what is now a “buyer’s market” and this is pushing puppy prices back down in this particular breed to what is generally viewed as a more acceptable level again.
American Bullies, XL bullies and Pocket bullies have become a raging success in the UK in recent years too. An imported breed mainly from America, the Pocket and XL versions of the Standard American bulldog are determined by their build and achieve AKC registrations based on their breed standard height much like the standard, miniature and toy poodles of The Kennel Club world. These breeds are regularly advertised by smaller breeders for upward of £3000 with show and experienced kennels commanding 5 figure sums for puppies and stud fees.
I have met 100’s of breeders of bullies and cross breeds and everything in between in my role and it fascinates me learning about the “new” breeds and the work that some breed communities do with regards to health testing and exclusivity within their breed.
One thing that really does amaze me is who decides how many pounds and pence the breed commands? For example the pocket, xl and standard bullies? I guess with high import fee’s for good quality breeding lines from the US and elsewhere, the newness of the breed to this country and the obvious costs associated with breeding in general I’m sure these animals are very worth their price. Each of the dogs I’ve worked with so far have been of sound temperament and health and I admit I have a sneaky soft spot for the pocket bullies, being much like our own breed the bulldog in temperament. I do wonder if the breed became populated like the French bulldog however, will this push the price down a spiral in a similar way ?
I personally think WE as consumers push our price tags high. Years ago I worked in telephone holidays. One of the first things we were taught is that the more you search for one particular type of holiday, the cookies or whatever those little gremlins are called that live within all of our technology track the clicks and you inadvertently push your own price up. With more clicks on the one flight path, the more the holiday price will climb. I think puppy popularity and prices follow the same path. The more interest shown in a particular breed the more we allow our heads not see the inflation.
Is this what’s happening now in times of pandemic? So many people are now working from home or finding themselves enjoying their hour a day exercise tedious without a furry friend on a lead to take with them, that the general public’s enthusiasm for getting a dog, and getting one now, is pushing prices up with even a small cross breed now commanding a minimum of £1000 fee.
I’m not sure its such a bad thing. What price do we put on a LIFE, whatever the breed. We as consumers can easily spend a few hundred pounds on a whim or a night out, spending upwards of £1000 we may well think through harder the implications of that spend. I this case, getting a dog for life rather than a whim that’s cheap and can be passed on when we are bored?
One things for sure, should we be complimented on our dress, pair of shoes or latest handbag, we can’t wait to tell the complementor “it was only £5 in Primark..”
When someone asks about our new addition to the end of our lead however we can’t wait to boast the pound signs the pooch comes with. Its then, right then, that we inadvertently belt out the line “how much is that doggy in the window …” and the next phase of breed popularity rings out KERCHING…!!!!!
At a time when puppy enquiries are going through the roof and sales are at an all-time high, I started to wonder if puppy buyers really know what they’re letting themselves in for.
With the pandemic, so much of the population now finds themselves at home or able to work from home and with the daily exercise allowance our only source of escape even for a limited time is to go for a walk. Along with the beautiful weather we’re seeing, an unprecedented amount of people are enjoying the great outdoors.
Due to this many families have now decided it’s time to add a four legged family member to their homes.
In many ways it really is a lovely time to bring a puppy home, you’ve time at home as a family to adore your new baby and get them into toilet training and help them to socialise well with any other dogs you may already have BUT have you thought through the implications on the pup when we do all get back to the new kind of normal this virus will bring for us?
I’m worried that once that gate opens and the horses bolt as they inevitably will, we’re going to be left with soooo many puppies and even older dogs with major separation anxiety and other issues such as destruction of the home and mass toileting around the house that maybe wasn’t an issue while you we with them 24/7.
Before you make that call to a breeder to enquire about a new fluffy bundle, just look to what the future could possibly hold for you work wise. Might you have to change jobs? Might you have to work longer hours to increase your stability? Is there something you can put in place such as doggy day care or a dog walker to meet that time gap for your pooch or from having your attention 24/7 is the little fella now going to be expected to behave for increasingly long hours at home alone?
Once you’ve made the call that the pitter patter of four little feet is absolutely needed in your life its worth putting into plan a little routine more like your normal working life to help your pup settle into a life that won’t change dramatically when you return to your life of work.
I always say this to my new puppy owners whether they’re home all day or work, a pup that cries in the night really does need to be ignored. It’s the hardest thing to do when that tiny baby is yelping at 2 am but you really do make a rod for your own back if you start to go down through the night to comfort the dog, you’ll reassure the dog that such behaviour is acceptable and in turn make the dog believe that they can continue the behaviour long term. Provided the dog has comfy bed, maybe a soft toy or two, for me preferably in a crate or cage so you know they’re safe from household dangers- the pup should be left and they will soon cotton on that screaming in the night doesn’t gain anything but wohoo when I wake up in the morning the people will come with huge hugs and cuddles for me! The age old ethos of ignoring the bad behaviour and rewarding the good.
If you’re daily routine is to be out for a few hours during the day, try to stick to this sort of routine with pup from the off. Again this is much easier if you’re crate training. Put pup to bed for a few hours while you potter around upstairs maybe or leave the tv on in the room they’re in and keep out of that room as best you can for a while. You want to create a feeling of security for the dog that, although yes you’re leaving them alone, you will come back to them. When you do return, create lots of fuss and praise on the dog and take the pup straight outside for their toilet which again, will be full of praise and fuss for them when they toilet outdoors.
Pups aren’t being socialised as early as they might be due to the restrictions on getting vaccinations sorted and the obvious lock down and self-isolation restrictions. But that doesn’t stop us sitting in the garden with the pup or at the front door and while holding the pup in your arms you can expose the pup to the sounds and smells of the outside world. The sound of passing cars etc. You can even go online and download playlists of socialisation noises for pups. The Kennel Club website has a few recommendations on puppy socialisation too so that’s worth a look.
The key to raising a balanced dog is security and routine. If you can crack both of those before this lock down is over you’ll be laughing your way to the park with your happy pooch!!
I am just back from my first trip out in over ten days and I am traumatised !!
I had a puppy to deliver North around 150 miles away for an amazing family introduced to us through someone else who has a bulldog from our lines.
We have chatted over facetime, viewed one another’s houses, gardens and met each family member. It’s actually been quite a positive experience and one I intend to continue to be fair, so that wasn’t at all my trauma.
Waving my goodbyes ( from a safe 2m distance obvs) I was a bit chocked up and on passing a Tesco store enroute home, I decided to risk calling in for a comfort break and to grab some necessities that had been missed from our home delivery the night before.
I started off well putting on my disposable gloves as I left my van, found a trolley on the car park and being helpful set off with it towards the open door way. BOOM first mistake!
A smiley but firm body builder type security lady stopped me in my tracks and made me walk the windy snakey line, almost like the one you get at the airport while you wait in line for check in only not as well posted, to the other side of the open door way. There, a little lad looking like something out of a horror movie jumped out in front of the bodybuilder security lady and asked me to step away from my trolley as it hadn’t been sanitised. He swung another trolley at me and sent me on my way… shesshhh all these blue arrows and new etiquette (monkeyface emoji with hands over the eyes). I am not 100% established in the previous etiquette of shopping, I’m now totally thrown!
As I walk through the aisles, Steve rings to ask something and nothing. I feel like everyone’s eyes are on me as I saunter down the newspaper aisle speaking to him while perusing which magazine to buy my grandma this week to save her going entirely doolaly stuck in at home.
I quickly hang up on him when I realise that the lady next to me is a bit too close for my liking, not observing the blue arrows as requested on entrance to the store and therefore sending my anxiety through the roof that I might catch something from her breath spittle. I need to get what I need and get out of there!
I tried really hard to ignore my bladder, no way did I want to risk sharing germs with the great unwashed in the public loo’s but in the end I had to give in and asked the lady at customer services to watch my freshly sanitised trolley for me while I nipped to spend a penny.
It was a bit like a challenge from the old tv show gladiators attempting to cross paths with people coming away from the check outs. As I carefully worked my way through to the bright green “toilets” sign at the top of the store, I wanted to hold my breath, drop to the floor army style and crawl my way nimbly. If I thought for one minute my unfit body would have actually handled such a manoeuvre I may have done it just for a laugh but after over 3 weeks at home munching the way through our rations like there’s no tomorrow I didn’t dare risk getting down for fear I would roll rather than crawl and not be able to get back up. Instead I tried not to make eye contact while I “excuse me’d” my way through ignoring the tuts that I was following the arrows all wrong and declaring loudly that I just needed to pee and promises that I wouldn’t breath on anyone.
Safely into the customer toilets, washing my hands still gloved I felt very accomplished at being “antibacterial” about literally everything. I unzipped and relieved my now very happy bladder.
The next trauma came as I tried to re fasten my jeans. I whipped them back up and boom, caught the finger of my glove in the zipper and ripped the finger clean off !!! (the glove finger… not my own human finger !)
No one teaches you how to do practical things with these gloves on !! So now, finger torn and feeling exposed and giggling with nerves, I head back, hands in pockets to the customer services lady to retrieve my trolley. She looks at me like I’m clearly deranged as I approach her now full giggle and I dangle my naked finger to her with the ripped glove dangling. I saved her from the vison of the extra piece of glove now firmly fixed in the zipper of my jeans. She kindly smiles and without a word hands me a box of fresh gloves and I take them gratefully.
Now back on my blue arrowed road I make my way around the aisles, following the silent people with trolleys in front of me and carefully ensuring I don’t over step the two metre rule. I’m almost done when I decide to ring my elderly neighbour next door and just check she’s not in need of a door step parcel of rations. She gives me a list of things including flour and parsnips, all of which are back in the direction I’ve just come from, so not thinking I swing round and head down the aisle I’ve just come from- OH MY WORD!! …. The horror on the faces of the oncoming traffic was enough to bring me to a grinding halt. I quickly 180’d the trolley back around and zipped my way the full length of the store to work my way back through the arrows and find my way my way to the items I’d previously walked passed.
Trolley now loaded, I am so relieved to see empty conveyor belts with staff behind their little safety screens smiling as I approach one, she looks at me nervously and jerks her head to the left, as I look an assertive looking manager type with a head phone gestures to the top of the store where another airport type system is in place to bring you round to the check out … dutifully I nod, not a word is passed and I head through the snakes and ladders system once more to come to another lady behind a screen “how are you today?” she politely asks as I start to throw my items onto the belt like I’m now in some sort of race.
Stressed !! I reply laughing, it’s all very stressful.
With that, efficient lady barks at me “stand on the cross please” as I look down there’s a cross six inches to my left to be stood on while unloading your shopping, I jumped on it and then asked permission of my cashier lady to move round to re pack the shopping she had just scanned she smiled and nodded. By now, my anxiety is in my chest and I bugger the blue arrows and run with my trolley back to the sanctuary of my van and my antibac spray which I use liberally like I’m spraying the free tester pot or my favourite expensive perfume in Debenhams (RIP)
Sheshhhhh, I rang Steve as I pulled out from the car park, handsfree of course and said never ever again!! The panic of not knowing what was expected or what I should be doing, the anxiety of not wanting anyone to look at me or touch me or even be within 2 metres of me, the imagining of little germ like creatures sat on every persons clothing ready to jump on mine and infect me and my family almost flea like was just too much. And the silence ! No one wanted to make eye contact or even smile at one another, almost like that’s an admission of fear or weakness and the virus can infiltrate it like all the horror films you’ve ever watched rolled into one !!
I arrived home a few hours later and dived in the shower literally as soon as I walked through the door, straight back in my comfys and the sanctuary of home. I won’t be leaving again until the world is back to normal and I can happily lick the faces of my loved ones again without fear of retribution and all the blue crosses have disappeared into oblivion J
I first write my apology.
It's been weeks since I wrote a post and the main reason, and I know you may not believe this, I just didn't know what to say!
I have no idea whats going on in the world, its like all the horror films you've ever watched rolled into one and if I'm being really truthful with you, its taken me till now to fully digest it. I'm no further on with regards to how to process whats happening but I am definitely coping.
One thing thats helped massively is my wonderful lovely clients, those who have kept in touch with their litter pictures, those who have messaged their concerns both for the pandemic and how it will affect them along with the usual calls I get to help with problem puppies or advice on labour. They've really kept me going and just knowing we're all in this together, as breeders and a human race is comforting. We need to keep talking, keep supporting and keep communicating together. To help this I have opened our new group North West Breeders Network for my clients to chat, share and support one another through their litters. If you're not already part of that community get yourself added in.
I write this post now having completed a 200 mile round trip a few days ago to deliver my litter of bulldog puppies to their new homes.
I felt like Santa on Christmas eve, only better because I got to stick around and see the kid’s faces when they saw their new puppy for the first time.
You see this litter has been very different to any of my others. All the visits have been done via facetime or pictures and videos and it’s a new thing for me to deliver pups rather than new families heading over to POB HQ to collect their new baby.
It’s been a different experience but I have to say one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and I actually think I may continue with similar practices in the future !
It’s meant I can meet family members over facetime calls that I may never have met had just the immediate family come to visit the pups. I’ve had the opportunity over the pictures, videos and calls to nosy round people’s homes with them and show them round ours. They’ve met all the dogs in their natural state rather than them bouncing round like buffoons cos “new people are here so let’s all play up!” as children and animals inevitably do.
I’ve actually built really nice friendships with my new families that I believe will mean going forward a great “working” relationship will develop much easier than had we only met once or twice and just shared the odd photo. Which surely is better for the pup?
I made sure all contracts and guidance sheets were emailed prior to delivery and all financial transactions had been cleared in advance.
With new guidance shared today by the Kennel Club it seems the processes are expected to be adopted by all breeders during this period of restriction and uncertainty and I think provided we all stay sensible, it could work really well!
I have written about the new guidelines and my understanding of them in my new email drop, if you’d like to subscribe just add your email address to the pop up here on the website and you’ll be added to the next drop.
I'll leave you for now with the commitment to not leave it so long before I post again.
Please continue to talk, share and most importantly stay safe!
Give me a litter of pups or a pack of rabid dogs rather than send me to a children’s soft play area in the midst of half term. So when a close friend suggested a lunch date recently, my hair started to prickle but this particular friend I hadn’t seen for an age and really wanted to catch up so I reluctantly agreed.
I arrived 10 mins early for our date and so allowed my two girls, 5 and 2 to remove their shoes and run off into the abyss of children while I suffered my palpitations quietly in the corner under the cover of a quick Facebook check and responded to a few client messages trying to mentally drown out the screams and sheer din that children en mass inevitably make.
My friend arrived around half an hour after me with her 5 year old and 12 week old baby. As she sat down I happened to get a wiff of a stinky nappy which sent my mind flying back a few hours and the sudden, soul destroying realisation that I hadn’t brought my nappy bag with me and therefore had no nappies or wipes for my two year old.
Of course, I instinctively knew that the stench was my 2 year old. Happily scooting passed me for another go down the slide so I gripped her and armed with a nappy the size of a new borns and my friends pack of baby wipes too I headed for the baby change room to deal with the atrocity that awaited.
To be fair, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, the only issue being my daughters commendable efforts to kamikaze down the slide had rendered her original nappy un trust worthy and she had leaked a little onto her tights and the back of her dress.
Having to think on my feet I cleaned her up, stripped her dress and tights from her. It was warm in the soft play any way, these places typically are to ensure the children ask for lots of drinks and snacks in between pretending they are super heros or searching for what I can only describe as debatable buried treasure including but not exclusive to; odd socks, well chewed dummies and the odd soggy blood spotted plaster from the ball pool.
Off she toddles back to her friends in the nappy we have resourcefully made fit and her vest while I withdrew to the table hopeful of an adult conversation with my friend.
There was no such luck as the next minute I realised that there was a commotion at the base of the big slide and heard murmurings of “someone’s poo’d on the slide..” feeling my cheeks glisten I tried to ignore it. My daughter was of course now clean and therefore the faecal matter coudn’t possibly be hers…could it?
I could feel all eyes on me, maybe I exaggerate through paranoia or maybe it really was this bad but I felt judged, these other mothers, maybe 20 of them in the soft play, had clearly never experienced their child embarrassing them or a situation residing from motherhood that was even marginally uncomfortable. RUBBISH!!
I decided the best form of defence was head on and I collared a member of staff asking if the issue was now resolved and, if it was in fact my child from her previous nappy that had smeared the slide, I would happily go and clear up my own mess. Relatively speaking obviously. I was reassured by her, this very young waitress that it wasn’t a big deal and I should sit down and relax. As she said it, a cry went out from another member of staff that the soft play was now closed for the next 20 minutes while they addressed a cleansing issue.
Que all eyes on me. I didn’t know how to react, I really wanted to stand up and shout that whilst we are all only human, we are all parents here. All Mothers in the main that are all winging life as a mummy, not one of us were born into this, we plan and we research and we read but NOTHING prepares you for what’s needed from you emotionally, physically and mentally to be a parent and a good one at that. We are ALL winging it, just some show it less than others.
I wonder how many of us comment on breeding posts on social media and judge the person writing the message? We assume they’re incompetent or depending on our own disposition, we assume they know better than us. After how many litters do we have to breed to be classed as “experienced” ? When do we stop needing one another for support and not judgement?
How many of those mothers staring at me in the soft play café wanted to lean over and say “don’t worry that happened to me last year” for fear of repercussions, clearly no one wants to be friends with the mum who’s kid s**ts on the slide!
I’m lucky, my friend found the whole thing hilarious and I’m a pretty tough cookie that it was water of a poodles back for me but how about next time we see someone in an awkward situation or we see someone being hounded over a particular query on Facebook, think outside the box and ask them if they need help.
They might just thank you for it, after all, it feels nice to be nice xx
“Dog breeding is like any creative art and combination of science. But most of all its about hard work and learning all the time. It’s about trying, making mistakes and learning from them.” Juha Kares 2016.
Benjamin franklin supposedly said “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and as I’ve just continued to read in a blog by William Bouffard from 2013 Thomas Edison once said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work”.
I agree with the blog author in that this Edison comment isn’t quite the mind set we should be in when learning from the past when it comes to breeding a living being. We don’t get many opportunities to “fail” as usually failing puts us in life and death situations with our pets or their progeny.
It still amazes me how many people think it’s “easy” to breed. Don’t get me wrong, fundamentally it is. Dog meets bitch, bitch flags her tail a little, dog follows for a walk round the grassed common and ….. well…. You know where I’m going with this. We’ve all watched THAT scene in Lady and the Tramp. He definitely woo’s her with the spaghetti.
That part, for the most part IS easy. But is it? Are the star crossed lovers made for each other? are their breeds compatible (this isn’t an anti cross breed post at all but a great dane and a chihuahua?? Commmmeee onnnn aint a nice image is it?).
Are they healthy ideally health tested specimens of their breed? Has she reached her peak ovulation or is the duck pond walk foreplay for a main event a few days later. Is “Tramp” firing on all cylinders so to speak? Are his swimmers up to the free style relay flowing towards him?
Does he have form and know what he’s doing (living up to his name of course) or is a little human intervention required? Maybe “Lady” ain’t a lady at all and snarls a serious “back off buddy” warning as soon as he comes within a country mile?
All joking apart these and many many more issues can rise when breeding and this is just the tip of the ice berg. There’s the pregnancy, whelping and rearing of pups. Suitable diets, delving into vet support and vetting of new homes before you even start on problem pups and potentially life threatening issues to watch for in mum.
I received a call this morning from someone with an 8 month old pup just out of season and she’s considering mating her next time. The lady caller wanted to learn about “breeding.” Just about to run out of the door on the school run before starting my days appointments and trying to take in the mammoth task that was being asked of me, my response was that she may be needed to buy numerous books, read up on the wealth of info on social media and the internet, chat to numerous breeders within her chosen breed about health testing etc and maybe enjoy her puppy for at least another year and come back to me and we’d chat again.
Ok, so I am rubbish at my job in that light. I know for a fact others in my position would have taken the opportunity to offer stud services immediately and cash in on the poor girls naivety for their own gains but I couldn’t sleep at night. Hopefully, she’ll take my response in the means it was meant and come back to me in a year with food for thought.
And then to the lovely lady I met this afternoon with her bitch in pup with an estimated 6 babies due just next week give or take to the resident stud muffin. We chatted about the accidental mating’s and she, as many clients do, told me “she’s not a breeder”. My response now to this almost daily phrase is, ‘you are now my love!”
It is our responsibility not just as breeders but as dog owners with entire opposite sexes at home to educate ourselves on the beautiful art of breeding.
From the spaghetti dates to the cute little fluffies with red bows at the end of the hopefully happy, if not a little traumatic in the middle, movie.
I am in the final stages of completing my “Need to Know….” Packs which previously have been electronic form for some clients, and now will be in printed copy in handy folders to help ease your research into the world of breeding a little more gently.
To add to that I am almost through reading Sara Lamonts new book “not born yesterday” which I highly recommend already! An easy read for the experienced and new breeders out there looking for that extra bit of reassurance that if and when your babies make babies you’re fully prepared for what’s to come!! Being a bestie of the author I’ll have a special offer available next month to purchase both my pack and Sara’s book for a limited time at a discount fee;)
while you’re taking five minutes to read this post, you’re naturally thinking over your own breeding experiences past or present… maybe you could impart in the comments your biggest mistake or your best advice to a newbie? Maybe we can help each other from making the same 10000 mistakes Edison did ?
I’ve got chills !!!!
I’m a professional so I can’t loosssee controllll…
I just can’t understand some breeders and their understanding of what it means to own a stud dog.
For me, a stud dog owner should be;
*Fully prepared for what owning a stud can and often does entail, including the constant scent marking, potential aggression towards other males and naughty behaviour in general to name a few.
*Be experienced in their breed of choice, enough to be able to support anyone that may potentially use their dog anyway and preferably have a number of litters of that breed under their belt so they can lead by example.
*Hopefully be knowledgeable about health testing within their chosen breed.
*And most of all BE AVAILABLE !! For advice and support and actually for the stud service itself, its kind of vital that bit :)
Just this last week alone, we’ve had more than a handful of clients that have progesterone tested with us and then at the last minute had to change their chosen stud to someone available when the bitch was ready to be bred or had to breed their bitch much later than we had advised. This risks the bitch missing or worse a singleton litter because the stud dog owner wouldn’t / couldn’t be available on the days they were needed despite being given notice throughout the testing process, if not prior, as it was in most of the cases this week.
It really surprised me some of the reason we’ve heard have been given to our clients …
“We only allow our stud to be used on Tuesday afternoons and Sunday mornings”
What If the bitch is ready to be mated on a Thursday? She has to wait till Sunday and her breeder pay their stud fee ( as of course all of these breeders charge upfront!!??) for her to have a high chance statistically of not getting in pup at all so late after ovulation.
“Only one mating allowed.” Don’t get me wrong, we can pinpoint through progesterone testing when the optimum time would be for that one mating. But what about the thousands of breeders out there that choose not to test or don’t know about testing yet? This breeder offered no advice what’s so ever just stated, you get one mating and that’s it and of course the mating had to be at their convenience.
The best one was stud fee’s that altered depending on what day the dog was mated… really apparently we should all be on double time on a Sunday.
We’ve done studs in our PJ’s at 6 am and 11pm when a client has had to come for a mating right away or on their way from work. We’ve been mid meal sooooo many times and had to rush back from Crufts one year with a stud client waiting on the wall outside on our return at 9pm for a mating with Winstone and we have never quibbled our availability and we work round our clients as much as we can. I’m on the phone regularly and recently even advised the stud owners puppy buyers as that’s what I personally feel my responsibility should extend to for the best of my breed. Although, I do know sometimes I go much further than would be expected of me!
Contrary to some clients expectations of us, we don’t have a stud of every breed in our office, we can recommend studs in the area in some breeds if we’re asked though.
However, that doesn’t help for example one breed we are working with that only has a handful of studs available to her in the whole of the UK. The difficulty tying in with the stud dog owner is making this experience awfully stressful for a fairly new breeder and a breed that really does need to be preserved or risk falling into the almost extinct category.
Please Please research your studs before you decide to mate, have some correspondence with the stud owners prior to your girl coming into season if you can so you can each share your intentions and manage each other’s expectations. If you own a stud, please try to be empathetic to your clients. It’s not ideal doing a mating during Sunday dinner but if that’s the bitch’s optimum time it really should be done. At the end of the day, you’re being paid handsomely in most cases for the slight inconvenience of cold roast tattys.
Maybe the Dodo had really awkward breeders who just didn't want to get out of their cave too early back in the day and that’s why they really failed to survive ?
The Value of Poo.....
On the way to school the other morning, my eldest (5 years) and her little friend who has a lift to school in the morning with us, were having a conversation about poo.
My daughter I’m sure started the topic with some comment or other about her poo being particularly difficult to squeeze out into the toilet bowl that morning. Her friend, full of sympathy and concern for her asked, “why was that then?”
The response that came back made me laugh out loud.
she said to her friend in a very serious tone, “because I think my body just needed all the extra energy from my food this morning, I did have a busy night dancing in the kitchen with my sister last night while mummy made our supper so I think It was probably that…”
She went on to say, “you get out what you put in don’t you mummy?”
My poor child is really picking up on the things I say it would seem as in our house, it's not just the children obsessed with Poo. As much as I hate to admit it.
Steve can de poop the back garden, which we have to do on a bi daily basis with the number of dogs we have at home, and he can come in and tell me that “chilli’s off colour” or “junior must have eaten something that’s disagreed with him”
We can determine poodle poop from chihuahua poop at 50 paces and for some reason every dirty bugger wants to eat Snowy’s poops (Christ knows why they bloody stink!) so hers have to be picked up first!
We are no more obsessed than when we have a litter though. Those first few weeks of poo can tell us so much about how a pup is feeding and developing. The first few days of poo, much like a human baby, can be all sorts of colours from green to black dependant on the birth experience or diet mum is fed on pre birth. I love to see the “chicken korma bird seed” type poo’s that come through once a pups digestive system changes and they start to digest the fats with the sugars from mums milk. Mum fed pups tend to have firmer stools, these can be so much fun when you have a breed that needs to be manually toileted such as ours rather than mum doing all the work to clean and toilet her pups. You can stimulate the bowel to move using a cotton pad soaked in warm water and as the poo starts to evacuate the pups body, you can literally guide it out with the pad. My challenge to myself with these isn’t dissimilar to that of a child with a play dough spaghetti maker… how long can I get it to come out whole without breaking! If it wasn’t such a taboo subject I would be happy to photograph this poop for public viewing! Unfortunately it’s my close breeder friends who tend to get those what’s app’d over and the return pings of “yey” and “look at that ! amazing” keep me on a high that my pups are doing well.
If the pups have loose poops or maybe have a spot of blood in their poops we have a freak out moment while we figure out what could be the cause of such a messy outcome. Sometimes it can be that the pup is formula fed, therefore much more likely to over feed as the milk hits their tummy faster than if they’d had to work it from mum themselves or it could simply be bacteria passing through.
Mum fed pups can have issues if mums diet changes. Again, quite common with a feeding mum that has become food fussy during her pregnancy and now expects changes to her daily diet to entice her.
My eldest was right though, you really do get out what you put in, so its important to research your dog’s food rather than just feeding what’s convenient. Take the time to test them for any allergens and read into what diet is good for their breed/exercise level.
Particularly if you plan to breed your dog, it’s so important to have them at optimum health and keep the diet of the expecting mum consistent, ensuring the pups keep to the same diet to aid their digestive system throughout the weaning process.
And obviously bare in mind that dancing in the kitchen at night pre supper leaves a risk of morning constipation, you really do get out what you put in…..
How ironic that I actually wrote this post a few days ago and in the last 48 hours I have had 7 conversations regarding poo of different forms and had 4 images of poo sent to me. I even had one lovely person “save” a poo to show me on my visit so I could comment on its consistency!!!!
That IS a question !!
It may or may not surprise you to hear that I am fairly regularly asked whether a human pregnancy testing stick will work on a dog.
Many breeders are too excited to find out whether their prized pet is “up the duff” and look for quicker or cheaper method to confirm their suspicions before the recommended 28 days for a definitive ultra sound scan.
Now, while I could probably make a fortune sharing the videos of various clients chasing their potentially pregnant pooch round the garden with a cup in a vain attempt at collecting even a drop of urine to then sit for 3 minutes waiting to see if that little blue line appears …
The simple and honest answer is No. A human pregnancy test will not work on a dog.
Canine and human hormones are completely different and the human hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) (clue is in the human part) which is used to determine a marker level in the pregnancy test stick to confirm or decline a pregnancy just isn’t produced by a dog and therefore the sticks can’t determine whether your girl will hear the patter of tiny feet.
So what’s the best way to confirm pregnancy for your dog ?
To wait until she’s a minimum of 28 days to her last mating and to have an experienced mobile technician ultra sound scan for you,
preferably meeeeeeee !!!!!!
Anyone who knows us will know, Winstone (AKA multi Champion Pride of Bully Winstone to give him his Sunday name..) is Steve’s pride and joy. He’ll be 10 in a few weeks and when the dog gods made a bulldog they made them with Winstone in mind. He is literally the template bulldog with his thick boned legs, snuggly chops and wrinkly face. A bum that wiggles when he’s happy and as lazy as the day is long.
He plods outside for the toilet in the morning and then instead of exploring the garden like everyone else does on their first jaunt outside, Win sits back down on the door step, looks to the sky, sighs and watches the world go by him until the door reopens and he practically runs back inside as this means his bedroom is clean and his breakfast is ready!!
He’s more than happy to have a lead on and go for a walk but he’s slowed down significantly in the last 12 months and after years of pounding the show ring and travelling Europe for shows without ever so much as a limp in his movement, he has the odd day now where he is clearly ginger while moving and he has started with little arthritic callouses on his joints.
While on a social visit to my vet nurse bestie, I mentioned the changes I’d noticed with Win and she suggested the complimentary therapy Lasering that was available weekly there at the surgery.
She filled me with success stories and said Winstone would be a perfect candidate. I took the leaflet home and said I’d have a think over Christmas.
Amongst other new year’s resolutions I decided I needed to get my corner in order this Christmas so being in a proactive mood I booked Win’s initial treatment for this Thursday just gone. The first session is free so Winstone and I had nothing to lose.
On arriving Win decided to take a massive poo right in front of the tills and then another once we were in the consult room!! The dog who rarely poo’s away from home, often going for a day or two while we were away showing has now decided he has no inhibitions and can drop a bomb anytime and anywhere. On fumigating the room Lianne our technician got to work on discussing Winstones ailments and working out a programme to ensure maximum benefit for us. The laser itself is a painless laser energy absorbed in water which increases local circulation and therefore draws oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area. It creates optimum healing and reduces inflammation, swelling and stiffness.
Winstone was comfortable through out the 10 or so minute treatment and promptly flopped to the floor once Lianne had completed the session for a snooze while we continued to chat about the potential benefits of K Lasor.
The treatment, at just £30 a time, is shown to help with all sorts of ailments from joint pain to chronic wounds, mastitis to hot spots and isn’t just reported to help our furry friends there is a human laser too. Check out www.northernlasertherapy.com
I’ve re booked for next week so I’ll report back on our findings as we go through our planned 6 weeks of treatment but a friend has just commented on seeing Win tonight how well he looks and how he doesn’t seem as stiff as usual, I hadn’t mentioned prior to her comments where we had been so that’s a positive already!