“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 ?