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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning folks. Today was a difficult day. Our girl Tibbie had her first litter. We were braced for the fact that she only had 3 pups, which was a disappointment because we are/were planning to keep a good girl from the litter. The new puppies owners have been screened and approved and we are so happy about the homes they will be going to. Here's my emergent problem. The first puppy was breech - and huge. 1.5 oz. I was not alone, Tibbie's breeder and their very experienced "puppy nanny" attended the birth. After two hours of active labor I contacted the vet and I had to pull the boy out. I thought he would be dead, but he is a robust giant. We had an average sized girl a couple of hours later, and then another breech - a very small male, 11 ounces. Here's the problem. Tibbie will have nothing to do with the puppies. She didn't eat, would't eat the placenta, turned her nose up in disgust. She has not licked them, has not cleaned them, has not sniffed them. She has growled toward them twice. I am being understandably protective of them, and patient and loving toward her. I don't leave any of them out of my sight. She is willing to nurse, but just to lay quietly while they suck. She acts like they aren't even there, and I'm afraid her milk will dry up due to her lack of response. The tiny boy is having a hard time, and I am trying to supplement him but he isn't vibrant yet. I am thinking about tube feeding him later, if I don't think he's taking more in. I am cleaning them, peeing and pooping them, and am willing to continue feeding around the clock if need be. What, if anything, can I do to encourage her to be a mom? We are crestfallen. I am thinking that the first birth was just so terribly traumatic to her, that she was turned off by the entire experience. I can't blame her, it was a rough one. Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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This needs to be moved to the breeders section or emeregency. I would repost there.

Maybe she is just super tired.

I hope your little family makes out okay. My Cozy was a great mom even with a cleft plate puppy we tried supplementing to keep alive. She would leave the other pups every time we needed to feed him. She was very attentive.
 

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Faux Wanda
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I noticed that this thread started at 3:21 AM, way past my bedtime. I am hoping that the problem has resolved itself and you, Tibby and the pups are getting some much needed rest.
If not, you might want to consider a vet visit. The only time I know of a female not wanting anything to do with the pups was when there was something wrong with the pups. There might also be something going on with mom. A vet visit would rule this out. Other than something medical, I have no idea what could be going on with your girl but a vet might be able to give you some advice on how to proceed.
Good luck and when you get a minute, post some pics of the pups.
 

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I miss my Buddy
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Sending prayers for mom and her puppies, hope everything is going well.
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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I hope we get an update soon. Praying mama and babies are doing well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Crazy Week

Hello GRF friends - I thank you all so much for your excellent ideas. I was sure that my girl was not ill, by negative findings on palpation of the mammary glands, normal temp, normal stools, water and food intake. I also did talk to my vet who said that "most bitches have the mothering chip", but that she had in fact seen a few that didn't. Some hours after I placed my original post, she began to sniff toward the pups, and 24 hours later was more relaxed when they nursed, and would allow them to explore around her, but still did not clean or comfort them with her tongue. Luckily, my husband stayed with the pups while I attended a local kennel club meeting about 48 hours after their birth. I related to them the events of the two days, focusing on my girl's reluctance to have contact with the pups other than nursing. And elderly lady in attendance said, "Have you tried peanut butter." I thought, 'GREAT!", as PB is one of her favorite things. I came home and put a light smear over several areas of their bodies - forehead, paws, perineum, belly, and within two seconds she was licking them all with abandon and did for most of the night. By morning she was even better, and remained a mostly better mom, though still not as attentive as I would have liked to have seen. She would prefer to be in the house with my husband and I than with her pups in the attached garage - even though the box is well within sight and hearing, and we spend most of the entire day there. Then yesterday happened, and it was heartbreaking. I was sitting next to the box doing some paperwork. She was in the box with the pups and the last time I had looked - maybe 10 minutes - was content and nursing. Suddenly I heard a low short growl, then one ferocious bark/snap, and a puppy started to scream. I was shocked and horrified to look down and see a pup - the biggest and most beautiful - writhing about 18 inches from her head, with something laying next to him. I picked it up, and it was his left ear. She had neatly amputated about 3/4 of it. There was very little blood, lots of screaming, and you could tell that she knew she had done something horrible, as she was very amputated. Seeing that no pressure needed to be applied, I got her to lay down and I put the puppy on her breast to calm him, which worked, as my husband called our vet. I was so upset that I was glad that he volunteered to take the puppy - and the ear - to the vet who offered to meet him at her office in 10 minutes. It took a while to calm Tibbie down, she was looking for the puppy the whole time they were gone. They returned about an hour later. Of course the ear could not be reattached. But the vet had neatened up the bite line and closed it with suture. The puppy was put back to nurse, and Tibbie licked him and acted very nurturing. Needless to say, we realized that we could not risk another injury, and I sat with her all night watching her behavior with them. I did not have a muzzle handy, but this morning (Sunday) my husband went down to the store and got one, which we will keep on the box and apply whenever she enters it again. Once again, she is showing no aggression toward the puppies, but does not "hang out" in the box with them either. My husband and I have agreed that we will not breed her again, and when the vet called back to check on us today, we discussed spaying her. This has been such a heartbreak, as by all accounts she has been the most gentle and loving of dogs. We will continue to pursue activities outside of mothering in which she might excel, like rally and field. We will keep her female puppy, as she bears a great resemblance to her father. When I have read posts about aggressive mothers in the past, a typical response has been to chastize the breeder for breeding this ill fit dog. How, I ask, would a breeder know such a thing about a dog who has never manifested any aggression toward anything or anyone? Who has been nothing but intensely loyal and gentle? Our hearts are broken, but we will go on and give our girl the good life that she - and all of us deserve. Thanks again for your responses, and I look forward to reading your feedback.
 

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Kate
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Honestly... I'd keep the one-eared dog and use that as a reminder every time I think about getting back into breeding. o_O! Beyond that, won't it be difficult placing a one-eared puppy?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
aggressive mom

Hi and thanks for your responses.
My girl turned three on the 4th of July, just four days before she whelped. We have a smaller, younger dog that she has been patient with, despite the pups annoying and more aggressive behavior toward her.
When it comes to placing the one-eared puppy, all I have to say is, "God is good!" The puppy had already been placed with a lovely family who drank in the daily emails and pic/video clips I'd sent them since just prior to the whelping. When my husband and I sat down last evening and called them, and explained what had happened and the severity of it, their immediate response was, "We don't care if her has two ears, one ear, or no ears. He is our 'Bear' and we love him already!" My husband and I got off of the phone and just cried that Bear would have such a loving forever home.
 

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Kristy
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How, I ask, would a breeder know such a thing about a dog who has never manifested any aggression toward anything or anyone? Who has been nothing but intensely loyal and gentle? Our hearts are broken, but we will go on and give our girl the good life that she - and all of us deserve. Thanks again for your responses, and I look forward to reading your feedback.
I don't think a breeder could ever be 100% sure about anything, which is why it's such a risky process. I have learned enough over the years that I wouldn't ever put myself or my dog through this process, and if it was a dream of mine I would only ever even consider it if I had a mentor with years of experience to hold my hand and walk me through the process.

I've followed this thread and am sorry for your heartbreak. Is there anyway to move the whelping box out of the garage and into the main area of the house? If the mother is a house dog, maybe she would feel a bit calmer in the house with her family. Has the vet given you any other feedback on how to manage this safely until the puppies are older?


I am so glad to hear that you plan to spay the mother. I hope you receive the guidance you need, we have some very knowledgeable folks here. I'll be praying for you.
 

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Hi Nolefan - thank you for your thoughtful response. Yes, I too agree that spaying Tibbie is wise at this time, but of course it is a heartbreak to us. We looked toward her - and her fabulous pedigree and sweet disposition - to be the foundation of a long and happy breeding program. I realize in reading it that I left out the support I have had - my breeder (of 17 years), her friend and helper (with 11 years experience), my dog handler - who has known and shown both of our dogs for 3 years and bred Irish Setters from the age of 8 to 28, and has been a handler for 40 years, the breeder (for 20+ years) of my Havanese (she began with Keeshounds), my reproductive vet specialist, my local vet, my kennel club, and this forum. I have owned and loved dogs for 50 of my 60 years. I have always, always, always spayed and neutered my pets. This has been a lifelong dream of mine, that has involved intense study, attendance at seminars, and questioning my mentors. They have been encouraging to me in my pursuit of becoming a reliable and responsible breeder, feeling that I was "right for the job" (lol!) following a career of 40+ year in nursing, ministry and psychotherapy. I come here to share with the community and seek it's wisdom and counsel as I take on the task that others may not feel prepared or willing to pursue - becoming a responsible, knowledgable, and successful breeder of our beloved Golden Retrievers. I continue to be appreciative to all of you for sharing your own experiences and knowledge.
 

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Wow, that really stinks. But you are smart in deciding that this will be it. Every golden that I have bred refuses to leave the pups and the whelping box for the first few days..I always have to use a leash to get them outside. But you are not alone.. the person who handled my goldens never left her mamas alone with their pups (different breed). One year, the grandma of the litter crushed a pup's skull. This left the pup with many medical issues and temperament issues. Fortunately, an ear missing is purely cosmetic. Good luck with your pup. And someone on this forum with more experience breeding than me, may disagree, but I think that mothering,whelping, ease of breeding, etc carry a genetic basis. Years ago, I knew a golden breeder that had to muzzle her bitch so the pups could nurse...
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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I would have a long conversation with a good Repro Vet. It sounds like chemically something is "off", Thyroid, Hormones, etc. That also plays into why it is such a small litter, not uniform in size and the unpredictable swings in behaviour.

Spaying is probably the best course, but "when" could make a huge difference for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to both of your for thoughtful replies. Mike, she's been on Throid per the repro vet for about a year, and had levels checked all during the pregnancy and leading up to the whelping. The repro vet stated that she was surprised by the small litter too, because litter from this stud (it was surgical implantation, which is supposed to yield higher #s of pups than ai) has thrown litters of 6 or more constantly. He has about 250 puppies out there now. I am fine with accepting that perhaps this HAS been a genetic problem with Tibbie's line, as her mother also had some conception problems and had some fetal reabsorption. I wonder if a low estrogen or estradial level could be causing the small litters and the lack of mothering moxie. No, I'll not breed her again to prove my point. But thank you VERY MUCH for helping me to think this through.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Spaying is probably the best course, but "when" could make a huge difference for her.[/QUOTE]


Please tell me more about "when" - and I'll get into a study of that topic next! :)
 

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Did you say you plan to keep a puppy from this litter? My biggest concern is not only are temperament issues like this somewhat genetic, but that the mother of these puppies is going to be the biggest role in their development for the first 4-6 weeks of their life. (as you slowly start influencing them more). They will not learn to be stable happy puppies from her, but some of the reactions she has, will surely be taught to them, on some level. That to me, is why temperament of the mother of any dog I am considering to keep as a breeding/show dog, is on the very top of the list. Not to discount the temperament of the stud, that is important too, but the mother raises the litter. I would be sure to discuss this perspective to the pet homes you have lined up, and I would be sure to have a serious evaluation of each puppy before they leave your home.

Would you mind sharing her pedigree with us?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here is my issue with sharing her pedigree, which I am very proud of. While I acknowledge that her issues with her puppies COULD be genetic, I also was present for the whelping of her first pup - a 21 ounce male, presenting breech, which had to be pulled. It was an awful ordeal for her and that COULD be a reason why she has had an attachment issue. I would hate to see her, or her lineage receive a label from otherwise helpful folks, which she did not deserve. Would you also feel cautious if it were your dog? I know the whelping/attachment history of her mother and grandmother, who manifested no problems with their litters.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I would be sure to have a serious evaluation of each puppy before they leave your home.

Would you mind sharing her pedigree with us?
I am already in contact with three breeder contacts who have graciously agreed to come for evals. Thanks for that tip. I have also updated the buyer of the large male regarding Tibbie's problems. None of my pups are going to homes with full registrations, and our contract includes spay/neuter agreements.
 

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You can search on K9data by call name--you shouldn't be ashamed of her pedigree, breeding isn't perfect, the best you can do is stand by your pup and her offspring.
 
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