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· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT: THE PUPPY CAM IS UP. HERE'S THE LINK: Puppy Cam

We are on puppy watch. We expect to have a litter within about 24 hours. As some here will remember, when we have a litter we put up a 24/7 webcam, so people can watch the puppies. I will put the link to it in this thread.

And I have to say right up front, PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT ME ASKING FOR PUPPIES FROM THIS LITTER. They have all been sold for quite some time, and we have stopped accepting applications. Sorry.

Summer was bred for the first time in August, and as I write this at 7:00 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, she has just begun Stage I labor. Her temperature dropped this morning to 98°F, she has stopped eating, and as she lies here on the sofa next to me she is panting and occasionally starts digging in the sofa. That means we can expect puppies within about 24 hours. We think she has 9 puppies on board. Here is her x-ray, and below are copies with helpful drawings on it.

Automotive tire Font Tints and shades Radiography X-ray



Handwriting Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive design Font


Font Asphalt Urban design Pattern Automotive tire


The first time with a maiden bitch is kind of fraught, but she and the puppies look good, and they seem to be ready to go. You can see in the x-ray that two of them have already positioned themselves for the exit ramp.

Since we just moved I will have to find the puppy camera, so we may not have it up the moment the puppies are born, but as we always do we'll have it up within 24 hours.

I am backing off of the whelping and rearing this time, as Theresa is going to be the Head Honchette going forward, as I transition into retirement. But I will be providing support and will be her Litter Lackey. LOL! Theresa has been doing more and more with each litter lately, and it's time her to run with it, and I will just support her.

These pups will be with us until about the middle of December, and you will be able to follow them via puppy cam the whole time. We just moved and are still figuring things out. But Summer will whelp in our "puppy room," and the litter will be raised there. It is a big room apart from the rest of the house. Theresa will sleep with the puppies for the first 3 weeks (I don't mind not doing that this time!). But by the time they're about five weeks old we'll have the whole room dedicated to the puppies in various ways. Please forgive us if it takes us a few adjustments from time to time.

I think I've posted puppy cam links here for 4 or 5 litters, from Ziva and Khaleesi I think, but no others. For those who remember Ziva's and Khaleesi's litters here, Ziva is Khaleesi's mother, and Khaleesi is Summer's mother, and Summer is having puppies. Ziva is lying at my feet right now. She's going to become a great-grandmother within the next day or so.

Okay, we're on the clock now...
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Congratulations, Summer!! Can’t wait to see all your puppies😍
Will Splash be bred, too?
Splash (Summer's littermate) was bred a couple weeks after Summer was, but for some reason it did not take. So we'll try Splash again next time, and we'll do all the scientific stuff (like counting sperm and measuring motility) that we didn't do this time.

To be honest, I'm kinda glad it didn't take. One litter is plenty of work. Two at the same time is more than we need to deal with. :D
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thank you! This will be very informative for me, as I have a 6 month old female I may potentially breed in the future. My teen daughter is NOT on board with her having puppies so perhaps this will make her more open-minded (or maybe make me change my mind as well ;) ) Best of luck to Summer and you all!
Miracle of life and all, right? But breeding is not for the faint of heart. If you do it, I suggest you get a mentor, first.

So many things can (and do) go wrong. It is heartbreaking to watch a puppy fade, and even though you're up 24 hours with the puppy, doing everything you can for it and making frantic trips to the emergency vet, you watch it slowly die before your eyes. Or to have a puppy born with its intestines on the outside. Or to have your whole litter get sick with something like Parvo and it costs $50,000 to care for them at the vet and they still die. Or to have your dam have complications during whelp and you have to rush her to the emergency vet in the middle of the night for an emergency c-section, and be in danger of losing not only the litter but your dam, too.

And even if everything goes right, as a breeder you have to spend 24/7 within arm's reach of the puppies, day and night, getting very little sleep, for their first three weeks. If you're lucky there are two of you who can split duties, but even then you can forget about having a life for a while. What happens if your dam rolls over and smothers one in the middle of the night? What happens if they get too cold, or too hot? They are extremely fragile the first three weeks. What if your dam gets mastitis and can't nurse her puppies? What if your dam freaks out from calcium deficit, or turns on her own puppies, or gets pyometra or another infection from failing to eject afterbirth?

Even when everything goes right it's time consuming. We take temperatures twice a day, and take the dam's temperature daily. We weigh them and track them every day. We have to make sure that the smallest one is getting enough to eat. We are constantly washing and changing bedding, multiple times a day, as puppies simply poop and pee everywhere. You hope the dam keeps the whelping box clean, but they don't always. You have to repeatedly clean and bathe your dam in the beginning, too, as well as take her out multiple times a day, feed her multiple times a day as much as she will eat because she needs as many calories as you can force into her. Sometimes you have to tube feed neonatal puppies, meaning sticking a tube down their throats into their stomachs and put food in through the tube. Sometimes you have to supplement puppies, and make a complicated formula with all sorts of hard to find ingredients. We have to trim their nails every other day starting on Day 3. Then you have to start potty training them. If mom isn't good at cleaning them you have to clean and potty all the puppies (neonatal puppies can't eliminate on their own; they need their mother's stimulation to be able to go).

Proper development is important, so starting as young as three days old we start working with them, beginning with early scent introduction and early neurological stimulation. We do this daily with each puppy. As they grow, open their eyes, and become more mobile, we have to change their environment every couple days to continually stimulate the puppies with new challenges. We have to expand their living area several times. We have to constantly change the toys and challenges in their environment, like every couple days so that they keep developing and become confident, capable dogs. Eventually, you have to start weaning them and making gruel for them, and make sure they all get enough to eat. Plus, at first they practically bathe in it, so you are constantly cleaning up to a dozen puppies each time they eat. LOL! You have to give them obstacle courses and things to explore. Then you have to start potty training them, which involves lots of cleaning of poop from everywhere, hopefully mostly the litter box you have to buy/make and keep fresh litter in it. And by that time they are making a mess of their entire area, so you are constantly cleaning it and sanitizing it.

Eventually, you have to get all those puppies outside to start experiencing the world. You have to watch them every second. And then we take them on "adventure walks," where we lead them through the "world," and force them to solve problems, get over and around obstacles, learn to follow human beings, and gain confidence in the world. Also, we do things like temperament testing, which takes two entire long days with each litter, and requires setting up a sanitary environment somewhere where they have never been, with various controlled situations for temperament testing. We crate train them. We start to housebreak them. We teach them a basic recall. I mean, imagine doing that with one puppy, then imagine doing it with 8-10 puppies. It's chaos! LOL! We also start to socialize them by taking them for car rides (and an expensive trip to the vet), having them meet safe animals, try to get their little feet on every conceivable surface, and have them meet as many different people as possible, all while trying to keep them healthy and safe from Parvo and other disease.

And then, if everything has gone right, you'll get to the day when you say goodbye to them. It takes ALL DAY. We educate every buyer. We have lots of paperwork to do. We microchip every puppy. We vaccinate them all. We register them with the AKC. We prepare "puppy packets" for every buyer, with everything about their own puppy, a wealth of information for rearing their puppy, all the records they need, photos, pedigrees, nomographs, vaccine records, food, toys, a blanket that smells like mom and their siblings, and a million other details. You have to answer questions, and buyers have a million questions.

And then they're gone, and it's time to put everything away, clean everything up, and get back to normal life. But at first you're getting almost daily calls from multiple puppy buyers. Is this normal? How much should I feed? Is my puppy too fat/thin? My puppy wants to eat poop! Or sticks. Or pebbles. Or socks. She screams in the crate. He won't come when I call. He's going to the bathroom everywhere in the house. She's biting my daughter. She doesn't want to cuddle with me. We're not getting any sleep. I'm overwhelmed and want to return the puppy (I can't tell you how often we get people frantic because they thought they were getting a plug and play cute toy rather than an infant of a predator species that doesn't speak English or know what it is supposed to do in a human environment).

Meanwhile, your dam is blowing her coat and there is dog hair everywhere. Her body has gone through a lot of trauma, and you have to nurture her back to normal health, and watch for complications even after the puppies are gone.

Finally, about a month after you send the puppies home, you start to get some peaceful days. And if you're lucky, you'll get pictures of some of those puppies from proud and beaming owners. More often, you think about the puppies often and wonder how they're doing, and you just have to trust that you've chosen homes well, and that they are all in happy, healthy, productive environments, and that you didn't make any mistakes in placing them. Because when you breed and create these precious little lives, your most solemn responsibility is to make sure they go to homes where they can have the biggest little lives they can possibly have. And if you place them in a home that beats them, or neglects them, or otherwise mistreats or maltreats them, you know that you've sentenced that innocent little soul to a decade or more of torture and abuse, and there is nothing in the world you can do about it. You just have to live with that knowledge.

Gosh, I didn't even get into all the stuff that goes on pre-whelp, before the puppies are even born or conceived. The literal hundreds of inquiries you have to manage and research. Choosing a stud. Getting health clearances. Doing the deed I don't think we have ever just put two dogs in the back yard and let nature take its course. We have medical tests. Often our stud is somewhere else in the country and we have to ship semen and get the timing just right. There is progesterone testing every other day. Figuring out when they ovulate. Making vet appointments for insemination. The insemination (usually two; usually transcervical, occasionally surgical). Ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. Pre-whelp vet appointments. Pre-whelp x-rays (in our case) to count puppies. There are a ton of supplies to buy. You have to prepare the whelping environment. There are planned c-sections and emergency c-sections. And if everything goes right, you are up literally all night long whelping puppies, which is after spending a restless night with your bitch in Stage I labor.

Well, I think I've said enough. LOL! I'll be surprised if anyone has read this far.

Breeding is not for the faint of heart, as so many things can go wrong, and do. And even if everything goes right, it is a long, exhausting process that begins well before birth and lasts until well after the puppies go to their homes.

Any smart person would be with your daughter on this. Clearly, Theresa and I are not smart! :)
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Woah, they're coming fast now.

Puppy No. 3: 11:53 a.m., just 10 minutes after the last one. Female. 1 lb. 1 oz.

Good girl, Summer! Good girl, Theresa!

Since Theresa is whelping this litter by herself unless she runs into trouble, I have nothing to do but wait like a nervous father. And I am nervous! LOL! :D
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Puppy No. 6: Stillborn male. 2:05 p.m. Buried on our property. Very sad. 😭

Theresa worked on him for quite a while trying to bring him around, but he never breathed, never had a heartbeat. He was breech, with the cord wrapped all around him. He was gone before he ever came out.

I hate this part of breeding.
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Summer has a litter on the ground! She has seven Redford puppies, 3 girls and 4 boys. Mama and pups are healthy, and Summer is a doting first-time mother. Theresa whelped them all by herself, and she is more exhausted than Summer, I think. :D

Here's the pedigree, if K9data will load. Pedigree: Redford x Summer

There were two more puppies, a boy and a girl, who were stillborn, and who are now buried on our property. The first of many animals to eventually be there, I'm sure. And me, too, if I'm lucky, but not too quickly I hope. Theresa and I are both traumatized by the stillborn puppies. She tried everything to bring them back, but it didn't work. They were each the last one in their horn, and they were fully formed. We don't yet know why they were stillborn. Breeding is not for the faint of heart.

Gesture Carnivore Felidae Fawn Dog

Dog Carnivore Dog breed Fawn Whiskers


The puppy cam will be up tomorrow, and I will post a link in this thread. :)

We are thankful to have a civilized dog, who whelped her litter in the daytime, for once. That's a huge blessing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I would imagine you have 10 rimes as many homes as you do puppies so when are the homes actually picked out? That has to be really tough to do. I know if I was on a list and found out 2 puppies did not make it I would be heartbroken thinking that might have been mine. Just to add that much more stress to being a breeder. 😢
Very good question. I don't know how other breeders do it, but this is how we do it. I'm sure there are better ways.

It's more than 10 times, actually. We start by collecting questionnaires from interested people. On the strength (or weakness) of the questionnaires, alone, we weed out a bunch of them right away. The remainder stay in our pool until we have a breeding. Once we do the ultrasound to get an idea of how many pups we might have, we make a big cut to weed it down to a core group. By the time the puppies are born we cut it down even further, to a smaller group of potential buyers, and we tell them they are in that group but that we won't know for sure until the puppies are on the ground and we see what we have. It's still more than the number of puppies we were expecting. So that's where we are with this litter.

Of course, two were stillborn, so that makes it harder for those remaining. But up until now we haven't promised a puppy to anyone. We now know the sexes we have, so we can do further weeding. Like, we have three girls, and we will likely keep one, so that's two to place. But we have more than two on the remaining list who have said their preference is a girl. So this morning we decided who is getting the girls. Same process with the boys, except that we haven't done that yet, but will within the next few days. The best chance to remain in the mix are the people who said they'd be happy with a boy or a girl. In any case, we have a tentative final list as of now, though there are still some decisions to be made about the boys.

By the time the puppies are three weeks old, when they are pretty much out of the woods and we're confident in the number of pups we'll have, we'll make the final-final decisions, if there are any left to be made. People will know they are getting a puppy, they just won't know which one. But they all watch the puppy cam and have their favorites, which they usually lobby us about, and which we pretty much ignore. LOL. We don't make final decisions on who gets which puppy until we do temperament testing. Then we tell folks which puppy is theirs, and they can focus on that puppy on the cam until gotcha day.

Today, we are emailing to inform those who are not getting a puppy this time, and we are referring them to a friend who is having a litter and says she would like us to send our folks her way. If we know of other litters coming up, we'll point them in those directions. We try not to leave them hanging when we can avoid it. We try to steer them to a good breeder with an upcoming litter if we can.

And that's it.
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Dana, Just when you had us all convinced here that breeding was easy. LOL 😝 . This is just one more facet on not only how hard breeding is mentally and physically but now the emotional part of having to tell the potential buyers that after the long wait they are not getting a puppy.
Honestly, for us, the harder, more emotional part was losing the two puppies. And wondering if there is something we could have done. Blaming ourselves. Grieving the pups. Working on them and trying to bring them back to life and failing. Burying them on the property. It's absolutely heartbreaking.

Telling people that they're not getting a puppy, when they knew all along that might be the case, is not nearly as hard, especially since we do try to find other litters for them when we can.
 

· Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Thank you for posting this thread! It's so interesting to learn about all that goes into breeding! Just curious, with all the money you spend on vet bills, testing, shows, etc, do you even make a profit? I'm sure you do it more for the breed than the money but I hope you at least get your money back for all you put into it! Since you are keeping 1, that would only leave 6 to sell. I have seen people post before about how the breeder must be making a ton of money because they charge x amount for a puppy, but I don't think they take in to account how much is costs.
You may have seen me post something I've said many times, which is: "This is not a business, and you are not a customer."

Frankly, I have no idea if we ever make a profit. We don't even track all the costs of our dogs. We consider it a hobby and a passion, not a business. But I suppose profit depends on how you measure it. If you just count pregnancy costs, rearing costs and stud fee, we probably do, at least with some litters. But if you really want to define profit the way businesses do, then absolutely not. If you just count the costs of showing dogs, we're already under water, much less adding on food, maintenance, bathing and grooming, training, vet bills, health tests and certifications, and all the rest. Someone put together a list of total costs of breeding several years ago, and it has been posted in the GRF a number of times. I remember thinking it was pretty illustrative. I'll just say this: We couldn't make a living off it.

It's more like trying to mitigate the costs of your drug addiction by selling some of your stash. LOL :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 · (Edited)
We weigh each puppy every day, and track it on this high tech legal pad. Weights are in pounds and ounces. For instance, "1.2" means 1 lb., 2 oz., not 1.2 lbs. However, "15.5" means 15 1/2 oz., not 15.5 lbs. LOL. Yes, it's a weird system, but we understand it.

Here, the puppies are gaining weight every day, which is great. For instance, Hot Pink, the first one, went from 13.5 oz to 15 oz to 1 lb. 1oz.

Our biggest gainers (red and gray are tied) gained 4.5 oz. in two days. Our lowest gainer (black) gained only 2 oz. in two days, so we'll make sure he gets extra nipple time, even though that's still a perfectly acceptable rate of gain.

Theresa has nicknamed black "Backwards Jack" because he always falls off the pile and winds up backwards with his butt near the nipples and his head far away. LOL! :D
Handwriting Font Material property Rectangle Writing


Hot Pink, Pink, and Purple are the girls. The rest are boys.

Puppy cam will be up later today, I'm told.
 
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