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  Dog Breeder's Worksheet - Preparing for Breeding Your Favorite Pet Dog

 

You are thinking about breeding your great dog. Below is a worksheet to help you to evaluate your plans. This worksheet is intended to help you in identifying your goals, and how to get there. But you have the male, so you don' t need to think about any of this, right? Wrong. If that is what you think, then you have more to learn.

You might not have thought in terms of having goals if you just want a puppy from a dog you love. So the first question you might want to consider is this: Is my dog worth taking any of the steps used by knowledgeable responsible breeders? And if my dog is worth only taking some of those steps, which steps should I skip, and why? The second question you might want to consider is: Should I try to learn something from the experiences of others?

You can take this as seriously or as lightly as your caring about dogs and their people dictates. This isn't saying what you should do, that is a matter between you and your sense of ethics, but it might help you find out what you could do.

What can happen if I read a book about canine genetics?
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.
What can happen if I decide not to learn about canine genetics ? *
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.

What can happen if I read a book about mating and whelping?
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.
What can happen if I decide not to learn about mating and whelping? *
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.

What can happen if I require people to sign a contract before they can have a puppy?
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.
What can happen if I decide not to require people to sign a contract before they can have a puppy? *
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.

What can happen if I keep in touch with people who got a puppy from me?
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.
What can happen if I decide not to keep in touch with people who got a puppy from me? *
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.

What can happen if I participate in the breed rescue for my breed?
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.
What can happen if I decide not to participate in breed rescue for my breed? *
Good things Bad Things
1. 1.
2. 2.


More Information
Canine Genetics A good book on canine genetics explains why two dogs that are actually healthy can produce unhealthy puppies. It explains the differences between inbreeding and outcrossing. There is good information on the good things and bad things that can happen with each of those breeding choices. A good book will explain how to review the family background of each dog to reduce the risks of getting unhealthy puppies. It will also explain concepts beyond high schools genetics, for example, that there is more than just recessive and dominant genes. There are many ways that genes interact on one another. And it will explain that these interactions have important health considerations for our dogs. Consider reading Control Of Canine Genetic Diseases by George Padgett. Your local library may have it.
More Information
Mating and Whelping There is a saying "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." A good book on mating and whelping will help prevent ugly surprises and unwanted experiences. It will explain the risks of unsupervised matings, such as breaking the bone in the penis if the female tries to pull away. The book will cover canine sexually transmitted disease and the risks to the lives or health of the puppies and adults if it exists during the mating. The information will help identify when things are progressing normally, and how to recognize an emergency situation. Consider reading Canine Reproduction by Phyllis Holst. Your local library may have it.
More Information
Contract

Contracts can turn breeder wishes and desires into legally enforceable promises. Most people didn't purchase their puppy with a contact. Most have never been introduced to some of the ideas of the promises that can be made. The most basic contracts protect only the money involved. But breeders can also decide to have a contract that addresses protecting the future health and welfare of the puppy.

Part of the decision making in evaluating what to include is (1) what expectations or hopes do I have that are important enough that I want to enforce them, (2) do my puppies deserve this protection (3) do I deserve this protection and (4) will I place a puppy with someone unwilling to make enforceable promises to meet my expectations? For example, if you would rather be contacted and have the 18 month old dog returned to you instead of having it sent to the shelter, do you want someone to promise to do that? And if you do want them to make that promise will you still let them have the puppy if they won't sign a contract that makes that promise enforceable?

More Information
Keep in Touch

The single biggest factor in whether a puppy keeps its home is whether the person gets the information and guidance they need to work through the challenges of puppies. The skilled and knowledgeable breeder can head off problems by helping work through puppy biting, house training, leash training, and adolescent misbehavior. If the person with the puppy has a reliable resource to contact to find out how to work through problems the chances of a little problem growing into a big one are much reduced. And a skilled breeder can take it much further. The skilled breeder doesn't wait to be contacted. Embarrassment and shyness will often inhibit the person with the puppy from asking for help, or from admitting problems exist. Good humor and a sensible approach by the breeder can let the person know that it is all just a learning curve and nothing to be embarrassed about.

Keeping in touch also gives the breeder the opportunity to get honest information about the results of a breeding. Typically buyers don't report any problems because they either don't think the breeder will care, or they are afraid of what they will hear. But learning whether the puppies had the expected qualities, and had the hoped for health and temperament is important to many breeders. Is it important to you? If it is, don't expect the other party to report. You have to ask, and ask in a way that invites honest feedback.

More Information
Rescue

You might think that helping save other people's mistakes has nothing to do with your own breeding plans. But rescue has some critical lessons for the person planning to breed, at least if the person cares about the future of the puppies.

Good people who have had good experiences sometimes have trouble envisioning the problems of permanently and safely placing a puppy in a home. One thing that is often overlooked is that a quality one person values might be exactly the same quality that other people hate. If it matters to you what happens to the puppies you breed then it is critical to understand what factors cause people to give up dogs of the type you are breeding. A person who loves their dog and has a successful relationship often receives a rude shock at the reasons people give for giving up on their dog. A realistic view of what it will take to place the puppies can make a big difference in successful placement. And there is no experience quite as useful as real experience. Never mind the books or the stories. Help out and get a first hand look.

You own the stud? That doesn't mean you can do nothing about the welfare of the puppies. The stud is half the reason the puppies exist. His genetic material makes up half of what they are. The stud owner has the ability to do what is right for the puppies too.

Is it too much trouble? Only you can decide that. What are the risks if you learn what rescue can teach you? What are the risks if you decide you don't have the time or interest? How involved do you have to be to get the benefits that are good enough for you? The answer to these questions can only be found by looking at the complete picture that is motivating you to consider breeding. It will be influenced by your view of dogs,of their place in your life, and the degree of difference for your love of your dog in particular vs dogs in general.

* If you don't know what bad thing might happen do you really want to find out by experiencing it? Why not take advantage of the experience of those who have come before you? Remember, lives and heart strings are at stake here.

    

Additional Resources:
Articles on dog breeding issues and related topics.
Books and videos on breeding and genetics from Dogwise.

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Copyright © 2000-2003, Diane Blackman    Created: January 18, 2000    Updated November 12, 2007

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