Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Puppies on board!

Have you seen the bumper stickers or little suction cup signs on cars, trucks and motor homes, that say "Baby on board?"

baby on b...

I wish I had a sign that said "Puppies on board" for Carly to wear to celebrate her impending mother hood. Monday was the big day and on xray, her vet saw a possible 7, maybe 8 puppies! Yay, this makes up for the fact that Abby did not get pregnant this time around.

But it also shows it isn't always "third time the charm", sometimes it is "things are better the second time around." Let hope this holds true for Abby next time.

In any case, Carly is having a nice size litter, not like her sister BG who had just 4 puppies in June. Although 4 was a nice number and very manageable when it came time to litter box training and feeding and pooper scooping, and etc. This litter however will be whelped at co-owner and soon to be midwife, Sarah's house. She has been getting everything ready for the birth, she is a big reader and has read lots of books about puppies and all the cool things to do as they develop their senses from birth to 8 weeks or so.

She has a baby pool and playpen ready and now all we need is for the pups to arrive. They are due on the 17th if we go by the first breeding, or a day or so later if we go by the last breeding. Either way it is like less than a week away and I am SO excited! Sarah will call as soon as things get started and hopefully it won't be in the middle of the night. But I'll be there to help.

With my next blog I should be able to announce the birth, including sex and colors of the puppies. And of course the final number, anyone want to make a guess?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best laid plans

I remember an old TV show called the A Team. On it one of the main characters had a saying "I love it when a plan comes together." Well I am glad things always worked out on that show, but as we all know, it isn't always so in real life.

In this case, dog breeding comes to mind. As a breeder, you try to plan everything right down to the last detail. You have done your homework, done all the applicable health testing on your bitch. You have researched pedigrees and chosen the stud dog. The breeding has taken place and, if everything works out, you will have a nice litter of puppies in about 2 months, give or take.

It is all out of your control now as you wait. Wait for signs that the breeding took and your girl is pregnant. If you are like me, you might have an ultrasound done at about the halfway mark. Just to see if there are indeed puppies on board. Then about a week from the due date, an xray to see for sure just how many puppies will be arriving.

This is an exciting time as you once again make plans. You break out the whelping box or baby pool, what ever your choice. You have all the items ready, thermometer to take mom's temperature. Dental floss to tie umbilical cords. Scissors to cut cords, if necessary and of course all the different colored ric-rak to put around the puppies necks for identification purposes.

As I discussed in my previous blog, such a breeding was done with Miss Abby to Mr Oliver and we were ready for puppies. Abby's owner did not do an ultrasound as they are not always accurate and he was fairly certain that she was pregnant. So I picked her up last weekend and had scheduled an appointment for the xray. Well......no puppies, so much for planning.

As a friend of mine used to say, another well laid plan shot to heck once again! Such a disappointment. Not just to me, to the co-owner, the stud dog's owner and of course all  of the people anxiously waiting for the puppy they will hopefully add to their family.

This just goes to show that there is of course someone much more knowledgeable and powerful in charge, and it's not us. And we may never really know why the breeding did not take or if it took and puppies were reabsorbed (yes it happens) due to some abnormality.  In the end, all we can do is all we can do and we must accept that if we are to move forward. There isn't much we can do except to wait until the next heat cycle and try again. Hoping that next time things will turn out differently.

This is just the case with our Carly. Last year she was bred to CH Spotsalot Hwy Paved In Chocolate. We thought for sure she was pregnant. She even looked and acted pregnant. But when the time came, there were no puppies. So we tried again this past July and guess what? It worked and she is truly pregnant this time. Hopefully she has a good sized litter with lots of nice puppies to choose from. That just goes to show that you can make all the plans you want but often times you have to readjust or make new plans. Sometimes things work out better the second time around.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The calm before the storm

This week has been a week of housecleaning and getting ready for the next litter of puppies that are hopefully due around the 9th of this month.

The parents to be are Oliver, GCH RaShars Remember When, CGC

and Abby, CH PHD's Ravin Reviews. Both dogs have outstanding pedigrees, have all their health screening done and have CHIC numbers. CHIC stands for Canine Health Information Center and it's a centralized canine health database. It's purpose is to provide a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists, that will assist in breeding healthy dogs.

Each Breed Parent Club has certain health tests that are required to be done and registered with the database in order to receive the CHIC number. With Dalmatians, a minimum of three tests are required. They are BAER hearing test results, hip xrays (registered with the OFA or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PENN) and either Thyroid, or CERF eye test results. These test results are linked to the dog by some sort of permanent identification such as microchip or tattoo and the dog's AKC registration number. All this information can be obtained by going to the OFA database and looking up the dog by either the registered name or number and breed.

This information is very important to breeders. Because health tests aren't about getting the best rating, although serious breeders strive to breed the healthiest dogs possible. They're about knowing what potential issues your dog may pass on to offspring and how to make smart breeding choices. The more information a breeder has - on the breeding candidate and their relatives - the more informed their breeding decisions.

And, from a puppy buyer's perspective, you're stacking the odds in your favor by selecting a breeder that utilizes health testing on their breeding dogs. I wish I could tell you how many times I have talked with potential puppy buyers who have or know someone who has purchased a puppy from a newspaper ad or pet store window. Often times the experiences are good, but they can also be tragic and costly if the parents of the puppy have hereditary health issues. And once you walk out the door of that pet store or backyard breeder, you have little or no recourse if your puppy is affected by a heritable illness.

With breeders who utilize these tests and databases, the chances are not completely eliminated, however, they are greatly reduced as dogs with health issues can be identified and removed from a breeding program so they do not have the chance to pass on any serious problems to future generations.

So, when you go to look for your next puppy, please do your homework. Research not only the breed, but the breeder. Look for one who breeds dogs with CHIC numbers. While the CHIC number is no guarantee that the dog has received favorable results to health testing, it does enable you to research the dog and it's relatives to see if there are health issues in the family. Ask the breeder if their dogs have them. Set your standards high and challenge the breeder to reach them. Don't settle for anything less than a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder