Breeding and Raising Puppies Articles
I have bred over 350 litters of GSDs in the 30 plus years of my breeding career. Over those years we have done our share of caring for newborns that need help. We have also come up with our own newborn puppy formula that I think is the best we have seen.
We get many emails on a weekly basis that deal with problems new puppy owners have as a result of poor socialization. Most of these people feel they have been doing the right thing with their puppies when in fact they have created the problems they face. The fact is socialization is one the most misunderstood areas in dog training.
I get many emails asking if they should neuter their dogs. Neutering animals is an important income stream for many vets, which is why so many vets will advize you to neuter. The fact is unless your male dog is a monorchid (only has one testical) you should not neuter your dog (male or female).
In January of 1990 I had two large litters of pups (21 total puppies) at my kennel facility in Wisconsin. On January 14th they started to die. Before the nightmare was over I lost 6 puppies and spent $2,400.00 in veterinary bills. This article is about the changes I made in my breeding program to insure that something like this never happens to me again. I really think other breeders can benefit from what I have learned from this terrible experience.
This photo shows one of our Leerburg whelping rooms in the middle of a Malinois litter being born on 7-20-05. Here is a list of what you see in the photo.
What we have in our Whelping Room During the Birthing Process
I have been breeding dogs for over 25 years and I still never get used to a puppy that gets sick and starts to die. This article deals with what I have learned about trying to save very young pups (under 2 weeks of age) when they get sick. As I write this article I have a 2 week old puppy in a box at my feet. Three days ago he weighed 264 grams. This evening he weighs 485 grams and is on his way back from the dead. This article is about what I did to save this pup. Maybe my experience will help you save some of your puppies in the future.
If you own a female puppy and choose not to neuter it you need to recognize when she comes into season. Females can be bred on their very first season. They are not mature enough to raise a litter at this age.
So you are going to whelp a litter and you have your whelping box and stack of old rags all ready to go. The litter comes as planned and everything looks good. You feel a little sorry for the pups and decide to use some of your old rags for the pups to sleep on. After all its a lot more comfortable to sleep on an old towel than the hard wood of the whelping box.
This is how I feed my pups here at Leerburg Kennels. If you are serious about healthy puppies you will get your pups on an all-natural diet. Get the little book that we sell titled Natural Nutrition For Dogs and Cats and memorize it.
Feed your puppy two or three times daily, depending on what works best for your schedule. We strongly recommend a raw all-natural diet. Our pups are weaned and raised on an all natural raw diet that we prepare here ourselves. For more information on feeding a raw diet please visit our Q&A on Feeding a Raw Diet.
This page has 2 purposes. It will allow people to take a quick tour through my breeding facility. It is also intended to help new dog breeders learn from the mistakes I made in building this kennel. No one will ever build the perfect dog kennel, but maybe with a few ideas from this web site your can get some good ideas and learn from my mistakes.
In both my basic DVDs, Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and Basic Dog Obedience. I advise people to not allow strangers to touch their dog. This has generated a lot of email questions so I decided to write this article to expand on the reasons and exceptions for this policy. To understand this you must first understand what I expect from a relationship with my dogs. I want a dog that sees me as the center of its universe. I want my dog to focus on me and I want it to ignore other humans (and animals).
Being able to perform and read vaginal smears at your kennel is going to greatly improve your success rate in getting bitches bred. The vaginal smear is not perfect but its sure better than guessing what day a bitch should be bred on.
In recent years we have seen a lot of publicity on progesterone testing of a bitches blood to determine the exact day to breed. Some of these tests (I will not name names) are useless and a total waste of money.
The following information is for the serious breeder. Some dogs have a problem breeding. To help determine the exact day a bitch should be bred, the following chart may be referred to. This is information that was developed by Shirley Johnston while she taught at the University of Minnesota.
Every now and then I am asked about long haired (coated) German Shepherds. The photo above is a picture of a very good looking long haired Shepherd. This is considered a breed fault, though I find these animals very good looking. One of my old competition dogs (Casper) was a long hair. People constantly asked me what kind of dog he was. Everyone commented on how good looking he was.
There are a lot of photos on this page. It may take a while for your browser to load them. The links all work - if your browser does not click to a link right away you may just need to wait until the photos are all loaded.
After breeding German Shepherds for over 27 years (and producing over 300 litters of working bloodline German Shepherd dogs) I am just now beginning to feel like I have a grasp. I sometimes worry that this puts me into the category of a slow learner, but when I look around there are not many in this country doing much better.
In the early 1980's I went to dinner with a man named Walter Martin. Walter was one of the premier breeders in the history of show quality German Shepherds (Walter has since died). His kennel name was Wienerau Kennels and it was located in Germany. We talked about breeding the entire night. There was one thing Walter told me that burned a hole in my mind. He said, "If you want to build a bloodline you need to breed a minimum of 10 litters a year." Even though he and I had totally different goals in a breeding program (he bred show dogs and my interest was strictly in working dogs), that one rule of thumb has proven to be true.
The goal of my breeding program is to produce police service dogs with a hard temperament, sound nerves, good drives, good hips and pleasing to the eye to look at. I want litters with consistency of temperament and type. In addition, I want dogs to have the temperament to live as family member (which means gets along with kids) and still function as very good working dogs.
We have built our reputation by breeding quality working dogs and backing them up with a fair guarantee. One of the ways we have maintained the working ability in our bloodline is through German working bloodlines.
No matter how much information I put in this article, it will never be enough. I have bred more than 170 plus litters of working bloodline German Shepherds over the past 20 years and I still learn something new all of the time. That's the beauty of dog training.
While artificial insemination is frequently performed with a fresh ejaculate, techniques of extending and chilling canine semen have been recently developed to preserve sperm viability, allowing transport to distant locations. Thus, breeders gain access to distantly located stud dogs by shipping the semen instead of either the bitch or stud dog. This often means the available gene pool of a given breed will be widened, increasing the possibility of genetic selection for favorable traits and against medical and/or behavioral problems.
This week I received an email complaining about the following article. The AKC is going to require DNA testing of frequently used stud dogs. In my opinion this is a good rule. If anyone breeds a dog more than six times in one year, he should not mind spending $40.00 to verify that he is indeed using the male he claims to be using.