I follow the breeding/whelping/puppy rearing practices of AVIDOG https://www.avidog.com/
Here are a few of the practices I follow:
1. Sire is selected based on health, structure and temperament.
2. Health Testing for both the Dam and Sire. In Standard Schnauzers this includes Hip x-rays, Eye exams, and DNA testing for DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy)
3. The Dam’s blood is screened for tick born diseases, heart worm, and her fecal is screened for parasites within 3 months of breeding.
4 The Dam’s blood is tested for titters for Parvo and Distemper. This is done to determine if a booster is needed and the level of immunities she will pass onto her puppies.
5 Both Sire and Dam are tested for sexually transmitted diseases prior to breeding.
6 If Sire is not a proven Stud, he may be tested for Sperm Mobility.
7. Dam is kept at healthy weight (5 on the “The Purina Body Condition System.”)
8. Dam is supplemented with Fish Oil.
9. Dam is placed on a conditioning program to strengthen muscles needed the birth process.
10. Once the Heat Cycle starts the Dam’s blood is monitored for progesterone and LH levels to determine the optimal dates for breeding and to give a proven whelping date.
11. Dam’s diet is 70 percent Raw with a variety of proteins, probotics, vitamins, and fish oil.
BREEDING & PREGNANCY:
1. Breeding can be Natural or Artificial Insemination. The latter can product a smaller litter.
2. Dam’s pre-breeding diet and exercise plan is followed for the first 3-4 weeks. One exception is to try not to expose her to undue stress.
3. At around 4 weeks, an ultrasound is done to determine pregnancy.
4. Dam’s diet will increase over the next 4 weeks as she needs to provide nutrition for growing pups. She is weighted 2x a week.
5. Around 58-60 days a second ultrasound will be done to determine the approximate number of pups and their positions. While x-rays are more accurate, I have elected not to use them, unless it is an emergency.
6. A back up vet with 24 hour care is secured. Both vets are interviewed and screen for emergency whelping procedures. I will contract with an experienced whelping nurse to be there with the dam during whelping.
7. The Dam’s exercise/conditioning program will be curtailed as she grows larger to accommodate her growing size. Daily walks are given at a pace she is comfortable.
8. Once pregnancy is confirmed: I begin serious screening of puppy buyers. I have an application, and will do telephone including Skype interviews.
9. Whelping box is set up in my bedroom. Room and box is cleaned with Pure Green24. All whelping supplies checked and updated as needed. House generator checked and filled as all gas cans.
10. Around day 55, the dam’s temperature will be taken twice a day and charted. Puppies will be expected around day 63.
WHELPING – The Birth Process:
1. The puppy are due within 24 hours of a temperature drop. We know the 48 hr window because we measured hormones during her heat cycle. We keep the mom comfortable and calm. She may prefer to be on her bed rather than whelping box and we wait to move her after the first pup is born.
2. The whelping box has a simple faux sheep pad to provide good traction for the pups. Everything is cleaned with Pure Green 24, which is safe for puppies and dam and is an anti-micobial.
2. A whelping vet tech is with us during the birth, allowing me to keep her calm and not worry about the birthing process directly. We rent a heart monitor and track the pups progress.
3. We record the birth time, gender, weight and overall condition of each pup. After drying off, each pup is immediately put on a nipple so it may gain the important colostrum, antibody rich first milk. We count placentas expelled and monitor the vigor of both dam and pups during the process. We tag each pup with a color collar so we can tell them apart.
4. The Dam receives calcium in between pups and I like to make a homemade lamb stew that we all enjoy (including the Dam) after birthing is finished.
5. Pups are weighted twice a day and monitored around the clock (sleep in 2-4 hour shifts)
6 The room is kept at least 72-75 degrees with a heating pad on part of the whelping box. All other animals are kept out of the whelping room.
The First 3 Weeks:
1. Puppies are born without the ability to hear or see. Their mobility is limited and they cannot control their body temperature. They can smell and suckle.
2. From day 3 thru day 16 we perform Early Bio-sensor exercises. It is a series of 6 exercises that each last 3-5 seconds, performed once a day. This is a program developed by the U.S. Army in their SuperDog program. They are thought to stimulate neurological development and the puppies’ endocrine system. As adults, puppies that have undergone Bio-Sensor were shown to respond better to street, have stronger immune system, and have strong problem-solving abilities. In addition to the series of 6 exercises we introduce a new scent to the puppy ever day. It is a natural scent such as banana, orange, fresh rosemary, grass, evergreen needles etc. (We do not use meat products.)
3. The bedding is cleaned and changed at least 2 times a day. Mom is monitored to ensure her health is strong and she is eating frequently.
4. Around day 10 the pups eyes begin to open. We keep the room dark/lowlight during this phase.
5. Ears begin to open day 17, and we limit loud sounds in the house for two days. I will play classical music softly in the bedroom. After this period, and once they have become 21 days old we begin slowly introducing common life sounds.
6. During the first 3 weeks, pups are weighted and charted twice a day. This enables us to intervene if a pup’s weight is not progressing. (We expect pups weight to double in the first week.)
7. Pups should be standing/walking on all four legs by the end of this stage.
8. Toenails are clipped every 3 days.
9. We introduce “challenges” to the whelping box – a pool noodle a pup may have to get over or around to get to mom. Different surfaces when they have a strong footing, and by day 14 we daily introduce different toys/objects in and around (over) the whelping box.
10. Visitors are encouraged once Mom is comfortable enough for strangers. Cleanliness process are followed and pups are passed around!
Weeks 4 – 8:
- We move the pups from the quiet bedroom and into the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. They are in an x-pen. In good weather, they will have their first outdoor experience.
- We begin the weaning process. First they are introduced to raw marrow bones for 10 mins, twice a day. This trains them to go from sucking to licking. At the beginning of week 4 we make a gruel of raw meat, puppy baby formula and cooked oatmeal. I think they get more on themselves rather than in themselves the first two feedings. Mom still nurses but every day more of their meals come from me rather than mom. I begin to train them how to behave to get food and will also introduce a whistle to signify “FOOD”. This sets up the whistle to used as recall through out their lives.
- We begin to introduce new experiences and challenges to teach them to think. Some of these experiences are an Adventure Box, Ball Pool, Puppy Agility Equipment, Tunnels, Moving and Noisy Toys. They have a bath and time on the grooming table. They have “Woods Walks.”
- Potty Training begins: The pups have litter boxes with cedar chips in their whelping box. And they use them 90 percent of the time! The used chips can be used in their new homes to teach them the ideal spot to go outside in their forever homes. It works really well.
- People, people, people. We introduce them to new people all the time. We have a goal to have them meet 100 different people before they go home.
- Noise and more noise. We have the TV on alot. We have the coffee grinder, the vacuum cleaner, the blender. We take them for car rides, and drive by railroads and onto highways. We have a noise tape with kitchen sounds, thunder, fireworks, children playing, horns – this is played softly at first then a little loader every day for 10 or 15 minutes.
- The litter is registered with AKC and each pup gets a registration number.
Getting Ready to Go Home:
1. Vet visit. Pups go for their puppy check up and first shots.
2. We introduce a crate. Take pups, one at time, out to Loews, outdoor dining, and walking down a busy street.
3. We do their evaluations. An extensive temperament test is done between 7.5-8 weeks. We also do a structure evaluation. From this we decide which pups go the future breeding program, are best suited for performance homes, are good with homes with children, and make the best pets. We will make a recommendation to puppy buyers to the best pup(s) for their homes
4. Pup receive their microchips.
5. Puppy pick up or delivery dates are agreed upon. All paperwork is delivered at the time of receiving the puppy.