We have been waiting and watching for the signs of Pollyanna’s first heat cycle. I have read forums and books about breeding and heat cycles. Of course, while we had a house full of family, we noticed she came into heat. I am relieved and know she is a normal 10 month old lab. We are also enjoying the challenge of keeping the pups apart and exercised. Jake is definitely interested in Polly and she is not as interested in him-yet. I am sure that will come this week. Each day is an adventure.
I think it is really hard for these besties to be separated. They are so used to playing and cuddling. I am glad this will all be behind us in a couple weeks for another few months.
As a conscientious new breeder I am always calling our wonderful, and understanding vet, reading articles, forums and books about raising and breeding labs. We are enjoying the challenge of these wonderful dogs and look forward in the future to our first litter.
We want to do the right thing by our dogs, they are our family. We are educating ourselves about good breeding practices and contracts. We are not in it for the money but the experience with our dogs. We do not intend to over breed or have a large kennel of breeding dogs. We will care for each dog, from puppy to adulthood if necessary, as our own. We chose our pups carefully and learned from our experiences with other breeders. When I see posts from other breeders about not wanting new breeders or hobby breeders to start breeding dogs I wonder how they got started? Did they start as large, well established breeders? Did they know everything when they had their first litter? I would venture to guess not. I understand the fear of reputable breeders of having people breed dogs who are not prepared to ensure the highest possible health standards, take pups back if necessary, or not place pups in questionable environments. It is a delicate balance of breeding quality dogs and understanding that you are responsible for the puppies and outcomes.
However, I hope I can show that a new breeder can be educated, reputable, and honest. We have worked, and continue to work closely with our vet to ensure the highest quality labs in health and DNA. We had preliminary xrays of Polly at 6 months and Jake at 8 months. They are both doing well. We will recheck Polly at 1 year, 18 months and 2 years for OFA Cert before breeding. We will check Jake at 18 months and 2 years for OFA Cert. If our dogs are not healthy and pass the certifications the vet feels are important, we will not breed.
We will offer all pertinent health tests and vaccines for our pups before they go home. We will microchip, socialize and start to crate train pups. We will continue to research and reach for the highest quality dogs. They are not only our dogs and pets, they are our family.