How I plan on differentiating puppies in not one but two litters. (Gearing up for “puppy breathe”!)
Sorting through my “dog stuff” and just not thrilled with my “puppy collars”. My old collars have survived several litters and are just looking a bit ragged now so… I ordered new newborn and then “slightly bigger” collars for pups-to-be at birth and as they grow. Now I hope I don’t jinx anything by planning ahead but these collars are coming from the UK; ordering them now and they should hopefully arrive none too soon before pups are born?
That said… I’m pretty sure both of my girls ARE pregnant. Am a bit disappointed my ultrasound appointment (that officially confirms pregnancy) is later than I would have liked but my vet has been incredibly busy probably now more than ever with “curb-side” appointments due to Covid and mandates. It just takes extra time to communicate to owners after seeing their dogs.
But back to the collars… I need collars to differentiate the puppies from both litters. While there may be some differences between litters especially at first, I don’t want to take the chance of mixing up pups! So I ordered a second set of puppy collars that are “different” (to be able to tell which puppy belongs to which mom). This will be especially important later when mom’s and pup’s are all out together.
Both moms are now on prenatal vitamins. It won’t hurt them if they happen to NOT be pregnant but if they are, just something to help them help their babies. Deja, as a veteran mom, is already “showing”. If she happens to NOT be pregnant, she needs to go on a diet ASAP! Both girls have “flank flips”. It is a subtle sign that their bellies are getting bigger. And the “weight” is not over their rib cage where you might normally expect to tell if a dog is putting on weight. Their weight gain is in their tummies. It’s very subtle but I definitely see these “flips”.
So out of thirty color choices, we will have say, Blue (boy or girl) and then Blue Pawprint (boy or girl). I will have newborn and then older puppy sized collars for both litters. As for the color assigned to each pup, these are randomly assigned at birth. We use the collar colors to differentiate not only pups from each litter but also how each pup is growing (weight) and then later, as they are seen/identified at my vets. We use the collar colors to evaluate pups as they grow and interact with each other. My constant comment when I have pups is “which pup is that?” The collars differentiate them. This is NOT something breeders necessarily need to do in other breeds when they have pups with different colors and/or markings but with Goldens… they ALL are gold!
I hope everyone is enjoying our upcoming spring weather. The iris’ are coming up green. The crocus’ are blooming. Spring is right around the corner!
Breeding” takes up a LOT of time when done with intention and care!
What a week (or two) it has been! After tomorrow, I will have been to my vet seven out of the last eight days! Really, I should be getting a paycheck, right? Or a room there! Today (and first thing tomorrow morning), Ms. Vee will be getting inseminated with Grand Champion Tazo’s frozen semen. I am using the “good stuff” from a collection I did on him back in 2012. Back then, he had several collections done and frozen with varying quality simplistically rated as “ok”, “better” and “best”. These “collections” are taken and some of the collection is frozen, thawed and evaluated for these ratings. The decision on “what to use” for Vee’s breeding was difficult but easy in hindsight compared to future decisions that are being made!
The reason for the multiple trips to the vet is based on timing; exactly WHEN to inseminate Vee? Vee has had a blood draw done every day to evaluate exactly when she ovulated and then, blood draws to make sure she is progressing to time her most fertile period of time. Frozen semen, once thawed, has the lifespan of approximately eight hours. Timing is crucial on insemination to conceive those puppies later. According to her progesterone results, Vee’s MOST fertile period of time will be Monday (today), Tuesday and Wednesday. We are doing two inseminations (actually transcervical so past the cervix using flouroscopy). We are picking the middle of her most fertile period of time so late today and first thing tomorrow morning doing two TCI’s (transcerical inseminations). And then… we cross our fingers and hold our breath that she becomes pregnant!
Meanwhile, Champion Deja has also been bred this season also. Deja was bred to a local boy, also a Champion. Her progesterone (blood test) was also monitored to make sure she ovulated as expected? Her “boyfriend” agreed she had; HUGE thanks to this stud dog owner for agreeing to do multiple breedings every other day to cover Deja’s fertile period. And to be sure she didn’t “stall” or quit progressing, we had another progeterone done to make sure her level was high; that her cycle was progressing as expected. It was.
After tomorrow, we sit back and wait. In about four weeks (actually 30 days), we can do an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy for both girls. Once pregnancy is confirmed, diet is adjusted for the growing puppies/pregnancy. Not to “count my chickens before they hatch”, our whelp date (day pups would be expected) will be April 22 for Deja and April 28 for Vee. This is important for future planning… we WILL be home and available to help each “mom-to-be” both in the delivery of puppies and then mom and puppy care afterwards.
Breeding ONE dog is very stressful; breeding two so close together… I must be crazy! I ALWAYS think the actual breeding is more stressful than the whelping/birth of puppies. Why? Timing is critical! One “shortcut” can mean the difference between having puppies or… NO puppies! So yes, we did those progesterone tests, even on the weekend when the price for doing them is doubled because it is considered an “emergency” appointment. And I’m putting my faith in my repro vet who HAS talked to me in person at length regarding the science and “the plan” even though we are doing all of these appointments “curbside” because of Covid and social distancing. Thinking ahead… I may opt to do a planned C-section for both girls (assuming they both get pregnant) so as not to risk losing any puppies. I’ve put too much work in both of these breedings to risk losing even one puppy later. Whether we have confirmed large or small litters, birth is always a stressful event on mom and puppies. It isn’t unusual to “lose” a puppy during the process. If I can avoid that, even at a greater expense, it would be worth it!
The size of the litter i.e. number of pups to be expected is done first by ultrasound when confirming the pregnancy although an exact count can not be made at this time and then later, at approximately 58 days, by x-ray, when puppy bones can be seen by x-ray. We then can count “skulls and spines” to determine how many puppies to expect? This is important because… we like to know where mom’s are at when delivering puppies? Sometimes a puppy can “get stucked”; we like to know this to be able to help mom’s throughout the entire labor and delivery process.
Meanwhile, my new dog, Trek, is going out of his mind! He KNOWS the girls are “in season” and wants to be the daddy! Sorry buddy, NOT going to happen! I have him separated from the girls with a run in between them. Dogs have been known to breed through fencing to “get to those girls!” He is distractable so “training” has taken a back seat as he watches those girls from afar. When they go outside (I have indoor/outdoor runs), he goes outside and just pines for their attention. My neighbors will be glad when this is done and over with; his barking at the girls to notice him IS a bit obnoxious. Just another reason I live “out in the country”. At least all of my girls do cycle in unison. It is the “dorm effect” so that once one girl “comes in season”, they all do. Hormones are in the air around here right now!
Trek’s transfer of ownership has gone through so he is now officially “my dog”; yeah! And he is scheduled for HIS health testing coming up at a local “health clinic” which also will be “curbside”. Unfortunately, the canine eye vet appointments filled almost immediately so I will have to take him to a different eye vet to get his eyes tested. Yesterday I ordered his DNA swabs that will test for 133 genetic diseases. These are in addition to the core health clearances recommended by both the local and national Golden Retriever clubs. This health testing is not done just for future puppies but for the health and well being for the breed in general. It is an expectation that breeders do this testing. Both the Champion boy who hopefully will be sire to Deja’s puppies as well as Tazo used for Vee’s breeding have this health testing and clearances. I’m serious when I say “health” is a priority for my puppies. And any breeder who makes excuses as to why they didn’t do this health testing before puppies… well, they are just that; EXCUSES! Unfortunately many soon-to-be puppy owners may not realize this? I mean, every baby animal is “cute”, right?! But what is behind those cute puppies? It should be health testing done on the parents!
Off to create an account for Trek with the company that is sending me my DNA swabs. I’m using a different company than the one I’ve used in the past with my other dogs. And thanks to an online friend for the “heads up”; I’m using a coupon for a discount and allowing my DNA results to be part of a Golden Retriever Genetic Diversity study sponsored by the Mid Michigan Golden Retriever Club. Works for me!
I hope everyone has a wonderful day and that you all do something today that makes you happy! It is sunny here with promises of being a beautiful spring-like day. I think I will go outside and play with the doggies!
I was deeply saddened when I was notified that a long-time, very dear and close friend recently passed. The reason I was contacted so quickly… My friend had a dog bred by me. Not only was the dog bred by me, I was also listed as a “co-owner” of this dog with my friend.
After exhausting all possible options of potentially having this dog transferred from California (where my friend lived) to Colorado (where I live), I could see no other option than driving out to get this dog! It was to become the trek to retrieve “Trek”. Unfortunately, this was during the recent “arctic freeze”; I wanted nothing more than to hunker down with my furry and feathered critters to endure the storm. And, of course, there was the pandemic to worry about! Then, too, my girls were due to “come into season”; I didn’t want to miss my planned breedings. But because I couldn’t be sure Trek was “safe”, “getting the dog” took precedence over any other concerns.
I packed in a daze and the next morning, then hubby and I set off to bring Trek home. I am extremely grateful my son promised to take care of my animals and “hold down the fort”. He also agreed to monitor the girls for signs they were finally “in season”. To make things slightly less chaotic for my son, we took my two Havanese girls. I figured this would be a crash course in socializing and travel for them. Plus, as “pocket dogs”, well they really don’t take up much space.
We made it to Richfield, Utah on Friday. FYI: when using the adaptive cruise control, set at 5 miles above the speed limit (so 85 mph), when the sign says to decrease speed to 50 mph for the curve ahead, the adaptive cruise control does NOT adapt to the oncoming curves. Now I know this! On the trip home, in daylight, I got to see the area I drove through mostly at… 85 mph! I’m thankful it was pitchblack dark driving through those mountains!
Saturday morning had us saying “good-bye” to Richfield still continuing west. I really thought that once we made it through Vail Valley/Summit County, we would be past the snow? NOT TRUE! We drove through near white-out conditions for several miles until we were well into Nevada.
Heading to Las Vegas… We encountered some sort of “dust storm”? It felt like a tornedo with dust and debris all over the highway? The sky was black! We just kept driving…
Saturday night’s hotel stay was uneventful. We made plans to meet Sunday morning to pick up “Trek”.
After a brief visit, we were on the road again this time heading home. We made it as far as Cedar City, Utah before having to stop for the night. This was going to make it a long drive on Monday but we were all exhausted at this point… both physically and mentally. It was time to stop for the day.
Monday morning was rough! First, the toilet over-flowed in the hotel room. Gone was the 65 degree weather of Southern California; we were back into “winter”. We had significantly MORE luggage to repack in the car having brought in Trek’s crate from the car the night before to sleep in. And neither hubby nor I slept well. Not a good way to start a day of driving!
After Utah, now in Colorado, the western slope is a really pretty area. Through Glenwood Canyon and onto Vail. Finally through the Eisenhower Tunnel and back down the mountain with ears popping and our heads feeling like they were about to explode! About 40 minutes from “home” and we came to a complete stall on the highway due to an accident ahead. SO CLOSE and we were stopped! Until finally we were HOME!
Trek has never seen snow and he was pretty excited to meet my girls, now in season, even if only through the fence gate. On Tuesday, Trek had a “spa day” complete with ear cleaning and nail trim. He was a total rock star and seemed to enjoy all of his pampering.
Trek has so much to explore and he really isn’t sure WHAT those little dogs are? He now, however, knows to NOT mess with my barn kitty! One swat from kitty taught Trek some instant manners.
Life for Trek is going to be way different in Colorado with us than his life was in California. First, we have SNOW! Once the girls are done “being in season”, I think he is going to be excited having his very own “harem”? As for the girls, progesterone testing done midweek and we are right on schedule for the upcoming breedings. Deja is meeting her “boyfriend” this weekend and Vee will go in for another progesterone test tomorrow to see how far she has progressed? Although my son “thought” both came into season on the exact same day, more likely Deja was in season a day or two before Vee so… we won’t be having puppies on the exact same day. That is if BOTH girls get pregnant which is our hope. Cross your fingers!!
All in all, it was a trip I would do again… for one of my dogs! It really isn’t just about this particular dog though. It is about being part of the solution for the breed.
Spring Cleaning OR “Nesting”… The dogs helped us clean/freshen up their space!
Nesting is something our girls will do shortly before going into labor. Often, where a girl WANTS to have her puppies is NOT where we want her to have puppies (No, sweetie, you can NOT have your babies under that evergreen tree! Please STOP digging that hole!) A girl’s “nesting behavior” is a bit different than MY nesting behavior.
Last weekend, hubby was going to install a new 5′ panel with gate in place of the solid 5′ panel in our “dog room”. The effect of this will be able to open up two dog runs and make them one big dog run. After puppies are born and are a bit older, it will allow “mom’s” some space of their own while still overseeing the puppies. So while the project started with just increasing space for mom and puppies down the road, it turned into a complete weekend project!
In taking down the dog run panels, I decided we should “flip” our dog matting. Twelve years ago, I put down a 4′ x 20′ solid pad to cushion the area the dogs would be on when they were in these dog runs. So with help from family members, this old pad was rolled up only to find a clogged drain under the padding. I don’t use this drain because of the proximity to the drywall so didn’t think it could “back up”? Unbolting the grates that covered the drain and cleaning it out became a much bigger job than originally anticipated mainly because the bolts to take off the drain grate were cemented closed! NOT GOOD!
There was no way to reuse my old padding. Its use was just past expiration in being comfortable for any dog to use so… Off to the farm store to buy new mats (we bought horse stall mats). My dear husband methodically measured and cut each horse stall mat to fit each dog run and although these mats do have seams, I’m hopeful they are much too heavy for any dog to find the seams/decide to chew them? Am crossing fingers they don’t, at least.
My dog room is probably THE MOST USED room in our house! Consequently, “stuff” has been stashed here and there. Deep cleaning would be an understatement while the entire room was dusted, mopped, with “found” items sorted; much being stored elsewhere. I did find a Coolaroo dog bed that I forgot I had? I suspect I purchased this for puppies to play on some time ago and then, “forgot” I even had it? Olly, my “puppy” approved and so she is now enjoying this new dog bed.
My “Little’s”, other dogs that own us but aren’t Goldens, eat their meals in smaller crates. Now the Goldens LOVE meal time and ALWAYS offer to help the “little’s” eat their food too! We’ve moved their crates (and stacked them) for easy access and privacy to eat their meals at their own pace.
Spring cleaning OR “nesting”… either way, it feels good to get such a big job done! Whew!
We all live busy lives, I know! On my “do list” was updating the doggy web site. Only, the technology changed… Just keeping up with technology “updates” can be exhausting by itself! Hopefully (and without too many typo’s), I successfully got some new photos uploaded of all of our doggies?
As we near the end of 2020, personally, I will be glad to see this year end. LOTS of lifestyle changes with Covid 19, politics/presidential election upcoming, and the horrible fires that have plagued the northwest mountains of my beautiful state… 2020 just needs to be over with!
Still, exciting plans for 2021… Looking forward to a better year! Stay tuned…
A quick day trip to the mountains to winterize cabin.
Yesterday, we took all of the dogs up to our cabin in the mountains. Soon, the snow will fly especially in the mountains so time to make sure the cabin is winterized. Unfortunately, our cabin and the surrounding area is on mandatory evacuation notice due to the Cameron Peak Fire.
Wildfires are horrible; it seems the entire western half of the country is currently “on fire”! We are incredibly grateful to all the men and women firefighters currently working to put out our particular fire!
The dogs LOVED being in the mountains though. Our property has just been recently completely fenced so the dogs are safe to run around and now can only think about chasing the many deer “up there”.
Cabin “winterized”; heat set to 50 to keep pipes from freezing; and the snow plow as been attached to the UTV just in case our next trip up entails plowing snow! I know I have a few emails/puppy inquiries to answer… I promise I will get to them soon!
Puppy “Torrey” finds the best home EVER with Denise & Doug!
Denise & Doug recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary with their Golden Retriever, Torrey, climbing Mt Columbia (Colorado’s 35th highest 14teener at 14,077 feet!) Just WOW! Happy Anniversary you two!
Torrey is one lucky Golden having been placed with Denise and Doug after her first home decided that a Golden Retriever puppy was just “too much” for them. Serendipity works in funny ways… Torrey has THE BEST HOME IN THE WORLD NOW! Torrey, now two years old, is a litter sister to my girl, Vee (CH Journey x CH Deja litter).
Besides climbing 14teeners with her peeps, Torrey is well trained and does many tricks including carrying shopping bags for Denise. She spends as much time “in town” meeting people and being an excellent ambassador for her breed as she does spending time in the mountains at Denise and Doug’s second home.
It is a very rare occurrance that I have a puppy or dog returned to me by their carefully selected new owners but it IS something I tell all new puppy owners… I will take back your puppy/dog for any reason if you can not keep your puppy! I never want any of “my” dogs to end up in the humane society or local animal shelter! Torrey’s first owners did everything “right” too… Torrey (new name) was vetted, had attended Puppy Kindergarten, was house-broken… her previous owners did not give any real reason for her return except they just didn’t want her any longer? How fortunate for Torrey to then find her way into Denise and Doug’s heart and home. I couldn’t be happier for the life Torrey now lives. A true “happily ever after” story if there ever was one!
Even under the most perfect situations, we probably only breed a litter once a year (and sometimes less than that!) Our goal with breeding puppies has always been to “improve” upon the breed according the Golden Retriever breed standard. This really means that in each litter, my goal is to keep a puppy for the next up-and-coming show dog that will hopefully not only do well in the show ring but also embody the breed characteristics we all cherish in this breed… a good family dog from healthy parents (and grandparents); longevity; and of course, the typical great temperament known for in Golden Retrievers.
As everyone’s lives changed with the introduction of Covid-19, LOTS of things just changed! One of the biggest changes has been in vet care. Only emergency cases seen and even then, dogs (or a puppy) is handed off to a vet tech to be seen by the veterinarian. This is NOT always the best for mom & puppies but has been the way it is with social distancing and “shelter in place” directives. This is a huge reason why we have altered OUR future breeding plans until things are much more stabilized. Mainly for the good of mom and puppies-to-be.
You always hope for that “perfect litter” where puppies are all well and are healthy. Unfortunately, that is what rarely happens. There always seems a need for vet assistance at some point in puppies first eight weeks with us (or even during mom’s pregnancy). I’m very fortunate that my repro vet is a personal as well as professional friend who takes great care of our dogs but… Why put mom or puppies through added stress/worry during unprecedented times of a global pandemic?
So in light of Covid 19 and “life”, our next litter won’t be until Spring 2021. We have plenty of time to make sure mom is fit and well to undergo the rigors of pregnancy. In the meantime, our dogs are being dogs. Ours (and their) “shelter in place” has included our staying up in the mountains hiking daily and chasing deer! All seem to have an incredible fascination with pine cones which can be found in abundance here.
I know many have written and inquired about their next future companion (and I’ve tried to respond to each inquiry individually). So many great homes that have the time, space and heart for a puppy. I wish I could say I have a puppy for each deserving family right now but sadly, I do not.
While waiting or searching for your next perfect companion, I implore each family to stay safe and well. I know we all are not in the same boat but we are all in the same storm!
All the puppies have gone to their new homes and are doing wonderful! Concerns regarding house-breaking and adjusting to their new homes is ALWAYS a stressful time… for puppies and the new owners. All of these puppies were such a joy (and a big part of our summer!) And now it is fall; time seems to have just flown by!
Meanwhile, “Beacon” is a bit older puppy from the CH Rooster x Charlie litter whelped this spring. Getting updates on ALL of “my” puppies (or puppies related to my dogs) always warms my heart… Love seeing the adventures puppies are having in their new homes.
Beacon does a lot of hiking with his new owner. And when Beacon can’t walk, his owner carries him! I don’t know what is more beautiful? Seeing this puppy go on his adventures OR the beautiful mountains in Colorado? Both are stunning which is why I thought I would share…
Whew! What a day!! Puppies taken into the vet for their exams and first vaccinations… A LOT for any puppy! I have to say, every puppy sailed through their exam and although I am watching puppies closely today for any signs of a vaccination reaction, all puppies are eating well and continue to play hard. And… all did very well for their first car ride too!
On to their last week from me… Such a happy time for new owners but a bittersweet time for me. I’ve LOVED the time I’ve spent with ALL of these puppies. I need to double check with both Donna and Corrie on when you both would like to come pick up puppies? Bad me for not writing it down since you’ve probably told me? Could you both let me know when you get the chance, please.
We’ve also done stacked photos of puppies on the table. I think ALL of the puppies are STARS!