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How to Breed Puppies

The puppies' development from three to six weeks

At the age of three weeks, they have their baby teeth and you can start giving them a little mushy puppy pellets. Buy a good brand with lots of protein to help them grow. Vets sell special pellets for puppies. The first meal can be as little as a teaspoonful of pellets soaked in water and raised to blood heat in the microwave. If it's a hot day, you don't need to heat it if it's at room temperature.  The idea is just to give one or two of the puppies a taste.  You may have to dip your finger in the mush and let them suck it off. Three hours later, try again. Once one puppy gets the hang of it, the others will soon learn. Don't be in a hurry to wean them; mother's milk is best. The mother will probably eat the puppy pellets, to protect her young from what she considers to be bad for them at this age. You can put the mother outside while feeding them. The mother can be given puppy pellets mixed with her food, to give her more nourishment.

 Puppies should be fed four times a day to begin with. The time interval between meals can be gradually increased so that they get three meals a day. The mother will still want to feed them, but she will spend longer spells away from them. She needs this time apart to let her milk supply build up. The puppiesí sharp teeth and nails hurt her, so itís good if you can separate them to give the mum a break. Donít separate them completely, as the milk the mum is producing needs an outlet, otherwise she can get mastitis. Let her feed them as long as she wants to. Her milk contains antibodies that help the pups fight germs. If the mum can get up high - say on a chair - she will be able to rest where they can't bother her.

  In the wilds, when a mother decides itís time for her young to eat meat, she will go hunting, kill, and eat. When she returns to her den she vomits up some meat for her little ones to eat. Our dogs may do the same thing. They can regurgitate their supper for the pups to eat. So be careful what you feed the mother! Donít give her pets mince in case it contains contaminated meat. Beware of giving her lumps of pap in case she buries it and digs it up later for the pups to eat. Bones are hazardous. She may drop one on a pupís head, or leave it lying until bacteria breeds on it. The pups may lick it and become sick. If the mother sees the pups touching her bone she may bite them. Itís best not to give bones at all. Many dogs have swallowed bones and had to be operated on. Pups enjoy the regurgitated food and will often tug at their motherís mouth to try to induce vomiting.

Puppy Socialisation

From four weeks, the pups will be a little steadier on their legs and will develop their muscles and fighting skills by picking play fights with each other. Donít try to stop themóthis is an essential part of their childhood.  Now they can be put outside to experience the big wide world. They will also need to start meeting human beings so that they are confident when itís time to leave the nest. The mother will still be protective of her brood, so at first, donít let her see people touching her puppies. Teach children to use two hands when picking them up, and to rest the pup against their body. Donít leave children alone with puppies in case they drop one! The puppies should meet all types of people - male, female, old, young, and all races. They should meet folk wearing hats, & glasses. They should see you use normal household object like a broom, a vacuum cleaner (not too near the puppies as the sound is too loud) a hosepipe.

They should be allowed to play with older dogs, but only under supervision. The law of nature says that an older dog is entitled to bite a pup to teach it discipline. Thus, order is maintained in the pack. However, if we want to sell pups, we donít want them to have an ear missing. Try to provide a little box where the pups can escape from the bigger dogs. The mother too, should have her own place where she can escape from the pups who will still demand milk.

You may wish to take them for a short trip in the car, just to give them a pleasant association. If their first outing is to the vet for a jab, it may make them fearful of cars.

Thunder storms terrify animals, so act cheerful and normal if there is a storm. If the puppies decide to hide, don't drag them out. They will feel safe in their den.

Meeting other pets, and all sorts of people, is an important part of a puppy's socialisation at this crucial stage of it's development. A puppy who is only allowed to meet the person who feeds it, may grow up to be a fearful or aggressive dog. The problems we encounter in adult dogs often start in childhood.

The pups should not be taken from the litter before the age of six weeks. This six weeks spent playing with brothers, sisters and parents is essential for the dogís development. Eight or ten weeks is even better. Itís OK to advertise them before they are six weeks, if one says when the pups will be ready.

First trip to the vet

At six weeks, the puppies should be taken to the vet for their first inoculation, deworming, and microchipping. Puppies must be microchipped as it is required if they are to be registered with KUSA. You'll find a vet (veterinarian) in the phone book. Phone and make an appointment. Ask about payment if you wish to pay by credit card or cheque. Some vets insist on cash or debit card.

Put them in a box for the trip to the vet. They mustn't run around on the vet's waiting room where sick animals have been. Also, there may be dogs there who could bite them.

If a pup is to fly in an aeroplane, then it should be at least 12 weeks as the lungs need to be developed to cope with the altitude. If a puppy is to be exported, it needs to have a rabies inoculation which is done later than the normal inoculations. Your vet will advise. There are pet transport companies which will collect the puppy from your home and send it anywhere in the world. The puppy-buyer normally pays for this. 

The first two months of a puppy's life is extremely important as it gets an impression of the world. Breeders must ensure this impression is a positive one that will help the puppy to develop into a confident, friendly, and trainable dog. 

Every stage in a puppy's development is a cause for celebration. Weaning is a milestone of note. It means the puppies will soon be gone, so let's celebrate every moment we have them.  "And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." Genesis 21:8 


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