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The Accidental Breeder

or one of the best kept secrets on dog-breeding

Coping With A Bitch In Season

Practically speaking, the owner of an unspayed bitch will expect her to come into season every six months. The season will last approximately 3 weeks and on average she’ll be receptive to the dog during her middle week.

As with any organic function thesec an only be guidelines, and you’ll know your own dog, so can adjust your life accordingly. If you don’t own an entire male dog then your problems are reduced a hundred fold.

Ok, so we hear tales of dogs roaming far afield in search of females in season. Personally this is’nt something wehave experienced and neighbours’ dogs have been miserable but not inconsolableand get over it.

How Not To Do It

Until fairly recently we have alwaysfallen into the category of ‘those who cope’.

We bought a dog that showed fairlysuccessfully, getting to Crufts a few times. He did basic obedience (up to theKennel Club Good Citizen Gold level), and was trained to work in the field.When a friend who has always kept GSPs bred another litter, we jumped at theopportunity to buy another – this time a bitch.

Being fairly sensible and wellorganised people we thought we could cope with the seasons. Though our dog wasunhappy for a couple of weeks each year he soon got over it and life revertedto normal, pretty much like with any male. The dogs were great pals andcontinue to be so.

There is always one day, isn’t there?We have all been there, maybe we are not feeling 100%, maybe we have all beenrushing around and not been able to talk uch and there is a communicationbreakdown. Or maybe we have just had one of those days at work, we’re so tiredwhen we get home that we don’t focus. We make a little slip, a lapse inconcentration, an error of judgement. Then Hey Presto! we’re pulled up short;the damage is done.

That is exactly what happened to us.The “ships that pass in the night” conversations, the trying morningat work, the lapse in concentration when you get home for lunch, and the bitchscreaming in the garden – et voila! the deed is done.

Both Dogs Were OfThe Same Breed

and not related, also the bitch wasof an age where the litter could be registered with the Kennel Club and apedigree obtained (too old or young, and the Kennel Club would not give apedigree), but we didn’t feel ready to have puppies. Next, we visit the vetswhere a series of injections was given to stop the eggs embedding or so wethought (the morning after pill!). 99% effective so we felt certain we couldrelax.

We took our holiday and the dogs wereduly kennelled. On returning from holiday we were greeted by two happy dogs(although they have always coped well with kennels they were always pleased tosee us!) one of which had put on quite a bit of weight! Could she be pregnantwe wondered? A quick visit to the vets in Bristol (where we had stopped tovisit family) and we were reassured it was a phantom pregnancy and our walletswere suitably lighter. Life settled back to normal.

Picture this…

…a damp Summer day, a familysitting around the kitchen table playing cards and music from “The Kingand I” serenading us fromt he CD player. You know the song with the highpitched tune?

Mum says “What’s thatnoise?”

“It’s just the song”

“I don’t think so”

“Look in the dog basket!”

99%? Don’t forget there is always a1%!

To cut the story short, two of theembryos embedded, and we were proud to have two gorgeous baby boy puppies. Boththey and Mum were well and Dad was somewhat confused although accepting.

The vets were astonished, but”Life finds a way”. Interestingly enough Mum didn’t take instantly tomotherhood; once we’d had the all clear from the vets, we could consider ouroptions.

I have always been a great believerof dogs knowing a lot more than we give them credit for. They seem to be goodjudges of body language, facial expressions and of course tone of voice. Wespoke to her in a firm voice, told her to “stop her moaning and get onwith it”. It may be coincidence, but she never looked back and was awonderful mother. The puppies were a joy to have, we found fantastic homes forthem and never regretted the experience.

I said at the beginning, “one ofthe best kept secrets in dog breeding” Once people know what we’dexperienced folks said “I know someone… Yes, I had a litter like that…Did you hear about…”. It was surprising how many had had unplannedlitters but not mentioned it. There was even a story of a mating that occuredbetween the bars of a dog crate. I suppose ‘Where there’s a will there’s away!”.

Terry Devonald has bred one partiallitter of German Shorthaired Pointers; she currently has no plans to breed another;but hey, who does?


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