23 January 2017
The pace of Ziva x Yogi’s puppies’ growth has been steady, since they were born. We have seven two week old puppies, averaging just a little over a pound in body weight. Mr. Phelps is the biggest at 20 ounces and Rio is the smallest, at just under one pound. Their coats are thick and glisten shiny black with accents of white, at their necks, on their forelegs and chests. This litter is healthy and active, with a lot of bone. They will be gorgeous Tibetan Terriers. Eyes should be opening in a couple of days and with that comes full development of their senses of sight and hearing. A whole new world looms ahead!
Some years’ back, we learned that the rise and fall of progesterone levels can identify specific biological happenings in female dogs. With this information in mind, we’ve been using progesterone levels to identify ovulation and the theoretical ‘best’ times to breed. With this next litter, we will see whether we can catch the dramatic fall in progesterone levels that will tell us how soon whelping will begin. It would be wonderfully helpful to have a biological indication, in addition to the behavioral indications we watch for. We are looking for a level of 2ng/ml of blood, which will tell us that we are 36-48 hours from whelping. At 1ng/ml, whelping happens.
The AKC has recently developed a ‘Canine College’, through which anyone can take online classes and learn about many dog-related topics. I’ve taken two of the beginning breeding classes and think it’s terrific to have experienced breeders sharing their experiences, along with the science that goes along with the stories. These online classes can serve as that ‘second set of eyes’ we all want to have, when confronted by an unusual situation in the whelping box.
Jenifer Wagner was at my right side, this last litter. She has been a great emotional support to me, in addition to her veterinary experience that always gives me the sense that we are ready for just about anything Mother Nature might throw at us. I can’t thank her enough, except to say that without her help, it’s always much more stressful for me.
In the next three or four weeks, friends of ours will be expecting litters, too, and we look forward to being able to report on our experience with these new progesterone whelping indicators. Every responsible breeder wants to be prepared and the more information you have, (I think) the better.