What does it means breeding for me?
Behind the word “to breed” there is a whole world: all the ideas, thoughts, projects, dreams, love, emotions from infinite joy to disappointment, sadness, broken heart, all the studies, competitions, knowledge, all the time spent for dogs, kilometers for competition, specialist veterinary, agility workouts, sheepdogs, sleepless nights, hours spent talking with other breeder, hours spent playing with them, cleaning the house, cuddling them…and so much more!
I really believe that love and passion are not enough to breed, experience is crucial and comes with time, but it is necessary to study. It is important to know notions of dogs world, the stages of the puppies’ life, dogs’ anatomy, dogs’ way to interact and communication, knowing mechanisms of learning of dogs, and nutrition.
Also, the amount and the quality of the time that can be devoted to puppies is one of the most important things: if the breeder works in the office from 8 am to 5 pm how can the puppies be socialized and followed? If objects are shown to puppies without paying attention they can also be scared rather than socialized.
To make a good job is important that puppies are stimulated in appropriate way for their age, doing all possible to have the best assimilation of experiences and adult dogs at their full potential.
This means having dogs with good character that can control themselves, being social, never ansious and panic, but curious, positive and open minded to experiences.
Puppies will have a personality that came from genetic but also experiences made during their life.
Some important points for my breeding:
WORKING LINE/SHOW LINE: BOTH!!!
For me this difference does not really exist at all. I am hardly convincted that the Shetland is a great-looking working dog: they must maintain both characteristics.
My favourite sentence is “beauty and brain” which means that my job is to have beautiful dogs, which respect the standard of the breed and can do dog show and championships, but also maintain instinct and work on the flock for which they were born and that they can do other sports activities such as agility. Within the puppies litters there will always be the most energetic puppy, the quieter, the most thoughtful and the most impulsive puppy.
They are not couch dogs, Shetlands need to work, or anyway, do active and thrilling life.
A few litters each year. Having a litter and managing it is a huge commitment in terms of time, mental and physical energy.
I strongly doubt who makes a litter behind another one, using always male near home, never competition with dogs, for me this is producing puppies and getting richer on dogs, not breeding.
A good Breeder always tries to be better, every litter is important and has specific goals for future of the breed.
I am focused on quality not quantity.
For me, they must have time to grow and mature. The first litter must be at the 3rd heat or around 2 years old of age. It is important for me to give the female the time to grow and mature before she has a litter.
In all this time before the first litter the female reaches a physical and mental maturation and she creates a relationship with me, in order to face the litter’s experience together, I must be a solid point of reference for them with a beautiful comprehension and complicity.
This is also important because the baggage experience of the mother, her character, her health will influence a lot the puppies, both during gestation and when puppies are born and grow.
Before and during a litter, the attention and care to the mother grows more than usual, it is very important that she is comfortable, fit, No stress and no situation that she doesnt like, as well as more attention to nutrition.
PUPPIES BORN AND GROW INSIDE HOME
The whelping box is built about 1 week before birth of puppies so as the mother can get used to that.
The puppy room is far from the passage, so as mom and newborn puppies can relax and grow in a hygienic environment with a bed for me so as I can check them properly also during night.
In this period before birth the emotional reactions of the mother is felt by puppies, also cuddles in the belly.
THE FIRST DAYS OF LIFE UNTIL 2 WEEKS OLD
Puppies born blind and deaf, they can not stabilize their temperature, nor pee and poop by themself. They get warmer staying close to each other and hiding under the mother. I keep controlled temperature and humidity of the room, using a heat towel if necessary.
95% of their time is REM sleep, the awake moments are dedicated to drink milk.
They are so small but already have three wonderfully developed reflexes:
- LABEL REFLECTION as soon as they feel the nipple they suck
- BREATH REFLECTION the mother licks them and they start autonomous breathing
- PERINEAL REFLECTION stimuli in the genital area to eliminate. When the mother turns them upside down to stimulate them she teaches a fundamental position for their future as adults: passive submission.
They are immediately manipulated to be weighed several times per day.
From 3 days old (depends on puppies) I start an early neurological stimulation program that consists in simple exercises that improved cardiovascular performance, stronger heartbeats, stronger adrenal glands, greater environmental stress tolerance, longer life expectancy, and resistance to disease.
THE SECOND AND THIRD WEEK
Since the second week of life puppies felt with paws different surfaces under their paws: many different materials, from cardboard, to packs of postal parcels, paper, plastic, various types of fabric, feathers etc.
Puppies also come into contact with peluches, who learn to overcome, overwhelm, and sleep over.
Also called “the transition period” the third week is important because there are many changes: complete opening of the eyes, appearance of hearing, puppies eliminate alone.
Around 20 days old there is the appearance of the first milk teeth and from the 15th day the mother becomes a safe base: the puppies start exploring the world, in a way called “star exploration” because they go back and forward from their mother.
The whelping box starts to be full of object and toys: everyday puppies know a new toy/experience with different materials, different shapes and colors, when the pups come into contact with some of them they make noises when moved or trampled.
The puppies start to be more stable in their movements: I moved them to a larger area where they can explore and browse, with a corner for rest, an area full of toys and various objects and an area to pee and poop with a real grass so that they immediately learn to eliminate on the grass: already at 3 weeks of life the puppies start to move away from the rest area to eliminate!
I start stimulation also with different smell, and they start to get used to stay alone very slowly.
Respecting the mother and following her reactions to managing her time, I start to enter other members of the human family and also canine members into the room.
At the end of the third week, around 21 days I start weaning with a natural diet.
I start stimulating them also with various spices and let them used to nails cut.
I start the first “recalls” and they get used to stay also alone, very softly and gradually.
THE FOURTH WEEK – UP TO THE ARRIVAL IN THE NEW HOMES
From the 4th to the 12th week we have the socialization period: with other dogs, people and environment.
The mother teaches: bite inhibition, food hierarchy, self-control, frustration and calm managment.
When they are one month old the puppies are moved to a larger fenced area in close contact with the daily routine and accustomed to the noises of the house such as vacuum cleaners, hairdryers and external noises such as sirens, trucks, scooters etc. I start to use also some CDs with various noises to get them used: sirens, thunderstorms, fireworks … and of course also classical and relaxing music.
I continue to provide new visual, auditory, gustatory and tactile stimulations. Now begins the “fun”: the puppies will meet lot of objects different in size, texture, shapes, noises, I introduce small tunnels, dark areas to enter, objects hanging from above, grids, medals, bottles, balls, umbrella etc ,. Every day I add new elements and change the arrangement of objects so that they are always stimulating for them.
In this period I made the first exit in the garden gradually longer time.
Puppies are introduced to have a collar, a harness and I teach them to follow on a leash, or at least, the first approaches!
They are introduced to the clicker and also some problem solving challenges.
Puppies can, weather permitting, stay indoors and go out into the garden.
If there is a good temperature they will also have the first positive interactions with the water, entering with the legs and playing inside a small bowl.
They live in close contact with the whole family.I also introduce them to the car, gradually, making small trip.
CHOICE OF THE FUTURE OWNERS
If you are interested in my work and my dogs you are welcome to visit me! We can talk and deeply about everything concerned the breed and puppies.
I welcome future owners as soon as possible to know and be known by puppies, even with regular visits and frequent if the distance allows it!
The puppies will reach new families around 75 days, with ENCI-FCI pedigree, registration to the canine italian registry, first vaccination and de-worming.
The puppies will be sold with a puppy-kit with everything necessary for the first weeks of life together and you will obviously have all the files with photos and videos of their growth.
The choice of new families is a great responsibility for me: I will decide puppies destiny.
I try to choose families that can guarantee a good life, full of stimuli and activities.
I do not want a couch life for them, not even a life in kennel as an athlete dog.
I appreciate and prefer active families who may do some activities with the dog, but I do not require the competitive level: if there will be, done in respect of the dog, I will be very happy and I will be your fan No. 1, but the important thing for me is that you will have fun together and that the dog will be a member of the family !!
I really want to keep in touch with those who take a puppy from me, I will be available throughout the all life of the dog on any day at any time. It will be nice to see each other again if the distance allows it.