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Breeding A Litter


© 2004 Sue Jeffries

No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from Sue Jeffries.

Breeding a litter

The Complete Book of Prenatal and Postnatal Care

This 254-page hook by Beth Finder Harris, published in 1993 by Wiley Publishers for Howell Book House, is definitely a "how-to" hook. Harris, of Sacramento, Calif., is a prolific writer and has successfully bred and shown Alaskan Malamutes since 1962 under her Beowulf banner. She is also a former professional handler, and has trained in obedience since 1965. This is a step-by-step manual, with emphasis on breeding responsibly.

Harris writes that her audience is the breeder who "desire(s) to engage in a breeding program of better-bred dogs." She writes, "Not elitist in aspect, this hook is devoted to enhancing dogs' lives with their owners through a candidly spoken medical and psychological direction of rearing puppies in the best of all possible environments."

While she acknowledges "nothing can replace a positive, practical firsthand experience," she points out that "some basic knowledge proves essential to maximize success." And she's right. This is another book that should definitely be read before considering breeding; and it could very well serve as a valuable reference during breeding and whelping. Harris' comprehensive discussion of medical problems, along with the accompanying glossary, makes a very thorough package. Her recommendations for early socialization of puppies are especially insightful.

"When handling newborns or even much older puppies, it is helpful to make repetitive 'kissing' sounds," she suggests. "The vibration of these kisses' is felt by even the youngest puppies. These kissing sounds are also the first sounds puppies hear as their ears become receptive. Repetitious kissing offers the vibration and sounds of security and comfort, because it is the sound puppies make when nursing. We'll-fed with warm milk and nestled in secure comfort by its dam while feeling her heartbeat and breathing is one of the earliest conditionings a puppy encounters. When you emit this sound of security and comfort associated with well-being as you pick a puppy up, it responds instantly to your stimulation. Feeling secure, the puppy snuggles rather than struggles."

Wise words, indeed.

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