Updated: Nov 8, 2022
How often do you breed your females and care for their reproductive health?
We typically breed a healthy female with an excellent temperament after her 2nd heat cycle (typically around 18 months-2 years of age). If everything goes perfectly during her pregnancies, we usually retire females at some point when they are 4 years old and neuter males around age 6. Our moms all receive excellent pre-natal and post-natal care and get thorough reproductive evaluations every cycle and they remain up-to-date on all vaccines, heartworm, and flea and tick medication. We follow the advice of the leading reproductive expert, Dr. Hutchison, DVM with Good Dog and our amazing reproductive veterinarian Dr. Bob at Hamby Road Animal Hospital.
Let’s discuss back-to-back breeding, or breeding without skipping a heat cycle. Traditionally, we thought that bitches needed a “break” between litters for their optimum health. That’s no longer considered best practice, for several reasons.
First, when you look at the reproductive and nursing cycle of a dog and their healing needs, it’s fairly comparable to a human having a baby every 2 years or so. While I emphasize frequently that dogs are not people, I think that as an analogy this can be helpful to some who find initial mental resistance with breeding a female as frequently as twice a year.
Next is the effect of progesterone on the uterus. One of the most vocal proponents of breeding back-to-back is well-known reproductive specialist Dr. Robert Hutchinson, DVM of Good Dog.
In his seminars, Dr. Hutchinson explains that the progesterone level in the bitch remains elevated for two months after ovulation whether or not she has a pregnancy. This is a critical fact since progesterone can be inflammatory to the lining of the uterus.
When a bitch cycles and there’s no pregnancy, the uterine lining thickens from the inflammatory effects of progesterone and that can increase the risk of infection and endometriosis. In fact, while most of us think of pyometra as a bacterial disease, Dr. Hutchinson says it’s actually an inflammatory disease, with the bacterial infection being a secondary factor. In Dr. Hutchinson’s own words, the progesterone “hammers the uterine lining for 60-plus days.”
(Dr. Hutchinson also says that bitches should be spayed as soon as they no longer will be bred to help avoid future pyometra and other problems. Research shows that spaying also helps prevent mammary cancer, particularly when done by 4 years of age.)
At the risk of repeating myself once again, dogs are not humans, and while human females shed the lining of their uteruses every cycle, dogs only shed their uterine lining when whelping. As linings stack up, they lose flexibility and elasticity, which can also contribute to fertility problems as that can affect the ability of eggs to attach.
So his advice is to breed your bitches young and breed back-to-back and not to skip cycles unless you have a medical reason to do so.
To add to this, skipping a pregnancy puts your bitch at risk for a phantom, or pseudo pregnancy—a false pregnancy. False pregnancies look just like regular pregnancies, except there are no puppies. Your bitch, however, will gain weight, nest, have enlarged teats, and lactate. But she won’t shed her uterine lining. False pregnancies increase the risk of mammary cancers in dogs.
Where do your parent dogs live?
Our parent dogs are first and foremost family pets who are placed in hand-picked loving families within an hour from Canton, GA. A guardian home is a unique opportunity where a local family receives a well-socialized, temperament-tested, health-tested goldendoodle that is a current or future Teddy Puppies parent who is up-to-date on all vaccines for free, in exchange for Teddy Puppies to retain breeding rights as long as his/her health is optimal. If you are interested in learning more about the Guardian Home Program, click here.
How are the puppies raised?
Experts at Puppy Culture recommend doing Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) exercises daily when the puppies reach 3 days old to wake up their neurological system, increase resilience, and stimulate brain activity during this critical stage.
“Tactile Stimulation” where we use a Qtip and run it over paws for 3-5 seconds to wake up neurological system
Hold puppy vertically with head up for 5 seconds
Hold pup with head down for 5 seconds
Hold puppy on back in ‘supine’ position for 5 seconds
‘Thermal stimulation’ put puppy on cold washcloth that’s cold and damp
We do ESI to increase neuroplasticity in neonates and prepare dogs to be successful in work and everyday life. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function throughout life and in response to experience. Some of our puppies will go on to become diabetes support dogs, emotional support dogs, or serve in other capacities.
On days 3-16 we present pups with a new scent like garlic, grass, dirt, leaves, bark, moss, flowers, pungent fruits, herbs, and spices including orange, banana, lemon, apple, lime, rosemary, mint, cloves, cinnamon, and even anise. Then we introduce working items, like ducks, pheasant, tennis balls, wood, and leather.
Then, one pup at a time we hold these scents just in front of – but not touching – its nose, allowing it to sniff them for 5 seconds. We are looking for one of three common reactions. Some items they love, some items they hate, and some they just don’t care about. How do we tell if a puppy likes the smell of an item? When they like it, the pup will often try to bury its nose in the object, snuffling, staying engaged, and despite their inability to move well they’ll even try to move towards it. If they hate it, pups will turn their head away and keep it there, sometimes blowing hard out their noses as if to clear it, and even screeching. Of course, there are many scents that they just don’t care about. We call this a neutral response and typically the pups do little or nothing aside from sniff when presented with the scent.
On day 16 until 8 weeks of age, we expose our puppies to Loud Noise and do Lifestyle Exposure exercises and daily handing exercises. We begin with sounds like clanging on a metal bowl and gradually work up to more startling sounds like fireworks, lawn mowers, airplanes, vacuums etc.
The goal of lifestyle exposure exercises is for the puppies to learn how to recover from being startled. Lifestyle exposure exercises include being introduced to bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, water bottles, steps and things to jump/climb through, puppy playground activities, wobble disks, crinkly tarps, ropes, tunnels, car rides, meeting a stranger, a ball pit (day 35-56), a skateboard, steps etc.
How does puppy-picking work? What if I reserve before the puppies are born and my preferences are not available when my pick arrives?
When the puppies are 6 weeks old we temperament test them and share results with our families. Then we allow families to pick in-order of the deposits placed and we are happy to make recommendations based on the test results and our relationship with the puppies. We ask you to pick between 3 or fewer puppies to avoid confusion and family members all connecting with different puppies, which makes for a hard decision. Choosing a puppy is like a marriage and it will involve training and discipline, even with the puppy of your dreams.
We want you to be over-the-moon happy about choosing your fur baby. We recommend choosing a puppy based on temperament over physical attributes, but we do understand that is a factor in choosing your new companion. That being said, if your picking opportunity arises and there isn't a puppy that matches your criteria, you will have the opportunity to defer to the next litter and typically you'll have an earlier picking number which is more likely to fit your needs.
If my life changes suddenly, can I return my puppy/older dog?
Yes, we commit to take any Teddy Puppy back at any point during their life. We never want them placed in a shelter and our home is always open to our babies. We do not offer a refund for dogs surrendered to us, as it is usually quite expensive to re-train, vaccinate, groom, and provide the care and temperament evaluations for a dog whose care has likely not been optimal prior to rehoming. This process typically takes several months for us, and we will always try to empower you to find solutions for your dog before it comes to this. Surrendering a dog to us should be a last resort for emergency situations.
Do you offer a Health Guarantee?
Yes, we provide a two-year genetic health guarantee and you can read all of the details in our puppy contract in the puppy application here.
When can we pickup our puppy or when will he/she be delivered? Do you provide transportation?
Our puppies go to their forever homes between 8-9 weeks of age. We do have reliable transportation partners who provide in-cabin flight nanny services and ground transportation services. This is an additional cost and you can let me know if you want to request a quote.
Do you offer Breeding Rights?
We occasionally offer breeding rights to approved programs only. This is never assumed as all puppies are sold on a pet-only contract and this must be discussed prior to adopting your puppy. There is a special application for breeders that you can complete, here.
What vaccines and de-wormings do puppies receive before going home? What else will my puppy come home with? Are the puppies potty-trained?
Our 8-week old puppies are partially potty-trained (with a litter box or pee pads) but our families will need to continue the training process. Our puppies are dewormed at 2, 4, 6 & 8 weeks with pyrantel pamoate and are vaccinated at 6 weeks for distemper-adenovirus, parvovirus, and type 2 parainfluenza. Our pups go to their forever homes between 8 - 9 weeks of age and they are due for their following vaccines at 10 weeks of age.
Their puppy go-home bag includes a few of their favorite toys, a month's worth of free Trupanion insurance, a blanket with mom and litter mates scent, and over a week's worth of puppy food. To learn about crate & potty training and how to prepare for your pup's arrival, click here to read our blog about Taking Your Puppy Home.
Can we set up a phone call?
Yes, I would love to speak with you on the phone about your unique needs. The best way to begin this process if for you to fill out a puppy application (no commitment or deposit required) by clicking here, I will reach back out and give you a call within 2 business days.