As a breeder, there really is only one way to learn the ropes; breed your dogs. We don't have a course of study after which we are deemed "qualified". I think this is part of the problem as to why there are such things as puppy mills. In breeding, many of us apprentice under established breeders to learn how to do it. Thanks to the help of books, websites, YouTube videos and a few select colleagues who have and continue to mentor me in dog breeding, I have been guided along in my chosen field. Actually breeding my bitches and actually having success and failure has been instrumental in delivering me to where I am today: pretty experienced but craving more knowledge and deeper understanding.
Being able to make the best decisions, practically, medically, scientifically and for optimal breeding with the least amount of stress, discomfort, and effort for the dogs is my goal. Having easy, healthy whelpings not requiring medical intervention or surgery and not involving death or injury to my dams or whelps is just basically not negotiable. I want the best breeding program I can create. These little lives matter to me on a level I sometimes find hard to express.
For example, this year, Daintree is looking at using a stud dog so far away that it makes more sense to collect and ship his semen (fresh, chilled thank you very much) and have it implanted into the female, rather than do a natural mating. Up until now, we have only ever done natural matings. Almost 8 years of dog sex with the male and female both telling me when they're in "the mood" and then me supervising as that happens. After getting the male and female together, my involvement has been mainly putting the other dogs away and clearing the lovebirds a safe space to get it on. Choosing a mate for a bitch involves a whole lot of alchemy; a combination of size, shape, colour, temperament, temperament, health test results, availability, willingness of the owner to work with the bitch's owner, distance, and other factors. To get what we are going for, we gotta do it differently this time. Well, we don't gotta, but we wanna. He's the one, and he's clear across the country. We're having test tube babies.
This type of breeding involves hormonal testing and trips to larger cities for bigger vet clinics to lend their expertise. As you may be wondering, yes the cost increases as more people and professionals are involved, and so does the risk of poor timing, bad implantation, and a whole host of other issues I don't even know about yet.
So along comes this amazingly timed seminar on the science behind breeding great dogs. A fellow breeder shared the information about this workshop where I quickly saw it, raced to the signup page and laid down my money. Confirmed a spot in the Saturday/Sunday at 10:45 combination. I'm stoked!
Not only will this educate me on the medical side of breeding better than I have understood to date, but it will also introduce me to other breeders, give me an excuse to visit the city and keep those brain cells active. I love to learn; it turns out I just need to be passionate about the subject matter and then I turn into a living knowledge sponge. I'm looking very forward to this opportunity.