Category Archives: Diary of a Dog Breeder

Being a Responsible Breeder

A Responsible Breeder – what does that look like? 

“We wouldn’t get a puppy from any old breeder. Dentbros Dogs tick all our boxes and more. Highly recommended!”

As I pause between litters, I thought it would be useful to ask my forty-two puppy owners for some feedback.  So I sent them out a ‘Customer Satisfaction Survey’.  I thought it would be helpful to establish whether they were generally happy with their dogs and felt they had had a good service.  Can I improve on how I do things?

The results (from almost 50% of the homes) are a bit embarrassing really.  Almost everyone would recommend me to a friend and are very satisfied with their dog.  The dogs were universally described as:

  • good temperament
  • healthy
  • beautiful
  • easy to train
  • good value for money (50%)

“Both of our boys have been the most wonderful temperaments , being very affectionate and characters in their own right.”

In addition they are confident, fit in with the family and are a pleasure to own.  I was described as being extremely or very responsive to any questions or concerns about the dogs.  Most people would like to have another dog from me.

“We are delighted with the puppy we bought from Dentbros. She is beautifully calm and affectionate and very well behaved at home. She has also settled well with our older dog.”

What should you be paying for?

These are some of the costs I incur when producing a litter:

  • health tests for bitch, including hip scores and annual eye test
  • mating
  • scan
  • wormer
  • specialist food and milk for bitch while pregnant
  • KC registration
  • Assured Breeder fee
  • KC Breeder affix
  • toys for puppies
  • run and fencing
  • bedding
  • puppy food
  • eye & hearing tests for puppies
  • puppy packs and books

In addition to this, there is of course my time.  I spend the whole of the 8 weeks I have puppies at home, with them.  I receive around 150 different visitors during that time, including a hundred different people for the pups to experience.

“Really appreciate the time and effort Penny puts into breeding and raising these dogs. She does a tremendous effort, and it really shows in the dogs temperament. Highly recommend her.”

I make sure that I cuddle the pups every day, checking them over and generally handling them.  They are part of our family life.  I spend time communicating with the potential owners, sorting out who is having which puppy and making sure they are the best fit possible.  I get to know the owners during that time and am available to discuss any worries or concerns that they have.

I spend time dealing with the associated administration of having puppies.  Registering them with the Kennel Club, organising their health tests and generally making sure they have a great start in life.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better service. We feel very lucky to have found such a quality breeder. I had high standard before but other breeders will really have to work hard to come in line with you. My very trusted vet and friend who also breeds and is a behaviourist was incredibly impressed with the information we were sent home with also the lovely touches like his puppy bag and all the little details. The book as well. Just everything.

“We really cannot leave any constructive criticism or negative comments because there just aren’t any. You should be incredibly proud as a breeder and dog owner as you are sadly the exception and will feature heavily in my advice when I speak to clients who want to buy a puppy.  As a nurse I see many different types of breeder, some good, some just awful and some just don’t know what they are doing. So thank you as a nurse for being such a fabulous caring and committed breeder. It’s really refreshing. Also Lenny is just the most polite, laid back handsome happiest puppy ever we are so lucky. THANK YOU!”

Here’s one happy puppy owner!

I do love having puppies!  I love spending time with them.  I love spending time with the mum of the pups, focusing particularly on her and strengthening the bond I have with her.  I love producing healthy, happy, confident dogs, who enrich the lives of the families they live with.

What could possibly be a better job than this?” 

If you want to know more about being a responsible breeder, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.  Please CONTACT ME if you would like me to know more about me or my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think?

My First Breeding Experience

Becoming a breeder – The first time

This is a description of my first experience mating a dog.  WARNING: some explicit language has been used.

Sunny was different from our previous dogs.  I made sure that I cuddled her and handled her.  She was encouraged to come onto the sofa and lie with us.  I took her to training classes and paid her much more attention.  The boys were already teenagers when she arrived but all visitors to the house were made to play with her.  Made to by her, of course, not me.  She explained the rules as soon as people arrived: “Here’s the ball.  Throw it for me.  Then I bring it back.  Then you throw it again.  And again.  And again.”  I watched many people being taught this game by her over the years, including grandparents, non -dog owning people and toddlers who couldn’t yet talk and weren’t very good at throwing!  When we had a French family stay with us, the children learnt to say “Where’s the ball?” before anything else!

I had a vague plan to find a mate for Sunny and someone at a show introduced me to a friend with a nice black and white boy.  They felt it would be a great pairing as both dogs were super-fast and agile.  I knew that I had to get Sunny’s hips x-rayed and got that done.  It involves a general anaesthetic but doesn’t take long and isn’t too hard for the dog as it’s not invasive.  I then started to get cold feet about the dog because he wasn’t registered and hadn’t had his hips done.

Suddenly Sunny came into season.  She was three years old so I knew I had to get going.  I did a frantic search online for another stud dog and fortunately, found Julia.  She was extremely experienced and knowledgeable.  She checked Sunny’s pedigree and agreed I could put her stud dog to her.  He was another red and white, a show champion no less and best of all, only lived down the road.

The first mating was quite traumatic for me.  When we arrived at Julia’s house, there was Wizard, in all his glory.  He was beautiful, but seemed so big, compared with my little girl.  He was really keen to ‘get on with it’ but Julia made him wait for a while, until Sunny and I were a bit more settled and not quite so anxious.  Then there was plenty of sniffing and licking and mounting.  I was surprised with how much we needed to be with them.   There was a chance that Sunny could have really attacked Wizard, but fortunately he was pretty determined.  It was also a bit of a challenge as it was Sunny’s first time, so it was quite a ‘tight fit’.  Once he has penetrated and ejaculated, the dogs remained ‘tied’ for around ten minutes.  This is where the male stays inside the female, but they turn around so that they are tail to tail.

Sunny screamed the whole time he was inside her, yelping as though she was in agony.  This was hard for me to take – my poor girl!  But as soon as it was finished she was all bouncy and jaunty, almost as though she was ready to go again!  Cheeky girl.   Even better, when she got home she told Buzz all about it!

Next time..

My next post in this blog will be about the arrival of the first litter.

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.  Please CONTACT ME if you would like me to write about a specific topic?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think?


My life in dogs – how I got started

The first dog in my life was Bella, a black Cocker Spaniel.  She smelled horrible (ear issues) in my memory.  She died when I was 10.  Then we had Shahn, a Working Sheepdog, who nipped our ankles if we weren’t careful.   Two years later we had Kali, another WSD, who was incredibly soppy and would follow us around, getting under our feet and breathing her smelly breath on us.

Bella – she loved having her picture taken

When I was 18 my mother decided to get Afton, a pedigree Border Collie.  She was a completely different kind of dog – a ‘proper’ dog.  Beautiful to look at, a classic collie, and with a really super temperament.  She loved to have things thrown for her – anything at all, she didn’t care.  The classic was that she would bring visitors a tiny twig, or a leaf and carefully place it on their lap, then gaze at them patiently, waiting for them to throw it.

Rue (next to me) with Missy, Daisy and Afton

My mum wanted to breed from her and when I was around 21 she had her first litter.  I was there for the whelping (the births) and loved it!  It was so exciting.  She had beautiful puppies, which we named after herbs and we kept Dill.  Two years later she had another litter and we kept Rue.

I took on Rue once I had stopped work after the birth of my second son, in 1994.  She was a sweet girl, but a bit neurotic.  She didn’t like other dogs much, or men, or children.  Typical collie.  She was easy going, kept herself to herself.  Undemanding but a bit boring.

My first puppy was Buzz, bred by my mum.  It was 1997 and we had spent nine months trying to move house.  We kept getting gazumped, or losing our sale, because our house was made of concrete and people couldn’t get a mortgage to buy it in case it crumbled to dust.  (The mortgage company had clearly never trying to put up a picture).  We were pretty fed up and there was this litter at home.  My younger son to a shine to Buzz, so there we were, a two dog family.  Soon to be followed by Woody, the cat.

Rue with Sammy

Buzz was a right pain.  He was as neurotic as collies can be, easily spooked.  He would bark, irritatingly, to come in, or go out, or whatever.  Incessantly at the doorbell.  He loved the boys, and would run around while they played, but they didn’t play with him.  We were brought up to have respect for our dogs, and they were always left in peace or put away if the house was busy.  We occasionally stroked them, but they were never cuddled, or handled, or fussed.  They were just part of the house, part of the furniture.  Not really walked and certainly not trained.

Buzz and Woody (with Batman)

I did do some training with Buzz and because he was a collie he was generally obedient, but didn’t really do much.  It was while I had Rue and Buzz was a puppy that I learnt that dogs could talk.  Not just bark, but actually communicate.  I was sitting working at my desk and Rue came into the room.  She said “You’d better come.  That annoying puppy has done something naughty.  I told him not to, but he did it anyway.   It wasn’t me.”  I was surprised that she was able to say all that, but she did and sure enough, when I looked, there was the chewed thing, just as she’d said.

Sunny at eight weeks

Buzz had grown up with two small boys, but they never really paid him any attention. It was a shame because his brother Digby had gone to my friend, who also had small boys.  Digby was one of the family and would lie on the floor cuddling with George, aged 2.  He was a super boy and I think that was when I started to realise just how much dogs could vary and how important their upbringing was to the way they behaved.

I had seen red and white collies at Crufts and when I mentioned to my mum that I fancied getting one, a few years after Rue died, she put me in touch with a friend of a friend who had a red and white girl.  I went from Essex to Southampton to see Sunny when she was three weeks old.

It was the first time I had been interviewed by a breeder and I was surprised, but pleased when I passed the test and was awarded with the puppy.  I named her Sunshine, as she was born on Midsummer’s Day, June 21st 2006.  She was the start of my journey as a breeder.


Why Breed Dogs?

I know some people who believe passionately that all dog breeders are irresponsible criminals and that ALL dogs should be obtained from rescue centres.  Trouble is, if everyone really did do that, there would very soon be no dogs left.  Also, if we could only get dogs from rescue centres, we’d be left with a load of miscellaneous mongrels.

I know that many dog breeders are responsible dog owners who care about the health and temperament of their dogs.  These breeders pay attention to who takes on their puppies and do their utmost to support those owners as they begin their journey into dog ownership.  If all dog breeders were like this, then all dogs would be better behaved and fewer would end up in rescue centres.

It starts with what we, the buying public, want from our dogs.  Dogs have been part of our lives for thousands of years and over time our views on what we want from them has changed immeasurably.  We do require dogs to perform a myriad of working roles, from search and rescue, to Medical Detection Dogs.  We also want them to engage in numerous sporting activities with us, from agility, flyball to competitive obedience.

Ultimately though, our demands of our dogs are the same as they’ve always been; we want a companion, a friend, a pet.  Someone to welcome us home and to soothe our troubles.

Supply and demand

We want more and more dogs and we have very specific criteria when looking for a dog.  I have any number of people asking for a ‘classic collie’ or a dog with blue eyes.  People want a dog at a very specific time, or they want one that doesn’t chew, or shed hair.  They want one that is an exact size, or that slobbers, has bulgy eyes, or a curly tail.

The challenge is to produce the dogs people want, but to do that in an ethical and sustainable way.  What makes people become puppy farmers?  Not only the fact that there is good money to be made, but the fact that people demand increasing numbers of particular kinds of puppies.

What is this blog about?

I am going to try and unpick some of these issues and talk about them from my own experience and opinion.  I would like to try and help future puppy owners to choose from a more informed perspective.  I am going to talk about:

  • What makes a good breeder?
  • What is a puppy farmer?
  • What is a hobby breeder?
  • Should you breed from your family dog?
  • What makes a pedigree dog?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of a cross-breed?
  • What is the difference between a Working sheepdog and a Border Collie?
  • What should you look for in a stud dog?

Getting Started

Becoming a breeder is easy – you just need a dog.  Well, of course if you want to do it ‘properly’ then you need a ‘proper’ dog.  One that is healthy and has a great nature.  Then the journey begins…

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.  Please CONTACT ME if you would like me to write about a specific topic?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think?



Children having fun with dogs – Sign up now!

Isn’t this great?  It’s my nephew Llewi having a go at agility with Luna the superstar.  Llewi was visiting us last year from Melbourne and I took him and his brother to the field for some fun.

This is what I am passionate about – children and dogs having fun together.  Safely (with the odd slip!) and under control.  Luna is well-trained, so she is able to work with anyone, which gives children who don’t have dogs the chance to enjoy them as well.

Before you all rush to contact me, I should say that I am NOT an agility trainer.  This is not my field either – I am currently training in a park, until classes become established.

Training for Fun Classes

Following on from my successful Taster Sessions, I will be taking names for blocks of classes, which will start in JANUARY 2017.  I would therefore like to hear from you, if you meet the following criteria:

  • Are 8-13 years old
  • Like dogs (no experience necessary)
  • Live near Milton Keynes (Classes to be held near Caldecotte Lake)
  • Can come to class after school

Times and dates will be confirmed once the level of interest is established.  Ideally I am looking for around 8 children per class and classes will last for around 45 minutes.

Activities include:

  • Recall – will your dog make it through the tunnel of temptation?
  • Stay – can you hide while they wait for you?
  • Everyday care of the dog – grooming, health checks, cleaning up after them
  • Play – what games does a dog like playing?
  • Rewarding – it’s not just sausages you know
  • Meeting and greeting – how to say hello to a new dog
  • Basic obedience – heelwork, simple commands (sit, down etc)
  • Much more!

No Dog Required!

I am able to use my dogs for the classes or you can bring your own.  It’s up to you!

CONTACT ME NOW to register for classes?

Dogs ‘n’ Kids Training – Taster Session

Dogs ‘n’ Kids Training For Fun

For anyone who wants their dog to play and work with their children

training classes, dogs and childrenThe aims of the classes are:

  • Children having fun with their dogs
  • Children learning how to be around their dogs and understand their dog’s behaviour
  • Improving their dog’s behaviour through a variety of positive training
  • Improving the bond between dogs and children

I’ve had 2 children and 6 dogs and have been a breeder for a number of years, so I really understand the joy of seeing children and dogs playing together and having fun.   I have been going into school with one of my dogs under the Read2Dogs scheme, which has demonstrated the magic that dogs can work with children.

Now I’m providing the opportunity to improve that relationship with other children and their dogs, using my skills and experience. I am going to use the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme as a framework, but I want to include plenty of fun and games as well.  I am DRB cleared.

The Taster Session will introduce children to managing their dog while out walking, interacting with other people and dogs.  They will have the chance to play with their dog.

Taster session

dogs and children trainingDate:   Monday 10th October 2016

Time:   4.30-5.30pm                         Price:   £8

At:        Caldecotte Lake Park, Simpson Road

NB: This session is suitable for children aged 8-13, with dogs over 1 year.  Dogs should not be aggressive with other dogs or children. There will be 8 places available on this session. 

Following this session there will be another Taster Session, and then a course of classes after half term.

To apply for a place on this session, please contact:

Penny Dent, Dentbros Dogs                                                     07528 574207

What’s your name?

The pups have been settling into their new homes and the new owners have been having lots of fun with their babies!  But there are challenges too – particularly if you haven’t had a dog before, or haven’t had a puppy before.  They are just like babies 🙂

I remember my mum telling me that there are only two words a puppy needs to know: its name and ‘no’.  We’ve come on a bit since then and do try to be more positive with our training, but these are still two important words.

How often should you use the puppy’s name?

13524525_10157081697210635_1337877468031326552_nIf you spend all day long saying Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, then it shouldn’t be a surprise if Charlie switches off, should it?  But if you say ‘Ebbie come’ and wait a moment, she’ll probably come, won’t she?  Well especially if you give lovely cuddles and have a bit of sausage!

Puppies, just like children, need repetition, but they also need stimulation.  If they are just left to their own devices, they will make mischief 😉  So the important thing at this early stage is to use the puppy’s name, but with interest and excitement, and not ALL the time.

I'm so good, really
I’m so good, really

It’s a slow process, but hopefully, with patience and perseverance, your puppy will soon know their name and even come when you call!