Category Archives: Litter 11 – April 21

A YEAR with your puppy!

Let’s celebrate! It’s been a year!

Well here we are! I am as surprised as you are that we have got to a year of owning a puppy! How’s it been for you? As expected? Better? Or worse? What have been the highlights? What have been the unexpected challenges?

The year we’ve had

For me, the biggest, well really the only problem is the ‘barking at other dogs’. He is still doing it and it is still driving me mad. I call him and he comes. He stops barking and says ‘sorry mum I forgot’. Silly boy! I apologise and the other person says ‘It’s fine’. I say ‘it’s not fine, he’s annoying.’ We walk on. Oh and this morning he found some fox poo for his neck. Lovely!

Border Collie a year
Quin at a year

Chris and I absolutely adore our boy – he’s the best. We love how he barks at random stuff on the TV. It’s so sweet to see him playing with Murmur and he’s great with all the girls. He’s such a goof. I love it when he snuggles up next to me on the sofa, chewing on a bone. And he’s so handsome!

We think he’s turned out pretty well. I feel confident taking him pretty much anywhere, as long as I watch him around other dogs. He’s perfectly friendly (no really), meaning we can walk with friends or chat to people. He just likes to shout when he sees another dog.

Let’s revisit the questions I asked you 6 months ago about your dog. Do you know them better now?

Around the house

  1. What is your dog’s favourite food? Are they a good eater? Do they need to be slowed down when eating? Nothing has changed with his eating and he continues to be fine.
  2. What treats or snacks does your dog like? Raw carrot is a favourite of my dogs. They all love crisps and will offer lots of tricks to win these!
  3. Where does your dog like to sleep? Do they go on the sofa or your bed? Or do they prefer to find a quiet corner? I’m putting money on the fact they don’t often sleep in that expensive bed you bought? My dogs like a raised bed with some lovely vet bed on it. They usually just lie on the floor, or the sofas, of course.
  4. When does your dog wake up in the morning? What time do they go to bed? Does this work well with your routine? Your dog should be happier being left for longer periods, both day and night. What arrangements do you make when you are out?
  5. How often does your dog need to go out to toilet? Do they always go in the same place? Do they prefer to toilet in the garden or on a walk? I like my dogs to be able to toilet in the garden, so that I don’t have to take them out – it’s so much more convenient. But I know they prefer to toilet on a walk. So I make sure I pick up after them in the garden as well as on walks and I walk them after breakfast so they can toilet then.
Border Collie
A favourite spot

Out and about

  1. How often do you take your dog out for a walk? Do you go at the same time each day? For the same length of time? My dogs have an hour long walk, off lead, around an hour after their breakfast, from 7.30 am.
  2. Where does your dog like walking? Do you go to different places, or do the same trudge every day? Dogs love variety and thrive on visiting different walks. My dogs love the woods! So many interesting smells 🙂
  3. Where else have you taken your dog? Have they been to the pub? Or to a cafe? It’s a good to show off your dog and give them a different experience. Quin continues to get out and about and enjoys the experience.
  4. Have you visited someone else’s home with your dog? Don’t be afraid to take them into new situations? Quin has carried on going into school and behaves himself brilliantly (apart from barking at the chickens).
  5. Have you taken your dog away? Quin has been up to Scotland and down to Devon – he loves it!
Border Collie a year
still loving the beach

Tricks and games

  1. Can your dog do the basics? Sit, down, wait? How often do you practise these? Every few days is a good starting point.
  2. How is your dog’s recall? How often do you practise this? Quin is perfect at recall – hurray! <smug>
  3. Can your dog do any other tricks? We’ve done lots of tricks and Quin and I both really enjoy this.
  4. What’s your dog’s favourite game to play with you? If you have other dogs, do they play together and what games do they play? Quin has a new playmate! He and Murmur play together a lot. So sweet.
  5. Does your dog engage with other dogs when out on walks? Do they try and say hello nicely, or bounce into other dogs’ faces? Still annoying. Not fixed. It’s not the end of the world, but it is irritating.

Training and activities

  1. What classes have you done with your puppy? Have you carried on with any classes? What did you learn?
  2. Have you considered doing the KC Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme?
  3. Have you tried out other types of training? Quin has started Hoopers, which he enjoys.
  4. Now your dog is a year old, perhaps you could start agility?
  5. Obedience training is another way to challenge you and your dog and build on your working relationship.
Border Collie

Health and breeding

  1. What do you think of your dog’s breed now? Has your dog continued to be typical of their breed?
  2. How healthy is your dog? Have you been to the vet?
  3. Have you had support from your breeder? Have you been in touch with the owners of your puppy’s siblings? Each of my litters has a WhatsApp group, so they can share problems and celebrate successes!
  4. Are you happy with way your dog was bred? Do you think they were given the best start in life? I have learnt that it makes a difference. A puppy that is cuddled every day likes being cuddled. It’s that simple.
  5. Is there anything about getting your puppy that you would do differently?
Border Collie
the boy

Enjoy your puppy now

Your dog may not be perfect, but they are part of your family. You have already had them for around a twelfth of their life. Think about what you were doing 11 years ago? Not long is it? A year in their life is such a long time. Celebrate your puppy and the joy they have brought you.

Please take a moment to reflect on your successes and the remaining challenges? Think about what you’d like to do with your dog going forward? Please do get in touch if you’d like to share any of the answers to my questions?


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME, by filling in your email address below?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.


NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.

Quin’s Story: Week 41 – Temperament

Testing temperament

Following on from my post about health testing, in order to produce ‘The dog of your dreams‘ it is also important to breed for temperament. As I approach Quin’s birthday, I have been reflecting on his temperament and what makes him the way he is. Of course, he is a Border Collie, first and foremost, so his behaviour will always reflect that.

Border Collie temperament
different temperaments

It is interesting to me that many of my ‘dog friends’ say to me things such as ‘all your dogs are so good natured/well behaved/lovely temperaments’. They know about dogs and they think it significant that mine are all ‘nice’ dogs. Someone recently said “It’s so good to come into your house and the dogs are just pleased to see you. There’s no chaos, or fighting, or anything like that.” When I first had a person come to look after them when we went away, she couldn’t believe they all got on so well. So how do I do it?

Nature vs nurture

I’m a psychologist (in as much as it was my degree subject), so I understand the interplay between nature and nurture. It’s easiest to think of it as the balance between being biologically programmed to behave a certain way, or being brought up to be like that. Of course it’s not an either/or situation, both are crucial in creating the dog you want (or the person, come to that).

Border Collie temperament
related but different

Starting with nature, I choose stud dogs from lines that I study and understand to be good-natured. I have tended to stick with the Goytre lines, because I know the temperament of these dogs is fantastic. However, I don’t want my dogs to be too inbred, so I sometimes need to add different lines. This means I might end up with different temperaments.

Nurturing temperament

As I say all over this website, my puppies are given a brilliant start in life, with loads of positive experiences. They are cuddled every day, meeting plenty of people, including children. Puppies in my house spend time around dogs of different ages and temperaments, so they should cope better when they are out in the world.

Border Collie temperament
essential cuddling

That covers the first eight weeks, but after that, it is over to their owners to define their temperament. I have had dogs I’ve bred be nervous of children, because they haven’t spent time around them, once they have gone to their new homes. So different experiences continue to have an impact.

Different characteristics

When I had the Rainbow Litter, I had one of the owners ask me about managing the ‘herding instinct’ that Ounce’s brother was showing. “I’ve never had to manage that, mine don’t really do that,” I said. Then Ounce started herding off other dogs. Hmm, a new characteristic to manage! That litter are also real water babies – thanks Sox!

Border Collie temperament
my herding girl

Not all my dogs are the same. I can see likenesses between them, but also differences. It’s fascinating to see the traits develop. And to see the likenesses within and between litters. When I’m doing agility with Busy, people always say ‘She’s so fast!’ to which I respond ‘Just like her mum!’

Can you change it?

Dogs, like people are a mix of their biology and their upbringing. So you can influence how they are, up to a point. When I look at Quin, I can see he is a lovely nature. Like Busy, he’s generally calm and laid back. But then he barks at other dogs, or something on TV! Funny boy. I’ve worked hard on the barking at other dogs and he’s more or less stopped doing that. I think that yes, you can change their temperament, a bit.

Border Collie temperament
my barking boy

It’s complicated isn’t it? I do my best to make lovely dogs – the dog of your dreams. Sometimes it goes it bit wrong (Aura :p). Oh she’s lovely, I’m only kidding. Hopefully it’s given you food for thought.

Oh and by the way, I had planned to talk about ‘Formal obedience/heelwork‘ this week, but I haven’t managed to go to a class for this. It’s a dying art, it seems?


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME, by filling in your email address below?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.


NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.

Quin’s Story: Week 39 – Training vs managing

Should you train your dog or just manage it?

I’ve already talked about the fact that Quin barks at other dogs. I find it really annoying and difficult to manage. So what do I do about it? Do I settle for that behaviour. Let’s think about training vs managing these problem behaviours.

Border Collie
reactive dog

Barking at other dogs is described as reactivity. People are very scared if they have a reactive dog. They panic about meeting a reactive dog. No-one wants their dog to become reactive. Oh no! What should we do?

What does managing look like?

If you choose to ‘manage’ your dog’s reactivity, you might start by getting a yellow lead, or a jacket that says ‘Nervous dog‘. You will of course keep your dog on lead for all walks, unless you have hired a private field that is completely secure.

Border Collie
Watching the birds

All your walks will be spent nervously watching out for other dogs. You prepare to grab your dog, step away from the path, glare at the other dog owner. If the other dog approaches you, you might get ready to shout at it, putting your dog behind you, or picking it up.

Quality walks

It doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Some people think that is part and parcel of dog ownership. It isn’t. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be like that. Dogs should be able to run around, sniffing and wandering at their own pace. You should be able to walk calmly and at your own pace, enjoying the countryside, watching the seasons changing and listening to the birdsong.

Border Collie
natural posers

Doing this might take a bit of work though. You’ll have to start by paying attention to your dog. Secure your recall. Motivate him to come back quickly and often.

Training takes time

As I’ve been saying from the start, training is an ongoing process. Does Luna no longer get treats because she’s 12 years old? No of course not! She gets treats for being my best, beautiful Boo. Always. Well not quite always, she’s diabetic after all.

Border Collie
my beautiful Boo

You need patience and persistence to train a dog. It is not always straightforward, but it is worth it.

With Quin’s problem, I know that part of the reason he reacts to other dogs is because he is a bit worried by them. So I call him back to me and reward him for staying calm and not fussing at the other dog. I keep going, he keeps getting better. Equally, I know to pay attention to the other dogs and look out for those who have been really frightened in the past and may therefor react more aggressively towards him.

Border Collie

Generally though, when dogs meet other dogs they want to keep it simple and not react. Ideally, they want to say hello nicely.

The rewards of training

One of the rewards for me is walking past people who said ‘What beautifully behaved dogs’. People do notice when your dogs are good. They appreciate not being knocked over by a rabble when they come in the house (I haven’t stopped Aura squeaking though!) Overall, training vs managing wins for me (and my dogs).

Border Collie
family photo

Eventually, you can take nice family photos of your dogs. When your puppy owners come around you can show off your waits and individual recall by name. Most of all though, you can relax and enjoy your dogs!

Whatever you do, keep practising, keep rewarding and keep engaging with your puppy!


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME, by filling in your email address below?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.


NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.

Week 9: Mystical Litter

We’re home!

It’s been a journey with this litter. Honestly, I thought by now, after 11 litters and 60 pups, that I would be used to it. That I had gone through the challenges and was now an expert. Wrong! We’ve had quite a few hiccups along the way.

border collie puppies
Arla and her family

Three puppies went off to their new homes on schedule, as they reached 8 weeks of age. They are settling in well, sometimes sleeping most of the night, sometimes toileting in the right place.

border collie puppies
Ziggy with his mum and dad

Of course these puppies are ALL lucky enough to be living with older dogs – four of the homes have Dentbros Dogs in them! Plus Sam, who is an honorary Dentbros Dog.

border collie puppies
Grace with her family

I’ve been getting pupdates since they went and the older dogs are not thrilled about having them – yet!

Extra time needed

One puppy, Winter was always staying a few days extra. Her mum, Amber also stayed with us, as she was on a course in MK. Well I couldn’t let her stay in a hotel 3 miles away while I played with her puppy, could I? It was helpful having Amber here and we all had a good time.

Winter and Amber

Sadly, Tilos was not able to go off as planned, due to family circumstances. Before you get excited that a puppy is now available, she went home yesterday, to a very special and loving family.

border collie puppies
Tilos with her mum and big brother Symi (actually her uncle)

My new puppy

Keeping a puppy from a litter is a bit weird. Sometimes I know before they’re born that I’m keeping one – Luna, Aura and Ounce. Both Luna and Aura were one of five chocolate and white girls, so I had to choose one, which took a little while. Ounce was mine immediately. My purple puppy.

Dentbros dogs
Dentbros Dogs – June 2021

Busy was not meant to stay, but she just decided to. Thank goodness. What a dog she turned out to be. This time, I had not meant to keep a puppy, but circumstances changed, meaning Quin had to stay.

What’s in a name?

I have strict criteria when choosing a name for my dogs. The 8 dogs I have had have been called: Rue, Buzz, Sunny, Luna, Aura, Busy, Ounce and Quin. When we got to Aura, we realised they all had ‘u’ as the second letter of their name. We also realised that the three I had at the time – Sunny, Luna and Aura – all sounded different. So that became the game.

border collie puppies

Quin. Sounds different. Has a ‘u’ as the second letter. He’s also the 5th puppy I have bred and kept at home. Quintus – five.

Quin is also a ‘quintessential’ Border Collie, even though he is chocolate/red and white, rather than black and white. ‘Quince’ might be a fun nickname, alongside Ounce? I reckon he’ll mostly be called ‘Buoy’ (it has a ‘u’ as the second letter :p)

The legacy lives on

It’s rather poignant that today is my first day with just him, as it is Sunny’s 15th birthday. I can’t believe it’s over 3 months since she went, so suddenly. Missing her today, but very proud of what she left behind. My Midsummer Sunshine.

border collie puppies

Next year I hope to breed a girl to go with my boy (not a sibling!) It’s exciting to be looking ahead at my journey as a breeder.

Meanwhile, I now have a puppy to train! I’ll be writing about ‘Quin’s story’ over the coming months.

border collie puppies
The boy


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


Week 8: Mystical Litter


No more nagging or lecturing, just lots of pictures this week. As they get to 8 weeks I spend lots of time printing out paperwork to put into their puppy packs. There is a great deal of information to share!

I finally received confirmation of their Kennel Club registration, so I can introduce you:

Dentbros Moondance** – Arla

Dentbros Spirit in the Sky** – Winter

Dentbros It’s a Kind of Magic** – Grace

Dentbros Starman** – Ziggy

Dentbros Magical Mystery** – Tilos

Dentbros Man on the Moon** – Quin

Dentbros – how to say it

I’ve written in the past about my Breeder Affix – how I chose it and what it means. Just a reminder that’s it’s pronounced ‘bross’ not ‘brose’. Like Moss Bros, or Bros, the group (in the 80’s!)

Why the stars?

Their Kennel Club names are followed by two asterisks, because Busy (Dentbros Busy the Imp***) was transferred onto the KC Breed Register, even though her sire was not pedigree registered. Every subsequent generation has one less asterisk, meaning if Ounce has grandchildren, they will have no asterisks. Hurray.


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Week 7: Mystical Litter

Health testing fun and games

Honestly, health testing is the bane of my life as a dog breeder. It is my absolute desire to have the healthiest, happiest dogs possible. But that comes at a cost! I monitor the ongoing health of all the puppies I have bred and am proud of their health and temperament, on the whole. As I’ve already boasted, quite a few of the pups have gone on to become therapy dogs, supported by amazing charities like Canine Concern.

border collie puppies

My first litter are now 11 years old, with one of these dying aged 8, from cancer. Luna is diabetic, but this has been well-managed (by me :p). In an ideal world, I would like ALL my dogs to live well into their teens, with very few illnesses and health issues.

Sadly, not everything can be prevented through responsible breeding and health testing. I have had one epileptic puppy, who was put to sleep at under two years of age. Despite a great deal of research, no test is available for this horrible condition, so we breeders can only check our lines and try to steer clear of it.

border collie puppies

Required tests

The Kennel Club require certain health tests to be carried out as a minimum, before a litter can be registered as pedigree dogs. We are extremely fortunate that more and more DNA tests are becoming available, which can test for conditions likely to affect certain breeds.

border collie puppies

The current requirement is for all parents of puppies to have the following tests:

  • hip score – an x-ray is carried out and analysed by a panel of veterinarians to determine the health of a dog’s hips and the likelihood of that dog developing hips dysplasia, or passing it on. The lower the score, the healthier the dog. The aim is for scores to go down with each generation.
  • eye test for CEA – an annual eye test is required to check the ongoing health of the eyes and identify any possible eye disease that may be hereditary.
  • eye test for glaucoma – a gonioscopy test is required to check for the possibility of developing glaucoma, A DNA test is now available for this, which both parents of this litter have had.

In addition to these tests for the parents, it is recommended that puppies are given an eye examination and a hearing test at the age of 6 weeks.

border collie puppies

Specialist vets

Luckily for me, the wonderful Davies Veterinary Specialists are not far away and able to carry out these tests for my puppies. So on Tuesday I put the pups in the van and headed there. We arrived in good time and a team of staff arrived to take the pups away. Before the pandemic I was able to hold them during the examinations, but of course this is not currently possible.

border collie puppies

I therefore had to wait for two hours in the car park while the tests were carried out. It was torture, being away from them for so long, although of course they were receiving exemplary care and plenty of cuddles. And of course their eyes and hearing were all fine!

border collie puppies

I took Busy with me and met up with Gunna, the sire of the litter, who needed his annual check-up at the same time. Busy wasn’t very pleased to see him!

Why bother?

It is an awful lot of time and effort, not to mention the cost! So is it worth it? Well I’m really not certain about that. I hope it does give the new owners peace of mind. In addition to the minimum requirements, both Busy and Gunna have been DNA tested for other conditions, including MDR1, which relates to drug resistance. Dogs who carry this gene can develop reactions to drugs, including those found in common worming treatments.

border collie puppies

The challenge is with all the bureaucracy involved! If the Kennel Club were able to cope with the volume of registrations they are presented with, and turn these around in good time, breeders like me would be a lot happier!

border collie puppies

If owners knew more about what health tests should be done and why, that would also be better. This is a challenge though, as finding the information on the KC website is hard to do and the requirements keep changing!

KC registered

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that just because a dog is ‘KC registered’ does NOT mean it is a pedigree, or that it is health tested, or responsibly bred. Any old mongrel can get a KC registration certificate, for the ACTIVITY REGISTER. It’s just a piece of paper, but it fools some people.

What do you think? Please let me know?


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


Week 6: Mystical Litter

First Outings

I know that responsible owners worry about taking their puppy home. How will they transport them? What is the best way to secure them in the car (a legal requirement)? I recommend having a crate in your car, if you can. It is a good safe space and you can have some vet bed down to make sure puppy is warm and comfortable, with no worries if they are sick or toilet. People like to buy a puppy from someone near to them, but these days that is rarely achievable.

border collie puppies

I am fortunate now that I have a van to transport my dogs; highly recommended if you have more than a couple of dogs. The van is fitted with custom-made cages, which means I have plenty of secure, dog-friendly space to transport the puppies. Which is just as well, as they have a few journeys to make before they go off to their new homes!

School visit

border collie puppies

The first trip the puppies made was to visit Heronsgate Junior School. I have been visiting this school for nearly six years (pandemic notwithstanding), volunteering with the charity Canine Concern. I take Busy and Luna in for a few hours each week to work with the children. Dogs need to be calm and gentle for this work – they need to enjoy having a fuss from children and not lick, or be too excited and jumpy (like Ounce!)

border collie puppies

Children spending time around dogs has enormous benefits for them (both children and dogs!) It can give the children more confidence, boost self-esteem and improve learning behaviour such as asking questions, improving focus and listening skills. The children also learn about the dogs and how to behave well around them.

border collie puppies

Since Busy has been going into school, we obviously talk to the children about the puppies and they learn all about how they grow and develop. So it is really lovely that the school are happy for me to take the pups in to show the children and staff.

Bundles of fun

It’s a bit hectic, having six puppies running around! But everyone loves it and I feel it is really good for the pups to have so much exposure to children. Many dogs are understandably scared of children, as they can be intimidating if they grab, or chase, or get into the dog’s faces. It’s really nice to teach the children how to be around young dogs and to help them understand the needs of a dog. We make lots of people very happy!

border collie puppies


The other trip the puppies made this week was to the vet’s, to have their microchips inserted. This is also a legal requirement.

“All dog breeders are responsible for ensuring puppies are microchipped before selling them. Puppies cannot be sold until they are eight-weeks-old and must be microchipped at the point of sale. If you’re buying a puppy make sure it’s microchipped before taking them home.”

border collie puppies

Unbelievably, people are often unaware of this law, which came into effect in April 2016. Sadly, puppies bought from puppy farmers are often not microchipped, because this costs time and money that commercial breeders cannot be bothered to spend.

border collie puppies

Of course the law should be enforced, with vets telling owners that their puppy is required to be chipped and reporting breeders who have not done so. This requires time and commitment from veterinary practices, which they may not have. Vets are poorly regarded already, so why should they be the villains, telling owners of their cute, fluffy puppies that they have been bought from unscrupulous breeders?

Owners need to take responsibility for buying their puppies from good breeders. It’s not that hard to do. Please do your research before buying a puppy?

border collie puppies

Lots more cuddles

I’m a terrible nag aren’t I? Being a responsible breeder is a burden, but fortunately for me I get to cuddle my cute, fluffy puppies for weeks on end. Not such a tough life!

border collie puppies

At the end of the sixth week nearly all the owners visited together and we had a very happy time playing and chatting. It was magical for me.


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


Week 5: Mystical Litter

Fitting into family life

Just before they were four weeks old, the Mystical litter moved into the kitchen, so that they are able to get out of the run and start to explore the house, but in a safe (puppy-proof!) environment. It’s been lovely watching them in the run while we watch TV, but there is more space in our kitchen. They still have access to the outside run, which is also a bit bigger.

border collie puppies
Quick hide in the safe space

The puppies now start to be exposed to ‘normal household sounds’. This includes the vacuum cleaner obviously, but also all the other noises, such as the washing machine, dishwasher and the incredibly scary sound of the pepper mill! They all ran and hid when Chris was seasoning the potatoes!

A cosy crate

I have put a crate up in the run, mainly so that Busy can safely and easily jump in and out of the run when the gate is closed. She needs to access the run to feed the pups whenever she chooses, but she also needs to be able to escape! Otherwise they just feed and feed and feed and…

border collie puppies
Helping out in the garden

Interestingly, when the crate is there, the puppies choose to sleep inside it, often piled up in a heap. Even more interestingly, they don’t toilet inside the crate – ever! They wee everywhere else in the run, including on the vet bed out there, but in the crate the vetbed stays clean and dry.

border collie puppies
snoozing away

Lots of people think crates are cages and frown on their use. I see it as a cosy, safe space. You wouldn’t lie a baby in the middle of the floor to sleep would you? Puppies and dogs like a nice hole to sleep in, if they can get one. Busy loves sleeping under a table in a corner of the kitchen. Read more thoughts on crates/cages here.

Crying for attention

Around this age, puppies start to be aware of company and how to attract attention. My husband and I call this attractive trait ‘seagulling’ because they sound just like seagulls! It’s a horrible, screeching noise, which can be hard to deal with (especially at 5am).

border collie puppies
sleeping anywhere

Despite being ‘home-bred’ puppies, my dogs are not given my undivided attention – that would be ridiculous! I am fortunate that I have worked from home for the last 25 years, so I am around most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not busy. This week has been particularly full.

border collie puppies
Lots of cuddles

I cuddle my puppies every day, making sure they are handled, cuddled, kissed and generally loved. Equally, I leave them to sleep and grow. As they get older, the balance shifts and they gradually spend more time around us. But at this age, they still need to sleep plenty of time. The seagulling can be when they are getting tired, but don’t want to go back to sleep – just like babies!

border collie puppies
happy days

Your other dogs

If you have another dog, as all the owners of this litter do, you need to think about how you are going to manage the puppy alongside your older dog. It is difficult to judge when is the best time to get a second dog and there is no right answer. I do know that the older dogs are unlikely to be thrilled when the puppy arrives!

border collie puppies
One happy dad

Whatever happens, you need to make time for your older dog and ensure that they still get individual attention. I always train my puppy separately from the other dogs until they are at least 5 months old. It’s better for both dogs if you do this.


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Week 4: Mystical Litter

Homing heartaches

I’ve thought long and hard about whether to write about this, but I do try to give an honest account on this website and am often praised for the way I write, so here goes…

border collie puppies
Busy being brilliant

Homing puppies is the hardest part of breeding, by a mile! I’ve already said that this time I have been fortunate to have had people come back to me for a second time. That’s great, but even so, they still have to be checked as being a suitable home.

What can go wrong

First of all, when the litter arrived, I didn’t have the right number of boys and girls. So someone had to go elsewhere and I had to get in touch with people on my waiting list.

Then when I properly looked at the people I did have, one was not suitable, because she was a childminder, with a house full of various children (not used to dogs!)

border collie puppies

Next, I had agreed to let someone have a puppy, who had a dog from Sunny’s second litter. A lot can happen in 9 years! Unfortunately, when they came to visit, I could see that the children were too young and did not know about dogs (they lost their last one over a year ago). I felt that the adults did not have enough time to train and manage the dog alongside the children and a busy working life.

border collie puppies

Finally, to make life more complicated, I discovered that my beautiful, longed-for stud dog was no longer going to be able to go to stud. A series of unfortunate events and circumstances had conspired to make this no longer possible. He was jointly owned with someone else and lived nearby, but I realised he could no longer be half-owned by me. I was going to have to keep a boy myself!

Nothing is guaranteed

One of the disappointed people asked if I could commit to giving her what she wanted from the next litter. I couldn’t do that, because nothing is guaranteed. So many things can go wrong! This is what I say to potential owners:

  • Bitch may not be pregnant (has happened a few times to me)
  • They may not survive (has happened – litter 8)
  • She may only have a few puppies (sometimes there is only one or two)
  • She may have all one sex (I have had this)
  • She may not have a colour you would like (most people are not that fussy)
  • You may not like the puppies (unlikely, but it does happen)
  • I may decide you are not the best home for a puppy, or for the one you prefer (see above)
border collie puppies

It’s a tough old game and not for the faint-hearted. I’ve had one pup come back to me at 13 months for being snappy with children. He’s now been assessed as a therapy dog, as he is in the right home. Such a lovely dog! So it’s made me even more circumspect about which puppy goes to which home. I have had pups from most of my litters go to:

  • first time dog owners
  • people with children of all ages, including a toddler
  • people who work full time
  • people with other dogs
  • people with cats

So I am not unreasonable, or particularly difficult to please. But if I think there might be a danger of a dog biting someone, I am not going to send that dog to that home. I’d be pretty irresponsible if I did, wouldn’t I?

Happy endings

Happily for me, I get plenty of absolutely lovely people wanting a puppy. People who have done their research, looked into what they want and ask all the right questions. Those people will be delighted with their puppy and welcome it into their family. That’s such a joy to me. They understand how to contact a breeder and that it might be necessary to wait for the right litter.

border collie puppies
so pleased to meet you, mum

Puppies growing away

Despite all my angst, the puppies continued to be an absolute joy. I made their run bigger this week, but we carried on enjoying watching them alongside the TV in the evenings.

border collie puppies

They can hear now and are getting much more active. I would love them to be outside but it’s still been mainly cold and wet.


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Week 3: Mystical Litter

Eyes open, looking around

After just two weeks, puppies open their eyes! It’s lovely to see them and meet them properly for the first time. This time, I wanted to have a go at taking pictures of them individually, which I was able to do, as I have been working on my photography skills!

border collie puppies
Arla, just peeping

It’s always interesting to see my puppies with their eyes open, as I have had quite a few with heterochromia iridum, where the irises are a different colour. This has been most notable for me in Busy, but she has two older brothers and a son with the same condition. These puppies all have matching eyes, although the blue and white girls look green and the chocolates will probably be amber in colour.

border collie puppies
I can see you

Up on their feet

Two week old puppies are already starting to stand up, but they are still very wobbly. Initially, they get around by commando crawling on their bellies, although you would be surprised how far they can travel using this method!

border collie puppies
Meeting her big sister

They start to move around more at this age, but are pretty unsteady and often roll over. The puppies navigate mainly by smell, but a couple of days after their eyes open they start to see where they are going. Then they can meet big sister Ounce!

border collie puppies
They still fit

Trying out real food

Once they can see and are up on their feet, I start to think about giving them so food. This time I waited until just before they were three weeks old, because I knew Busy was doing a great job feeding them herself.

border collie puppies
There’s food under there

They eat really well from day one, but they don’t really need it. Once I’ve started to introduce kibble, soaked in puppy milk, I try to give them some food several times per day. It becomes a bit of a game of tag with Busy, as we both feed them puppies at frequent intervals.

border collie puppies
It’s delicious

Of course I still continue to feed her numerous big meals throughout the day, so I start to feel a bit of a feeding machine.

border collie puppies
I can see my face now

More cuddles

We continue to have some visitors. People often wait until they are older, when they are running around and doing a bit more. I like it when people visit at this age, as I can sit and chat, rather than running around mopping up wees, changing the newspaper and making up feeds!

border collie puppies
pink paws


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