Before Midge had her puppies, I posted on a couple of lists asking about exercising a pregnant bitch. I was told by almost everyone on the list and anyone else I asked that they essentially put their bitches up about two weeks prior to delivery.
I didn’t think Midge would be happy with that arrangement. So I continued to let her work (herding). I kept her training sessions very short and made certain she wasn’t going to be in a position to be knocked around by the stock. As she got closer to her delivery, she slowed down on her own. The training sessions became nothing more than a few short outruns. Midge seemed happy with that.
The night before she delivered her puppies I just took Gel and Midge for a walk. I had a ball so I was throwing it for Gel. Both dogs ran hard that night. The next morning, Midge delivered five puppies within 45 minutes; she delivered a total of nine puppies within two and a half hours. Not once did she seem tired during the delivery. She did everything herself: she was a one-dog-puppy-producing-machine. I have never witnessed such an easy delivery. I have to attribute this to her condition. She didn’t sit around prior to her delivery getting flabby and out of shape.
I spoke to a conventional Border Collie breeder and when I told her about the puppies, she said that she wished her bitches would have that many puppies; then commented that Midge must not be in as good shape as her bitches as she wouldn’t have had so many puppies and that I’d have to wean the puppies early on oatmeal since she had so many. Right.
Now that she has her puppies, I haven’t changed how much exercise she gets. Granted, we’ve all been taking it easy due to the heat, but Midge still gets a good amount of exercise on a daily basis and I am still doing some herding training with her. I was told not to let her exercise while nursing because it would “sour” her milk. That doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. How could mammals have survived as a species if their milk would sour if they did any exercise? A wolf or coyote bitch certainly isn’t confined to her den until her puppies are weaned. She has to go out and hunt otherwise she’d starve. I am not pushing the matter or asking for a lot from her, but if Midge wants to go out and run around with Gel or lightly work sheep, then I’m not going to prevent her from doing it. I recognize that I will have to feed her more to keep her weight on, but that’s fine with me.