If there is one thing that every dog breeder on this planet could agree on at this very moment, it’s that people underestimate the work. They assume that owning 10 dogs is like owning 1 dog times 10. No, it's an entire machine that requires around-the-clock operation.
One of the most common questions we get is: what’s the best part about breeding?
Honestly? It’s the puppies.
It’s awesome. They’re adorable, cuddly, squishy balls of pure joy and fun; what kind of psychopath wouldn’t enjoy that all day? We get to play with them, watch their personalities develop, and send them off to their forever homes. It’s gratifying, fulfilling, and extremely damn cute.
The obvious follow-up question is: what is the worst part about breeding?
It’s the puppies.
It’s messy, rarely a pretty sight once the birthing starts, and it’s so damn loud. How does a small litter of seven tiny dogs make so much noise? It’s insane. And it’s at all hours. If you think a bump in the night is enough to get your heart racing, imagine how we feel when we hear cries at 2AM.
This made us want to take a hard, careful look at how we got all the cleaning done because it's a lot of mess. Like, a lot, a lot. People do not realize how gross a puppy is until you're looking after six of them at a time. The constant desire for cleanliness became a difficult battle. It’s important for them, the mother, but also us because we live here too!
If you follow us on our socials, you’ve probably seen that we found a new formula for potty training pups. And it yields incredible results. The kennels are cleaner, the maintenance is less work, and we feel like we’re keeping the pups in better care.
Let’s start with the terms we need to use: Litter-Pan Training. The Retriever Nation has a full explanation here.
What you need: a couple of trays, disposable potty pads, and a scooper.
Also dogs. Don’t forget the dogs or you’ll feel a little silly.
The logic is pretty easy to follow. At this point, the mother has trained the puppies to interact and socialize. Now is the time where we step in and keep them healthy for their new home. This phase didn’t always include potty training the pups. But once it was clear that it would make our lives easier, potty training became an obvious no-brainer. And it’s a huge benefit because this means the pups are heading out prepared for potty training.
Crates make it easier because the puppies are less likely to go where they sleep. Lay potty pads outside so the pups get used to using them. Begin placing the pads further away in trays, whether that be with pellets or grass. We personally preferred grass. The puppies are smart, they will connect the dots. Place them in the trays often, especially after feedings. They’ll begin to smell their scents in the tray and realize “hey, I’ve been here before” and thus you create a loop. You wanna keep the scent contained to the trays.
And the more you train one dog to use the bathroom this way, the more they’ll all recognize this method. As The Retriever Nation notes: Never underestimate the power of suggestion.
Most of all, it’s all about repetition, both with the puppies and with us. Dogs like consistency. Dogs like routines. Even as puppies, they'll begin to understand where to go and when.
Check out our videos for some examples of how to get the setup started.