Snowy Owl’s Breeding Program:
We manage our kennel in a responsible, humane, safe and sustainable manner with consideration given to the number of huskies we have. We never take on more dogs than we can adequately and expertly care for. Our breeding program is very strict and ensures we are breeding only what we need. We try to breed our females in the springtime which allows them to have their puppies in the summer when it’s warm and relatively quiet around the kennel. This also allows the puppies enough growing time before adjusting to their first winter. Once a female has been bred we will give her a bath and “spa session” after which she is housed in one of our executive’s homes until her puppies are born. This new husky family stays in that home until the pups are 2-3 weeks old. At this age the puppy’s eyes are open and they have developed an abundance of stored “puppy fat”. They will then be ready to be transferred out to the kennel in a quarantined pen with their mom. The pen and house are filled with fresh, clean Spruce, Pine and Cedar shavings daily and clean tarps are set up above the pen and on the sides for the mom’s privacy.
Once the puppies open their eyes at 2 weeks old we begin talking to them softly so they can start putting a face to the voices! We begin holding the little squirts and getting them use to human interaction so that they understand that we are their family. Once they start feeling more confident and begin to walk and play with each other we will introduce toys, allowing the puppies to develop normal social and playful behavior. Once our new additions are 6 weeks old and receive their first set of vaccinations we can then begin their social development outside of the kennel. These free runs walks with our older, retired sled dogs help the youngsters build muscle, confidence and healthy social behavior as well as an under standing of the sounds and smells that are all a part of the great outdoors! Our puppies begin a training program of recreation and positive fun in a sled dog team at the minimum age of 6 months old. Training in this way, ensures they learn a sense of excitement about their future job throughout the entire winter season relative to their very young, restrictive abilities.
At Snowy Owl, we try to breed a first litter from a female at three years old. We allow our females to have up to 2 litters in their life time with one year to two year intervals in between each pregnancy. Once the brood females have accomplished these goals, we spay them to ensure their future health and security. Intact healthy female dogs can contract an infection called Piamerta. This infection within the uterus can be a fatal. It is known to occur in both older females and females who have had puppies however, it can also develop in young females. This is also why we spay females we do not intend to breed. When we have chosen the female and male we wish to breed, we de-worm them prior to the first breeding. All our huskies are de-wormed up to 3 times per year however, to ensure our puppies do not contract any parasites, we do an extra de-worming for each parent. We usually allow the female and male to breed once a day for up to 4 days during the female’s prime heat cycle.
Unfortunately, in some kennels accidental breeding is very common and increases the population unwillingly. Often times, kennel workers are unaware that one of their females is expecting and sadly, she will not receive the proper care she needs and deserves. Generally in these situations, the female is made to give birth to her puppies with no support, whelping house, clean bedding and even worse – while she is still tethered. Something as simple as keeping the males separate from the females in the kennel or a method such as placing a certain color collar on a female in heat while she is on the trail can eliminate accidents – yet some mushers continue to be irresponsible. In the rare but extremely unethical kennels culling is a method of “population control”.
Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours has a no cull policy! In addition, we do not to sell our huskies as a method of creating revenue or to lower kennel numbers. We keep the puppies we breed because they are a valuable part of our family! Each pup is given the opportunity to run and pull however, if we recognize that a puppy simply doesn’t want to be a sled dog, as much as we hate to part with them – we put them up for adoption just as we do our retired huskies. Thusly they can continue their lives as very rambunctious house pets! We believe in the concept of taking only from our dogs what we are prepared to give back. We work to establish a mutually dependent relationship, based entirely on love and respect.