Alda - Breeding and Pregnancy 2003 - 'C' Litter with Dylan
2004 - 'N' Litter with Skipper
2005 - 'L' Litter with Russo
2006 - 'M' Litter with Neo

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Season or Heat




Females are required to be boarded in GDB kennels when they are in season, usually for 3 weeks. "When she is in season the vulva will be enlarged and blood stained fluid is passed. She may go off her food a few days, urinate more frequently when out on her walks and may be down and miserable when she is about to come into season." (from

The Breeding Department will determine an appropriate mate for the female based on temperament and family history. Females are generally bred once a year. Usually a different mate is chosen each time. "With a blood test, ovulation timing can be predicted to ensure a successful breeding. The actual breeding takes place during the female's initial rise in progesterone." (From

After Season has completed (the female was bred during this time), she returns to the Breeder Keeper family. During this time, she could act clingy, loose her appetite, and have some discharge. After four weeks she will receive an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. Also at that time her food will change and increase. In her 8th week of pregnancy she returns to GDB to prepare for her whelp. The gestation period for dogs is 63 days (9 weeks).


Birth or Whelp

Puppy care

Preparing for the Puppy Raisers


To prepare for whelping, they are put in stalls that contain plastic wading pools lined with newspapers. When labor begins, the females start to "nest"—tearing the newspapers into small pieces and settling into the pools. During birth, the Kennel staff is present to monitor the labor and delivery and assists when needed. This assistance may involve assessing fetal heart rates, qualifying uterine contractions, resuscitating newborn puppies, clamping bleeding umbilical cords, and feeding females tired from a long whelp. (From Guide Dogs for the Blind)

The newborn puppies are weighed daily for the first five days of their lives to ensure they are gaining weight properly. The puppies spend their first three weeks in the wading pool with their mother and littermates to nurse. At 3 weeks of age, they are put on the floor on shredded newspaper. At this time they start eating solid food and are slowly weaned. Each puppy is identified after birth by a shaved area on the shoulder and/or hip; this shaved area is used for identification until the pups are moved to the puppy kennel. They eventually receive permanent identification tattoos in both ears. (From Guide Dogs for the Blind)

Between 6 and 8 weeks of age the puppies are in the puppy kennel, where they share stalls with their littermates and continue being fed three times daily. The puppy kennel is the place where the puppies first experience the outside world. They are socialized and walked on campus by dedicated volunteers where they are exposed to strange noises, new smells and situations, and learn to overcome their initial fear of surprises. When the puppies are about 8 weeks old, they are ready to be placed with their raiser families. (From Guide Dogs for the Blind)

  Website links
- Guide Dogs for the Blind Breeding Program
- Contra Costa East Guide Dog Raisers
  website updated on May 8, 2006  
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