If possible, a beginner dog breeder should try to find an experienced mentor. The mentor can give advice about good pairings and help the inexperienced person understand what to expect during the mating, pregnancy and whelping.
A good way to find a mentor is to get involved with a national or regional breed club. People new to dog breeding can find these clubs through the American Kennel Club's website.
People should not breed dogs without a plan. Breeders must have a clear and realistic idea of what kind of puppies they want to produce. This also helps determine which dogs to pair together. All dogs have flaws, so good breeders choose pairings that complement each other.
Breeders need to start getting appropriate veterinary care well before the actual mating. Both parents should be tested for hereditary problems, such as hip dysplasia. It is also a good idea to test them both for brucellosis, an infection that can cause sterility. The female needs a thorough examination to ensure she is healthy and capable of safely carrying puppies.
Breeders need to spend time preparing for whelping well in advance. The pregnant female needs a whelping box, which is a safe, enclosed area for her to give birth and keep her puppies until they are old enough to safely move around. The breeder should also have all necessary medical supplies ready and work out a plan with the veterinarian for emergency care.