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Typically 9-14 days after the heat cycle has begun, you will notice a change in the color of the discharge from bright red to a less noticeable pink to yellow color. Typically when this color change occurs the female is willing to stand for a male and allow breeding to occur. If you have a male in your midst, particularly if this male is experienced, he will be more interested in the female during this time. Some females will allow breeding to begin as early as 7 days after a cycle begins. So, you need to wait roughly 3-5 days more before she will BEGIN to allow a male to breed her. For the best chance at puppies, allow the male and female the most time together when she becomes receptive until she is no longer interested in breeding or becomes aggressive toward the male's advances.
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We typically recommend at least 3 years, yes.