We made sure she had four meals a day to help keep her in condition and now the puppies have gone we are trying to get her losing weight and back ready for working. She is still like a little barrel because she is overweight and is not losing weight – what should we do?

Mark Whitehouse says: I over-fed my bitch when she had a litter of puppies to make sure she didn’t lose any condition. My belief is that if she was having the best then so were the puppies. As the puppies got bigger (around four weeks of age) I started them on a good quality puppy food and began to reduce the mother’s food by a third, eventually getting her back to two small meals a day. I found she started losing weight gradually and kept in good condition. To increase her fitness levels and get her losing weight, as with all pre-season training, all my dogs went hunting twice a week as a pack and also ran behind my mountain bike twice a week. This may sound very intense, but she soon stated losing weight and her fitness level increased rapidly.

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