Pick a puppy or two...

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby dogged » September 5th, 2007, 11:23 am

I asked this question before on another forum and got some interesting answers. Well, because I have some extra time today and idle hands are the devil's workshop...I thought I'd ask it here, too!

For you working dog folks involved in various bitesports...what do you look for in a puppy? What do you feel is one of the most important traits to have in a prospect? Why?

On the other side of the coin, I have heard of many puppies that are whiz bang at a young age and fizzle out as they mature. At what age do you think you can properly assess a puppy or young dog's abilities if at all? At what age can a trainer/breeder honestly say a pup isn't going to work out for whatever reason (not enough drive/temperament/whatever)?

I'm afraid I don't have much experience picking good 'uns, which is why the topic interests me. It's very complex and, IMO, there's no 100% sure fire way to go about it. Tate's breeder picked him out for me...thank God because I would've picked his brother and his brother is a little a*hole! lol I wouldn't never thought to pick Tate myself because he was a big, fat and CALM lump boy. He has matured into a very nice animal. :|
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 11:51 am

ooh, i'll be interested to hear answers on this one.
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Postby katiek0417 » September 5th, 2007, 11:55 am

I have to run and teach a class...but I'll chime in on this later...
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Postby katiek0417 » September 5th, 2007, 8:28 pm

I am speaking from my experience with mals, so this may or may not apply to other breeds...

But, what I've noticed is that there are the cases where picking a puppy is a crapshoot...but overall, in mals, what you see is what you get.

What I mean by that is that when you pick a puppy, most of what you see will remain static.

However, there are exceptions to the rule. Take Kaiden for example. He had SOME drive as a puppy, but was also content to hang out on the couch...as he got older, he kinda got goofy. He didn't really want to do the bitework. EVERYONE told me to sell him....Greg told me to give him a chance. Well, around 8 or 9 months of age, Kaiden exploded. He wanted to bite...was still calm and goofy, but loved to bite, and because he was so big, he progressed in his bitework rather quickly. He is only a little over year old, and Greg has him comfortably on a shoulder sleeve, and having gunfire (38 full loads) over his head...I end up half deaf, but he couldn't care....

Take his litter mate (who was originally supposed to be mine). This puppy was always insane. Always at the front to get the rag, etc. Well, he was also rather nippy. We currently have him here for training, and he's a beast...so much drive that he doesn't know what to do with himself!!!

At 4 weeks of age, Nisha was a beast, and she stayed that way!!!

A lot also depends on how you raise the puppy. I have some general rules of puppyhood for working dogs: lots of crate time, no toys in the crate, play time is limited, no playing with older dogs that might hurt him/her, no corrections, and no obedience....

I've seen several dogs go to $hit because some of these things were introduced.
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Nisha CGC, PDC, PSA TC, PSA 1 - Crazy Malinois
Drusilla SLUT- Pet
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Postby DemoDick » September 8th, 2007, 3:10 am

If I were going to pick out a working prospect tomorrow I would look for high prey drive (higher the better), low bite inhibition (wants to put his mouth on various stuff), sociability with people (aloof is okay but no screwball fear-based behaviors) and inquisitiveness/interaction when placed in a foreign environment. Most importantly I want to see that the dog has the ability to recover from a stressful event. I don't care if the dog gets a little freaked out by a loud noise or something unexpected but I want to see him recover, compose himself and hopefully explore the source of the problem for himself. I place this highest because you can't fake self-confidence at 10 weeks of age.

If I were to get a dog from a breeder I want to see the (healthy) parents working and know that the breeder is involved in training, trialing and titling in the sport I'm looking to do with the dog.

Forgot one last thing. Dog needs to be an APBT. :)

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Postby DemoDick » September 8th, 2007, 5:12 am

Thought of a couple more things after cleaning the kitchen at 0430 hrs...

Food drive is a big plus as is a dog quick to counter (bite deeper into a prey object when given a chance). I also like a little cockiness and attitude, especially in a very young puppy. All good signs.

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Postby Malli » September 8th, 2007, 7:23 am

Reading this makes me a little sad I never got into protection sports with Oscar...
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 8th, 2007, 10:00 am

you probably still could, unless he's old and arthritic or something, i didn't start tre till he was 2, and that's pretty late in the bitesport training world
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Postby Malli » September 8th, 2007, 10:41 am

we just found out he has mild arthritis and hip dysplasia a few months ago :(
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 11th, 2007, 4:46 pm

so sorry- that's sad. i didn't think hip dysplasia was a big problem in pits, is that true? (as in it's not that common)
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Postby Malli » September 12th, 2007, 5:47 am

I don't think its a HUGE one, no. But it does happen. Basically, the larger the dog, the better your chances are of them having it; Oscar is 75 lbs, so he is a big(not fat, just big) Pit...
In fact, looking back, I can see a few little clues that I could have picked up on, I think that his hips have been bothering him to some degree for most of his life. The arthritis and even more so the tendonitis ( in his biceps, because of him altering his gait in his elbows and shoulders) are much more bothersome to him then the HD, I think. I would probably still consider working him in bitesports if he only had the HD (the actual severity of it doesn't dictate the pain, dogs with severe HD may barely show it, and dogs with minor HD may be unable to walk, it depends on the individual).
Oscar is just such a little medical nightmare, sigh...
I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day, tomorrow doesn't look good either.
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