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Mark Billadeau

Pet Homes vs. Working Homes

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(Too far off topic to answer, but so then what -would you rather someone with minimal knowledge of the lines between working and sport breedings go to a sport breeding, or would you mind giving this type of person a puppy, if they are a loving and exemplary home otherwise?) The leftover isn't a non-working/genetic dead end to the sport person -it's the pick puppy they're excited to spend the next 14 years with, so they pick carefully.

 

I have no qualms at all for a leftover to go to a sport home. I just don't agree with breeding an entire litter, from proven working dogs, for sport only homes. The sport home gets a working bred pup and the breeder has no left overs, hopefully the ones that went to working homes will prove out as to whether or not the cross was good and make a contribution to the gene pool.

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All this talk of left over pups is a bit of a mystery to me.

 

As a person who does agility I like to think that when I am purchasing a pup about the personality of the pup and what might be suited to me and my other dogs. I am certainly not going to take a pup just because it is working bred, I want to have some choice, talk to the breeder and let the breeder know what I am looking for. I can offer an excellent home with plety of mental and physical stimulation and I most certainly keep my pups for life regardless, which is why I like to choose carefully.

 

I also have a small farm (200acres) and am building up a sheep enterprise, so my dogs will get the opportunity to work but this is definitely not the case for many agility enthusiasts. I do tend to take working bred rescues or working dogs that need rehoming because I can, but I also have to like the dog and consider how it will fit in with my other dogs.

 

Certainly an agility person will often be choosy and if they dont find what they like amongst working breds they will go to a sport breeder. Agility homes are often excellent homes with people who understand the care and training that dogs require and most will keep their agility drop outs. If they decide to rehome which is very rare they will try and find the best home possible. This is my experience anyway. Many agility homes are very good homes with experienced dog people who love their dogs.

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All this talk of left over pups is a bit of a mystery to me.
I don't think "left over" is the correct term. There is no way to know at 6-8 weeks if a pup will be an "orange" dog so at that age there are no "left over" pups in terms of potential working dogs (all have the potential). What we should be talking about is how many from a working bred litter are required to be tested to evaluate the cross (not which individual pups from the litter).

 

For example from a litter of 8 a minimum of 6 must go to working homes and be trained up for work in order to evaluate the success/failure of the cross. There are no "left over" pups in this litter.

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Journey used the term "leftover" (and I picked it up in replying to her) as shorthand for a pup who goes to a non-working (pet/sport) home from a litter bred for work and mostly placed in working homes. It was not meant to suggest that the pup is inferior in any way. There's no reason at all to think that it is. It was not meant to suggest that the buyer has no choice in picking out the pup. It's just a quick, one-word designation for a pup that doesn't end up in a working home from a litter that was designed to produce pups for working homes, and who mostly go to working homes.

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What we should be talking about is how many from a working bred litter are required to be tested to evaluate the cross

 

My appoligies, I think I misunderstood your original question.

 

IMO, based on previous expirence, the first cross I would like to see 100% of the pups go to working situations or all held back by the breeder to be trained and tested.

 

Early on we went the route of selling all pups but one for ourselves, we had people coming back wanting more pups so we bred, keeping the pick of litter for ourselves. The majority of the pups from each litter went to pet/sport homes with one or two going to working homes. It was not until we found ourselves with 4 pups from the same litter that we realized that the cross was not producing a high percentage of what we wanted in working dogs. There is a good chance we would have discovered that after the first cross if we had not been so willing to sell the puppies to homes that would not prove them for stock work.

 

This falls into my feeling of wanting to see near 100% of the pups meet the Orange zone or better mark. I also would like to see the pups hit the orange zone without alot of training intervention or encouragement.

 

After you establish a baseline with the first litter it really wouldn't matter if pups from the next all go as pets, imo the cross is proven from a working standpoint.

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The original question was from the non-working buyer's point of view, where they say they support working breeders and the concept of breeding for work but are unhappy when we won't sell to them because we want to prove out our working cross.

 

Now we're looking at the same dilemma from the working breeder's point of view where we tell the non-working buyer to support us and our breeding practices by buying from us when we won't sell to them until we've proven out our working cross.

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The original question was from the non-working buyer's point of view, where they say they support working breeders and the concept of breeding for work but are unhappy when we won't sell to them because we want to prove out our working cross.

 

Now we're looking at the same dilemma from the working breeder's point of view where we tell the non-working buyer to support us and our breeding practices by buying from us when we won't sell to them until we've proven out our working cross.

 

Well from my point of view having once been a non-working buyer, I would be quite happy to just purchase either puppies or slightly older dogs from a breeder who wanted to prove their dogs. But if I went looking for a dog and they were years away from having one available then I would obviously look around for a pup from another breeder who was at the point in their breeding program where they were ready to sell me a pup. If a working breeder did not went to sell dogs to sport homes or put unreasonable requirements on the purchase then again one would look somewhere else

 

What I objected to was the slight feeling from some posts that sport homes were somehow inferior to working homes. From my point of view they are a very good option for a working breeder and would probably help fund the breeding program for breeding great working genetics. It may reduce the need to breed sport collies, especially if a working breeder is known to breed both great working dogs that also happen to make great sport dogs and is happy to establish a good educational relationship with sport clients.

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Just putting in my two cents....I know this might have been discussed to death, and I didn't have the chance to read every other post, but I have dealt with this in the past:

 

When I was on the search for my second Border Collie, I contacted a number of working breeders and was continuously turned down for not having the intention of seriously working my dogs. It is a financial issue for me- if I had the resources to train a stock dog, I would do so.

 

After being turned down enough times, I defaulted to rescue. I wanted a puppy badly. As a pet sitter by trade, I spend plenty of time helping other people raise and train their puppies without ever having a puppy of my own (and yes, I have actually never owned a puppy).

 

Eventually I found a beautiful brown/red and white Border Collie (mix?) that I adopted from a Georgia shelter without ever having met him. We clicked instantly upon his arrival and he has been the best dog I've ever known- but it hasn't been an easy road getting to where we are now, and there is still a long way to go from here. Pilot has a rather unoriginal nickname- "Cujo". He nips at strangers, attacks other dogs when leashed, chases cars and bicycles, and gave me a bad bite to the hand when I got in the way of his lunge on another dog. He is also a fantastic disc dog, reasonably good agility dog (still in training), and cannot herd worth a damn. At least, not sheep. (I'm under the impression that he hasn't "turned on" yet).

 

Between treating him for heartworm when he arrived, spending an excessive amount of money trying to identify his "mystery cough" (still haven't figured it out), and the private training sessions plus group classes to work out his emotional issues, I'm pretty sure I could have paid for a puppy from a working breeder and private stock lessons for the next two years.

 

I haven't decided where my next dog will come from. I would love to have a puppy. I would also love to, just once, have a dog without a metal pin holding her hip together (my female Border Collie, Maizee- hit by a car in her previous home), or the myriad mystery illnesses I have dealt with (the family Xoloitzcuintli, also a rescue, came from a hoarder, went through the first six months living here screaming in pain- we have absolutely no idea what was wrong with him, and all the vets and specialists in the world couldn't tell us).

 

Since I have every intention of fostering rescue dogs for the rest of my life, should it really be that impossible to find a working breeder who will sell me just a single puppy so I can have just one blank slate? There is something to be said for pet people (and sport people) who value a good working dog, but don't have the means to train one.

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Christina, That it exactly why I went from rescues to a breeder. Lots of health and behavioral issues with my rescued lot. Having done rescue for a number of years, I can say that is NOT always the case, but it was the case for me and you obviously. I liked having an "easy button" for a change.

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Eventually I found a beautiful brown/red and white Border Collie (mix?) that I adopted from a Georgia shelter without ever having met him. {snip} I would love to have a puppy. I would also love to, just once, have a dog without a metal pin holding her hip together (my female Border Collie, Maizee- hit by a car in her previous home), or the myriad mystery illnesses I have dealt with (the family Xoloitzcuintli, also a rescue, came from a hoarder, {snip} should it really be that impossible to find a working breeder who will sell me just a single puppy so I can have just one blank slate? There is something to be said for pet people (and sport people) who value a good working dog, but don't have the means to train one.

 

At the risk of being extremely obvious, how about if you want a rescue without health or behavioural issues, maybe just be a little more selective about your next rescue. Ie, don't get the one sight unseen from a shelter, don't get one with a metal pin in its hip etc. I'm just saying, don't set yourself up for problem dogs when you set out to acquire one. Your dogs aren't problems because they're rescues, they're problem dogs who happen to also BE rescues. There is a difference.

 

I have 5 dogs, they are ALL rescues. They are all healthy. One of them has some behavioural issues, but I went into that one with my eyes open, because I already have 4 rescues without any issues at all and didn't mind working with his. 3 of the others were blank slates because they were (rescue) puppies when they were adopted (two were born, in fact, IN rescue) and the other one was a blank slate because he's extremely even tempered but nobody happened to do anything with him.

 

My point here being that you don't need to buy a puppy to get a blank slate puppy without issues. You just need to choose your next rescue more carefully.

 

I'm not answering your question about why a breeder won't sell you a puppy because A. I am not a breeder and B. I think only the breeders who refused you

can actually answer that question (especially since many of the breeders in this discussion have already expressed that they have no problem selling to a good pet home). But as someone who has rescued hundreds and hundreds of border collies, with lots of excellent results, I feel it just bears repeating that there are rescue dogs, and then there are rescue dogs with issues. It's really not that difficult to find a rescue dog that doesn't have issues. It can however be difficult for adopers to not select their dogs based on aesthetics rather than more practical attributes ;-)

 

4977250129_d53c3a5210_z.jpg

 

RDM

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What Mr. Snappy said. It's easy enough to find a rescue dog without issues.

 

Mick was rescued at 5 months old. He's a hard headed ass, but I don't chalk that up to him being a rescue. Just up to who he is. Sinead was a rescue. She got the highest scores possible on her temperment test and while she came with kennel cough that she picked up at NYACC, she other wise has no issues. She's extremely healthy, well-behaved, and came very well-socialized given what must have been a pretty crappy past. The only thing I'm not thrilled about with her is she's DA towards small dogs, but she doesn't go into situations where she's off-leash around small dogs, so it's a moot point.

 

Will my next dog likely be a rescue? Most likely not, but that's only because I'm looking for a dog to train in Schutzhund.

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I feel it just bears repeating that there are rescue dogs, and then there are rescue dogs with issues. It's really not that difficult to find a rescue dog that doesn't have issues. It can however be difficult for adopters to not select their dogs based on aesthetics rather than more practical attributes ;-)

:applause:

I often think that if people (particularly sports people) used as much time/patience looking for a rescue pup/dog as they would for a breeder, waiting for a litter to be bred, etc, they'd be just as successful finding a dog that fits their specifications.

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Your dogs aren't problems because they're rescues, they're problem dogs who happen to also BE rescues. There is a difference.

 

Yes, this. Well, everything else RDM said, too. Only she said it much better than I could!

 

I am not one to talk, because I got 2 of my rescues straight from shelters, they were complete unknowns. The third was supposed to be a foster, but I knew within weeks I wasn't letting him go (best move I ever made) and the 4th was a foster for 3 months before my husband decided he wasn't leaving. So, not the best track record for choosing a rescue dog carefully, but they all turned out fine. Better than fine, in fact. One has issues, but I don't believe for one second it has anything to do with being a rescue. It's just who he is. And one of them might be the Most Perfect Dog Ever. :rolleyes: Just sayin.

 

Now, my next dog, HAS to work stock. HAS to have some talent. Can I find that in rescue? I think I can, but it will mean choosing much more carefully than I have in the past.

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Allow me to clarify: I am absolutely not making any complaint about the dogs I have. Maizee was my first Border Collie, and the first dog my family had owned in several years. She was perfect for what we were looking for- a mellow Border Collie who loved people. I wanted a sport dog, but probably wouldn't have been ready for one at that point anyway. The fact that she has a metal pin in her hip was a non-issue.

 

Pilot was *supposed* to be the last dog in a long string of fosters (an entire litter of puppies and their Border Collie mother later, that isn't exactly what happened). I figured I would be keeping him if he meshed well with my family, and he was actually quite perfect for me. He is everything I wanted. A good agility dog, a great disc dog, and affectionate in the extreme. However, he does have issues- and they were not issues that any shelter would have picked up on. The only way I could have adopted Pilot and known exactly what I was getting into was if I got him from a rescue who held him for six months, because that is exactly how long it took him to show is real personality.

 

I'm just saying, don't set yourself up for problem dogs when you set out to acquire one. Your dogs aren't problems because they're rescues, they're problem dogs who happen to also BE rescues. There is a difference.

 

I agree- if you aren't looking for a problem dog, don't get one. But what formula is there for determining who is and is not a problem dog? Some dogs are fairly obvious, and others aren't clear at all. Pilot had heartworm when I got him- two months after treatment, when he was deemed perfectly healthy and would have been adopted out by a rescue, he never displayed any aggression. I was floored when he first lunged at a dog- and the dog he decided to go after wasn't doing anything special. There was no threatening display, no barking from either party, the situation wasn't fantastically stressful for either dog, etc. However, since that day, he will go after any dog that approaches him on a leash. Fairly common, but potentially dangerous- especially when he started lunging at people too!

 

My point here being that you don't need to buy a puppy to get a blank slate puppy without issues.

 

I understand your point, and I respect your point. I will have many, many, many more rescue dogs. My point, however, is that it would be nice to have just a single blank slate. What if I wanted to seriously compete in agility, adopted a dog, put thousands of dollars worth of classes, training, equipment, and registration fees into him, and later found out that the dog would be dysplastic by the age of five? Even hip scans from the parents wouldn't have guaranteed the puppies would have healthy hips- but it would have made the odds a whole lot better! The litter I most recently adopted out in 2008 went about 50/50 to performance and pet homes (out of a litter of seven). One year later, three had their hips x-rayed and were diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia. There is a risk to adopting a puppy. I saw nothing to suggest that they would have hip issues when I fostered them.

 

Which, of course, is the problem with this:

 

I often think that if people (particularly sports people) used as much time/patience looking for a rescue pup/dog as they would for a breeder, waiting for a litter to be bred, etc, they'd be just as successful finding a dog that fits their specifications.

 

You can spend all the time in the world finding that perfect sports dogs- but there will always be a risk for genetic issues and rescues who mostly did not come from decent breeders probably also didn't come from decently bred parents.

 

With that being said, I will always put rescue before buying from a breeder. But there might be a day when I do want a puppy from a quality working breeder who has done all of the socialization, the health tests, and the proving of the parents and there shouldn't be anything wrong with that!

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With that being said, I will always put rescue before buying from a breeder. But there might be a day when I do want a puppy from a quality working breeder who has done all of the socialization, the health tests, and the proving of the parents and there shouldn't be anything wrong with that!

 

There isn't anything wrong with that. I mean, I've been accused of being a rescue snob, but I don't think there is anything wrong with getting a puppy from a reputable breeder who is breeding for the right reasons. I'm not sure I ever would, but I don't think it's wrong if you want to, and I hope you will find a working breeder willing to sell to you.

 

My comments earlier were simply in response to the thought that to get a "blank slate", one might have to get a breeder puppy. Because we both know that's simply not true, and for those that don't know it (like lurkers), it bears pointing out.

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There is no such thing as a blank slate when you consider the starting point is always the genetics plus the life experiences prior to weaning.

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I am lost when it comes to this angst that is between working/sporting sides?

 

Sporting folks tend to look for the healthiest dogs, which are always going to come from the working stock seeing as the breed for health n job. Would the working stock side prefer it if the sporting side purchased pups from the conformation side? Wouldn’t this go against what you all are trying to achieve? Is there no real middle ground?

 

I’m just really perplexed by some recent threads here. Seems to be a lot of animosity stirring between the two groups and I’m not sure where it’s coming from considering everyone here is supposed to be on the same side. =(

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There is no such thing as a blank slate when you consider the starting point is always the genetics plus the life experiences prior to weaning.

 

 

So true.

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I am lost when it comes to this angst that is between working/sporting sides?

 

Sporting folks tend to look for the healthiest dogs, which are always going to come from the working stock seeing as the breed for health n job. Would the working stock side prefer it if the sporting side purchased pups from the conformation side? Wouldn’t this go against what you all are trying to achieve? Is there no real middle ground?

 

I’m just really perplexed by some recent threads here. Seems to be a lot of animosity stirring between the two groups and I’m not sure where it’s coming from considering everyone here is supposed to be on the same side. =(

 

I kinda think the angst comes from the sporting side putting working ability as a whole down the list and not really understanding the full picture breeding wise.

 

I just had a person inquire about breeding to our Open male. Here are the priorities relayed on to me as to why he is being picked aside from being the #1 dog that the person would like a pup from based on working performance.

 

1. wants to produce 100% smooth coat (btw, it's not going to happen)

2. wants health clearances, OFA and CEA, giving full return puppy guaranty for health issues including epilepsy, sells most pups into sport/hobby homes.

 

 

My priorities:

 

1. Will the cross produce solid working dogs

 

No questions have been asked about temperments of the other pups from other matings, how they train up, what the females are like that we have crossed him with or how successful his pups have been crossed to which females.

 

IMO, the important stuff (working ability) is way low on the priority list and will likely result in inferior pups from a working standpoint.

 

The marketability of the extra pups is based on the coat length fad and health clearances, not on working ability. I have no problem with people selecting based on coat length or other traits, but it has to be secondary to working ability.

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I kinda think the angst comes from the sporting side putting working ability as a whole down the list and not really understanding the full picture breeding wise.

 

I just had a person inquire about breeding to our Open male. Here are the priorities relayed on to me as to why he is being picked aside from being the #1 dog that the person would like a pup from based on working performance.

 

1. wants to produce 100% smooth coat (btw, it's not going to happen)

2. wants health clearances, OFA and CEA, giving full return puppy guaranty for health issues including epilepsy, sells most pups into sport/hobby homes.

My priorities:

 

1. Will the cross produce solid working dogs

 

No questions have been asked about temperments of the other pups from other matings, how they train up, what the females are like that we have crossed him with or how successful his pups have been crossed to which females.

 

IMO, the important stuff (working ability) is way low on the priority list and will likely result in inferior pups from a working standpoint.

 

The marketability of the extra pups is based on the coat length fad and health clearances, not on working ability. I have no problem with people selecting based on coat length or other traits, but it has to be secondary to working ability.

 

I was raised with the "breed for job/health not looks", (My grandparents were hunting dog folk, the dogs had to do what they were bred for) so I understand where working breeders come from. Most folks that I know on the sporting would much more rather have a healthy, smart, even tempered dog. These are things that working side does breed for does it not? I can honestly understand not wanting to breed for looks because that has nothing to do with job or health, but i was wondering why would working side not want to allow a pup to go to a sport home? Again.. it beckons an answer, where would you wish sport/pet folks to purchase dogs from? If the working side is angry and comes across as the "bears" of the bunch then how will you get out the ideals if you put everyone at arms distance and treat them as the problem child?

 

Do you see what I'm getting at? I am not sure whether or not my query is coming across right in text? =/

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Our breeding criteria are similar to Debbie's. The issue we deal with when we have a litter is who should we sell to. We want enough of the pups to be trained up for stock work so we can assess our overall breeding strategy. IMHO we cannot assess a working bred cross from the one or two pups we will keep and train ourselves. The dilemma is how many need to go to working homes where they will get enough (and appropriate) training to allow assessment of each individual pup's working ability and then the litter as a whole to assess the breeding selection. It's not that pet/sport homes are not good homes; it's solely about being able to assess our breeding program.

 

I should stress this last point......

 

It's not that pet/sport homes are not good homes; it's solely about being able to assess our breeding program for which pet/sport homes cannot help.

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Then wouldn’t it be better if the working side fostered a better “relationship” with the sporting side? Keep them close to your side, foster better relations. Encourage them to perhaps learn to be a handler on the herding side of it. I recently went to a local trial and the judge there was thanking the nursery handlers and telling all the handlers in general that there was far too few of them as it was and to keep on going and recruiting. So I feel like there is a mixed message. Some sporting folks that might be interested might not have farms/herds of their own but are interested in learning never the less. Wouldn’t you consider these “bridge” members to be of value? Could you not use them perhaps to help judge your dogs then even though they would be considered sports’ters?

 

I hope to one day be one of those “bridge” folk. I don’t currently own my own herd, not that I don’t know livestock, I just don’t currently have land enough to run them. (But I will.. oh yes I will ; ) ). My husband does fly ball/Frisbee and he absolutely adores BC's. This is why I ask what I have asked. It all feels at odds with itself. Like owning a good proper BC for one side isn’t allowable, which then feels elitist, and that is very reminiscent of how conformation folk are, which is what you all are supposed to be fighting against.

 

This is a bad conundrum isn’t it?

 

Btw- I am SO NOT trying to rile anyone up, just trying to get things straight in my head is all. =)

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Then wouldn’t it be better if the working side fostered a better “relationship” with the sporting side? Keep them close to your side, foster better relations. Encourage them to perhaps learn to be a handler on the herding side of it. I recently went to a local trial and the judge there was thanking the nursery handlers and telling all the handlers in general that there was far too few of them as it was and to keep on going and recruiting. So I feel like there is a mixed message. Some sporting folks that might be interested might not have farms/herds of their own but are interested in learning never the less. Wouldn’t you consider these “bridge” members to be of value? Could you not use them perhaps to help judge your dogs then even though they would be considered

....

 

This is a bad conundrum isn’t it?

 

Btw- I am SO NOT trying to rile anyone up, just trying to get things straight in my head is all. =)

 

Agreed! Unintentional or intentional, it seems an elitist perspective is unavoidable. I don't think there is a right answer here, except to do the best you can for the dogs you have.

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