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What traits do you look for when selecting from a litter of pups

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I am curious what traits, feature, characteristic, personality. excreta different people use when selecting a pup to hopefully be a completive trial dog. I am referring to going to select a pup at weaning.

I have heard many different things such as never take the boldest pup as it will be hard to handle and dominant. Never take the shyest pup as it will have confidence issues. Pick up the pups see which one is the most relaxed with you. Stand still and let the pup pick you. I realize there are probably many different approaches to this as many people will see different characteristics to be the most important

 

 

Dan

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best advice I've heard, is start with pups from good parents, that you really like, and like the way they work and behave on and off the trial field. Then ask the breeder for their advice to help pick the pup that's right for you. The boldest pup in the litter does not necessarily mean that pup will be too hard to handle, but, a good breeder, should be able to help you find the right match.

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It depends on the litter and the traits of the parents….if I'm concerned about some softness, I'll ask for the bolder or dominant pup. If I'm concerned about hardness, I might lean toward the softer people oriented pup. Usually I'm just happy to get any pup from a litter I want. So the leftover pup is fine too. I just say "thank you". Even when its been my own litter and presumably I have my "pick" of the litter….I usually have given up my choice to someone else's preferences and ended up with the last pup (currently my Open dog).

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Agreed.

 

Over the years, we've learned that puppies rarely show their true character before about twelve weeks or even later. We've also found that once the dominant siblings leave the 'pack' the less dominant pups can change beyond belief.

 

A good example of this happened recently when we kept three pups from a home bred litter. We kept two by choice and the third because (despite our efforts to socialise her) she was so nervous nobody wanted her.

 

Clearly one or more of the other pups had been holding "Isla" back (we've experienced this with other litters too) because as soon as the litter was down to the three we kept, she gradually changed into a lovely confident dog and literally took only three or maybe four lessons on sheep before she was sold as an eager, competent (but inexperienced) sheepdog - quite amazing.

 

The ideal way to choose a puppy is to go to a breeder you trust, and look at the parents - including their work (if possible) and, of course, their temperament.

 

(I wanted to add a picture of Isla at work, but I couldn't find how to upload it - sorry).

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As others have noted, if you like the cross (the parents, and I'd add grandparents), then go with the pup that appeals to you most for whatever reason (this is assuming that you have the choice, and not the breeder). If the breeder is choosing, then I'd make sure they knew what my needs and ultimate goals are, as well as my preferences regarding personality/looks, and then just let the breeder choose.

 

My reason for saying choose the one that appeals to you is that most people will work harder or give more time to a pup that they actually like (for those intangible reasons--the one that appeals) vs. a pup they had to "settle" for.

 

That said, I have taken pups sight unseen when the person offering was someone I knew and trusted (who also knew me well and knew what I liked in a dog). And I have picked pups. Truthfully, unless you spend pretty much time with a litter, you're only going to get a snapshot of what the puppies are like on the day or days you meet them. What you see may not be the true picture, as Andy noted with the little bitch who blossomed once she was one of a few rather than one of many. Generally I have been successful either way because I have started with bloodlines/dogs that I already like a great deal.

 

The pups I have not been particularly successful with (not through any fault of theirs really--that is, I could train them up, but they just weren't the type of dog I really liked working with on a day-to-day basis or in a trial situation) are when I took pups from crosses where the parents didn't really suit me (my working/training style, my lifestyle) in the first place.

 

The youngster I have now, whom I adore and whom I think will be loads of fun to train, was the one pup in the litter I didn't particularly like from the start, for numerous reasons. But someone else really wanted my favorite pup, so I let her go. You now couldn't pry the one I kept (the lefover pup) from my cold, dead hands. ;)

 

J.

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So many top and favorite dogs were once the pup "that no one else wanted" for whatever reason.

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An article that may be of interest - even though it refers to Australian Shepherds:

 

http://users.htcomp.net/slashv/article3.htm

 

jeanne

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I have 3 Open finished working dogs from my own breeding and are all 3 full siblings.

 

One I picked for myself. Another was the scared puppy who wouldn't come out of the pen and would run if anything happened. The 3rd was leftover who I originally was to sell him to a novice herding/pet home with children but they didn't feel connected to him at first meeting so I switched them to a needier puppy who jumped all over them. I thought a calmer less reactive pup would be the best choice with children but they didn't see their reflection in his eyes. So I kept the mellow self assured leftover pup.

 

They are all accomplished trial and work dogs. The "scared" pup was my highest pointed dog last year. She is not scared anymore...maybe a bit reactive temperament but her personality doesn't have much to do with her work on stock.

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My breeder picked for me. I had a lengthy chat with her about what I wanted in a dog and my preference on sex, and she picked from there. I got updates on the first three boys that she was deciding between for me, soon down to two, and it was only a couple days before we got him at 9 weeks did she decided mine as "mine". In fact, I find it a little unsettling when I see breeders allow prospective buyers to pick any pup out of the litter they like - unless they are very experienced with the breed/with pups, etc.

 

My biggest concern was the right breeder, right litter - from there, I really didn't care what she gave me, I knew it would exceed my expectations ten fold. I would go about it the same way next time. If it was a situation where I was able to freely "pick", I would try to rely on the breeder as much as possible for suggestions.

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When I Got my puppy I did not pick him what I did was bring my other dogs over to the breeder and let them pick the Puppy. The thought behind that was they are the ones that will need to get along and help train the puppy as well and if my other dogs get along with the puppy it will make training easy. The puppy will key off the other dogs in the pack.

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Recently I had "first pick" of the litter. I knew I wanted a male. Remembered the "close your eyes and grab one" principle, and just took the biggest of the bunch.

The stories above about the last one left going on to become fine open dogs affirm this; Like the parents? Pick a healthy looking one. I think apart from that here is not much you can predict at such an early age.

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When I picked Tilly she was only 2 weeks old the breeder had offered me Pick of the litter and there were other people wanting males only so he wanted me to pick I was not interested in color or sex just wanted to try and find a dog that would be a good fit so I went over and their eyes were just opening I handled all the pups and Tilly was the only one who did not fuss when I handled her from 4 weeks old on I went over for an hour every day and spent time with her till she came home

When I got her home she already knew to come when called and she fit in well.

The day I brought her home he told me I had picked the pup he would have kept. Her mother is a dog I have admired for along time and was very glad when I got a pup that is turning out to be a lot like her.

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Picking Dexter was nerve racking. I new I was not going to have a pack of dogs to train and compete with, so the dog i picked had to be the right one. Also I had read how Border Collies can be a little soft, and did not think my personality would blend well with a soft dog. The breeder sent weekly updates, observations and video taped the puppy personality test. Before I went to pick up the pup I had a good idea witch dog I wanted. When the day came to pick the pup, I walked in to the pen with a large pull toy, Dexter was the first pup (out of 8) to run up to the toy, clamp down and hang on for dear life. That sealed the deal. Now at 2 1/2 years old he is a very outgoing, fearless, confident dog that shows no signs of being soft. He is the exact dog I thought he would be looking at the puppy test when he was 5 weeks old. I have found in my anecdotal experience that puppy tests are a very good predictor of an adult dogs personality. I have picked two other pups (GSDs) this way and have been very pleased. Does this mean that the dogs personality is cast in stone and will not be effected by the environment… no. But it gives you a good idea what the starting points are going to be.

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I've kept track of pups from my litters. Who was the most bold? Who was the most shy? The pushiest? The neediest? The most people focused vs the most independent?

 

My experience has been that handler focus doesn't change, basic personality doesn't change, but level of boldness and sociability with humans can be hard to predict. The quiet, reserved pup in my first litter became the star of the neighborhood (gated community) and loved to go from house to house to play soccer with the kids. The bold, confident pup was raised on a farm and the least socialized. As an adult he was the most reserved. He was so self assured as a pup that I was shocked by how he turned out.

 

From my second litter the shy pup that didn't want to be touched by anyone but me became the social butterfly that liked to beg for food from people in crowds. The bold, in your face pup that was the first to greet people visiting the litter grew up to be the type of dog that ignores strangers and prefers to only interact with her owners.

 

Based on my own experience, I think just picking the pup that appeals and connects with me (from a well bred litter) is the way to go. I like smooth coats, so I will preferentially take a smooth over a rough, but otherwise I let my heart decide.

 

When taking a pup from a litter I did not breed, I let the breeder decide for me based on a description of my ideal dog.

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Dear Doggers,

 

A friend was going to the State Fair to pick up a working Border Collie pup. We had 100 sheep and I hadn't bought a birthday present for Anne.

 

"Buy one for me too," I said.

 

Pip changed my life.

 

Donald McCaig

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I've sen puppies turn out very differently than I'd expected from observing them in their litters.

 

The last puppy I got was rather quiet and reserved, but not shy, in her litter. I no sooner got her home than she became a whirling dervish of a pup. She was a very busy dog all her sadly all too short life after that, though she also had a very good off switch (something I teach my dogs from the get go).

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I have never picked a pup.

 

All but three of our dogs have been young adult rescues (easier to pick the right adult dog I think). Lady was the only female left in the litter so mom and dad took her. Matty and Bear were the 'leftovers'. If I did have my pick, I would not have picked Bear...I love him but he's always (from tiny pup to now at 13 years old) been an anxious couch potato who'd rather stay home then go somewhere new.

 

I want a puppy for my next dog, possibly within the next year. I've been looking at rescues but also considering a breeder this time. I've got two good breeder close by and some more within a days drive. I think I'd rather have the breeder decide for me.

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I normally go by a few things... One being I normally dont go for the boldest or shyest, but then I go by their body language. See how they play with the siblings, and when a human talks which ones perks a ear or looks around. I also feel you can tell allot by their eyes...

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