For all you dog trainers...picking a puppy from a litter?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Beekissed, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I've already picked a few and had read some tips here and there but was curious as to what you all thought about how to pick a puppy from a litter. What to look for to determine personality traits?
  2. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    roll them over on their backs on a soft surface (like grass or carpet) and gently hold them in that position... if they just sort of flop over and lay there they tend to be pretty mellow and easy going... if they struggle like mad and are clearly ticked off about the situation, then those tend to grow up on the aggressive, dominant side... if they wiggle just a bit then seem to accept things philosophically they have a bit of spark in them but know whos boss... those are the ones I pick. Not a trainer mind you, just a doggie person.
  3. dutchhollow

    dutchhollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2008
    SW IA
    Now, I am chosing dogs for high performance testing, trialing and earning a living hunting. That said, I like to see their recovery to being startled(a can of penny's or rocks thrown to make a noise, their reaction and how long it takes them to investigate) and retrieving, ( I toss a small knotted sock and see their reaction, like the one that gets it and brings it at least most of the way to me, will not take one that does not chase it).
    That said, I choose the breeder and litter very carefully, that way picking the pup is easy. The breeder should understand what you are looking for and help you with the choice.
    As a breeder I have told puppy buyers if the litter is going to be to 'hot' or if they want a dog that is more of a 'goer' that this may not be the litter for them, if it is a breeding I plan to bring more cooperation in.
  4. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    I've only gone looking for a dog one time.

    It was Thunder, my lab, 14 years ago. I looked at some AKC breeders with high dollar dogs and middle end dogs. None of them peaked my interest. I saw a "free" ad in the paper and decided to take a look because the owner stated she would be putting the dogs with animal control if they were not gone by a certain date.

    I went to the property. All of the puppies ran to me (4 months old), but only one stayed with me without losing interest. I sat on the grass and he sat down, rolled over and just had fun. Licked me...that was Thunder. All of the others came up, but quickly lost interest and were fairly aggressive with each other. Thunder was the only one that stayed, was somewhat submissive and seemed to thoroughly enjoy being around me.

    I didn't need to look anywhere else for my match.
  5. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    Quote:Agreed. We've always trained our own hunting dogs (Labs) and this method works in finding a trainable dog with drive...
  6. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not a trainer either, just a dog lover but the best dog I ever had I was lucky enough to be able to pick from a litter. One pup came up to me and was licking and then biting my fingers and a couple stayed back under the kitchen table and one pup sat and looked at me and let me come up and pet her. That was my smart girl Camille. My current young collie I didnt pick but she was feisty but submissive as a pup and is a good dog.
  7. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Ideally the breeder pays someone not involved with their kennel, to come in and score the pups, and you get to see the test results, comments and scores. Spending time around the pups and watching how they interact helps.

    I also think if the owners are honest about the temperament of the mother and father and you can interact with the mother and father that's good.

    I also think it's important to just LISTEN. The breeders, if they are legit, will be very proud of their dogs and tell you very clearly what their traits tend to be and what sort of situation suits them best.

    You can pick up valuable clues from people just by listening. Offers to throw in the dog's parents 'for free' if you take a pup...bad sign. Pups are itching like mad, bad sign. Has a pup available IMMEDIATELY, but ONLY if you pay TODAY...bad sign.

    A friend asked me to come help her pick out a pup. The sire was like Yosemite Sam's camel - the owner screamed louder and louder, 'Sit! SSSSIT!!!!' and when he finally got the dog's attention the dog peed on the carpet. So he was either like totally not paying attention or once you got his attention he was afraid of you. The mother mostly hid under the dining room table having a little problem with submissive peeing.

    I told my friend to not pick out any of the pups, that the temperaments of the parents were not good. She took one, and spent I think 80 obedience trials to get the dog's cd. Eighty. Amazing.

    My favorite pup was playing with her brother and they were both growling and playing pretty excitedly. The angle the brother was at, he somehow was bumping her head on the book case behind them. I watched to see her reaction, she got her head bumped only a couple times and without any further ado, hopped up and walked away. Her sister in the same situation stayed there, and got more and more frantic and started biting at the brother pup and kind of shrieking. I picked 'Gee, if I'm getting by head banged against the book case, I think I'll move to somewhere else'.
  8. Shai

    Shai Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 27, 2010
    Quote:^This +2!

    I'm also rather picky about health clearances being done...and documentation provided. Which clearances depends on the breed...for mine I expect hips, elbows, patellas, and an honest history of things like cancer, longevity...
  9. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Put them in the sink & see which ones float......Wait.......That's eggs.......Nevermind. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    There are a ton of temperament tests and litter tests, but honestly those just help you pick a middle-of-the-road puppy. You need to discuss with whoever is going to be involved with the dog (rest of the family, etc.) whether you WANT a middle-of-the-road puppy. I personally love a pushy, obnoxious, naughty puppy; those are what succeed in my home. I tend to get the puppies who "fail" a temperament evaluation because they scored too high - in drive or in dominance or whatever. Other owners really need a dog on the far other end; the puppies who "fail" because they're too soft - worried about everything, a little shy - when they're in the right home become the dogs that legends are made of because they never do ANYTHING wrong. They self-monitor and self-discipline so they train in a second and as long as you don't have a lot of high-stress activities in your house they live happy quiet lives.

    So talk over with your family what you need, and make sure you get a breeder who knows their puppies well enough to steer you toward the right one.

    The only other thing I'd say is that "She chose me!" rarely works. I guarantee, that puppy has been choosing EVERYBODY who has come to see the litter! The ones who run from the group toward complete strangers, tugging at shoelaces and leaping up at hands, are often waaaaay too much dog for the average novice.

    Breed matters too, of course; a Malinois who scores low-drive on a temperament test is still going to have fifteen times the drive the highest-drive Pekingese puppy scores. Find your breed first, find your breeder second, and find your puppy third. As long as you keep it in that order, you're usually fine. It's the impulse buy, or the breeder selection because she had puppies available instead of because you and she hit it off, that end up a problem.

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