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Old 07-25-2012, 11:42 PM
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Default Good first sport dog?

I've ALWAYS wanted an APBT more then anything, but lately despite EVERYTHING I've said, the field bred Labrador is looking better and better for my first sport dog. I have a Lab mix and I love her to death. Dumb as a box of rocks, but she's sooooo fun and sweet. Shame she has no ball drive and hates the water. I even found a breeder that really appeals to me that is not to far from me.

Anyone have any thoughts on a field bred lab as a first sport dog?

This is the breeder that I'm falling in love with, I LOVE the looks of their dogs and I'm even planning names for the male puppy I want in the next year or so.

http://www.autumnridgelabradors.com/index.htm
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:01 AM
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I guess it depends on you as a trainer and what appeals to you, how you'd train and so on.

Storee has a show dog/performance dog mom, and a field dog for a dad. She's a golden. MUCH different than my first golden who was show/performance. At five, she's finally settled down and started to really care if I'm part of the game. Before that there was quite a few times I'd toss up my hands and put her back in her crate and quit bothering to power struggle with her.

I've seen that with border collies too, where people think drive = ribbons and get a dog that's way way too over the top. Just something to consider!
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:28 AM
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I think a dog like summer is the best 'starter' sports dog. I got her as an adult (4 years) and we've just played with training. We could have competed if I had been more serious with her but we're still playing and having fun together. She's taught me a lot.

Summer's just a great balance of a dog. She's very easy going, biddable, pretty smart, she has good food drive but she's in no way over the top. She was great to learn on because I didn't have to spend so much work on her as opposed to Miss Mia who is waaaaay faster than me and I find myself tripping over myself very often. The impulse control issues I have with Mia weren't there with Summer either. She's just steady... without being slow at all. Honestly, Summer's on the fast side of dogs, even at 8 years old, but not turbo like Mia. I think I would go crazy with the kind of dog you have to constantly try to bring 'up' all the time.

I guess it does depend on what 'sport' you're looking at. But I do really recommend that most people go with a good, steady for their first agility dog. More room for errors that way.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:46 AM
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Well, it depends so much on what you want. If you like the retrievers/gun dog types, I'd say they often make excellent first sport dogs. Biddable, fun, and lacking the potential for reactive/aggressive tendencies like many herding breeds. It also depends on what sport you want to do.

That said, field Labs can actually be quite hard headed - not that that's a bad thing, if you know how to work with it. But if you like gun dogs and what to dabble in dog sports, my first choice would a performance bred Golden. There's a strong contingency of Goldens bred for OB/agility (and hunt testing) and IME they're really, really nice dogs. My friend has a gorgeous performance line Golden who's pretty awesome - maybe a tiiiiny bit on the soft side for my taste, but a very nice dog.

ETA: Go check out local trials, there will be tons of Goldens in the Obedience ring. See what you think! And check out agility trials as well, there will be probably be at least a few running.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:16 PM
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There are ways to work on building toy drive. Maybe try that with your lab mix?
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:57 PM
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I know a lot of Labs and really like them. As soon as I can convince my friend to let me "ruin" one by doing Schutzhund with it, I will have one. Her dogs are drivey and awesome!!
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:12 PM
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I gotta agree with a few of the other posters. Without knowing what sports you want to try, my gut says to use the mellow, biddable dog you have to learn the ropes. Honestly, Lucy was too much dog to have as a first agility dog. We had to work 3x as hard as others to get basic stuff, because she's SO drivey and wound up all the time. She doesn't have a realistic speed--it's just ZOOM. She doesn't have a bone in her body that says, "Oh, you want me to do this? Okay." It's all "What's in it for me? Huh? Huh? Too late, I found something more exciting over here, *ZOOM*"

At the same time, I had no clue what I was doing and had to learn from the ground up. I made a ton of training errors with her. If I get another dog after her, I'll know exactly what to start training from day 1. I would think if you're getting a sports prospect, you'd want that knowledge under your belt before you brought the dog home.

That said, there is a girl in my classes who has 2 field bred labs (one is 4, one is a puppy) and is very successful with them. She learned on her (now elderly) mystery mutt she already had though, so she could hit the ground running when she brought her labs home.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
I gotta agree with a few of the other posters. Without knowing what sports you want to try, my gut says to use the mellow, biddable dog you have to learn the ropes. Honestly, Lucy was too much dog to have as a first agility dog. We had to work 3x as hard as others to get basic stuff, because she's SO drivey and wound up all the time. She doesn't have a realistic speed--it's just ZOOM. She doesn't have a bone in her body that says, "Oh, you want me to do this? Okay." It's all "What's in it for me? Huh? Huh? Too late, I found something more exciting over here, *ZOOM*"

At the same time, I had no clue what I was doing and had to learn from the ground up. I made a ton of training errors with her.
Hey it's Cider and my story.. Cider at 7, almost 8 is still high. Still climbs the wall. Is STILL spun. She was my first dog and while a mill rescue, had more drive than I knew what to do with. We made tons of errors in training, and it was a long hard road.

Got Smudge wanted drive but less.. he was far easier to work with..

Now I'd like pup three.. and want more drive than he has to be more competitive than he can be. If you are new to training and sports I'd pick something more moderate to learn with, and then maybe make the leap to higher drive later.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MafiaPrincess View Post
Hey it's Cider and my story.. Cider at 7, almost 8 is still high. Still climbs the wall. Is STILL spun. She was my first dog and while a mill rescue, had more drive than I knew what to do with. We made tons of errors in training, and it was a long hard road.

Got Smudge wanted drive but less.. he was far easier to work with..

Now I'd like pup three.. and want more drive than he has to be more competitive than he can be. If you are new to training and sports I'd pick something more moderate to learn with, and then maybe make the leap to higher drive later.
Yup, that's Lucy! I have no desire to have multiple dogs, so she is what she is and I'm working with it, but man it's a challenge! She's 7-8ish too, and regularly climbs the fence out of my yard and is faster than most of the other dogs at trials--she just has zero inhibition or impulse control except what little I've worked my behind off to instill in her.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MafiaPrincess View Post
If you are new to training and sports I'd pick something more moderate to learn with, and then maybe make the leap to higher drive later.
This is truly valuable. Also the more biddable the better!
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