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Old 04-27-2015, 09:24 AM
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Elrohwen Elrohwen is offline
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Default Selecting a puppy for sports/performance

Any tips for choosing a pup for sports? I will be around for puppy evaluations when the litter is 7.5 weeks and right before they go home at 8 or 9 weeks. I've seen the basic puppy evaluation tests online, and the breeder already does those, but I'm looking for any advice on what I should focus on and additional tests I may not have thought of. The litter is bred primarily for conformation and general solid family dog temperament, not sports specifically, but I love the temperament of both parents. My main concern is that momma doesn't have a ton of food drive, so I want to make sure as much as possible that my pup is into food. I will be looking for the confident and outgoing puppy who is interested in interacting with people and who bounces back quickly from something scary or stressful.

I'm not looking for super high drive high energy top level competitor, just a fun dog who can dabble in sports with me. Since I basically get my pick, I want to make sure I'm prioritizing the right things and know what to expect during the evaluations.

What tests do you do on puppies? What results are you looking for? What should I ask the breeder to look for as they grow up?
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Last edited by Elrohwen; 04-27-2015 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:59 AM
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At that age I'm looking for a puppy that will tug and not let go when pressure was put on them, would switch from food to different toys relatively easily, chased balls or frisbees, didn't startle at loud noises, and got along well with their littermates.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:14 AM
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Pick the pedigree, pick the breeder, then pick the pretty one.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJEtzel View Post
would switch from food to different toys relatively easily
That's a good one that I didn't think of!
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:58 AM
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I let my breeder choose for me, but then she's also into performance (her greyhounds do agility, rally, weight pull, barn hunt, nose work, lure coursing, and conformation). She picked Kili and a back up and then let me decide between the two... but ultimately I defaulted to her choice, which was Kili. It has obviously worked out really well, and I'll be letting her choose my next pup as well.

She looked for a confident, outgoing temperament, and curiosity of new things. She has agility equipment that the pups go out and play on, so she looked for pups that had no fear and were all over the equipment.

As far as food drive... I don't know if you can evaluate that in a pup. Kili was hit and miss for quite a few months. She definitely had toy drive, but didn't tug (but that's pretty standard for a greyhound). I just sort of took a good base personality and built the things I wanted over time.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by krissy View Post
I let my breeder choose for me, but then she's also into performance (her greyhounds do agility, rally, weight pull, barn hunt, nose work, lure coursing, and conformation). She picked Kili and a back up and then let me decide between the two... but ultimately I defaulted to her choice, which was Kili. It has obviously worked out really well, and I'll be letting her choose my next pup as well.

She looked for a confident, outgoing temperament, and curiosity of new things. She has agility equipment that the pups go out and play on, so she looked for pups that had no fear and were all over the equipment.

As far as food drive... I don't know if you can evaluate that in a pup. Kili was hit and miss for quite a few months. She definitely had toy drive, but didn't tug (but that's pretty standard for a greyhound). I just sort of took a good base personality and built the things I wanted over time.
Yeah, I'm fully prepared to show up at 7.5 weeks and have her say "this one is your pup, I'm sure of it". But if I'm going to be there I want to at least try some stuff and look like I know what I'm doing I also want to go to evaluations so I can learn about evaluating structure in puppies which I think will be super interesting.

She's also not super into performance, which is why I wanted some other opinions. Not many Welshie people *are* super into performance, but based on the dogs I have met I think this litter will have as much potential as any and I know the temperament of the parents better than I would buying from someone across the counter. On the other hand, she has been in the breed for 30 years and bred many litters, so I trust that she can evaluate a pup pretty well and know which will fit into certain homes the best. She is definitely on the look out for the active confident puppy who isn't shy or timid at all.

I was worried about testing for food drive, because I remember Watson wasn't really into food until he was a little older, and that's probably normal. Though if she's going to watch them at every feeding time she will be able to tell if one is really pushy about food, or if one hangs back and doesn't really care, and that will be good information.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:02 PM
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The very first and most important thing I look for is structure. I can work with drive and motivation problems but if a dog is not built well, he is not going to hold up to sport activity. Here's a post on structure for agility:
http://susangarrettdogagility.com/20...re-evaluation/
Chris Zink has stuff on this also but I doubt it's online since I think it is all printed in various books still available for purchase. And you kind of have to work with what you have in the breed too.

Sheila Booth has that puppy preview thing and a lot of that is stuff I do. Ideally the breeder does it for you, and a few times, since puppies go through fear stages and all that.

Auggie's breeder told me she liked Payton's temperament so we went to go see him. Before anything else (after we pulled up and I spotted him proinking around in an ex-pen and I took a deep breath and reminded myself YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THE PUPPY) we put him on a park bench and examined his structure. After that we got to do the fun stuff. Put him on the ground and watched him investigate the area. I called him a few times to see if he would respond to me, I ran around a little to see if he would follow me. I pushed him around a bit (physically) to see what his reaction was, if his feelings got hurt or not. And then I got a toy and slapped it on the ground in front of him to see if he would go after it or not. We played with the toy a lot and my heart just exploded with joy because his response to the toy solidified the deal and I got to buy a puppy, hahaha.
After that we chatted some while Payton hung out some more to see what he would do. He was busy but not overly excitable, he wanted to look at stuff but he was cool to kind of chill on his own, not demanding of attention and unable to entertain himself.

The only thing I would have done differently - and something I will do in the future - is taken some kind of weird toy, something that moved or flashed or made noise (like a bumbleball, that would have worked and I use it with some of my clients as a distraction) to see how he reacted to something weird/"scary" and how quickly he would have rebounded.


And finally the most important part is to just kind of hang out with the dog. Like I said, Payton and I played together for a while and then we let him hang, and I could tell he was the kind of dog I would be able to live with. His personality was right and what I was looking for. I think so long as the breeder has a good understanding of what you want, really it's just about confirming the decision when you get there.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
The very first and most important thing I look for is structure. I can work with drive and motivation problems but if a dog is not built well, he is not going to hold up to sport activity. Here's a post on structure for agility:
http://susangarrettdogagility.com/20...re-evaluation/
Chris Zink has stuff on this also but I doubt it's online since I think it is all printed in various books still available for purchase. And you kind of have to work with what you have in the breed too.
I have very little idea how to judge structure in puppies (though I have read some and watched some videos). Luckily the breeder and her breeder friends will have that part covered. She would like me to show in conformation, so I'm pretty sure my pup will be great structurally at the very least. One of the main reason I want to go to the evaluations is so I can learn from them how to judge puppies hands on and in person, so I'm excited for that.


Quote:
The only thing I would have done differently - and something I will do in the future - is taken some kind of weird toy, something that moved or flashed or made noise (like a bumbleball, that would have worked and I use it with some of my clients as a distraction) to see how he reacted to something weird/"scary" and how quickly he would have rebounded.
This is a great idea. I see people recommend umbrellas, but as a breed that tends to be more noise sensitive than visually sensitive, I think something that makes noise will be a great test.

Quote:
And finally the most important part is to just kind of hang out with the dog. Like I said, Payton and I played together for a while and then we let him hang, and I could tell he was the kind of dog I would be able to live with. His personality was right and what I was looking for. I think so long as the breeder has a good understanding of what you want, really it's just about confirming the decision when you get there.
Thank you for all the thoughts! I'm fully expecting her to have picked out the perfect puppy for me by the time I get there, and I'll just have to confirm. Hopefully the choice is obvious. I also hope we find a good combination of temperament and structure, because I'm willing to show if there is a show prospect, but I would rather have the best temperament in a slightly uglier dog if I had to choose.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:58 PM
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If you have an Iphone, I highly suggest the sound proof puppy training app to take with and play some sounds.

Recon is sound sensitive and we are working on counter conditioning fireworks and gunfire noise right now with the App with great success. On ONE bar of volume on my phone he reacts, so a light noise from your phone would be great to play to see their reactions.
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJEtzel View Post
If you have an Iphone, I highly suggest the sound proof puppy training app to take with and play some sounds.

Recon is sound sensitive and we are working on counter conditioning fireworks and gunfire noise right now with the App with great success. On ONE bar of volume on my phone he reacts, so a light noise from your phone would be great to play to see their reactions.
Awesome! I will download that!

Watson is a little sound sensitive. Like he is sensitive to the teeter banging in class, but it took multiple classes of other dogs banging it down for him to be afraid. He gets nervous if I bang pots and pans but will just stand there if I turn on the really loud blender. So it's not that big of an issue, but I really don't want a puppy more sensitive than him and I know that can be an issue in the breed.
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