Puppies? Temperament? RISKY?

lancerandrara

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#1
I have to admit that I’m INCREDIBLY scared of raising/obtaining another dog or puppy that develops severe fear-based issues like Lancer.

And thus, I’m very scared of getting a puppy- in case I raise him in the wrong environment, we accidentally go through some traumatizing event that’s out of my control, puppy ends up being that rare crap shoot puppy who sporadically develops fears/goes through an intense fear period/becomes something very different from what the breeder intended, etc.

I’ve had my eye on Oracle and on Erin's (Keechak) for their perfect Aussies with solid temperament and performance sports potential. But the fear of getting/raising that 1-100 puppy who develops fear issues is REAL. UGH. REAL FEAR. Obviously the reason is my experience with Lancer.

That said, I know that Lancer isn’t from any breeder breeder. He’s from pure work-on-a-farm breeding by some rancher with a very simple intent- a once on a few years litter for more legit farm dogs, solely to focus on stock, and however the dogs acts towards other people/other dogs/new situation is really out of consideration. And Lancer is perfect and completely fearless for stockwork. He is fearful of a flying piece of paper in the wind on the sidewalk, but not at all of cattle 10 times his size. And once he's with the cattle, he doesn't notice anything else except for that and the trainer, and is not fearful of anything. Similar to when we play ball- once he's focused on the ball, nothing else matters. An elephant can walk by, and he would still focus on the ball. He’s an honest-to-goodness farm farm dog. And when I think of this logically, I’m sure that his breeding is still 90% of the influence on his temperament and apparent fear issues (at everything in the universe EXCEPT cattle/sheep/goats) today, and not something I did.

So I’m still stuck on this dilemma… showline Aussie puppy from reputable breeders? Or adopting an adult (of whatever breed) of unknown origin, but having a very high chance of having the temperament that I dream of, assuming from a foster home?

(that was a rhetorical question… now I’m just rambling…)

I don't know exactly what I'm even asking, since new dog/puppy won't happen until in at least a year from now. But I guess I'd like to get in the right talks, if I can make this decision earlier, with some thoughts/advice. Maybe I should have posted this in the venting thread, but I think I've posted there enough about getting/not getting dog to spam the souls out of you all, by now.

And randomly off-topic, Lancer and I are training in nose work!
 
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amberdyan

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#2
Honestly, I think you're fine either way and you're going to be nervous/worried either way : )

Could you go after both at the same time and just see what feels better? By that I mean start meeting breeders and looking at what litters they're going to produce soon AND look at rescues and shelters for adults? That way if you find the perfect set of dogs that are going to be bred, you can stop looking and focus on preparing for a puppy. And if you find the perfect adult in a shelter/rescue, then that's the route you go with.

I've met some dogs working in a shelter in the past that not only did I personally think they would have made great sports prospects (based on their temperament and drive) but we had people come in and evaluate them. I've adopted out multiple dogs to agility and disc focused homes. So those dogs are out there, but you would probably have to look quite a bit. I don't think even 1 in 50 of the dogs in my shelter would have been great for serious sports homes.

I think the breeder route is still pretty **** safe in terms of getting a dog with the temperament you want. I follow Oracle Aussies on facebook and their dogs seem amazing, so I don't think you could go wrong looking in to them.

When you've had a dog that, while wonderful, has fairly serious issues, I think the nervousness is going to be there no matter what. But if you connect with the right breeder or the right dog in a rescue/shelter, I think it'll make a huge difference in your comfort level.
 

Laurelin

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#3
I think you need to breathe and also be realistic. No dog is going to be 100% perfect. I mean I guess it happens for some people. Most people are going to end up with some sort of compromise. Every puppy or adult you would look at is performance potential. Nothing is set in stone and it comes down to handler.

and just because Signal didn't work doesn't mean no dog will work. Hank would work and I know many others that would be just fine in an apartment! You can do a LOT lot lot lot of agility with a dog that isn't super high drive too.

If you want a dog then why not? You tried one time with one dog but there's a ton more dogs out there. Breeder or rescue can work out. If stable temperament is #1 then make that #1. May have to compromise a bit here and there on other traits but I don't think it's impossible at all to find a nice dog that can be your first dog to dabble in sports with and also live in an apartment.

A lot of herders are going to be kind of squirrely though. Not ALL for sure. Hank is a mutt but he has some spooky moments too. It's just one of those things... Hank has also spooked at a bag blowing in the wind. But I don't think that makes him unstable or unable to do sports.

Nothing is a guarantee. I know people that have bought dogs from sport breeders and the dogs turn out being unable to really compete for this reason or that. Even from good breeders and bred for sports. Dogsports are honestly sometimes full of literal blood, sweat, and tears. Sometimes a lot of disappointment and thinking 'if only my dog was ____' But really try to focus on what your dog IS not what they aren't. Whew... getting off track.

If you like a breeder like Oracle and you know a lot of their dogs and like their temperaments and think they fit what you want that's about as good of odds as you can be able to set. That's all you can do really is stack your odds.

Personally if I were in your position, I'd find a dog that worked even if the dog isn't my 'ideal'. There's so much to learn in dog sports and any nice little dog can get your feet wet and you'll be better off for it. I'm so glad I learned so much of it on a dog like Summer versus a dog like Hank. And Hank's training me up for my next dog. And so it goes.
 

lancerandrara

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#4
That's true, I'll start talking to Aussie breeders to see what they have planned, at least. I only very very briefly messaged Erin earlier this year or so. That's probably what I should have been doing for the past few months to begin with.

Thanks for the reassurance actually- the (reputable) breeder route is definitely supposed to be incredibly safe, but I keep having that lingering doubt about a puppy going through an insane fear period/developing long-term fear issues. But it should be much safer. .___.

Lauren, yeah I'm definitely not looking for 100% perfect in terms of how well they perform in sports. Me and dog in the future may just have a CGC and NW1, compete a bit in flyball, and things would be everything I could ever ask for with a dog with a sound temperament, go-anywhere-do-anything and doesn't mind, bounces back well from scary experiences, and doesn't develop fear/aggression issues. My main worry is a puppy developing unforeseen behavioral issues that may inhibit on their potential to even TRY the sports, much less than even needing to be successful in the sport. Being great at a sport or not is something so far off, I won't even think about it. LOL

I totally understand that Signal was a bad luck adoption sort of thing. My main concern is through my experiences with Lancer, that's causing me the worry about puppy. At this point, it's much less a matter of sports potential, and that I'm very paranoid of obtaining a seemingly perfectly confident puppy who LATER develops more than mild/typical behavioral issues, like Lancer.

The good/bad odds are both always there, but just are much much better with a proper breeder.
What am I even saying anymore ahaa
 

Laurelin

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#5
At some point you have to just find a breeder/line you like or find a rescue that seems like they have a good temperament and just... go with what happens.

I mean... there's no way to have a 100% guarantee with animals.
 

lancerandrara

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#6
Yeah... there's no guarantee, I know. I don't know exactly why I keep feeling anxious about choosing which route to go, especially since I'm not adopting a dog in this apartment for now anyways. But I did finally send Oracle an email to inquire.

Now to hunt for other breeder's emails...
 

milos_mommy

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#7
Well, I think in your position going for an adult rehome or rescue is the best bet. Especially if you can find a dog that's been in a foster home similar to yours, or do a foster-to-adopt type thing, or try it out with an adult breeder dog to see if they fit.

As far as a puppy developing issues....it's going to depend on breeding, socialization, and your experience in training and handling issues the minute you see warning signs. You don't seem all that confident (in this post) with your ability to help a puppy that begins to develop reactivity or fear issues work through them, but I have no idea if that's logical or not. If you've had success with Lancer and have a good grasp of training, can work with a professional trainer, etc....I think most typical reactivity or fear development in a puppy can be worked through, but if you haven't had a lot of confidence or success with your first dog's issues, and don't have access to more experienced trainers (often a breeder can help as well), then raising a puppy you want to be a sport prospect may not be the best idea.

It sounds like you have pretty realistic expectations of each scenario, so just think realistically about your ability as a trainer and expectations for sporting and then decide. If you're looking for a dog actively, you can always look around rescue and rehome options, and if a litter pops up, take that opportunity, kind of see when the right dog, be it breeder pup or rescue, comes along.
 

Southpaw

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#8
I worried about this a lot with Sawyer, since Juno has some fear/reactivity issues. Which I don't doubt for a second are issues that I created or helped exacerbate when she was a puppy, looking back. BUT that experience with her was actually tremendously helpful, it made me that much more aware of how I was socializing Sawyer and I was/am on high alert for any signs of a problem developing, so that I can address it right away.

He's still young enough that I can still break him, or genetics could do something weird, but so far things are going very well and I'm really not worried at all that things are going to change drastically.

For myself, I was much more comfortable getting a puppy that I could socialize myself, I was pretty confident this time around that I knew what I was doing. I thought an adult/older puppy was the riskier option for me since there were a lot of things on my wish list.
 
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#9
I was in the same boat, since Pan was a horrible puppy and everything I didn't envision getting in a puppy after waiting like 10 years to get one, lol.

Since it's been a while since my old man Solo passed away, I had been considering a second dog again, but also wasn't sure if I wanted to risk another puppy or not.

It's been a month now since I added Vinny, a 10 month old pup, and it's been awesome. I have to say, it's really nice to know what kind of temperament you're getting.

Vinny was a breeder return, through no fault of his own, which seems to be relatively common. Could you get in touch with the breeders you like for Aussies and maybe wait for a return? Or, of course, there's the rescue route as well, like you mentioned.
 

lancerandrara

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#10
Thanks, I think foster-to-adopt is technically the best option (if I go with a rescue), if they can allow me to do that. I'll consider this.

I guess it's still a matter of nature vs. nurture, huh. :s

I honestly consider Lancer a success with the work I've done with him, considering how insanely extreme his fear-aggression was when he was 7 months~1.5 years old. I ended up finding a method that works for him myself (had to get a little creative here), after the two trainers failed to figure him out. He can now pretend to walk in public like a chill dog 99% of the time, but he's essentially forever incapable of joining in on sports stuff that happens to have a bunch of other dogs nearby. The training I've done with him was successful, but only up to a point... basically.

And same (Southpaw), I also learned a LOT with Lancer due to his fear-aggression issues. I'm still always on high-alert for changes in his mental state even now during normal walks, how he's reacting to changes/new things in our environment, etc.

So conclusion: I'm confident in my own training skills, but fear the extent of inevitable genetics... Even if I recognize a behavioral issue right when it props up, will it 100% go away, or was it always something inherent in the puppy? For Lancer, it will always be there and inhibits his ability to try certain sports and do certain outdoor activities- he's just learned to ignore the fears, unless intentionally placed in a situation over threshold.

In the end, the decision seems pretty evened out (in terms of personal pros and cons), so... all on me. LOL <_<

Pan, I also considered waiting for an adult returned to the breeder- just that the chances are rare and pure luck. It seems that often, breeders will just straight up offer adults to handlers/friends that they already know to be a good home. But of course, if it DOES happen, and the temperament is good, I'm all for it.
 

milos_mommy

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#11
IME, you're going to get severe behavioral issues from a few sources. One is straight up bad genetics (a dog with a lot of aggressive/reactive family members, poor prenatal care of the mother, or extremely poor early socialization, which isn't genetic but has a similar impact), or in a dog who's environment and handling isn't appropriate to their needs (a guardian breed in a high traffic small home, an under exercised herding breed in a small apartment, or a dog that's been raised in a rural or suburban home thrown into a city life), OR a mild, common, typical behavior that's handled poorly and is exacerbated.

IME dogs from good lineage, the right environment, and who are evaluated as puppies by a breeder/trainer with experience are not typically going to automatically start displaying severe reactivity/etc. You can explain Lancer's behavior by his family history and breeding purpose - he's a great farm dog that doesn't live on a farm. If you seek out a puppy that's set for an active pet home, they probably won't naturally have those kinds of issues.

They MAY develop some reactivity. It's common, probably more common than uncommon, in most dogs (will also depend on breed). If you're equipt to handle this, odds are with a stable puppy you can quickly nip it in the bud. If you know early signs a puppy is going to start doing something you don't want, you can essentially train them not to before it starts. Most average pet owners can't, which is why a ton of dogs are supreme jerks in a pet store or barrel into the fence/window whenever you walk by.

What I'm trying to say is, a well-bred, appropriately bred, evaluated and thoughtfully chosen puppy is far more likely to have behavioral issues due to nurture rather than nature. Unfortunately, it's not particularly easy to properly raise and train a dog from higher energy, drivier breeds. If you can (and I think you probably can), it's a pretty decent route to go when choosing a dog. I'd look for a dog from a pet focused breeder and choose an active pup over a sport prospect for your first sport puppy.
 

Sekah

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#12
Even perfect Aussies from perfect breeders are less perfect than they appear at first glance. I'd say that almost all of the ones I know have (or had) some degree of reactivity and many are a very special flavour of pain-in-the-ass. I fear that you're going to get an Aussie pup, see the (almost inevitable) reactivity crop up and fall to despair. I don't know Lancer, and he does sound like a handful, but Cohen and every other Aussie I know has their own quirks and issues.

So, well, if you do go that way, just understand that it's quite normal and can normally be channeled into something productive. These are not go-everywhere love-everyone type dogs you're looking at. :p And if you get one like that, it's rare enough that it should be celebrated.
 

Laurelin

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#13
Even perfect Aussies from perfect breeders are less perfect than they appear at first glance. I'd say that almost all of the ones I know have (or had) some degree of reactivity and many are a very special flavour of pain-in-the-ass. I fear that you're going to get an Aussie pup, see the (almost inevitable) reactivity crop up and fall to despair. I don't know Lancer, and he does sound like a handful, but Cohen and every other Aussie I know has their own quirks and issues.

So, well, if you do go that way, just understand that it's quite normal and can normally be channeled into something productive. These are not go-everywhere love-everyone type dogs you're looking at. :p And if you get one like that, it's rare enough that it should be celebrated.
Yes that is kind of what I was trying to get at but you worded it much better.

I think most dogs of all breeds will have 'moments' and that's just something you need to expect. But it's just a dog thing in general. I've seen people really freak out over minor issues and cause more issues down the line.

I would not expect any dog to be 100% problem free and that's kind of what I fear that you are looking for. I don't think it's realistic.

With Hank when I adopted him, he seemed 100% easy going and perfect but the longer I've had him and the more mature he gets he's gone through some ringers as far as fear goes, reactivity, and DA towards certain male dogs. It is kind of par for the course especially with certain kinds of dogs. And a lot of times you can't explain it away, it just... *is* what it is.
 

lancerandrara

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#14
Reactivity in itself is actually fine to me- barking just for the sake of barking, or barking at weird things just because, like with a lot of herding breeds. It's when the reactivity is based in fear, and thus fear-aggression when over threshold (for Lancer) that it's a problem that I'd prefer not to deal with again. Milo, you mentioned "environment is appropriate to their needs", and that's what I'd like to hear expanded on too, if that's alright- it's mainly what I'm worried about living in a noisy and high-traffic area and potentially getting an Aussie puppy. Would it be inevitable that they're not suited for the environment, even being raised here? Would the ambulances and buses and constant loudness just spook them into spooky dogs with fear issues, or is that something that can be conditioned since they grew up here?

My concerns now are mainly fear and aggression issues that might arise inevitably in this environment, not just reactivity or dog-being-dog quirks by itself.

And "go-anwhere-do-anything" is a thing I like, but I definitely don't need "love-everything". I appreciate a level of suspicion and aloofness towards strangers in appropriate situations, which is what I actually like about Aussies. But as long as it's aloofness and suspicion in an appropriate way, and not false aloofness/reactivity rooted in fear. I hope that's understandable. :s
 
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milos_mommy

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I was also kind of wondering about your breed choice...Aussies (and most herders) tend to have some level of reactivity, either fear or motion based, and many can be prone to things like anxiety or OCD which manifests in those ways.

Not that reactivity isn't a common issue across the board, but if you're so worried about it, maybe consider looking into a breed that has less of a tendency to exhibit these behaviors? I think in your position and with your concerns, I'd be looking more at breeds in the sporting and utility group, maybe something like tollers, spaniels, or even poodles, that are often successful in the agility circuit without the natural driviness that often manifests as reactivity.

ETA: just read your last post. Honestly, I think it would be a lot of work and possibly beyond your experience level to bring a dog intentionally bred for sports, a working line Aussie, etc into a high traffic apartment and expect no issues. There's a good reason you don't see a lot of active herding breeds in highly urban areas. That said, I think there are likely pet lines that could provide what you're looking for. But those are essentially what people often call "a golden retriever in an -insert breed here- suit". I'd look, particularly if you can find an urban breeder with dogs doing the sports you want and see how it works out (or a breeder that has dogs living in your city). A mini Aussie might also be another thing to look into because they're more bred for city living.
 

*blackrose

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My senior year of higschool I adopted a genetic/environmental nightmare of an Aussie mix from a classmate. She seemed a stable enough pup, but maturity saw her turn into an unpredictable reactive biter with anxiety and sound sensitivity issues. Not really the dog of my dreams.

After college, when I knew I wanted another dog, I decided my best bet was going to be a breeder pup. I opted against an adult rescue because 1.) I really wanted a puppy and 2.) I have certain behaviors I find INCREDIBLY annoying and would rather shape a pup to be what I want than have to break a long time habit of an adult dog.

My main priority when looking at breeders/pups was temperament. Abrams was a fantastic puppy. I thought he was going to grow to be "perfect". As he's matured, he's become more of an asshole towards other animals, he is very dog selective, and he's become more reactive/obessive compulsive over certain things to where his brain just short curcuits and he acts a fool when presented with certain situations. None of those traits were in my "ideal dog" list. But, just because he's not perfect doesn't mean I'm not happy with him or I'm not happy I have him. I still consider him a great addition and I don't regret getting a breeder pup for a second.

I guess I'm trying to say what everyone else has said: No dog is 100% perfect unless you're super lucky. Lol That doesn't mean they won't be a great fit, or you've messed something up or made a bad decision. It's just part of having a dog.

ETA: setting yourself up for success by picking the right breed/set of traits is also important. I did NOT want a dog prone to sound sensitivity or reactiveness in the way that my prior dog is. So I got a breed that isn't prone to tuose things. He's a over stimulated asshole at times, but that is what Chessies are known for by a lot of people, so I knew that would always be a possibility with him. Haha
 
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#17
I have to agree that probably a herder isn't the best breed choice, though I'm sure there are individuals that would be great.

What about a whippet?
 

pinkspore

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Have you looked at Timeless Aussies in Buelton? I've met a dozen of her dogs now and every single one of them is amazing. They're all minis, but they're perfectly proportioned, perfect temperament, perfect little Aussies.
 

lancerandrara

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Oh yeah, I'm definitely not looking for a working line Aussie pup or one intentionally bred for sports. I had the idea almost a year back, but that idea is long gone. 6__6

I mentioned very briefly before, I'd be considering showline Aussie breeders, like Oracle (except they're in Canada... FML). Essentially leaning towards the "golden retriever in *breed* body". There's a lot of overlap in Aussies, so many showlines are totally capable of doing well in sports. But even then, I worry about how well they'd grow up in this environment, considering that all these showline Aussie breeders live in quiet, wide-open areas.

I'm actually open to considering different breeds too... maybe I'll need to make a breed matching thread l o l . But I think I know that I'd get poodle as one of the top choices, but I flat out just don't love how they look.

Blackrose, that Aussie mix + fear-aggression + 10x fearfulness = sounds a lot like Lancer.

I totally agree, no dog is 100% perfect (well.. maybe a foster to adopt situation is the best bet here), and I understand that. Getting down to it, I just would really... really... love to avoid something severe enough that would significantly inhibit on the quality of life/outdoors activities and sports that he can do, like for Lancer.
 
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Sekah

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#20
A mini Aussie might also be another thing to look into because they're more bred for city living.
I can count the number of mini Aussies I've met without significant fear and/or reactivity issues on one hand. And I've met a lot of them.

I raised Cohen in a fairly urban setting, and she was fine growing up with the hustle & bustle. And I really really do like Oracle Aussies, so I think they're a solid choice.

Another (again, Canadian) breeder up here with very pretty dogs, but with less of an edge, is Vulcan.
 

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