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Easily identifiable temperament in pups?
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

Which temperament traits are easy to pick out amongst littermates and which take time to come out and are best guessed at by lineage? Just curious. I'm a newbie , not planning to ever breed myself, but am wondering how a good breeder matches puppies. I will be getting a Mal pup from an experienced breeder that I trust with this. I wonder if its easy to spot a pup that will get along well with other dogs and wonder about other traits as well. Also could someone explain pack drive to me? Thanks for your time!

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Old 04-02-2016, 09:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

Imaging watching pups as watching a group of young preschoolers. Some kids are into everything and want to be in charge of everything. Some are shy and hang back to just watch. Others are participants until things get to rough and opt to leave the play group. Some watch until they see an opportunity to take advantage of the situation and then jump in. Watching puppies for traits is more than the work of a couple of minutes. I spent over 2 hours with the last litter I picked from before making my decision from the 4 males present. The one I finally selected was the smallest, scrawniest pup but there was a tenacity and level of energy that appealed to me.

The best suggestion I can make is to spend time talking with the breeder and establish a relationship with them. Let them know what you are looking for (what's your ideal pup like) and the goals you have in mind. The breeder should be able to select a puppy where your personality and its will match. Nothing worse is handing a weak puppy to a strong personality or a strong puppy to a weak owner. The best teams balance each other. This is your first dog and you want the best but you will make a lot of mistakes - even with a good club behind you - and some pups handle these things better than others. The breeder should know which of his pups could be a good fit for a first time owner/handler. If you can you should also take a couple of trips over and spend time with the litter. Just sit in the corner and watch the dynamics. Discuss your observations with the breeder. You may find a puppy that actually picks you. If that happens, my suggestion is it to take that pup and run with it.
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

from my experience i think it is wrong to think you can spot how well a pup will get along with other dogs when the pup is in the litter

what you are seeing in a litter is how siblings interact, which may or may not transfer to how the pups will get along with other dogs after they leave the litter
- but if you want a more definite answer i would say it can't be done

- dogs relating to other dogs depends a lot on the handler. in my opinion, handling is as important a factor as the genetics

if you allow your pup to get in the face of other dogs it doesn't know, you may be asking for trouble. an adult dog you do not know can discipline your pup too strong, and that may affect your pup for a long time in terms of dog on dog behavior
- you have probably heard not to coddle it either, but that is easier said than done. it's too easy to treat your pup like a newborn helpless baby

furthermore, the people who "socialize the heck" out of pups VERY often do not take care of their pup when they do so. they do not show proper guidance and leadership, and they do not proactively step in when they should. they give other owners too much credibility for being able to handle their dog.
- then they complain that another dog attacked their poor puppy
- i have heard this MANY many times from dog owners who have dogs that don't get along with other dogs. they blame it on the "other dog" or the "other owner" because they had NO clue how to properly socialize their own.
- then you get other owners who think their dog doesn't need to make friends with ANY other dogs because their dog is destined to be a personal protector. this attitude can be equally as stupid and also cause problems

my summary
1. protect your pups from other dogs but don't coddle it and shield it from other dog interactions
2. your target should be NEUTRALITY and self confidence for your dog
3.i still think the "group classes" you refer to are a bad way to start out unless you can control the other dogs around you...which is usually not possible
4. i feel even the most experienced breeder cannot pick this type of dog for you when it is in a litter.....because it is also VERY owner dependent
5. go to a shelter that has a litter and watch them interact...that might broaden your experience base too

i would like you to pass this opinion on to your breeder and hear what she says because i could be way off track ---- i'm a trainer, not a breeder
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

typical "meet and greet"

"Hi there; nice dog you have....soooo calm....is it friendly ? "
-- "SURE....my dog likes other dogs a lot.....your pup is soooo cute "

pup approaches eagerly ..... licking and wagging at the other dog .... life is wonderful

(both owners start chatting to each other while watching their dogs)

&!^!%*....SNAP ((((

-- "OH, i'm sooo sorry....he never did THAT before "
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

When talk terms in dog training like pack drive. Just understand there is no clear cut definitions to a lot of these terms. A lot of language is loose generalizations to describe what we are seeing. So bare that in mind. Pack Drive is the loose term on how much a dog inherently is driven to be with, and work with the people and dogs in it's inner most circle. That's a real basic explanation. This can manifest itself in a million in and one ways and two dogs with good pack drive may show very different behaviors. But an example is my old female has good pack drive. She has a shallow appreciation for strangers and other dogs. But when it comes to her family she would bite you if you tried to restrain her from getting to me. But if I held her and you called her... she could care less about you. That's a little bit of an extreme example. But the dog does not really have a choice about this. The dog is driven to be with me. It's more than she just likes me. It's instinctual.

As for trying to pick a puppy to see how well it will get along with others. I think at 8 weeks you can start to see somethings that could let you know if a dog is going to have some social skill at getting along with other dogs. Obviously there is no full proof way to know it's gonna be a sure thing. But you can see some things. Like if 2 pups are playing and one gets pissed and yaks at the other pup. If the pup that was getting to rough heeds the warning. I'd take that as a good sign the pup will have some capability at respecting boundries. And it doesn't have to be all out submission. If the puppy just moves on with it's day and finds something else to do. I'd take that. If the pups lights off and goes ape shit on the other puppy. That might be a sign that they are going to have a very strong personality and may not be respectful to others. Again, they are just pups and a lot happens in the next year or two. So nothing is guaranteed. And a lot of this is not going to be able to be explained over the internet. It takes a little experience and little bit of "dog sense" to kind of process what you are seeing. Just like everything in dog training. Reading dog behavior is kind ofa talent.... and not's really easily transfered by words.

I have introduced a lot of pups into my house, as well as older dogs. I have been pretty lucky. I don't know if it's something I do that I am not aware of or if it's just luck.I have had a pretty peaceful household with dogs coming and going. But Not one Puppy I have introduced has had a problem, and none of my dogs have. First, My dogs have good social behavior. They all know the boundries I set down. They are very clear. So when I introduce a puppy they have good role models. They older dogs also are allowed to teach the puppies the rules. I do not interfere too much. I think the older dogs are just as much a factor... if not more than the puppy. The puppy is going to be very pliable in terms of shaping it's personality. The older dogs are, who they are.

When I do see problems in other households it's often the pup is isolated from the other dogs. Grows up for sometime with only child syndrome. Then the handler one day tries the great experiment and puts them together.

One little thing I was taught early on in my dog training journey was the value of off leash walks with my pack. I cannot express how invaluable this tool is when introducing new puppies into my home. The first thing I do is load everyone up in the van....find a field and let everyone out. Now I cannot prove any of what I am about to say. But it's my theory why this is great way to introduce dogs to one another. First most fights happen when handlers let dogs out together and then just stare at them...waiting to see what happens. When you walk. the dogs attention is ever so slightly divided. There is no forced meeting. The puppy usually sticks close to me and my dogs go and do their thing. My dogs might come and check-in. Check out the guy for a minute...but they have more important business to attend to...like sniffing. Eventually the pup starts to want to see what the other dogs are doing...they start smelling what the other dogs are smelling. They still are not really interacting yet. But they are... Dogs if we set them all free.. would roam. They would walk. They would walk together as a pack. In fact it would take up the majority of their time. This also builds drive to be with the pack. Like all my dogs know to follow me. If I turn around and go back to the van. My dogs do too. Little Junior in all of his defenselessness probably will find it in his best interest to stick with the dogs and the guy who hasn't tried to eat him. So the little guy follows. I do this daily. Now, knock on wood.

I think most of the time when you treat your puppy normal without any crazy protocols for introduction and you have dogs with good social behavior. The puppy will easy be accepted and meld right in.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

i like your approach James...definitely one of the best ways to handle pups

when humans can stay out of the way, dogs will always learn how they fit in with each other. unfortunately most people don't have a boss and a nice balanced pack of role models that pups can hang with and learn from
- the more you operate in an ever increasing urban environment the more non-dog owners you constantly have to deal with

i was also curious about the pack question....we've had lots of 'drive' discussions about most every drive that has ever been coined

- the ability to read dogs should always improve with experience, but i still come across people "who have been around dogs all their lives" and still can't read basic canine behavior
- hope it doesn't take this too far off track, but why do you suppose that happens ??? does it take someone who can read dogs to teach others how to do it, or does it just "happen" ???
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

There are a number of standardized test that I have found useful including Volhard
http://www.workingdogs.com/testing_volhard.htm and aspects of the NAVHDA protocol for pups older than a few months.
Ive helped develop HWA tests http://www.huntingworkingairedales.com which incorporate these and was able to follow up to some extent the pups as they mature.
A lot depends on their upbringing but the old saw holds..
" Ya can tone a high dog down but ya cain't bring a low dog up."
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Weiss View Post
There are a number of standardized test that I have found useful including Volhard
http://www.workingdogs.com/testing_volhard.htm and aspects of the NAVHDA protocol for pups older than a few months.
Ive helped develop HWA tests http://www.huntingworkingairedales.com which incorporate these and was able to follow up to some extent the pups as they mature.
A lot depends on their upbringing but the old saw holds..
" Ya can tone a high dog down but ya cain't bring a low dog up."
It is interesting the Volhard test I initially did that test on the the litter I whelped 6 years ago. I am in contact with 90% of the owners and have looked back on the test and what the pups are like as adults. Basically I'd say now that they compare favourably 75-80% correct compared to how they tested at 7.5 weeks old. Sure some a lot less and some have a higher percentile comparison speaking.

As with all tests of this nature the Volhard test is again just a snap shot in time and shouldn't be treated like a sure thing. Some of the pups who tested highly ended up as mediocore adults and others who tested lower ended up being fire crackers. My own pup was not a super interactive puppy in the test but he is now a Ring 3 which required a lot of interactive training. The Volhard test said he wouldn't be a good dog for being interactive but as an adult he is, go figure.

Sometimes you just have to go with what your gut tells you.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Empey View Post
I

Sometimes you just have to go with what your gut tells you.
I had a lot of advice from dog handlers in the first dog club I joined. This was years ago and the advice was sound. I attended one or two seminars in Germany given by down to earth Leistungshunde handlers. Elmar Mannes, Fritz Biehler, Ronny van den Berg. I followed their comments on the dogs they judged, my own included.

The dog world was ok until the turn of the century. There has been such a lot of rubbish printed since then. Everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon. Positive dog training is the slogan for most dog trainers who are only out to earn money.

There is no way - in my mind - that one can bring up a dog on only positive training.

If you have ever watched dogs and their pups interact, you will know what I mean.

My old Landseer was alive when I brought our Briard pup home. One weekend we looked after the pup's mother and all three were in the garden. Suddenly, both Landseer and pup's mother dived in on the pup and sent him running into the garage. It might have been to toughen him up or to remand him. I didn't see what happened from the beginning BUT I never would have interfered.

I am often heayvhanded but I have learned from reading my dogs that this is not the way to handle my little Giiant Schnauzer. I am not going to be soft with her but I am taking steps to ensure that her "biting attacks and answering back" do not go unattended. I have had correspondence with her breeder and her brother that she has kept is reacting similarly and we seem to be on the same page.

I think I could hit Enya over the head with a skillet and she would retaliate. But this is where reading the dog and reacting comes in. The more I used force, the more force she brought forward. I can only think that she notices that I am losing my position as her "boss" by losing my temper.

I have noticed slight improvements since I have changed my treatment of her.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Easily identifiable temperament in pups?

Cool preschooler analogy. I hope I get a chance to see the litter interact together. Sarah, you are on it. My breeder asked about my personality in the puppy application before she asked about what I wanted in a pup. I don't know how well I explained my own personality. I wasn't sure what to explain except that I like to do active things. I think I mentioned that I wasn't into an exacting sport like IPO, but liked to challenge myself by trying new activities. That may translate to a dog that is very environmentally stable and athletic (you'd want to see that in any Mal though) In my life, I have been competitive in people sports and am not a pushover, but mostly, I like to have family, friends and dogs accompany me on adventures. I'd like a dog that's confident to try different protection scenarios and daily activities. I like to challenge a dog athletically. The breeder did have a pretty extensive section about what I was looking for. I can't wait for the pups to be born and have an actual conversation with the breeder. Thanks Sarah.
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