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Choosing a Puppy

Choosing a Puppy

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I have been reading [info]nosemovie  and her research on getting a new puppy. I'm also thinking about getting a new puppy. I'll wait til late spring or summer when I'll be out of school and have the time.  I'll be getting another labradoodle.  I have asthma. and I have felt much better, really have had no attacks, since I no longer have cats or a shedding dog, and I really love Matilda.  I've contacted Matilda's breeder to see what she has coming. She'll have several litters ready to go home late spring, early summer. I'm also going to contact the breeder where [info]dinahprincedaly   got Stella.

I want a dog for agility and for therapy dog work, too.  Stella's breeder has a group of smaller labradoodles which I thought might be good. They have the same temperament and look as the larger ones.  For agility I thought  it might be good to have a dog of a different height. A dog of a different height would be a new challenge.  Also,  I don't like the thought of running dogs back to back, but of course it would be  a several years any way before a puppy would be doing trials. Also for traveling having one dog a little smaller might be easier. I'm not firm on the size.

Does anyone have advice on judging puppies for structure and drive? What I should be looking for? Advice on books to look at? When I got Matilda I had no idea I'd be doing agility. I was just looking for a cute puppy. The therapy dog part I thought about right away, especially when I was able to bring her to school with me.  Now I'll be looking for a puppy who'll an agility puppy as well as a pet..

  • only opinions here... but a dog I'd want for agility would NOT be the dog I'd want for therapy. If you can find a dog who has an on-off switch like that, wow... I'd be hella impressed. Generally dogs who love agility are lively and a bit hmmmm, wild? Or at least get excited quickly and easily. I think if I wanted a therapy dog (and I'm guessing you mean dogs that visit nursing homes, etc. etc..) I'd want the mellowist of mellows.

    There's a book called "from the ground up" that I really like by Kim,,,, Collins? think that's it. It's got really great foundation stuff for pups. And it's very easy to read.
    • I can see what you're saying about Therapy dog / Agility dog. You wouldn't expect them to go together, but Matilda loves agility (and can be a little wild) and is also an amazing therapy dog.

      I'll check out the Kim Collins book. Thank you.
    • I think there are many different ways to do agility... the weekend hobbyist, the perpetual handler student with series of learner dogs, the steady march toward success with steady predictable dog, the winner take all at all costs, the push the envelopers with the challenge of dogs that need to be revved up or revved down, the social agilityist, the physicist handler and ergonomically structured dog, the dog lover, the trainer, the health nut, the make the best of what you gotter, the natural, the olympian, the elderly gal trying to stave off alzeimers with the constant challenge of remembering courses... you get what I'm saying... and these australian labradoodles tend to be so versatile they just roll with whatever you got in mind... so Liza, which one, or combination, are you? Rosie?
      • Ha! good question.

        I think what I mean to say about "types" of dogs for different things is ... It' much EASIER to play and enjoy agility with a dog that's keen for it and has both athletic ability AND some zoom in his butt. I did agility with a dog that wasn't "into" it and yeah, it's like pulling teeth and really wasn't fun for either of us.

        Razor loves this stuff. and his drive makes the game fun for both of us each and every time. Now...could I take him into a nursing home? Well, I could but he wouldn't be mellow or careful for long, and that would worry me and I wouldn't be having a good time (tho, he might!)

        I go get that there are dogs that CAN do it all. I guess I question if you lose something in the transition or the scope when you try for that? Either losing the dependable calm you need with kids and older folks, or losing the amped up enjoyment you get on the course.

        As for what type of handler I am. I am the same type of handler I am of a person. I do like excitement and challenges and the thrill of learning new things. I get up and move. I guess that's why a dog like that fits with me. :)
        • how many gears does the average race car have?
        • and honestly, what I've learned from switching from Delta to Good Dog Foundation... the most important quality for a therapy dog is that they love getting attention from people... that they have no problem looking people right in the eye and approaching happily... our hospital work in the pediatrics unit was non-stop tricks, entertainment and also getting the kids to give the cues... in rehab it was mostly a trick and then curling up on the floor snoozing while the person talked bout the pets they used to have... I'll see if I can find the link to Stella's great great grandfather a very drivey amazing therapy dog, that instinctive drive for what he was supposed to do that sent him through plate glass to help his master... here is Cool Dude http://www.alpsdoodles.org/pages/cooldude.htm
          • oooh, he looks lovely. What a great dog. It's like he's FULL of love! you can see it in his eye.
        • I agree with what you say about not wanting to do agility with a dog that's not into it. That would be no fun at all. Certainly Matilda and Stella are both dogs that love agility.

          I guess now that I'm going to be looking for a new puppy I want to be able to know how to recognize that quality in a puppy. What to look for.
          • K.
            Here's a thing I notice with younger dogs and adults I work with when I do sessions/training.

            Dogs who are keen to play, normally also have a really nice handler focus. A lot of puppies will play with other puppies, but will it play with you? Does it get distracted really easily? When you remove it from the other puppies does it get all nervous and looking for them or Mom? Or is it willing to grab a rag and tug w/ you? Will it go after a rolled ball, and then look up at you to see why the ball stopped rolling? (so cute when that happens).
            I don't expect EVERY puppy to want to be all over me, but I do expect a puppy to engage with me if I engage it in play.

            If you stand up and walk 10 feet from a crowd of puppies, then squeak a toy. -- which ones looked up? Which ones charged you! (I want that one!!) Which ones just kept doing what they're doing?

            There was a litter of Pumi puppies I played with about a year ago Dec. One was oddly shaped and had weird hair. He really stood out because basically he was sort ugly! hahahaha

            But he PLAYED with me, and he was very willing to stop whatever he was doing to gnaw on my hands or just tug. The breeder ended up keeping him probably because his size and look was so off no one was going to want him? I would have taken him (had I been looking for a Pumi) and now at 1+ Years old, he's no show dog AT ALL< but she says he's fun and happy and really a great companion.
            That's what I'd be looking for. :)
      • I enjoy the training, meeting the challenges, finding the solutions. I like competing, too. Agility is really the first competition I've ever done . I never did a sport growing up. I like having success, but I'm not the "winner take all at ll costs" person. I think it would be fun to get good enough to go to regionals or nationals, but I'm enjoying working toward titles locally.

        Which kind of agility person are you?
        • me? staving off alzheimers with a dog i love... but no actually I have been having to think about this in one of Daisy's classes (Athletic Conditioning for Agility Handlers) where we have to fill in a goals sheet for the next six months and honestly agility training was something I started with B and we were doing it together (same with the therapy dog work) and now I'm doing it alone and its a little lonely... so my reasons, motivations are not the same... and so what then are they?
        • I'm the type that couldn't work with a Minivan type agility dog. Just being able to Q isn't any fun for me. I like the excitement of never knowing what might happen. I think I would probably want an oddly tuned 78 Dodge Charger. Sure, they break down a lot, but when they are ON they are ON! and they look so retro cool. :P

          Sure, I don't make sense, but I think you get what I mean.

          I think for me, a dog that does well in therapy wouldn't match my personality. NOT that I don't respect that. And boy do I enjoy it when I meet those types. There's a young lab I'm working with on leach reactive issues that in the house is the ultimate gentleman. I just want to SMOOCH him all the time. He's lovely too, gorgeous black dog. But honestly, if he were mine? I wouldn't know what to do with him.... Maybe dock dogs? That always looks fun, but my dogs hate the water. sigh.
  • Helen King has just published an ebook on the subject of choosingYou can find it here:http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Picking-Your-Performance-Puppy/129335870512160
    And here is a good blog post about therapy dogs: http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/therapy-dogs-born-or-madea puppy for performance.

    Edited at 2012-02-21 07:40 pm (UTC)
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