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Picking the right dog

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Im looking for tips for picking out the right puppy/dog...I already have a breed in mind but what are good tips for finding a reputable breeder and then once you have a breeder in mind what do you look for to find the right dog in the litter?

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Well if they come from great parents they should all be great dogs. I have never been a guy that thinks the pick of the litter is the biggest looking dog. Spend a little time with them and see which ones personality you like. If you want a more quiet or outgoing dog and other little things you can pick up on.

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What are you looking for in a dog?

When we were searching for a breeder, we spent time at some dog shows. It's a great place to see a lot of dogs. From there, you can pick out the attributes you like and inquire about the breeder.

Word of mouth is the best way to find a good breeder. Talk to people that have dogs that you like and find out where they are from. And once you find some breeders, ask lots of questions.

Spend time with the pups and pick one with an attitude you like. I would stay away from a shy pup. A friendly, outgoing pup is a good choice. Don't put much (if any) stock in the size.

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Thats a good question about what to look for in a pup when choosing.

In 4-5 weeks I will have pick #2 out of a 5 female litter of chocolate labs. I thought I read in an earlier post that you should take them out in an area that they are not familiar with to see how they react. What are you looking for when you take the pups out? Do you take them out independently, one by one or with the group? Do you see if they are nose to the ground pups or if they are just wandering about aimlessly or if they stick by your side? What are some of the "Smart" traits of a puppy and what are others that would show a good hunter?

I know that what ever pup I choose it will be a good dog, but just wanted to hear from the guys that actually breed them and see them mature. Where you seen the tendencies of the pup as it was maturing and what traits parleyed into better skills down the road.

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- Breeder must have all health clearances.

- Reputable breeder. Check references, as many as you can. Find a club that deals with the particular breed your interested in and go to one of their training days or get togeathers, and/or join before you even have a pup. Ask for feedback there, many guys/gals are willing to talk in person and provide feedback about breeders and their dogs/traits. You wont get as much feedback just emailing people or in written format. Go to a test/show that the breed participates in and watch them there, if you see a dog(s) that stand out go talk to the owner. Most would be very willing to share information.

-Traits that I am looking for that may be passed down from parents (size/build, athleticism, temperament, retrieving ability, drive, desire, bidability, etc), not in that particular order. Can the dog turn if off in the house and relax, this is a must for me? Are the parent or lines vocal (i.e. barking)?

-Visit the breeder and check out their facilities, and the parents of the pups once you select a litter.

-Warranty - what is the warranty? Are the details realistic? Not that I would ever be able to return a dog personally, but reputable breeders will have realistic warranties. A warranty that guarantees hips for less than 24 month months is not a warranty as hips can't be OFA'd until 24 months of age. This would tell me they really don't know what's going on (Penn hips being an exception but not the norm).

From there selecting the pup is the easy part.

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First thing you want to do is figure out exactly what you are looking for in a dog. Then you start talking with anyone and everyone associated with the breed you like.

For me I liked Vizslas and thought they would match what I was looking for so I spent time with as many as i could, both males and females. i got a sense of what the breed was like and what are some of the personality traits that I might expect to see.

When we started looking for breeders I found it pretty easy mainly becuase we got lucky with the first one we talked to. One thing to look for is what questions if any the breeder asks you. The breeder should be looking for a good home for the pup just as much as you are looking for a good pup. Basically our first meeting with our breeder was like an informaal interview process from both sides. We had a ton of questions for her and she had a ton of questions for us. We also meet both parents of the litter and got to interact with them alot. I think if you meet with the breeder face to face you'll get a good idea if they are the right fit for you.

When it came time to picking pups we had gotten to know our breeder fairly well so she knew exactly what we were looking for in a dog. She then took the entire litter to a new location they had never been to before and had tests conducted by someone who had not interacted with the pups before. After those tests our breeder pretty much knew which pup was right for us. So we didn't really get to pick the pup for ourselves.

However we had visited the pups numerous times throughout the first 8 weeks and had a good feel of each dog and our breeder placed us with the dog that was my personal favorite and felt would be the best fit. So it was a good experience knowing the dog I would have picked was also the one the breeder had picked for us as well.

When selecting a breeder I can't emphasize how cool and important it is to find one that lets you come and visit as often as you like while the pups are young. You really get to know the pups as they grow and you can get a good feel for the personality, it makes picking the right pup a lot easier.

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Take the last pup left in the litter. A lot of people get pups WAY TOO early! Mushing (and bird hunting) has had me around lots of dogs and no doubt the best were with the mother close to 12 weeks. At six or eight weeks pups are still learning to associate from their mothers. Push for at least 10 weeks, 12 is better. You'll have much more calm and attentive adults as a result.

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I agree, 10-12 weeks is perfect. Brought our boy home at 11 weeks and housebreaking was an absolute breeze!

Also, ask breeders what the #1 trait they breed for is. In my opinion, temperment should be #1.

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Picking the right pup is more about picking the right breeding. If you pick a good breeding then picking a good pup just got a lot easier. Just reach in and grab one you like.

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Picking the right pup is more about picking the right breeding. If you pick a good breeding then picking a good pup just got a lot easier. Just reach in and grab one you like.

I'll agree with that. The litter we were selecting from only had the smallest of differences between the pups. It was obvious that they were well bred, you really couldn't go wrong.

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If you have kids, leave them at home when you pick out a pup. They will love any dog you bring home and you don't need the distraction when picking the one YOU want.

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Tell the breeder exactly what you are looking for in your dog and ask them which one they would place with you. Thye know those pups inside and out and are better able to tell you which puppy shows the characteristics that you seek. You get to spend a couple hours with them over the time between birth and going home... the breeder will have 7-8 weeks fairly constant with them.

Most of the pups I place, I choose which pup is going home with whom. Takes the pressure off the new owners and I can make sure the right puppy is going home to the right family in regards to their objectives.

Good Luck!

Ken

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LABS4ME, I've always been curious...can you really tell how a dog is going to turn out by watching it for the first 8 weeks? I do agree that the breeder is best able to match up pups with owners. My dog goes through mood swings and who's to say that a pup isn't having a "bad day" or a hyper day on the day a buyer shows up to check them out.

In my case, there were only three pups left when I picked one, and I did it over the phone since they were 500 miles away. The one I picked was not a dominant pup until half the litter was sold, then he stepped up and made his presence known.

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I agree with a good breeder asking them what you want in a pup and letting them choose worked great for a lot of people I know.

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Ditto on that. Find a good breeder, let them know what you want, how you hunt, what you expect and let them pick. My last two dogs, the breeder has made the pick and they have worked out just fine.

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100% tell how they will turn out? No way... BUUUUT,

I can genrally tell the mellow-stoic pups and they will make good pets...

I can tell the rambuncious ones and the ones that are fearless, they typically match up well with trial/test guys or hard core hunters...

The smaller finer build ones genrally stay smaller and finer and vice versa

I can lead you into what I think the pup will turn into as an adult, but let them know that it is not hard and fast... but that they are getting a dog that has all the nuts and bolts in place...

Good Luck!

Ken

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Thanks Labs,

Thats what i was lookin for. I'll let the breeder know what I want out of the dog and he can point me toward the right one.

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As a breeder of springers myself, and it might be different for labs, but as long as you have good parents and the health checks, then just pick one you like the looks of. I believe that 90% of what the dog turns out to be is what time and training is put into the dogs.

Pups are just like kids! You will get out of them what you put into them! Don't spend time with them or train them properly, then they'll either be running around town or running around out in the field.

I personally can't imagane letting someone else pick out my dog. However I know that if it happened it wouldn't take but a few days to have fallen in love with that pup and not want to give it up.

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my .02 cents, spend some time with the litter and after a couple of hours with them you will know which pup you like. Like springerguy pointed it you, you will only get out of your dog the amount of time you put into it.

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