Interpreting temperament from visit with Ryker (the chosen one)...
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Thread: Interpreting temperament from visit with Ryker (the chosen one)...

  1. #1
    Rykersmama's Avatar
    Rykersmama is offline Junior Member
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    QuestionInterpreting temperament from visit with Ryker (the chosen one)...

    Last Sunday my son and I were invited to go see Ryker, our 6 week chocolate lab puppy that we picked out several weeks prior. When we arrived, the breeder was in her fenced in yard surrounded by 10 little pups (all chocolates). Some were curled up and sleeping by the side of the house where it was cool. Several others were playing together, sniffing around and targeting our feet and shoe laces.

    My son got down on the ground for several minutes and played with the pups. He took Ryker and laid him on his back in the grass and rubbed his tummy for several minutes. He seemed to be enjoying it yet would sometimes try to kick away my sons hand with his feet. After a minute or so, my son tried to help Ryker roll back over upright but he immediately rolled himself onto his back again for more tummy rubs. It almost seemed like he was enjoying it but was a little ticklish. I took a video of it on my phone and wish I could share it with you. Anyway, I was wondering if this is a good sign as far as temperament goes. He played with the other pups but didn't seem too aggressive or dominant. Several other pups had a fixation for my sons shoe strings and my flip flops (and toes), but not Ryker. After a while he went over to the side of the house to take a nap as I think we wore him out.

    We don't want a dog that is too alpha as I've heard they're harder to train, but on the other hand I don't want a dog that is so dependent that it has separation anxiety if we leave for a while. He won't be shown or used for hunting, just a family pet.

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    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    A reputable breeder would not have allowed you to pick out your own puppy several weeks ago. It's obvious you have no idea how to assess temperament or you wouldn't be asking this question. One tummy rub is not a reliable way to tell how your puppy is going to handle for the next 15 years. If I am sounding mean please know it's the breeder I have issues with. The breeder is best equipped to fit/match to you and your family the pup that you want.

    The breeder has been with the pups since birth and I hope will have them another two weeks. The breeder has had the chance to watch the pups over all this time and see how they react to different stimuli at different times, ie, after waking, when hungry, sleepy, excited, alone, with all the other pups around. One pup might act differently at different times. There's no way you can assess that in one visit with one little test.

    What is this breeder doing with the dogs? Conformation show? Hunt tests? Field trials? Obedience or some other competitive venue? Have the parents had all clearances: hips, elbows, heart, eyes, EIC, CNM? What's your health guarantee look like? Have you put down a deposit? Can you find a better breeder and leave this pup?

    Sheesh, I bet you can't. Your son has been playing with him, I bet you are all in love, heck, he's named already. FWIW that does sound like a good reaction but I'm afraid it is not enough to tell you whether he will be a challenge or not. Alpha is an out dated theory not many use any more but some pups can be more intelligent, strong willed, energetic, determined and challenging. I'm afraid such a pup might still like to have his tummy tickled.
    Last edited by Dog Paddle; 07-14-2013 at 12:49 PM.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    if the breeder had YOU pick out the puppy when they were under 6 weeks then it's not the best start. You couldn't have guessed anything about temperment when you picked so it was probably looks or "feel" based on a short visit. And you can't really tell much on temperament from a short second visit either. If you have questions the breeder, who should be spending lots of time daily with these puppies each day, should be guiding you. A good breeder in fact will PICK FOR THE BUYERS, based on what they are looking for (especially with kids). THey know the puppies, not based on their mood for an h our here and there, but their overall temperament. They should be telling you what "Ryder" is like overall and if he is a good fit. IF the breeder isn't equipped to answer you or just says he'll be a fine puppy then that would set some warning bells in my head.

    What are the parents like? What was the litter bred for? (just to have puppies to sell? In hopes of having a conformation/field/hunt prospect for the breeder (or owner of the male)? Are they breeding for temperment as well as conformation/drive?

    Are the puppies raised indoors and safely socialised?

    Do the parents have all their clearances (actual tests, not a vet visit for overlal health - hips, elbwos, eyes, heart, eic, cmn?)
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    Rykersmama is offline Junior Member
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    Wow...I know you mentioned that the issue is with the breeder, but I must say I'm still feeling a little attacked here. You're right, I don't know a lot about picking out a puppy...that is why I'm here asking questions. It's been many years since I've done this and although I've done a lot of research online, there seems to be a lot of different theories out there when it comes to choosing a puppy. Some say turn it over on its' back, others say let the pup pick you, and then some say stay away from extremes.

    We are getting this pup from a friend of a friend. They are not high end breeders, but a family that bred their female chocolate with a friends male chocolate so they could have a pup for themselves. The male is papered but the female isn't. I was told she could have been papered but at the time they didn't see the need for it as she was only a family pet. I was shown pictures of the male and told all about the health and temperament of each. I met the mother and she expressed a very sweet temperament. The pups are whelped in the house (in a laundry room) and won't be coming home until after 8 weeks old. They will have their first set of shots before coming home and have been seen by a vet. I get frequent updates with pictures and videos. In hind site, yes, we probably shouldn't have picked him out so early, but I don't really blame the breeder as they aren't professionals and probably didn't know any better either.
    Last edited by Rykersmama; 07-14-2013 at 06:49 PM.

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    No one was attacking you at all, they were doing their best to educate you. The friend of a friend is what is called a back yard breeder. Unfortunately this is a sad situation and byb's have done great harm to the Lab over time. I highly doubt that any of the above mentioned health clearances have been done on either of the parents. If you want the best chance at a healthy, quality puppy you can start over and find a reputable breeder but at this point I doubt you will want to do that. (It sounds like you are already in love with this puppy and I do get that.) For lack of anything better I do wish you the best of luck and sincerely hope you do not end up as heartbroken as many of us have in the past for not knowing better.
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    dogmom is offline Senior Member
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    Agree completely with tammyhuffman. I hope that you understand most everyone here wants only the best for each dog, each family.

    The reality is that uninformed, uneducated people breeding "Fifi" to "Rover" because they want a puppy from one or the other, they want their children to witness the miracle of birth, they think it is"natural", or any other dumb reason, they are the reason so many of our beloved breed end up in shelters, end up with life long, painful, GENETIC diseases. They are the reason we now see numerous Labs with poor temperaments, so many shy, sharp or aggressive Labs that don't come close to meeting the breed standard. They don't participate in bench or field events.

    Many of these people are simply ignorant to the realities of breeding, mean no harm. But, if you are looking for a family member that has the best chance of good health, great temperament and will meet the breed standard, research all the necessary testing for Labs. Look up your local Lab clubs and find a breeder that does show in some venue, meets all those standards. However, if you are not able to walk away from this pup, I strongly recommend pet insurance. I work in the Veterinary field and from first hand experience, genetic issues with Labs can cost thousands to manage. Simple knee surgery is about $5000. TVD, many thousands.

    What ever you choose, everyone here adores our breed and will try to help with any and all issues. Good luck.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    Well I guess at this point you can only hope for the best. Trying to temperment test without experience (and without a mentor to help) based on a visit of an hour is going to give you what it gives you. Hopefully the little dude is the right pup for your family. And hopefully all these puppies are healthy and will all be spayed/neutered when they are old enough.

    at this point as it seems like you are set on this litter and that puppy, I would just do everything you can to make things work by setting him (and your family) up for success. Sign up for puppy classes (which start when he is 8-10 weeks) to help both socialise and train. A good class is a safe place for puppies and should be a mix of play/socialisation/training. Read up on socialisation and training.

    If one chooses to breed their dog, it is their responsibility to do it right. There is no excuse about being "inexperienced" "wanting just this litter" "not knowing better". This is the age of the internet, all you have to do is google and you will find more info on how to breed (or in this case, why they never should have bred these dogs to begin with).

    When people chose a breed, they generally do so because they like the temperment, look and want a healthy dog. But when people who don't know better breed random pets (as wonderful as they may be) they create health issues in the breed and make the breed less reliable. A lab is not a lab no matter what. A lab is a lab because of the breeders dedication to their lines and research and breeding labs who are true to the breed (health, temperment, structure, etc.)
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    Thanks for your response Tammy. I'm not trying to cause problems here, really I'm not, but it sure felt like I was being talked down to and made to feel like an idiot for not knowing how to pick out a puppy because "I obviously have no idea how to assess temperament". Well "obviously". Did that not sound at least a little condescending to anyone else?

    Anyway, I Initially thought about seeking out a more professional breeder but was presented this option by a friend. We are not financially able to hand over $700+ for a pup right now and I know we are taking our chances with this option. After all, there are no guarantees of perfect health or temperament no matter who you get them from. Sure, a professional breeder may refund your money or give you another puppy, but by then you're still emotionally tied to the original one.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    On the question of temperament - most of the time, Labs are pretty easy dogs. The temperament testing process you and your son were trying out is a rather dated concept of very little use in evaluting a puppy. You can't tell all that much from a brief visit anyway. Does the breeder have anything to offer you in terms of her point of view on the puppies various personalities? She's been with them everyday, after all.

    On the comments above - it would have been good if you had researched this decision in advance so that you would know how to evaluate a reputable breeder. While you may only want a family pet, the health of that pet does matter. Reputable breeders test for genetically inherited problems (orthopedic like hip and elbow dysplasia or heart abnormalities or exercise induced collapse or eye abnormalities) all of which Labs can develop. I guarantee you that these adults were not tested for these things prior to breeding. It's not inexpensive. I hope you don't wind up with a dysplastic puppy or one with EIC - but you roll the dice when you get a puppy from a back yard breeder.

    One of the downsides of Labs being so very popular is that there are many, many clueless people breeding. Experience and commitment to the integrity of the breed really matters when you are bringing little lives into the world who will be part of a family for 10-15 years.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rykersmama View Post
    Thanks for your response Tammy. I'm not trying to cause problems here, really I'm not, but it sure felt like I was being talked down to and made to feel like an idiot for not knowing how to pick out a puppy because "I obviously have no idea how to assess temperament". Well "obviously". Did that not sound at least a little condescending to anyone else?

    Anyway, I Initially thought about seeking out a more professional breeder but was presented this option by a friend. Weq are not financially able to hand over $700+ for a pup right now and I know we are taking our chances with this option. After all, there are no guarantees of perfect health or temperament no matter who you get them from. Sure, a professional breeder may refund your money or give you another puppy, but by then you're still emotionally tied to the original one.
    I do understand you, I was in your shoes 10+ years ago and did not know better. Unfortunaty it ended really badly for me and I lost a beloved dog much too early. It broke my heart and I desperately do not want to see anyone else go through the hell I did. You can roll the dice and maybe you will get lucky or maybe you will be faced with the $1000's in vet care that I was. The cost of a puppy is just the beginning but why anyone would set themself up for a possible heartbreak regarding health issues that are so prevalent in Labs is beyond me. The suggestion of insurance for your puppy is extremely valid, I hope you take that advice. A reputable breeder is testing for many genetic diseases/issues and gives you a solid foundation to build on. Of course they can not guarantee that there will be zero health issues BUT they are giving you a lot more than what have right now. A reputable/responsible breeder gives you more than a refund or replacement puppy. Lab temperment is a very important part of the breed standard, a reputable breeder has spent years, blood, sweat and tears to insure their puppies meet breed standard. There is so much more that goes in to responsible breeding. It breaks my heart every time I hear about irresponsible people that have bred their dog without the knowledge to do so.
    Only you can do what is right for your family and situation. Everyone here only wants to help you do it the right way so you do not end up where so many of us have.
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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