I realize that the breeder will best know the personalities of the pups, and will be an invaluable resource in picking a puppy with the temperment best suited for our family, but any other suggestions?
For those of you who have gone through the process, what were your criteria etc.?
I played with each pup seperately and together.* I "ran" away from each pup, calling, to see if they would follow or be more interested in trying to get back into the pen with their littermates.* I played with each pup to see how bitey and how agressive they were.* *I also looked them over... eyes, ears, nose... general body composition.* Even though I knew we weren't getting the female or the black I "tested" them to have a comparison.
Female was UBER agressive and bitey and ran after me but tried to bite the back of my legs.* Whew... thank goodness we didn't want a girl!
Black male was playful and non-agressive... but had a pot belly like you wouldn't believe and ended up needing worming so he probably wasn't in his peak puppy condition when I played with him.
"The Baby" (smaller one Eric wanted initially) was too uninterested... not playful... just kind of hung out and wandered off on his own.
The darker yellow male (BIG puppy)... he was great.* He played with me without too much biting and when I walked/ran away he followed like "what's next?"* He was a very good pup.
Ender stole my heart though.* Not only did he play enthusiastically (but not agressively)... he followed me around faster than the other yellow... he was just MORE eager to be with me and the same with Eric.* It was magical in a way and at the time I tried so hard to NOT give my heart away 'cause we didn't have first pick... but he stole it and I spent the next few weeks hoping and wishing that Riley (the girl who got first pick) would take another one and not DARING say anything about how he was my favorite.
As time went by, and we eventually got the GREAT news that Riley picked "The Baby" I knew each time I visited the pups that Ender was the one for me.* He was a big lump of cuddleness but also active and playful. He was the perfect balance between being an active pup yet people -pleasing and not "alpha" wannabe.
Oh how sweet Lindsay! It sounds like you and Ender really have a special connection. Your ideas are great, and we are fortunate to have first pick (besides the breeder obviously, but they want a girl) so we will have some choices!
We concentrated on the mother first. How did she look? Good, we thought. We watched and petted her. Our #1 criteria was temperament. She was sooo friendly and calm. When we went to see the puppies, we watched them play, and played with them. The only thing I did was pick Tucker up (the one we got), held him in my arms on his back, like a baby, with my hand lightly on his tummy. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's said you see how they settle by doing this. If they wriggle/stuggle a bit, then relax and settle, that's a good sign; and that's what he did.
For the main thing is temperament. Pretty much what Ender's mom said is what I would be looking for..playful but not too aggressive..and be able to settle down. Man I cannot wait until I get mine later this summer!
I asked my breeder to choose for me. I figured she had spent 8 weeks watching each puppy and she could better identify which one would be best suited for our family, activity level & lifestyle. I spelled out exactly what I was ~ and wasn't ~ looking for and then just trusted my breeder to do the rest. I must say, I don't think I could have gotten a better fit
I picked the momma first. I also met a male that comes from the same breeding line. We loved both of them. When we met the expectanct momma, we bonded with her right away. The puppies, we had to pick at 4 weeks, they were sleeping. We picked the only yellow male because his face was just too irresistable. Now Dave wants his black brother instead, I think.
I recently went to watch a breeder / trainer at a local waterfowl exhibition and he said to "just pick a dog". He then pulled out a 10 week old chocolate lab (which was a beautiful puppy) which was retrieving already and returned to him on command. The trainer showed us what he could do and then told the audience that this puppy was the last dog left in out of the litter so he kept him. Granted, he was from a long line of champions but it was neat watching a puppy that young already working that well.
I had contacted most breeders around New Zealand and nobody had puppies available. The ones they were expecting were already booked for so we were on waiting lists for 4 months and over.
One morning I looked in the yellow page's under animal breeders and there was 1 breeder of labradors that was it.
I nagged at my husband untill he made the call and she said "What are you looking for?" He said a black male, she sounded very confused and said the 2 min before she had a lady that had cancelled a black male which was born 2 days before. She said come and have a look next week the others are already taken (all females).
We obviously went the same day and after 3 hours talking and filling out forms we were approved..(?!whatever that means) Tasman was the largest in the litter the other boy had a clift pallet and needed surgery but had already been picked by a family aswell. My choice to go with this breeder was because they are lovely people with gorgeous dogs we were also able to see the father who lived down the road. When we finally picked them up the man was having tears in his eyes..aaaaawwww.