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What should I expect to see in a 7-week-old dog?


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What should I expect to see in a 7-week-old dog? I have been going out and looking at puppies trying to establish a baseline for when it's time for picking out my dog.

 

The pups I have been looking at do not seem to show much prey drive. If I drag a towel around on a kitchen floor they might be interested in it for a second, but it does not hold their interest.

 

Granted these have been mostly back yard breeders and on top of that are the dregs of the litter. Dregs seem a little harsh but you know what I mean. This surprises me; I would have guessed that most Border Collies should be hard wired with a certain amount of prey drive.

 

Is it that these border collies are just to young and the prey drive has not kicked in yet? At 7 week should they be attacking the towel?

 

It seems like with my German Shepherd Dog at 7 weeks old (that was 12 years ago) that he was attacking the towel and as a matter-of-fact it was his favorite game. As an adult he had a very well develop prey drive. I am looking for that in my Border Collie.

 

Does anyone have a video of a young pup chasing a towel so I know what to expect from a good pup, maybe a pup testing video?

 

As always thanks for your help

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I really don't know that chasing a towel would tell me anything about a border collie puppy.

 

There should be no 'dregs' in a quality breeding. If you ask any breeder of quality working pups, you should be able to stick your hand in and grab just about any pup....it is too young to predict working potential.

 

That said I have 3 young dogs (2 3 yr olds and 1 2 yr old) from the same cross (repeated). One was the pup that liked me. One was the pup that was scared and wouldn't come out of the pen...or if she did, she'd scurry back every time there was a commotion). The third was independent and a 'leftover' pup....the person that was supposed to buy him changed their pick because the pup had no interest in them and 'didn't love them'. I gave up my 'pick' pup and kept him instead.

 

The needy pup is my Ross who has won Open trials and was well pointed as a 3 yr old and just returned from CO after competing respectably in Open at Meeker and the Finals. He is still a little needy but it has little to do with his working ability....a thoughtful cool headed dog.

 

The scared pup is my Soot who has also won an Open trial as a 3 yr old and well pointed in Open trials. She is not scared anymore but can be a little high strung....a dynamic fast dog.

 

The independent leftover (ie 'dregs') pup is my 2 yr Craig who just returned from CO after running very respectably in the Nursery Finals...16th overall. I think he is well on his way to running in Open and expect that he will be one of the best dogs I've had. Not bad for being a leftover 'dregs' pup. He is no longer independent but a self assured confident dog who wants to please me....a strong forward fellow who is a good partner.

 

There weren't any tests that could have predicted any of their futures...only the quality of the breeding. If you are looking at a quality breeding, then pick the pup that appeals to you.

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I would look at the parents more than the pups. If both parents excel at what you want in your dog, then you have a good chance with any pup in the litter. Personally, I would avoid overly aggressive and very shy pups. I've never tried the towel, so I can't help there.

 

Glenn

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Granted these have been mostly back yard breeders and on top of that are the dregs of the litter. Dregs seem a little harsh but you know what I mean. This surprises me; I would have guessed that most Border Collies should be hard wired with a certain amount of prey drive.

 

The parents performance should be a good indicator of puppy performance. Pick out parents with qualities that you're drawn to and you should get a pup that will meet of exceed your expectations. Head out to a couple trials, find some dogs that you like, talk to their owners, learn some more about them, then go pick out a pup and that pup should have plenty of drive for a performance activity.

 

I chose my second dog because I loved the characterstics of the the breeder's dogs and I knew what type of dogs the breeder was trying to produce. They were keen, tough and driven on stock. You can take that type of genetic potential and shape it into just about any performance activity. I took it and trained him for SAR work.

 

FWIW, He had no interest in any sort of toy when I got him at 20 m/o, but I was pretty sure that he had plenty of drive for the job based on his genetics. He did, I just needed to shape it. He now works for an opportunity to play frisbee. His keen, driven nature (that I saw on first stock) comes through in his SAR work and I love it!

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I'm with those who said "look at the parents - they are an indicator" and "avoid the overly-shy or overly aggressive pups".

 

I always go back to a Bob Self Obedience Seminar where a person asked him, "Do you puppy test" and he said, "Oh, absolutely...I do all the testing....and then the one that jumps up on me and kisses me is the one I choose." I never forgot that.

 

So unless you are picking a dog for a particular job, I always say pick with your heart. :)

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Thanks for everyones input. So you are saying no one puppy tests? you just reach in and grab a dog that looks good and hope for the best?

 

Here is what I am afraid of. I was talking with a woman that had 3 or 4 herding dogs. One of her dogs did not wont to play or chase a ball, but when it came to sheep it was completely focused. I would love to get into herding but i live in the city so it's not very practical. I am planning on getting involved in Frisbee dog competitions or agility. I have also seen Border Collies at Frisbee dog competitions that are not as focus or driven as I would like. This makes me nervous. I don't want one of these dogs. I don't think prey drive can be taught, not successfully anyway.

 

if I wind up with a dog that does not have much interest in chasing a ball or Frisbee I am in trouble. I have a high energy dog with no way of exercising it.

 

Both the dam and sire come from proven herding stock dogs so I don't think that will be a problem.

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Thanks for everyones input. So you are saying no one puppy tests? you just reach in and grab a dog that looks good and hope for the best?

 

When I "picked" Devon, all of the pups were running around in the yard. I looked at all the puppies and picked him because he seemed to be fairly outgoing but still sweet when held. That was about it. He is from 2 working parents. He and 4 of his littermates who went to working homes are all nice on stock and have began trialing.

 

I am planning on getting involved in Frisbee dog competitions or agility. I have also seen Border Collies at Frisbee dog competitions that are not as focus or driven as I would like. This makes me nervous. I don't want one of these dogs. I don't think prey drive can be taught, not successfully anyway.

 

If this is really how you feel, then I would suggest getting a young adult dog from a rescue. The rescue and/or foster parents should be able to tell you if a particular dog is toy driven or would be a good disc dog. Getting a puppy really is taking a chance. If it is from good working parents I think your chances are better but you still never know.

 

Just a story that is sort of applicable... I got my first BC, Daisy, with plans on competing in agility with her. We took the puppy class twice and moved into the beginner class once she turned a year old. She hated it. She would listen to me and take obstacles but she wasn't running. She would kind of trot with her head down and tail tucked. At least to me, that was a good indication that she wasn't happy. So we took up stock work. Which she (and I) both love. (And for the record, I live in the city.) My point is, I love Daisy and we still have an activity that we both like doing even though things didn't go according to my plans.

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if I wind up with a dog that does not have much interest in chasing a ball or Frisbee I am in trouble.

 

Getting a puppy is a gamble with the odds more in your favor with proven parents. It's still a gamble though. So...if the statement you made above is true, then you really should consider a young dog that loves to chase a ball or frisbee. Lots of them in rescue.

 

ETA: You also can't do much with puppies that requires jumping until they are around 18 mo. old. A little older dog would allow you to start training right away. If that's important to you that is.

 

If you're set on the puppy course, well then here is a puppy aptitude test I found. Maybe it will be helpful.

 

http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php

 

Good luck!

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Ditto the other comments about getting an older puppy or young adult. There are so many great young border collies that end up in rescue. If you go through a rescue vs a shelter, you can know ahead of time what drive level the dog has, and if they like ball or frisbee. Foster parents are great at telling you this sort of thing. :)

 

My Will started as a foster, but he came into rescue at about 10 months old. Ball crazy from day one! If anyone had approached us wanting a dog with serious ball drive, focus, etc, we could have made a great match. (Luckily nobody did and he's my husband's flyball dog now :) )

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A handler can shape and mold drive and focus he the genetics are there. Kipp had no interest in any sort of toy when I got him. He was also super focused/obsessed with cats - to the point of mentioning the word cat and he couldn't think of anything but looking for a cat. He now ignores the cats in favor of a toy. It was all about building and shaping his drive

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Roscoe,

I fear your expectations about what you can see/test in a puppy that will translate into specific adult behavior are too high. As far as I know, most puppy tests are temperament-type tests, designed to determine whether the pup has a stable personality and not whether it would be a star in any particular work or sport situation.

 

A favorite saying around here is that puppies are "pigs in a poke." A well-bred puppy should be able to do the things you want, but whether it has *exceptional aptitude* for one specific thing, say, frisbee, is unknowable.

 

As others have said, if you want a guarantee of a young dog loving frisbee, then a young adult in rescue would be the way to go, as the foster home would already know how much drive the dog has for a particular activity.

 

(My exceptional frisbee dog was a rescue who didn't even show interest in balls and the like at her foster home, but then again the foster home was a working farm and I doubt a ton of time was spent trying to interest her either. And yet once she came out of her shell with me, she was a no-holds-barred frisbee and ball dog. She was also the first dog I competed in sheepdog trials with. If I would let her, she'd still leap for frisbees, but at 14 with two damaged knees and a bad heart, she's had to adjust to a more sedate life.)

 

J.

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Roscoe,

Keep in mind the essence of these Boards is working dogs and breeding for such. From what you wrote, what you want is a little different, so it makes sense the basis for how you pick a dog will be different. A topic like this would be better suited for a Frisbee dog or Sport dog list, or the Sports section of this board.

 

I'm a sports person and I get working bred dogs for sport (mostly). How I pick a puppy is different than how my friends who just want a working dog would pick (which is mostly what you've been told here so far). Yes at 7 weeks, I would want to see some sort of chase interaction or at least interest in a something new presented to them, if only for a little bit. But you might not see that if the litter has just hung out in a barn until this point. I'd want to see a dog who liked to follow me or the breeder around and would seek out a person at some point for interaction. I also wouldn't settle for a litter that produced any crappy puppies. I'd look for a bold puppy, one who looked full of life.

 

But that's what *I* want. The dog you want as an adult is probably a bit more low key than one I'd want. So my suggestion is to first of all, only look at nicely-bred litters (and how you define that is up to you, for me it involves health checks) and if possible, visit the litter a couple times and see which pup you're drawn to. Sit down with the pups and play with them, see who likes to play with you. If the breeder can't tell you which pup would be the best fit for you (based on pup's personality and yours), then schedule multiple visits to get to know the pups. A pup who seems sleepy one visit, might be hell on fire the next visit.

 

Good luck!

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I add a vote for a young adult from a rescue. I got my first -- and so far only! -- BC from a rescue when he was probably 10 months old. He'd been in foster for two months, with one unsuccessful adoption that fell apart when his banshee screams at the resident cats horrified the owners. My gain. :) I live in the city (albeit a residential area) and we do agility and rally obedience; R is also ball-obsessed; and we are working sheep when we can manage it, but that will never be his primary work. I love that I could see what I was getting when I adopted him and if maturity ever sets in (--he's about 2 1/2 now), I will have a darn near perfect dog.

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Roscoe,

Think about human babies. You can do a battery of test to check for personality and intelligence, like the APGAR test, but they just aren't very accurate on such a young baby. The bottom line is that you'll just have to raise the tyke the best that you can and love them the way they are. The same is true with puppies IMO, choose the one that appeals to you, then raise the pup the best way that you can. Then, RELAX and enjoy the ride!

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I really don't know that chasing a towel would tell me anything about a border collie puppy.

 

There should be no 'dregs' in a quality breeding. If you ask any breeder of quality working pups, you should be able to stick your hand in and grab just about any pup....it is too young to predict working potential.

 

That said I have 3 young dogs (2 3 yr olds and 1 2 yr old) from the same cross (repeated). One was the pup that liked me. One was the pup that was scared and wouldn't come out of the pen...or if she did, she'd scurry back every time there was a commotion). The third was independent and a 'leftover' pup....the person that was supposed to buy him changed their pick because the pup had no interest in them and 'didn't love them'. I gave up my 'pick' pup and kept him instead.

 

The needy pup is my Ross who has won Open trials and was well pointed as a 3 yr old and just returned from CO after competing respectably in Open at Meeker and the Finals. He is still a little needy but it has little to do with his working ability....a thoughtful cool headed dog.

 

The scared pup is my Soot who has also won an Open trial as a 3 yr old and well pointed in Open trials. She is not scared anymore but can be a little high strung....a dynamic fast dog.

 

The independent leftover (ie 'dregs') pup is my 2 yr Craig who just returned from CO after running very respectably in the Nursery Finals...16th overall. I think he is well on his way to running in Open and expect that he will be one of the best dogs I've had. Not bad for being a leftover 'dregs' pup. He is no longer independent but a self assured confident dog who wants to please me....a strong forward fellow who is a good partner.

 

There weren't any tests that could have predicted any of their futures...only the quality of the breeding. If you are looking at a quality breeding, then pick the pup that appeals to you.

 

 

 

Elizabeth,

 

 

"LIKE" buttom for you post!

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I adopted my first border collie from rescue, and not a border collie rescue--so I really had no idea what I was getting. I knew enough to know that the shy and demure dog I was seeing in the kennel was probably not going to be the individual who developed in my home.

 

I have tried a couple of different things--herding did not seem to suit Ben and we are now working in agility. The trainer is great and the class is small. Ben's a bit of an anxious dog but he's smart--what I am learning, though, is that it is really me who is going to shape Ben--my confidence and my ability as his guide. I see him blossoming as I feel more confident in what I am doing with him. I think I have to live up to HIS potential :)

 

Good luck!

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Gotta be honest Roscoe; with your 'towel test' and reluctance to drive a mere five hours to see a dog you have me a bit worried that you haven't invested to time to understand what you're looking for or getting yourself into. As Julie alluded to having a plan B. It is one thing to think that having a frisbee dog would be pretty neat, and another thing entirely to be dedicated to having a Border Collie in your life.

 

I understand where you're coming from. I saw a sheepdog trial when I was a sophomore in college, and I immediately started looking for litters of Border Collie puppies. I was obsessed with having a dog like that, but I did a little homework and studied the breed. When I did that, and was honest about it with myself, I realized I was not in a place in my life where I could be dedicated to the effort.

 

My research into the world of the working BC went 10 more years before I felt I could give such a dog the life it deserves. I'm not saying you need to wait a decade, but I am suggesting you dedicate the time to needed to understand what you're looking for and where you're likely to find that.

 

As a hint, that time investment will likely amount to far more than a 5 hour car ride.

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I don't believe he wrote he wouldn't drive the 5 hours, rather it sucked he wasn't closer to spend more time evaluating pups more frequently. He already wrote he's planning to go visit the litter a couple times at least.

 

I do think a rescue might be a better choice for him though. That way he can test its drive and start teaching it frisbee right away, instead of waiting a year.

 

I see nothing wrong with a towel test... he was basically just using a handy toy to test if a pup would interact or otherwise engage him. And he's here now investing the time to understand what he's looking for and getting into.

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