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What age to acquire a pup for stock work?


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Sometimes you can also get a trained dog who is sold at a discount for reasons having nothing to do with their skills on stock or how well they get along with their owner or other dogs. I know a novice handler who just bought a very nice, trained dog, from a highly regarded handler/breeder. The dog had developed pyo while pregnant and had lost the litter and had had to undergo an emergency spay to save her life.

Like in my case. I was getting a divorce and had too many dogs. Because of a recommendation by a mutual acquaintance I sold one of my dogs to someone who had a small flock and a young untrained dog. Brock was 6 or 7 at the time and not only had he worked on the farm but I had also trialed him. I was thrilled to find a good home for him. We went and visited him a year later and he was happy to see us (especially the kids) but really his heart was with Jill by then.

 

As long as you start saying now that you're looking for a dog, you might have one drop in your lap in the same way.

Laura

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Interesting philosophy. A good dog may not be a breeder itself, but could possibly be used as a selling point for closely related dogs, if making money off breeding is that important.

 

J.

 

Julie, if you're talking about the situation I related, I'm not sure the intent here was to "make money". (DO any people who both breed and trial "make money" from the breeding part of things? Most people I know only breed one or two litters per year, often to try to get that new super prospective). I tried to state my hypothesis, instead, that it would be easier for them to recoup some of the costs associated with training and trialing if they also had the potential to breed a successful Open dog. I think it's often an "either/or", not "both", because everyone has limits to how many dogs they can keep and train.

 

I don't think the person who owned the dog at the time it was spayed had bred it themself, so I don't believe they had any closely related dogs, either. So, having it do well in trials wouldn't cast any halo on the rest of their breeding program. From a conversation I had with the current owner, I know (as is not uncommon with working sheepdogs) that it had had several previous owners. This is not uncommon in the trialing community, from what I've observed.

 

I viewed the selling of the dog to someone who would cherish it and would work it regularly as a positive. I'm sure they viewed it as placing a dog in a situation that was better for it, and I have to say I don't disagree with that assessment.

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I got my two current trial dogs at between 15 & 18 months. Both had a nice start on them. Knew and admired the lines, was able to get a much better idea of how they will work in the future, and, very important, knew and admire who raised and started them. Certainly costs more but you have a better idea of what you are getting.

 

Sometimes it is hard but I resist getting a pup because it is, other than lines, a blind guess.

 

dave

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Julie, if you're talking about the situation I related, I'm not sure the intent here was to "make money". (DO any people who both breed and trial "make money" from the breeding part of things? Most people I know only breed one or two litters per year, often to try to get that new super prospective). I tried to state my hypothesis, instead, that it would be easier for them to recoup some of the costs associated with training and trialing if they also had the potential to breed a successful Open dog. I think it's often an "either/or", not "both", because everyone has limits to how many dogs they can keep and train.

 

Either they can make money breeding or they can't. If you're recouping money on training and trialing by selling puppies, then you're making money on those puppies, no? If one's belief is that it's necessary to recoup some expenses by breeding a dog then the best choice is to keep male dogs--you can breed them a lot (if they're good), since you're not limited by heat cycles, having to find homes for pups, etc. And certainly people have limits on what they can keep and train, but I guess I just have a differnent philosophy. If the dog is a good dog--capable of winning open trials regularly--then I'd run the dog whether I could get pups out of it or not. I'm running a neutered male dog now. It never would have occurred to me to move him on because I couldn't breed him. And that's my paradigm, and it's why I find the situation you described interesting.

 

From a conversation I had with the current owner, I know (as is not uncommon with working sheepdogs) that it had had several previous owners. This is not uncommon in the trialing community, from what I've observed.

 

No it's not at all uncommon. Dogs do change hands. I just think it's rather odd that a reason for moving a dog on is because it lost a litter to pyo and is now unbreedable. I'm sure the person who moved the dog on doesn't think this is odd, just as you apparently don't find it odd either. I do. But in the end the dog ended up with an owner who appreciates it, so all is well for the dog, which is the most important thing.

 

I viewed the selling of the dog to someone who would cherish it and would work it regularly as a positive. I'm sure they viewed it as placing a dog in a situation that was better for it, and I have to say I don't disagree with that assessment.

Again, I'm not taking issue with moving a dog on to a better home, and IMO if an owner finds a trial dog less worthy of his/her time if the dog can't be bred, then, yes, the dog was certainly better off going to a home where it would be used *and* cherished.

 

That doesn't change the fact that I find it odd that someone would move a good trial prospect on just because it couldn't be bred. But it's a big world and it takes all kinds, and this is just my opinion....

 

J.

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Does susceptibility to pyometra have a genetic component? That might be a good reason for a breeder to spay and not keep a bitch with a heritable tendency for the cervix to close incompletely or not close quickly after the bitch becomes pregnant.

 

Also, if a person was trialing and breeding I can see how they would only want to keep dogs that were useful in both respects. Trialing, training and breeding are all very time-consuming. Maybe not how I would respond, but everybody's different. As Julie said, the important thing is that the bitch got a good home.

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I bought my Nick as a two year old, well started, ready to go, for a song. His first owner just didn't click with him, and I honestly still think Nick would have done best as a woman's dog. He just loves women. We do rather well together, though, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

 

I know several people who got started with dogs who weren't quite going to make it as Open dogs, but were great farm workers. It's worth the money to get a dog that knows more than you do :)

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My 10 yr old Open dog was sold as a pup to a very very big name handler who sold him at just over a year due to divorce/financial/relocation issues. Then, at age 2 1/2, he was offered back to the original breeder(in Canada) as they thought he had heat intolerance(in Calif) and would do better living in our milder climate. I happened to be in the right place at the right time; eager to learn and trial but waiting for my 5 mos old pup to grow up. I bought him and the rest is history. :-) The 5 mos old pup never made it as a trial dog due to a lot of circumstances not entirely genetic, however he would have made a great farm dog for someone but I couldn't part with him.

cheers Lani

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I'm doing puppy crap shoot. Fell in love with Maggie the moment I saw her. Decided i would like to give her the opportunity to trial if she is capable so she goes for training in the spring. If it doesn't work out she'll come home and we'll have a happy life together anyway. And next time I'll be a little smarter about the process.

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Good points from a lot of folks....will add, listen to the good working breeder....they may have pups that sound great to you BUT they might not suit you. Case in point, I bred Nan to Roo....the pups are a lot to handle and needed dog savy folks. Tell the breeder your experience, what you want, etc and a good breeder will tell you if the litter they have will suit you or not.

 

On another note, getting a pup can be a crap shoot. Getting a started or fully trained dog may work. You have to consider if the chemistry between you and dog is there. If it is there, you can be a team, otherwise it can be a battle.

 

I buy pups, started or trained dog. I get what I thik I need at the point in my life. I just bought a trained Open dog, Maid and she came at the right time in my life. I had a chance to buy a Bobby Dalziel's Joe pup and was looking for a male.

 

Talk to people and see what you need at that timeline.

 

If I was to do it over again, I still would have gotten Tess but also a trained dog. The trained dog would have help me but as it was, Tess carried me for a fre years, until I did get a trained dog. Haig, my first Open dog, was a great asset. He took the burden off Tess and helped me so much.

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I have done both. Both approaches have brought their own rewards and challeges. I love training my own guys for what it is worth.

I just added an adult that has alreay been trained to nursery level. First time in my life to own a dog that comes with training. Accounting for every dogs individual strengths and weaknesses of course, one of the very cool things that he has shown me, is that some things I would have a tendency to negotiate with my dogs (and I had already come to this conclusion slowly) due to inexperience and urgency in a sense (I don't currently work my dogs other than for fun) are becoming a lot more clear. They where important before but I suppose working a dog with some one else's professionals training on board, puts the focus on this even more. Warning though, this does make for a slightly unhappy previous dog that now fears that she has been found out!!! ;)

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I have to agree with Lana and Julie. While video footage of 16 wk pups showing instinct is cute and makes for interesting viewing....it doesn't really say much about the future ability of that pup to take the pressure of training or it's future as a stockdog. Another 16 wk pup might turn on later and still be a very talented working dog and very capable of handling training pressure. I've seen very keen youngsters high on adrenaline who appear resilient or even oblivious to pressure as wee babies who later become more sensitive as they mature (instead of running on adrenaline, they mature and begin to feel the training pressure).

 

 

My wee Gael is just such a one. As a youngster, she was close-running, speedy and very apt to grip. But now that she's past age 2, I realize it was actually nervousness and she's in truth a rather sensitive, worried girl. Real confidence is building as she matures, but she's not at all the hard-charging little imp she initially seemed.

 

I've also seen dogs that showed lackadaisical interest at 12-16 weeks, but then turned on strongly and keen, much later.

 

~ Gloria

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