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Question regarding working drive?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 11, '12 11:32am PST 
Totally agree with everyone. I am absolutely far from a purist, but I prefer someone who calls a spade and spade. Someone like Toto, who we all "know" here and know what she's about (her Labs were outstanding), who was very much about producing a good pet temperament, but had dogs who were great for weekend warrior type hunters, not wanting a dog bouncing off the walls in a more sedate life in the interim. That's ok. But to say your dogs have good work ability because, well, um....they do! laugh out loud.....is not what you want to hear. Not very grounded.

But....BUT!....let me caution you this and have been in this forever, so please do listen. A lot of people, in considering a working breed, consider in theory what they want to do. And the list is endless. Schutzhund! SAR! Tracking! Top OB! Herding! Mountain Hiking! Going to the moon and back in three days! big laugh But then get the dog, and what is theory is not in practice, they end up with way more dog than they wanted, and the whole thing blows to high hell. I see it all the time. It is cliche.

Your best bet always is to look at things honestly. You MAY. Start with that. If you have never done whatever the working function is, say you MAY. Not a scrap more than that. If you went hunting with your pa when you were ten and have fond memories but since then haven't been out and now you are 38 and reminiscing, saying it would be a nice relief for you to go hunting and you'd like your next dog able to do that, say you MAY hunt with your dog. Go to the right breeder...breeder number one....and say that you want a really nice pet, and this will be your first Lab (this is in example) and that as you MAY decide going hunting is something to do, you'd like a dog with that ability.

When you enter a breed, do not overstate. EVER. You owe it to the dog to say "yes, I am an amateur." There is nothing wrong with that. And start with a good potential teacher. Not a dog who is more appropriate for a known quantity type person who inevitably will work the dog, has intimate understanding of their drives and character, experience in working development and so on. That's where that dog belongs. Not with you.

I see this dynamic problem all the time, and press that time machine button and I find myself able to relate to it quite easily, as I was that person, too. It's an easy mistake to make. It all ended up ok, but in parts because I was on a sensational dog, he had a total lack of prey drive and one incident where the stars were aligned just right when he ALMOST tore someone's face off. My shoulder was in the way and blocked his bid, but in ensuing times came to know full well he was a very confident biter and had my shoulder NOT been in the way and given that he had a major beeline for someone's face....shudder to think about it. That wasn't him being issue-y or even teenager-y. That was him being very much of his pedigree and a superlative worker with every good balance you could want. And I was in way, WAY over my head. There was a lot I could have done in his raising and development to that moment to have prevented that. But now I am a novice, and this dog I have is some hapless victim, for what he did wasn't "wrong," it was correct and of his potential, but I was way too green to recognize these things until in them.

No learning by doing when it comes to drive-y breeds. Find a good teacher...a moderate puppy and you learn with him and enjoy him. If you want to various working things, you can. And if you like it, THEN, much the wiser, go in for that more highend dog. Hovs are a LOT less forgiving than some other breeds and very different from what you know now. You need a good teacher.

Finally, titles are great, but your breeder should be able to demonstrate to you they have dogs in actual working placements. Titled dogs can be very unbalanced, working dogs can be very, MUST be, balanced. You don't want a titles only "working" breeder. You'd be far better off going to a show puff breeder and avoiding disaster, for sport only pedigrees can be screwy. Within this same frame, the breeder should be able to demonstrate a slew of pet placements as well.

There is a definite fallout of people complaining about splits and not bred for work, for you have those who at the end of the day don't really want that whole package, but the fantasy of it. I am not saying that is you, this is more general info, but it is what I find and just an important part of general "Choosing A Dog" information. With the show type you can get the character but not the work, which in the end is what a lot of people ultimately want. A Pyr who doesn't literally demand to be outside with sheep to look over. He's still ponderous, discerning, stable as a rock, responsible, but he thinks a couch is a mighty fine idea.
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 11, '12 11:54am PST 
Bum scritches for Tiller way to go



(I am stealing and storing away your "MAY" bit for future conversations on this topic. As you well know I am very much a purist and can appreciate the heck out of that party )
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 11, '12 1:25pm PST 
Thanks Tiller. I totally get what you mean and have always made a point of saying to the breeder i'm interested in the sports i've mentioned and have hopes of trying out new things with the dog.

I'm hoping to get a moderate drive puppy. I don't want crazy intense drive, not with my inexperience in this side of the dog world at the moment. I'm trusting that the breeder will match me up with the perfect pup.

I guess that's what got me thinking about what that other breeder was saying though. Could i get a drivey enough pup from parents that might not be titled in certain sports, but have enough drive to be willing to try new things out. But at the same time i'm not as impressed with any other breeder closer to home or their dogs and why settle for that? You know what i mean? It's just very important to me i get the right kind of dog for what i'm looking for. While the dog would always be first and foremost a pet i'm not looking for a dog that looks pretty and has zero interest in anything else. I want this dog to be my first venture into the sporting side of things and i feel the breeder i'm interested in offers me the best chance of finding that hopefully way to go
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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 11, '12 10:57pm PST 
Even drivey parents produce a plethora of pups, though. In every litter you will get some that make mum and dad proud, some moderates, and even 'duds' so to speak, suited to a pet home. And each of these puppies, no matter what drive level, will of course have different personality traits and nerves too! That's why it's so important to tell the breeder exactly what you want AND what you 'may' do, as well as your experience level. Your pup may not be in the next litter, sure, but he will come along eventually, and the breeder will identify him for you. Sometimes you have to wait a long time but it will be worth it and you will be matched correctly.

Beware the ' performance' breeder who says you can pick your own puppy, too. Run. The breeder should always make the decision, especially for the novice.
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Buster

1201864
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 10:37am PST 
If you want a puppy for a particular sport then go to someone who is working their dogs in it and is producing puppies that are working in it not just saying they are. What you have to remember though is that here we don't give titles at every level just for the championship except in working trials but the breeder should be at least doing something with their dogs which this breeder doesn't seem to be.

A good breeder should have a rough idea of the level of drive in the litter, the driviest parents can produce puppies that are more suited to being couch potatoes sometimes. Let them guide you towards what seems to be a less intense puppy.

I would go with the import, with the new quarantine regulations you can have it at 16 weeks I think. So provided the breeder is willing to put in the early work for you it shouldn't be a problem.
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 12:33pm PST 
Thanks JT & Buster. You're right of course about the possibility of less drivey pups being available. That's where, like you said JT, the breeder picking my pup out based on my wants/needs is very important. I wouldn't want to pick my own pup out...it takes that pressure away from me and i wouldn't know what i'm looking for exactly. Besides being in different countries makes that impossible anyway.

It's 15 weeks Buster when the pup can travel here i think. I've been looking into various pet transport companies which i have to use and that's where the costs start mounting up!

Edited by author Wed Dec 12, '12 12:36pm PST

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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 1:31pm PST 
That's another reason why it is very important to know/trust your breeder and be able to associate them with a lot of successful pet placements.

Drive isn't a thing, but rather a "balance" between certain traits, usually nerves. When a puppy isn't indicating to be a prime working prospect, it can be because his drive isn't as intense, but it's balanced....that's what you want...or, it can be because his drives are not balanced, which is not good. Many novices assume that all puppies to not show potential in the litter to be "top work" are simply low drive, but sadly that is a misconception. A puppy can be showing balances that aren't sound enough. That's really one who should be held back by the breeder, given skilled and expert raising, training, and carefully placed as an older puppy or young adult. Some breeders also with euth in those cases. Either to me is preferable than placing such a puppy with an unsuspecting pet owner, who will be expecting lower drive and instead wind up with a time bomb.

That's why it's important to always ask about their pet experience and be confident about their skill dealing with (matching pups to) such clientele.
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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 2:31pm PST 
Tiller makes a good point here.

I have a mid drive, low nerved dog, and I was a novice coming into it. He was higher energy when he was younger but thankfully has quieted down.

I'm not going to kid with you, though. His life is management. I can't do anything with him. In the regular 'pet owner's' hands, I think he could have been euth'ed. He was retired from work because his nerves drove him to grip stock when he couldn't run when challenged. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And he was an expensive purchase from what the farmer believed was a good stud.

Now he was mistreated badly, I will admit, which has made the issue worse (his gun shyness, for example, is off the charts) but even so, his nerves stink. Even in the best hands, he could never have worked. If he encounters a cat that will hold his place, for example, he will whimper and run. Just ... bad.

Be careful. I love my dog but he isn't right. He is a great example of exactly what can go wrong when breeding high drive animals without a lot of care.
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Lucille

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 13, '12 6:41am PST 
"That's really one who should be held back by the breeder, given skilled and expert raising, training, and carefully placed as an older puppy or young adult."

Exactly what is going on with the two Airedales left out of the four I've been handling. Two are finishing CH, the two left are too drivey for pet homes, off the charts smart, testing, and just not ready for hunting or working yet. The breeder is wise to keep them longer. They are great dogs, but can be sharp, and it's still tough to tell where their nerves lie. Breeder follows up on the pet placements ofcourse, from the same litter. Doing very well and so happy being weekend warriors. The two I have fun with, my goodness I can't even begin to think how poorly they would have fared had they been placed in those spots instead. And those homes have experienced dog and Dale people...these dogs are just right on that fine line at the moment and they mature notoriously late. hail to those who can sort a litter properly.

I am not sure if Hovs mature late as I have little experience with the breed, if they do, that's a big factor in these decisions, at least it should be.

Good luck, Ty. I've been offered co-own and it's a lot to think about. Weighing it all gives me a headache after awhile. Wishing you the best in whatever you decide.
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 13, '12 7:30am PST 
Yes they do mature late Lucille. 4/5 years for males and 3/4 years for females.

One thing about Hovawarts is that properly bred they are very stable with good nerves which is one of the main things that attracted me to the breed. It's interesting to hear about some puppies doing better to be held back for a while.

Thankfully this breeder i'm interested in isn't someone i have any concerns about regarding their experience and/or their dogs temperaments/nerves. I might actually pmail you later Tiller with info about the litter i'm interested in and see what you make of the pairing.
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