German Shepherd Dog > Assessing a pups potential at 8 weeks (23 replies)
Assessing a pups potential at 8 weeks
by Gusmanda on 03 March 2012 - 18:23
For those of you who are breeders, what % of the dogs that you asses at 8 weeks to be fit for a particular role (SAR, sport, LE, etc) end up correct for the role at 2 years of age? Nothing scientific required, just a thumb-in-the-wind calculation. Just curious as to how much can a pup really be assessed at that age. Are there certain roles that have a better success rate than others? Say, is it easier to assess what pups will be better suited for sport vs assessing what pups will be best suited for personal protection work? Assuming, of course that the owner of the pup does their part and also trains/cares for pup properly.
by brynjulf on 03 March 2012 - 18:50
|I assess at 49 days. it seems to work well for us. But an old time breed of conformation animals says assess for conformation at 3 days, three weeks, three months then put a bag on their heads until they are 3 years old. he swears he can tell you the conformation at 3 days of age. they just look like blobs to me at that age BUT he is almost always bang on....|
by GSD2727 on 03 March 2012 - 19:39
|Brynjulf, I have also heard that about conformation at a very young age.... although I heard at birth (but basically the same as three days old).... I am with you though, they look like blobs to me, I really cannot see much lol But I have heard of others who swear that you can see their structure at that age and know what they will turn out like.|
by Gusmanda on 03 March 2012 - 19:53
|thanks for sharing, though not particularly concerned with conformation, just with working ability. Any opinions there?|
by melba on 03 March 2012 - 20:54
|So far? 100% when accessed at 8 weeks old, usually at 6 weeks I'll make my picks and keep those to run on for K9|
and if there are too many, then make sure those that show the most potential go into working homes.
by Ace952 on 03 March 2012 - 23:25
|Having too many is never a bad thing and goes to show that you had a really good breeding.|
by melba on 03 March 2012 - 23:43
|I'm not saying having too many is a bad thing, but there are only so many I can keep and raise properly while giving|
my adults the attention and training they deserve, ya know?
by Ace952 on 04 March 2012 - 00:59
|Oh no, I know exactly what you mean. Im saying your doing a good job breeding when you have a good selection like that.|
by Chaz Reinhold on 04 March 2012 - 03:05
|I would guess that if you are breeding good quality litters and placing them in quality hands, your % should be very high. In my experience, the good ones usually pan out. To me it is hard to miss on a seven week pup that is showing excellent drive, grips and nerve. The ones that surprise me are the ones that you write off. Not that they are bad, but that they haven't matured or developed quite as fast. You see them down the road and you are pleasantly surprised. Usually if a pup is showing good things at this age, they aren't going to disappear, but a bad handler can rob them. You can assess Pups all day long, but if they don't go to the right hands, all bets are off.|
by MVF on 04 March 2012 - 03:27
|Read Malcolm Willis! He reports in scientific depth on the predictability of physical and behavioral traits by genetics. He also reports on testing. Unfortunately, breeding and 49 day testing combined only explain (statistically) a minority of the dog's behaviors at maturity. But that doesn't mean you should ignore the test results. In 30 years, I have never found a natural retriever who did not retrieve somewhat at 7 weeks and I have never encountered a hard dog who was soft at 7 weeks. Some things do seem to appear early enough to evaluate.|
When people do Volhard type tests, however, they often blow it because they are nice. (It happens to all of us.) We see a pup acting vulnerable and we can't help acting encouraging and less threatening to induce a more upbeat, confident behavior. If that works, you have shown that the puppy is hierarchy sensitive enough to read your body language -- and that's something worth knowing -- but not that he's really confident. If you, like me, just don't think it right to drag out a test that is intimidating to a pup, stop! But then don't kid yourself about the pup. That pup may be avoidant as an adult, constantly signalling you after 5 minutes work that its time to go back to the SUV. And you took that pup out of the perfect family pet situation where she belonged! So test -- well -- and listen to your results.
But accept that there are still many dice to roll before s/he is grown.
by Ace952 on 04 March 2012 - 04:06
|Out of say a litter of 8....how many good pups do you think you will get out of the litter. I hear many say that if they don't get the 1st or 2nd pick from the litter they would pass and look at another breeding. Meaning the quality of the pups goes down.|
What is everyone's view on this?
by GSD2727 on 04 March 2012 - 04:46
|IMO "pick puppy" is a bit overrated. When I bought my foundation bitch as a 7 week old puppy, I found a litter /breeder I liked and contacted them. There was ONE female still available. I took her. Couldnt have been happier!!! In my B litter there were 8 puppies and FIVE people got their "first pick" puppy. Each of the five people choose a different puppy! |
I have heard of old time breeders/handlers saying that they pick a litter they like and just pick a puppy at random, or keep the "left over" puppy. I never quite understand why people put so much emphasis on pick of the litter. Obviously if there is a puppy that is lacking or if the litter is not deep in quality, then that is different. But if it is a well bred litter that turned out the way it "should", there should be several puppies who are close to equal. The females I have kept from my litters were not any "better" than their littermates overall, but usually had a personality that I clicked with. There was "something" about them that attracted me to them. But I honestly feel I could have kept a different littermate and had the same results as they grew up.
It also depends on what the puppy buyers want the puppy for. I have had litters where one pup goes to a SchH home, one goes to a SAR home, one goes to a service dog home, one goes to a Police K9 home. Each one was nice, but just slightly different and fit into their new homes well.
by Chaz Reinhold on 04 March 2012 - 12:50
|"It also depends on what the puppy buyers want the puppy for. I have had litters where one pup goes to a SchH home, one goes to a SAR home, one goes to a service dog home,one goes toa Police K9 home. Each one was 6nice,butjust slightly different and fit into their new homes"..........wasn't your first sentence about the first pick being overrated? People like to pick because they don't want to waste their time with a dog that isn't suited to their venue. Yes, the ideal litter is uniform, but I've seen way too many litters where it looked like the dam was allowed the roam the hood in heat.|
by Chaz Reinhold on 04 March 2012 - 13:04
|Ace, to answer your question, go see the litter. I'll take pick all day long. Not all litters are uniform. Why wouldn't I pick? The only reasons would be if they were far away, there were only 1 left, and I trusted the breeder. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be interested if I arrived ant there was only two left. I'd test and assess. Then I'd take a recess. If your buddy called and said, "Ace, I'm having a hot tub party and I invited 6 supermodels for you to choose from." Now, are you gonna tell Yuri to call 5 of them back to cancel because you only need one and theyre all hot?|
by Gusmanda on 04 March 2012 - 22:05
|If your buddy called and said, "Ace, I'm having a hot tub party and I invited 6 supermodels for you to choose from." Now, are you gonna tell Yuri to call 5 of them back to cancel because you only need one and theyre all hot? |
Geez Chaz, Superb way to illustrate the point. So I guess the takeaway here, at least for me, is if the pup displays the desired charachteristics for what is needed, it is very unlikely to go bad, unless the handler/trainer messes up. That's good to know, from a buyers perspective.
by Chaz Reinhold on 05 March 2012 - 02:47
|Depends on the person testing and what is being tested. It's not fool proof, but if a puppy has good drive, grips and nerve, your odds are better that this is your dog. Is the dog going to all of sudden lose drive? Outside of shitty training/handler, would the nerve and grip go bad?|
by Bundishep on 05 March 2012 - 08:40
|at six weeks old they can be a bit hard to predict,but at 8 weeks its gives a more clear picture of potential,the older they are the easier it gets of coarse,thoses that can come up with a uniform litter is great,but even with a somewhat uniform litter there always seems to be a few in the litter just a little more special, thats why i am a believer of say first, second or third pick,it kind of depends also whos doing the picking though, a beginer might miss the pup in the litter that I may be after or they could be looking for a triat that I have no desire for,everyone has their own taste on what they seek. I like a well designed puppy temperment test with a written score the problem is though in some top litters they can be presold at an earley age before the test are even completed.|
by Ace952 on 05 March 2012 - 23:27
|LOL@Chaz's analogy. Very true.|
Solid info in here, thanks.
by MVF on 08 March 2012 - 01:16
|You can predict at most a small fraction (far less than half) of an adult dog's behavior from its genetics and puppy tests combined. We are all tempted to believe you can know more, but you really cannot. Guide dogs go into training after both careful breeding and puppy testing, yet many do not pass their training. As it is quite expensive, a lot has been invested in trying to do better in breeding and selection, but the limits are inviolable.|
See Malcolm Willis.
A great breeder admits this to you when you buy a pup.
by oregontnt2007 on 08 March 2012 - 01:52
|it's all a crap shute to me at times, I am learing so many points of views....|
I am so overwhelmed by reading this all... I am really learning a bunch on this site
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH! ;)
ok, now going to raid the kitchen for hot cocoa....lol