Not All Puppies Are Born Equal
Through many years of experience I have learned that not all puppies are born equal. This applies to puppies within different breeds as well as individual puppies within a litter. Just because they share the same sire and dam they are not all equal in energy level, confidence, prey drive, sociability, work ethic etc. Just as brother and sister can differ greatly in families, so do puppies.
In each litter we may see individual puppies that are middle of the line with a happy attitude and a people orientated, biddable, sociable nature. These puppies can be placed in the majority of homes in general but may be too little or too much puppy for some depending on their new owners lifestyle, goals and expectations.
Next there may be puppies who are borderline. These types of puppies can lean towards being more or less confident in temperament or they can have more or less energy then others.
This is where the nature vs nurture factors takes on real meaning. A borderline or middle of the road puppy is one whose initial reactions (nature) can be enhanced or diminished through exposure, socialization, and training methods (nurture). These are the puppies that can really shine in the correct home.
Then there may be the exceptional puppy. An exceptional puppy is one whose behaviour can be more inclined in either direction. A puppy who has a high prey or retrieve drive placed in the right hands who has the ability to work with the puppy’s true nature to allow that puppy to live up to his full potential. Perhaps as a working, performance or hunting dog. Placing such a puppy in home that doesn't fully understand and can’t properly channel their natural behaviours associated with a high drive dog could make it challenging for both the dog and the owner.
The same could also be said for placing a less confident and lower energy puppy into a large, rambunctious home, an inexperienced home or one that uses a correction based training method rather than using a more positive reinforcement based method.
Placing the wrong type of puppy into the wrong type of home is the type of situation that could end up with the puppy being returned, discarded or reactive to an unacceptable degree.
Picking The Right Puppy For The Right Home
I have put a lot of time and effort into the breeding and raising of my puppies and my first responsibility is to them. My second responsibility is to the people who picked me to be the breeder of their next family member.
In order to meet the needs of both I do my best to ensure the right puppy goes to the right home.
Finding out what kind of temperament each puppy has and being proactive in bringing out their best characteristics is how I strive to do this.
This of course also means I need to learn about the lifestyle, individual needs, experience level, training styles, desires and flexibilities of the individuals and families who want my puppies. I do this through phone calls, emails, visits and of course with the puppy application form so it is important that you give some though to your lifestyle and are as thorough as possible.
Once all of the above is given comprehensive consideration and when the puppies are just over 7 weeks of age I will then make every effort to match each puppy's energy level, temperament and training needs to the owner or family that best suits them.
After having raised litters of puppies for over two decades I am well aware that sometimes a puppy can just speak to a persons' heart so with all things being equal this too will be taken into consideration. If however the price or the colour of the puppy or being permitted to pick out your own puppy is of primary importance, I am probably not the breeder for you and I do wish you all the best in finding a puppy from a breeder better suited to meet your needs.
Help Us Pick The Right Puppy With The Right Temperament For You
Determine if a quiet submissive puppy, or a more dominant one is more suited to your family situation, do you have young children? What expectations do you have ie agility, tracking prospect or perhaps a jogging partner? What is your overall activity level? What is your own personal experience with dogs. Even though temperament, size, and activity level is fairly predictable within a breed there is a range of degrees in their individual differences.
Dominance and aggression are not the same thing. When referring to being dominate or submissive we are referring to the confidence level and ability to exert their influence. Dominant puppies can be a handful for inexperienced owners but they can be perfect for active homes and for on-the-go owners who want their pet to fully accompany them in their social life or for large families who are consistent in their expectations and training. Submissive puppies are shy and likely to need special handling, not the perfect choice for families with young rambunctious children who may overwhelm the puppy but perfect for quiet families looking for a companion to take with them on personal errands and who use positive training methods and proper socialization techniques. An active, confident and forgiving puppy is the preferred temperament for families with very young children or who have members of the family with a disability but this puppy may not have the extra spark needed for that agility or obedience prospect.
All types of temperaments can have both positive and negative associations. Training, socialization and complete family interaction is what will ultimately make any dog one that is a welcome member both in your home and in today's society but starting out with the right temperament and energy level for your situation gives you a solid foundation to work with.