How to choose "pick of the litter"

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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby Urban_Redneck » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:39 am

I wasn't able to make the 20 hour round trip to visit with the my pup's litter.

After going back and forth for over a week, the breeder selected the pup for me.... her vet then implanted the chip I registered with the CDC into a different pup :oops: Rather than re-apply for the import/confinement agreement, I took the "wrong pup" with "right" chip. She earned her NA Prize 1 last week :D
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:59 am

I would never take a pup from a litter which I feared would only produce one or two good dogs. But there is a reason Breeders interview their puppy buyers and make the selection. They are seeking to match the pup to the abilities of the handler and their opportunities/priorities for developing and hunting the dog. No good experienced Breeder fails to see differences in their puppies as they develop. They send the ones showing the highest potential bold temperaments to the handlers they think are best equipped to make good with them. The current day situation where buyers and sellers meet up on the internet and puppies are driven or flown hundreds or more miles to their new home has tamped down the age old process of Pick of the Litter to the point where many buyers now believe it does not matter because that is what they are told. Probably for the best in those situations.

I just searched the NAVHDA database and see that 4 of 5 pups tested out of my current pup's litter scored Prize 1 NA, Prize II for the 5th pup. That does not mean there are no standouts in the litter, it means those 4 pups all did Prize 1 work one day on released birds judged against a common standard. And it strongly suggests the breeding produced good numbers of pups capable of being developed into really nice gun dogs. Which works out well in the marketplace.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby STait » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:52 am

Pardon my ignorance AG, but at what age are they tested to earn this Prize 1 NA? And what does the test require of them to "pass"?
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby hicntry » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:22 am

xxx
Last edited by hicntry on Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby hicntry » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:22 am

"Environment makes a huge difference and with good development a well bred litter will produce good results. That does not negate there are a couple of standouts in the litter however."

More than most people realize. The strong environmental influences on young pups begin at birth and mask the true nature of the pups.....which is why so many breeders start handling the pups long before they should. Early handling tends to make weak pups appear to be much strong than they really are to most puppy buyers. By the time the buyers see them the pups true nature is largely masked by the environment and that makes picking a pup really tricky for most buyers. Pups are born with the complete genetic side of what they CAN be. The trick is to try and see this side as it was before the environmental influences. That is why I recommend observing the litter to determine the strong pups. Environmental influences won't fool the littermates as to which are the leaders and which are the followers. It is the reason people that have real expectations for a dog do things like take each pup off by itself to better see what is underneath the masking effect of the environment.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby hicntry » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:22 am

xxx
Last edited by hicntry on Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:56 pm

STait wrote:Pardon my ignorance AG, but at what age are they tested to earn this Prize 1 NA? And what does the test require of them to "pass"?


STait, here is a link to the NAVHDA document which describes all the tests. Hopefully the matrix showing the areas scored and the minimum scores needed in each to get the respective Prize 1, 2 or 3, or no pass. A dog can be tested NA up to 16 months of age. One of those littermate pups was 16 months, the others ranged from 6 months to 14 months.

The pups are run for 20 minutes in a field with good cover with planted birds out. It will be scored on Search, Desire to Work, Nose, Pointing and Cooperation while working the field. The pup needs to find and point a bird. It can break point and chase the bird when it flies and does not need to hold the point until the handler flushes the bird. The pup will be taken to a pond or a lake and teased with a bumper selected out a pile supplied by the club and hopefully will enter the water and swim towards it. It needs to do this twice in a row with no hesitation to get the max score of 4. A pup which requires a bird to be thrown into the water to coax it to swim can be scored no higher than 2 in Water and no higher than a Prize 3 overall. The pup does not need to retrieve the bumper, just swim twice eagerly. And finally a wing clipped pheasant will be released in short cover leading to taller cover. A pile of feathers left at the start of the track. The pup is brought to the pile and asked to track by its handle and turned loose to do so. The pup should work down the scent or downwind the of the track if that is how the wind is carrying scent, indicating it is working the scent down the track to locate the bird. It does not have to produce the bird, but if it points at the end the point can help its score. Each area judged is scored 0-4. Each Prize had a minimum hurdle of total points but each area also has a minimum score for the Prize as well. So a dog can score enough points to get a Prize 1 but if it misses Prize 1 minimum and gets a Prize 3 in one area the overall Prize awarded can be no higher than Prize 3.

https://www.navhda.org/sites/www.navhda ... 2-2014.pdf
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby ryanr » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:28 pm

Believing that in general it's most important to pick the breeding than the individual pup from a particular litter I basically closed my eyes and took the pup handed to me without a second thought. A friend & fellow NAVHDA member took the last dog available TWICE from the same kennel I got my new pup from and he's got VC and is running the Invitational this year with his second dog. I really don't get hyped up about "pick of the litter." I think for some puppy buyers it's an ego thing more than anything else. I think most of the time they have no idea what they're picking anyway, with the exception of a precious few truly insightful and experienced dog men.

My #1 concern was cooperation & temperament. And I wanted at least somewhat of a beard this time (my DD has no furnishings.) So far I think I'm winning!
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby Urban_Redneck » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:34 pm

My understanding...

*Pup needs to point at least 2 birds, both can be in the field. If only one was pointed in the field- if pup points the pheasant at the end of the tracking test, that point is scored as pup's second point. Otherwise, pointing at the end of the track has no influence on score.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby STait » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:37 pm

Thanks AG for your explanation and the link. Kinda curious how one of my specialists might do at it. Gotta new litter coming this winter and I might look into it here for some sh!ts and giggles.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby bhennessy » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:53 pm

Ryanr - "Believing that in general it's most important to pick the breeding than the individual pup from a particular litter I basically closed my eyes and took the pup handed to me without a second thought."

X2.

I too left it up to the breeder(s), based on the information I provided about what their environment would be, hunting I do, etc. This info didn't really change between my first and second pups, but interestingly, my two Griffs could not be more different in terms of personality. My three year old put the A in alpha dog, while we joke that our 6 month old Griff pup is a "sensitive new age griff", or SNAG.

I too put my efforts into trying to triangulate highly reputable breeders committed to producing great hunting Griffs that would do well in the house and were healthy, hard hunting dogs and then left the puppy picking up to these guys. Notwithstanding the effect of socialization, as far as what both pups seem to have been born with - good with people, nose, trainability, biddability, love of water, instinctive retrieve, drive, acceptance of gun fire, etc. I think that time was very well spent. As far as their vastly different personalities, I strongly suspect I could have identified these in a general sense had I observed them in their respective litters, but I'm not sure I would have known which one to pick as they are both fantastic dogs.

So far our little SNAG, Dash, is coming along nicely and its been fun to work with a dog with such a different personality than Bear. Basic obedience has been something of a breeze to date. And whereas I suspect the three year old hit the ground on day one with an immense, fully (if not over) developed prey drive I think, Dash is developing in a more linear fashion, which ironically, may be a better situation for a novice trainer like myself. With each subsequent exposure to pigeons I've watched Dash's desire and drive expand whereas with Bear it was huge from his first exposure to birds. Time will tell which one is better in the field, if either, and my go-in position anyway is that any faults they have, or will have, is due to their trainer's inability to shape their excellent instincts.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:50 pm

TruAblePup,

Obviously you have selected your litter some time ago, and what you asked for was input on how to use your pick of the litter opportunity.

Hopefully you have heard some ideas helpful to that. It is noteworthy that those who repeatedly poo poo the ability to observe puppies in a litter several times and observe differences have never done so but that does not stop them from writing posts saying it cannot be done or does not matter even if you can. Such is the internet.

If you read the posts carefully the consistency that is evident is those who lean towards dominant dogs with alot of independence, do so because they are the best odds to be superior at finding game and to never stop looking for it. They are also harder to train for OB in the presence of game, but that also has a silver lining in that they are very easy with each critical introduction because they are naturally confident by nature. I like that alot. You should get firm in your mind as to your priorities in this area before looking at puppies is my additional suggestion. The Breeder's input is invaluable, just ask for it after you have made your own observations and see if it confirms or conflicts with yours.


Good luck with your puppy.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby hicntry » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:17 pm

AverageGuy wrote:TruAblePup,

Obviously you have selected your litter some time ago, and what you asked for was input on how to use your pick of the litter opportunity.

Hopefully you have heard some ideas helpful to that. It is noteworthy that those who repeatedly poo poo the ability to observe puppies in a litter several times and observe differences have never done so but that does not stop them from writing posts saying it cannot be done or does not matter even if you can. Such is the internet.

If you read the posts carefully the consistency that is evident is those who lean towards dominant dogs with alot of independence, do so because they are the best odds to be superior at finding game and to never stop looking for it. They are also harder to train for OB in the presence of game, but that also has a silver lining in that they are very easy with each critical introduction because they are naturally confident by nature. I like that alot. You should get firm in your mind as to your priorities in this area before looking at puppies is my additional suggestion. The Breeder's input is invaluable, just ask for it after you have made your own observations and see if it confirms or conflicts with yours.


Good luck with your puppy.


+1 Solid advice.
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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby TruAblePup » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:40 pm

Thank you everyone! I appreciate it a lot.

I have chosen the litter already. I live 6 hours away, so I cannot visit the litter multiple times before pick-up date. I am going to rely on the breeder's wealth of experience. Many of you hear know him, his name is Dwight Rundle from Buffeltaler Kennels.

I have spoken to several other owners of his other dogs. All had good things to say. I will go for a confident pup with good conformation, (I plan to test)

I will post pics here after I pick him up next weekend. Can't wait!

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Re: How to choose "pick of the litter"

Postby ryanr » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:10 pm

AG, let me clarify that at least for me, I wasn't trying to imply that looking at the litter (especially several different times during their early development) can't be helpful in picking a puppy. Only that for the average puppy buyer, having pick of the litter probably doesn't matter much, especially if that buyer only sees the litter on the day they pick. Yet, so many people think it's crucial but don't have the expertise to actually know how to truly pick the "pick of the litter." In that regard, I think it's obviously her important to pick the breeding and know the parents. Then just trust in the breeding, grab a puppy and go with it.

I've actually done both in picking dogs. I picked from one of 5 males (that I saw for the first time) for my DD andcwent with the one that kept coming to me over and over. Sure I got a dog with enormous drive to find and get game but he was also a relentless PIA for his first 2yrs! This time though I actually got to see the litter numerous times and I just said, "let me know when I can pickup my pup." My friend, who owns the mother, said "which one is yours?" And I said "the one that's left after everybody else picks up there pup. Hopefully it ends up with a beard!" So far it's working out well.
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