Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Lake Charles, LA
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Retrieving isn't that high on my list for puppy looking. I've actually found that the higher the retrieve drive, the more challenging to teach a formal retrieve, because while they always want to retrieve, they are more likely to want to do it "their way" at first. A dog with less natural retrieve experience is starting from scratch, so you can teach from the beginning exactly what you want. Of course I wouldn't put a natural retrieve drive as a negative, I just don't think it makes teaching a formal retrieve easier like many people think.
If I were looking at a conformation litter that hasn't shown to have natural drive behind it, then I would be looking for biddability. And confidence. The only reason Conner ever got as far as he did is because while obedience exercises weren't what he would naturally choose to do, he had that "I'll do whatever you want me to do mom, because I love you!" attitude. He just didn't have a lot of confidence, which is what kept him from getting even farther.
Sunfire's Flying Head Over Heels UD BN RE JH WC (Flip)
Sunsplash Especially For Me (Jackson)
AJ's Maiden By the Sea CDX RE (Annabel) 2003-2016
Mud E Paws UDX OM2 RE OBHF (Conner) 2004-2015
Sunfire's Ashes To Gold CD PCD BN RN WC (Phoenix) 2013-2016 - Forever my baby angel