Keeping Littermates .... - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Keeping Littermates ....

Yeah, I've heard all the reasons to not keep littermates for training, particularly field training ... heck, I've even advised folks against doing it ... but I did it anyway! Nonetheless, so far as their bonding with me and not each other, that's not a problem whatsoever. Once they left momma and their siblings went to their respective homes, we kept the littermates separate to the extent our other dogs are kept separate (the littermates don't even have kennels next to each other). Hence, for our two littermates, their "people" are much more important to them than their sibling. So that's not what this is about.

It's the innate differences between these dogs that stand out.

Notably, the pups have a strong, heavy field-oriented pedigree. They have very high prey drive. They have had exactly the same training up to this point. But they are vastly different in several significant ways.
The boy seems to require extremely high collar pressure, higher than any other dog that I've trained and, quite possibly, higher than any other dog that I've seen. He feels it, but he'll grin and bear it, even at the highest setting, and still not change his behavior even though I am certain that he understands the command (in this regard, he is a lot like his grandma, whom I also trained). Yet the girl needs only a 1 or a 2 to change her aberrant behavior (in this regard, she is like her grandpa, whom I also trained).
The boy has a hard time settling down when in the house, yet his sister enters the house with a leap but quickly settles down on a rug (or in an easy chair) and rarely intrudes.
The girl is showing that blinds probably won't be a problem for her, as she is taking nice casts pretty much 100% of the time; her brother, on the other hand, doesn't want to change direction about half the time.
The girl had a stronger desire to cheat water (especially on the return), but her brother is much more honest around the water.

So, I have no idea which one will end up being the better field trial competitor, but it's become obvious that I have to treat and train each one quite differently. But this is what makes training fun, figuring out what it takes to get the most talent out of each dog.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 04:29 PM
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Good luck! I recently wrote a column entitled THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT for the South Shore Waterfowlers Association newsletter. The topic is very similar to this post.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 06:00 PM
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But this is what makes training fun, figuring out what it takes to get the most talent out of each dog.
I'll be honest, I like doing the SAME THINGS each time, each dog, etc... and having the same results. It's predictable, easy, and you get to be smug when everything is well.

Not field training any dogs - I want to try with my middle dog, but he is very very high prey drive in a "I want to eat it instead of bringing it back" way - and yes, this happened while field training with a live bird. I'm putting obedience first and seeing how he is in another year before trying field again. I don't want to be stuck chasing my dog around trying to get a bird from him before he eats it alive! Obedience training will fix that.

He's different from his dad who was the absolute opposite (very obedient and willing to do anything for me, but hated the taste of birds and you could see his disgusted look each time he had to pick one up).

And I suspect my baby who is a full sibling of the middle dog will also be different. I'm not sure at this time. He's not food driven the same way the middle dog is, but seems very willing to put anything in his mouth. I am hoping he is somewhere in the middle (wants to get all the birds, but thinks of them as "toys" vs "food").

Dad dog - has a workhorse mentality + agile and delicate. Needs a soft hand and positive energy from me or he folds.

Why did I want pups from him? He's got athleticism and smarts that most show goldens seem to lack, I think. He's catlike. He can jump anything without making a noise.

Pup # 1 (middle dog) - I don't honestly know if he's as smart as his dad. He's more flamboyant, hyper, flashy, and very much an overachiever. Some things, he needs to be taught them a little different than I taught his dad. He's not a "do it right one time, learn forever" type of dog like his dad is. That's where I had to change up how I teach some things. For example, he's learned the "go out" for obedience (which is go a straight line out until I stop him). But he has me pulling my hair out teaching him a legit "mark" for the go-out and also gloves. It's just not computing the way I taught his dad. So changing that game. He's also a bottomless pit of energy. He wants to play nonstop. I could train him for 2 hours and he'll be kicking and screaming about being put on the side while I train another dog.

Pup # 2 (baby) - I'm finding he has a lot of desire to please, eagerness to work, but part of the complication in training him is the jealousy from the other dogs... other part is he's also very distracted by everything. I think part of that is he's more independent than most dogs I've had. That doesn't bother me right now, because a lot of golden boys start off being independent and goofy, but by the time they are 5 months old they start becoming very attached to their people and listening better.

^^^^ All this is my scattered thoughts on bringing home my equivalent of littermates (full brothers born 1 year apart). I'm remembering why I'd always said I wouldn't buy a puppy before the other dogs were at least 3. o_O! So much easier focusing on training only 1 dog.

When people talk about getting littermates, I do think that they are possibly stretching themselves thin - or stretching the time they can commit to each pup pretty thin.

Last edited by Megora; 08-19-2019 at 07:21 PM.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 06:23 PM
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Fun read, I hope you'll keep us updated on your observations and how they each progress. So glad you're enjoying them. Pretty sure your home isn't anything close to the average pet home where two Golden puppies seemed like a fun idea because they'll "play with each other". It's interesting to hear how differently those genes play out.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 05:22 PM
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Many years ago I had brother & sister litter mates, Rascal and Duchess. they wre English Setters and we trained them for quail dogs. Both were my buddies and loved to go places with me (we lived in the country on a little farm with lots of woods) but they both were top quail dogs. They almost seemed to read each other's minds. Whichever found the birds first set and the other, upon seeing him./her set, backed them with a beautiful set. They both searched for downed birds and whoever found it brought it back to us, no haggling. Now I have to say their old man, Mack, was a great help with the training. He was an extra ordinary quail dog. At the same time, Daddy had a pointer that was "me first" He woudl push past the pups to be in front--and it almost coast him his life when the pups were little--Rascal had set a rattlesnake, Lucky rushed in and the snake got him in the neck. He was lucky only one fang went into the meat of his neck,the other hit his hick leather collar. Even so his head, chest and even his legs swelled. And for some reason that did what all the training could not do--he didn't rush ahead, he pointed (backed) when he saw another set.

The pups were born in May and taht Dec Rascal was doing well, but Duchess was not--she wanted to play. But the next season all we THOUGHT she had not learned the first yer was there and that is when she and Rascal worked like a team that read each others mind.

SCOOTER 6/14/94 - 8/22/99
BUCK 2/8/95 - 5/15/07
HUNTER 8/19/99 - 10/16/03
KAYCEE 8-19-99 -5-25-08
HONEY ADOPTED GROWN 12/07/02 - 8/13/14
SOPHIE 1/8/04 - ADOPTED 2/17/15 - 10/12/16
GREAT PYRENEES SHAGGY adopted AT AGE 7 8/31/14 - 9/23/14 AGE 7
GREAT PYRENEES SIR MOOSE ADOPTED 9/30/14 ---- 12/5/18 AGE 11 1/2

Goldens bring light into the world.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2019, 11:09 AM
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What a great experiment! You’ll have to keep us up on how they progress. And where are the photos and videos???

~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
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Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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