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I said it way back in the thread- a good pet home is the most valuable home, and being a valued family member is the most important job.
Sorry I missed it! That explains why I was surprised that no one had said anything... LOL You were one of the people I was expecting to feel that way as I'm fairly sure I've seen you say that multiple times on here. :)

Edited that sentence out.
 

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If I may jump in with a question of my own that seems relevant to the discussion, do breeders tend to give additional consideration to pet homes where the owners have previous experience raising golden puppies as opposed to first time owners?
 

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Though I'm only an occasional/infrequent breeder of field trial/hunt test hopefuls, I'll exercise the liberty to answer the question posed by the OP. I absolutely give preferential treatment to experienced, successful field trialers/hunt testers and even say so in any announcements or ads for the litter. The purpose of the breeding is to perpetuate the bloodlines which have proven track records and the best way to do that is to carefully vet the potential homes. And I would never have a litter from which I wouldn't want a puppy!

As a performance dog enthusiast, I "pretty much" follow the adage, "study pedigrees, carefully select the litter, then just reach down and just grab a puppy." As has been said earlier, at 7 - 8 weeks it is impossible to make a determination as to whether or not the prospect has what it takes to make a competitive field trial dog. I got a "last pick" puppy a few years back ... he got his AFC at 4 years old and his FC at 5. Also, what is I believe the all-time high point labrador female, "Lottie," was also a last pick puppy because she was a bit more timid than other puppies in the litter.
 

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  • If you are a hobbyist looking for a new puppy, what is your reaction to getting a puppy other-than-the-top-2-or-3?
  • If you are a "golden enthusiast" (my euphemism for someone who loves the breed, but lacks the commitment to be a hobbyist), how do you feel about getting puppies other-than-the-top-2-or-3? Or, perhaps, being skipped over altogether because of a lack of intent with-respect-to showing/competing in breed events
I consider myself in the grey area between a pet home and performance home. I have performance and competitive goals but I am unproven as I have no competitive titles under my belt. Having said that, in both Lana and Molly's litters I never got the impression or feeling that I was anything other than being matched to the right puppy. Their breeder knew which puppy would be best suited for which home at different times. Like in Lana's litter the boys had tentative placements super early on and it took the rest of the 8 weeks to match the girls to their perfect families. In the end, Lana's litter of 7 puppies, 5 went to homes with the intention of showing the dogs and 2 went to pet homes. Of those 7 puppies, 4 have their Championships and 2 have their CGCs. In Molly's litter of 6 puppies, we knew which puppy we were taking home by week 7 I think. And ultimately, 3 went to show/competitive homes and 3 went to pet homes (iirc). No one has titles yet cause they are still young and COVID slowed stuff down.

Using "pick order" is weird b/c it doesn't mean the last pick is the least wanted dog. Does that make sense? For instance, when I adopted Bear he was my first pick. Meaning of the whole litter I wanted him the most. But no one else wanted him. So he was considered "last pick" but he was my first pick so it didn't matter who went before us because we got what we wanted. But adoption is different than purchasing a puppy. From a breeder I want the breeder to match me with the puppy they think meets my goals and lifestyle the best. So far I've gotten two amazing dogs that to me were the perfect match.
But, I cannot help but think "not every dog is going to be 'competition material', irrespective of the specific competition".
I honestly think it's a training thing. Exceptional trainers beget exceptional dogs. Exceptional dogs can be hindered by sub par trainers. Likewise if a dog isn't meshing well with one venue, that doesn't mean they are not competition material. You just have to find what they excel at and foster that. My CeeCee is a "flat coat mix" but I think she is more sight hound than retriever. Anyway, she does not excel at obedience or rally. But she excels at lure coursing and has a wicked prey drive. So if I want to put titles on her, I'll probably branch out into the FAST CATs or barn hunts.
And when someone IS interested in possibly doing something competitive w their pet, they fizzle out if not already involved
This is so true and something I'm struggling with.
If this is the case, how do the top handlers/trainers repeatedly getting very high-performing dogs? Are they getting them later?
I don't think they are getting 'better' dogs per se. I think they are just well versed in training, have the experience, and put in the work. These exceptional trainers I admire put in SO MUCH work training and it shows.
 

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If this is the case, how do the top handlers/trainers repeatedly getting very high-performing dogs? Are they getting them later?
I don't think they are getting 'better' dogs per se. I think they are just well versed in training, have the experience, and put in the work. These exceptional trainers I admire put in SO MUCH work training and it shows.
Quite a few of the top trainers breed their own dogs, like Bridget Carlsen for example. They select pairings based on what they want in their next partner. Top trainers that don’t breed their own dogs are often well established enough as competitors that they either already have a relationship with the breeder of their choice OR they are connected enough to be directly referred to the breeder of their choice. You have to get out there and compete to make these connections though. And sometimes you have to start with your “just a pet” dog (like me and Rocket).
 
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If I may jump in with a question of my own that seems relevant to the discussion, do breeders tend to give additional consideration to pet homes where the owners have previous experience raising golden puppies as opposed to first time owners?
especially now, when people are setting pups up for later anxiety at separation, yes for me.
 

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If this is the case, how do the top handlers/trainers repeatedly getting very high-performing dogs? Are they getting them later?
The trainer themselves makes an enormous difference, perhaps even influences outcome more than the dog themselves can. One such as her can pop to top of any list there is.. based on her history.
I had a knee replacement three years ago, and when I talked to the surgeon after the operation, he told me: I've given you a good, strong knee. But that's only half the job. The other half is up to you - how well you rehabilitate it, how fit you keep yourself, how well you use it.

When it comes to performance dogs, I'd guess the same principle applies. The trainer makes a tremendous difference. In agility, we see a lot of less experienced handlers who get very high-octane dogs and have a terrible time with them because they don't know how to train that kind of dog and then support it in the ring. Give those dogs to experienced handlers, and the outcome would be different. In agility, it's easy to look at the top handlers and conclude that speed, drive and intensity are what you want. Except it's not necessarily true. You want speed and drive if (a) you know how to train that kind of dog, (b) you have the time to keep it fit enough not to injure itself, and (c) you have enough experience in the ring to provide the handling support a fast dog needs. If you can't do those things, you're better off with a less intense but highly biddable dog that will work with you and with which you can form a partnership.

A friend of mine has made the Canadian agility team with two different border collies. One came from a rescue, having been rejected by its previous owner, and the other was bought as a puppy from a farmer who had an "oops" litter. I've had two very different golden retrievers - the first from a conformation/field breeding and the second from a performance breeding. As dogs, they were polar opposites: the first was driven and intense, the second is biddable and focused. They both won national championship titles. It's the training that makes the difference.
 

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So Yvonne's current pup- she bought from a litter w a highly titled dam and a sire who came from the only bitch ever in history to produce 5 CH MH.. so the genes are there for success, and she herself is a very talented trainer, could probably make at least a UD out of a byb lazy dog if she were so inclined...

The trainer themselves makes an enormous difference, perhaps even influences outcome more than the dog themselves can. One such as her can pop to top of any list there is.. based on her history.
Do you have a link to her current pup?

She is a wonderful trainer. Have seen her at trials here in MI and down in OH.... and she has a very good connection with her dogs that you can see a mile away.
 

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We are now shifting from local hobby training towards KC endorsed help because the energy and drive is much more than a regular training schedule would allow. Our puppy looks innocent, but down the dog park he will run down dogs twice his size.
Great<:

This pup may seem very tough right now - but he will make you a better trainer so next pup down the road will be easy button (or you will actually have an easy button dog and wonder WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM). :)
 

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Kate
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As a performance dog enthusiast, I "pretty much" follow the adage, "study pedigrees, carefully select the litter, then just reach down and just grab a puppy."

Because many of these dogs will be very high demand for other performance breeders should they get all the titles that you expect them to get.... are you checking bites on the pups, putting them on the table at all - to make sure that structure is there? Would that ever be something that field breeders do?

I know on the conformation side - there so much worry about bites and tail sets and toplines and expression and confidence - all of these things matter when you are picking a pup that you intend to show with. That's getting a pup on the table and stepping back and looking at the whole picture. It's also putting the pup on the ground and encouraging him to trot around and see what he looks like and what his tail carriage is like.

For an obedience competition dog - I'd want to go with a breeder that has pretty good luck at producing good hips/elbows. Just because it's too heartbreaking to develop a pup from day one to go anywhere in obedience - and find out his elbows are bad. Picking a puppy, I'd still want a pretty puppy. But I'd be looking for one who is confident and outgoing - and very engaging/engagable.

I've been meaning to ask a couple breeders who breed fairly frequently and always keep a pup.... I wanted to ask if they keep a scrapbook with notes on what they were looking for, what they saw, what they kept, and if it turned out. Things like that would be helpful to know. I do know many people have puppy parties where they are checking the pups out and sorting them out as far as who would be a show pick and who would not be, etc.... but sometimes pictures and print would be helpful.
 

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A friend of mine has made the Canadian agility team with two different border collies. One came from a rescue, having been rejected by its previous owner, and the other was bought as a puppy from a farmer who had an "oops" litter. I've had two very different golden retrievers - the first from a conformation/field breeding and the second from a performance breeding. As dogs, they were polar opposites: the first was driven and intense, the second is biddable and focused. They both won national championship titles. It's the training that makes the difference.
It could also be the trainer/handler's EYE that makes a difference too. They can see what they want in the dogs before they pick them and start training....

I heard through ringside gossip about somebody with a boxer pup that she bought from a petstore. Couldn't get one a breeder or maybe decided to buy this pup because she really liked what she saw in him. She made that dog a show dog and finished him. Drove other breeders in her breed nuts apparently.

I do not necessarily believe that is very common - but my impression has been that there are people who have good eyes and magic hands. They can find the right dogs and they can work miracles with them. :)
 

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It could also be the trainer/handler's EYE that makes a difference too. They can see what they want in the dogs before they pick them and start training....

I heard through ringside gossip about somebody with a boxer pup that she bought from a petstore. Couldn't get one a breeder or maybe decided to buy this pup because she really liked what she saw in him. She made that dog a show dog and finished him. Drove other breeders in her breed nuts apparently.

I do not necessarily believe that is very common - but my impression has been that there are people who have good eyes and magic hands. They can find the right dogs and they can work miracles with them. :)
Wow that is a crazy awesome story.
 

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Because many of these dogs will be very high demand for other performance breeders should they get all the titles that you expect them to get.... are you checking bites on the pups, putting them on the table at all - to make sure that structure is there? Would that ever be something that field breeders do?
Great questions!

To make a Field Champion or even an Amateur Field Champion, of which only 1-2 a YEAR are made, there are certain innate qualities which simply cannot be trained into a dog. So to retain or even elevate those qualities, there will be some give and take. Of course, physical structure is important because the retrieving animal must have the structure to make the retrieves; stamina is required because in the higher stakes the dogs may have to cover over a mile in just one test; courage must be present for the dog to enter cover over its head or water that is hundreds of yards wide; memory is a requirement because some of the water tests can take over 20 minutes for the dog to complete; etc. So if a dog has shown that it has these attributes, but the bite may not be perfect or a tooth may be missing, it may nonetheless be considered a worthy parent.

To be fair and equal, do conformation breeders ensure that the dogs they are breeding/producing don't have so much coat that working in the field would be a challenge, or have strong fronts (the BEC covered this in the first webinar), do they take into account intelligence, memory, trainability, courage, athleticism, birdiness, good water attitude, etc. I suspect that some do, some don't.

The beauty of our breed is that it, indeed, covers a broad spectrum and allows participation in innumerable events.

FTGoldens
 

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To be fair and equal, do conformation breeders ensure that the dogs they are breeding/producing don't have so much coat that working in the field would be a challenge, or have strong fronts (the BEC covered this in the first webinar), do they take into account intelligence, memory, trainability, courage, athleticism, birdiness, good water attitude, etc. I suspect that some do, some don't.
Some do. Obviously everyone has degrees of interpretation and where their focus lies.

I saw your words about just picking out any puppy from the litter and I considered all of the different things people look for in a conformation pup. I wondered if field breeders do that at all. With obedience breeders - I know it's hit or miss whether they do any of these checks. You can't tell if a pup will be missing teeth if you are looking in an 8 week old puppy's mouth, but you can kinda see if their bites will be good... or not. Then toplines and balance have to be very important too - you can see that with an 8 week old pup...

Would you walk from a litter if the pups have dippy backs or are not balanced looking? I guess that's my question....?
 

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Because many of these dogs will be very high demand for other performance breeders should they get all the titles that you expect them to get.... are you checking bites on the pups, putting them on the table at all - to make sure that structure is there? Would that ever be something that field breeders do?

I know on the conformation side - there so much worry about bites and tail sets and toplines and expression and confidence - all of these things matter when you are picking a pup that you intend to show with. That's getting a pup on the table and stepping back and looking at the whole picture. It's also putting the pup on the ground and encouraging him to trot around and see what he looks like and what his tail carriage is like.
Evaluating a dog's performance potential by posing him or trotting him around is like a building inspector evaluating a house by standing on the curb and looking at the outside of the house. The inspector could tell whether the house was leaning or the windows were broken, but that's about all. He can't see whether the sewage lines are clogged or the heaters are working.

I can see whether a dog has all four legs or is walking into walls because he's blind, but other than the glaringly obvious, there's not much useful information you can get by just looking at an 8 week old puppy or even an adult dog. You can't see the subcutaneous distribution of fat that might affect his tolerance for cold water, or the network of capillaries in his nose that might affect his ability to lose heat effectively when he's panting, or his lung capacity, or the elasticity of his tendons, or whether he can remember where 3 birds fell, or whether he wants to work with a person, or whether he can solve a problem, or whether he has a soft mouth, etc. etc. You get the picture.

Colleges don't make their decisions about which students to accept into their physics graduate programs based on whether the kid had "wide-set eyes with an intelligent expression" when he was 6 months old.
 

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Evaluating a dog's performance potential by posing him or trotting him around is like a building inspector evaluating a house by standing on the curb and looking at the outside of the house. The inspector could tell whether the house was leaning or the windows were broken, but that's about all. He can't see whether the sewage lines are clogged or the heaters are working.

I can see whether a dog has all four legs or is walking into walls because he's blind, but other than the glaringly obvious, there's not much useful information you can get by just looking at an 8 week old puppy or even an adult dog. You can't see the subcutaneous distribution of fat that might affect his tolerance for cold water, or the network of capillaries in his nose that might affect his ability to lose heat effectively when he's panting, or his lung capacity, or the elasticity of his tendons, or whether he can remember where 3 birds fell, or whether he wants to work with a person, or whether he can solve a problem, or whether he has a soft mouth, etc. etc. You get the picture.

Colleges don't make their decisions about which students to accept into their physics graduate programs based on whether the kid had "wide-set eyes with an intelligent expression" when he was 6 months old.
I wasn’t asking if folks are evaluating a dog’s performance potential. I was asking if people who are selecting a dog with the idea of breeding said dog down the road actually do their due diligence in selecting pups that will meet the breed standard.
 

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@SoCalEngr do you feel encouraged? Better? Worse? I'm curious as to your thoughts on our responses. :)
 
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I wasn’t asking if folks are evaluating a dog’s performance potential. I was asking if people who are selecting a dog with the idea of breeding said dog down the road actually do their due diligence in selecting pups that will meet the breed standard.
They had better be or they are fooling themselves and wasting their time. If you are not sure of what you are doing, do not be afraid to seek help from knowledgeable people. Everybody has to start somewhere.
As far as what kind of puppy buyers I would prefer, my favorite would be a good pet home, someone who has had a Golden before, has good references, and can provide a loving home for the pup. I also would ask a lot of open-ended questions, such as where will the puppy live ( the correct answer being in the house). I know this is a very simple example.
 

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@SoCalEngr do you feel encouraged? Better? Worse? I'm curious as to your thoughts on our responses. :)
Life (work) has been 12-hour days for the past few weeks. I've been following the thread (sort of), but haven't had functioning brain cells at the end of a work day to put together a coherent post. I also got my 2nd Moderna vaccination last weekend (7am on a Saturday, why'd I do that to myself? 😁), so that was a bit of a lost weekend.

The general tenor of the thread is "interesting", I'll try and put some coherent thoughts together this weekend.
 

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I also got my 2nd Moderna vaccination last weekend (7am on a Saturday, why'd I do that to myself? 😁), so that was a bit of a lost weekend.
Gotta ask - 2-3 days after the 2nd shot, how did you feel?

Were you sick at all? Or fatigued?
 
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