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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering getting a 1 y/o puppy, as opposed to a 8 week old puppy from a breeder to eventually show in obedience. I am doing research on the breeder so that is not my issue. I would like some ideas on the advantages/disadvantages of getting a 1 y/o pup from a quality breeder.

Just a brief rational...I have 2 Goldens both are 8-9 years old. One is a rescue with an amazing personality but lots of medical problems, including cancer, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism. He is a true gem, has an RN and CD but for obvious reasons can no longer compete. I got him at the age of 6. My other dog is my novice A dog, currently working on her UD. I got her from a BYB before I new anything about getting a dog 8 years ago. She has some structural issues and temperament problems that are not all that conducive to obedience but we have struggled through and are currently on the road to her UD.
My thinking is that in getting a 1 y/o from a breeder I will know more about what I am getting in structure and personality.

My questions are:
What other pros and cons are there to this plan?
A separate issue is that I have not had a puppy or young dog for 8 years so am probably forgetting the challenges. I have read lots of posts to help remember puppyhood but...AM I MISSING ANY BIG RED FLAGS HERE?

Any thoughts on this would be most appreciated. Thanks ahead of time!!
 

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I think it would depend on how much the breeder has socialized/interacted with the puppy. Some have done a lot, others have never even put a leash on them.
For a serious performance dog, by the time the puppy is 1 you probably want them trained thru utility skills, so you could be starting at a disadvantage. But the breeder might have you starting at an advantage, too, if he/she has already done a lot with the pup.
 

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If I were getting an older dog as an obedience prospect, before I agreed to take it I would want to take it out in public and see how it handled it. I would also want to see how it reacted to stressful situations. It is so hard to show a dog that gets spooked or stressed, and by one year those early socialization opportunities are gone.
 

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I agree to both of the earlier posts regarding this. A puppy goes through alot of socialization periods when it is younger and the breeder may not have had the time and attention put into the puppy for multiple situations as an individual might have had. On the other hand if they did get the puppy out and acclimated, you have an already housebroken dog (hopefully) that you can spend all your time training. If it were me though, I would still prefer a pup because everyone has their own preferences when it comes to training. Even simple housetraining. For example, to lie on the couch or not to lie on the couch. To go potty on command or not. Crate train or not. Use food treats or lots of praise. The list goes on and on. Good luck with your decision! And good luck with your new dog/puppy.
 

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Agree to all posts.

Older "pup:" Your advantages will depend on how your research comes out on the breeder--if older pups coming from the breeder are well-trained and socialized. Your advantages will also depend on why the breeder is interested in selling the dog--light eye color? a missing tooth? undersized? undescended testicle? These aren't anything that would affect obedience ability. (IMHO) But improper bite. . .well, maybe the dog won't want to retrieve, or might need more coaching. Lacks balance? Durability could be a question. Conformation wash out? If the breed ring bores him, then OK, obedience would certainly be more exciting. But if there's "no there there" than maybe this that golden that is happier on someone's couch, with a game of fetch, but without the stress of competition.

An 8 week old pup: You are responsible for the training--and if you work with a good breeder, you can choose one with the personality and structure to be your obedience partner. You don't know what those hips and elbows (or heart and eyes) are going to show, but for a year old dog, you really don't have the final clearance for hips and elbows either--you wouldn't have them until 2, although the breeder may have done prelims.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. It has added some considerations to my list....HMMN!
So far, the info I have received is that the pup is smaller in stature than the Goldens currently being shown in AKC breed shows. Smaller in size is fine with me as long as he has the structural prerequisites for jumping and movement. According to the breeder he has good bite, good angulation, good balance front and rear, good coat, he just did not grow as large as the breeder would have liked.
I have not seen him except for pictures due to his distant location. He is going to be shown at a local show in breed in the near future and my plan is to go to the show to see not only how he looks in the ring but also how he handles the stresses of a dog show. I already have a dog that took 3+ years just to get acclimated to the show environment. I certainly don't want to go down that road again.
I was thinking that meeting a 1 y/o dog where the personality and structure can be assessed might be a safer bet than a 8 week old puppy, but I may need to rethink that. I, also, am not sure how much of the personality traits are that whole nature vs. nurture thing... I've done a lot of reading on the subject but it seems there are no solid answers to that. More than likely it is a combination of the two.
 

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I think you also need to analyze exactly what your goals are. If your goals are a top scoring dog with OTCH potential, I think you'd be better off getting a puppy. If you just want to have fun getting some titles then it doesn't matter as much.

Many problems that a dog could have still might not show up at one years old, both temperment and healthwise.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
An OTCH trainer I am not...maybe someday...but a very good training partner once told me that you need to train for 5 points over the score you expect in the ring. In other words if you train for a 190, expect a 185. My goal is to have a pretty "picture" in the ring...one that I will be proud of...that shows off the best teamwork between my pup and I. That could evolve into an OTCH one day, especially as my image of awesome teamwork has become increasingly more clear.

Thanks for your in-put!
 

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dang, guess I need to start picking up bonus points so I can train for a 203-205!!
 

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Okay, reality check time.
IF YOU WANT AN OBEDIENCE PROSPECT -- BUY FROM SOMEONE WHO BREEDS FOR PERFORMANCE -- NOT A SHOW WASHOUT!!!!!!

I know people are not going to like to hear this -- and I am telling you this as an owner of a BREED CHAMPION out of the country's former #1 show dog -- but if you're #1 goal is obedience, why on earth would you look at anything but a dog that came from a performance breeder? That would be like buying a Clydesdale because you want to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

I am assuming this breeder is NOT a performance breeder if her only complaint about the pup is that he is too small for the breed ring.

Now I may be assuming a lot here -- maybe the puppy comes from parents who also have obedience and/or other performance titles, and that he was bred to have a strong work ethic, intelligence, tractability, trainability, and all those other things that pure show breeders generally don't care a whole lot about......

YES there are LOTS of dogs from 100% conformation background who are wonderful performance dogs and absolutely excel in obedience. That is great and a testament to our fine breed. But there are LOTS of GREAT breeders of performance or "multipurpose" (show + performance) goldens who would LOVE to place a puppy in an obedience home. You basically would have your pick of a puppy born and instilled with the drive and intelligence to do exactly what you want.

Now this little guy may be exactly what you were wishing for, but in my opinion --- unless that dog was raised by someone who did a good deal of obedience basics training, you are NOT getting a clean slate -- you are going to have a longer road to travel to get him where you would start out at if you got an 8 week old puppy. I say this in terms of obedience/performance/competition...habits formed by dogs raised with NO eye toward obedience can be hard to break. Things you might not think of like avoiding eye contact, not taking food from a hand, avoiding close body contact out of context (heeling/fronts), etc, etc.

So these are all the cons. The pros are you may not have to deal with housetraining, crate training, if your older dog is snarky with puppies there won't be a size difference, dog is mentally mature to jump right into training whereas you really can't do "big dog" stuff with a baby puppy for several months.

Best of luck and let us know how it goes. Sorry if I'm ranting against show dogs but HUGE pet peeves of mine are people assuming that any dog who doesn't cut it from the show ring is automatically an obedience prospect (cause you know, all goldens have equal brains, biddability, enthusiasm, etc), AND people who don't realize that pedigrees lacking in performance have a lesser chance of producing good performance puppies, just like pedigrees lacking hip clearances have a lesser chance of producing good hips.

Okay, rant over, sorry! LOL
 

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My initial thought was to see if you could 'borrow' the dog for a week and see how it works out, though clearly that isn't an option.

I have to agree with Anney (K9-Design). I have seen top-notch show goldens who couldn't sit. Why? Because they were never taught to. I've seen 7 week old puppies with more manners than this particular dog!

I would start talking more seriously to the other Golden owners that you see at the obedience trials and see if they know of any good breeders. Or they might know someone who knows someone.

We are kind of in the same boat. I'm looking for a smart dog to do obedience and agility and possibly therapy, but I love the look of the English style who seem to be more what you see in shows. I want the best of both worlds, and it's really hard to find.

BTW, what kind of cancer does your dog have? Just curious since I too am living with a dog who is living with cancer.
 

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We are kind of in the same boat. I'm looking for a smart dog to do obedience and agility and possibly therapy, but I love the look of the English style who seem to be more what you see in shows. I want the best of both worlds, and it's really hard to find.
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There are some really top-notch performance breeders that while often do straight performance breedings, also sometimes do some really nice performance/conformation blended breedings.

Gaylan's has a breeding coming up this year that I think would be really nice for this.

Sunfire and Topbrass also frequently do this.

ETA: If you check out the Sunfire litter page, there are two litters currently on the ground, both dams are litter mates of Flip's mom (who had a CH/OTCH dad), and the sires are both breed champions that have working ability
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BTW, what kind of cancer does your dog have? Just curious since I too am living with a dog who is living with cancer.
My amazing rescue, Beau, had a partial maxillectomy for a benign epullis, at which time he had a malignant melanoma removed from his lip. A few months later he had a melanoma removed form his eyelid. A few months after that he had 4 areas removed, two of which turned out to be mast cell tumors, fortunately only grade 1. The specialist feels it is only a matter of time when he will have more tumors of some sort but!!! after 1 year there has been no recurrence and no new growths. The biggest hinderence to his performance is he had bilateral femoral head osteotomies by his prior owners and has a muscular disorder with tremors. He also has cardiomyopathy which started at around age 7. He is a a medical mess but he has the personality to die for. He LOVES to work and earned his CD and RN rather quickly. If his body was in better shape he would be an obedience star. I am currently teaching him the utility exercises that don't require jumping just for fun and as a training experience for me in preparation for my future pup. He is a true gem and I cherish his lively, happy, willing personality.
My other dog is the complete opposite of him as far as personality goes and though I love her dearly she is a challenge to train.
 

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by the same token, beware of breeders who breed only for performance with no thought to the dog's structure. It's really heartbreaking to see some of the physical structures on the "performance" dogs, who can't do much past 7 or 8 years old because their bodies fall apart.
 

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Gaylan's has a breeding coming up this year that I think would be really nice for this.

Sunfire and Topbrass also frequently do this.

ETA: If you check out the Sunfire litter page, there are two litters currently on the ground, both dams are litter mates of Flip's mom (who had a CH/OTCH dad), and the sires are both breed champions that have working ability
Topbrass has a couple of field X conformation breedings available now too. Milla/Jagger (http://www.topbrass-retrievers.com/millajaggerpups.htm) would be fantastic, I think.

When I was looking for a dog to do obedience and agility (and field, too, of course, but definitely not conformation), I looked at it this way: I want a dog who wants to work and is very fast and agile. A field bred dog is bred to take training well (because while you need instinct for field work, a great deal of field success is training), is most likely quite atheletic, and usually has the energy and stamina for working. All things that work well in the field, but also transfer extremely well for obedience and agility. The number one for many conformation breeders is how the dog looks. How it works (aside from the conformation ring) is secondary. I'm sure this is a very simplified view, but then I've been accused of being simple minded myself!

I'm a puppy person myself. I have no desire to "fix" something caused by other people. I highly doubt I'll ever be an OTCH trainer simply because I'm not that precise with obedience. I will have a UDX, a MACH, and hopefully an MH dog someday (not necessarily all in one dog!). But even not wanting a OTCH, I think a puppy is the best bet for me to achieve what I want in the obedience ring. But everyone is different. My friend/agility instructor went with a rescue for her latest dog. He was about 6 months old when she got him. He's only a year and a half now (and had a few months off to fix a cruciate), so only time will tell if he turns out well or if his early life (or lack of) permanently damaged him. He already has "crate aggression" issues.
 

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For the poster looking for an more English obedience dog, go to One Ash in Ohio. They have great obedience dogs with Camrose lines.

I think most Goldens can be trained to a UD if you are willing to work at it. It would be easier, however, to start with a dog bred for the sport.
 

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Another thought is your other dogs. How would they take to an older dog? How would they like a puppy? With Beau and his issues, you have to think about what is best for him. We've had a lot of people recommend to us to wait until Mac goes to get a puppy, but we don't think that that's the right thing to do for us. (I'd go into details, but don't want to bore you!) Let's just say that he would want a puppy and we want him to teach the puppy.

It sounds like Beau is an especially cool dog and would probably have a lot to teach either an older dog or a pup, it's just a matter of what he might want or do best with.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks everyone, your thoughts, suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated. It has really made me realize I need to slow down the process a bit and do more research and goal setting before I jump into getting my new pup.
Both my dogs are fine with other dogs, Baylee will definitely get her nose bent out of shape at first but I think Beau will take it in stride and probably be a good mentor any new pup.
Today I went to the Palm Springs Kennel Club Trial and spoke with different obedience competitors regarding different Golden breeders and checked out some of the top performance dogs. I then went to the Golden confirmation ring and watched the dogs for a while. One of the dogs from the breeder I am considering was showing. One thing I noticed is that the breed dogs are much larger than my preference but it is all part of the process of figuring out the best route to go. I am also considering the best timing to have the least amount of disruption to my little household.
Any other thoughts along the way are welcomed. Part of me wants to wait a little longer and part of me is excited about getting started with a new pup.
It will be interesting to see where this process leads.
 

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looking at performance litters on the internet is a bit of an addiction of mine, so if you decide to go with a puppy I'd love to hear what breeders you're leaning to or give you suggestions.

Take your time, continue your research, and it will all fall into place.
 

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Interesting comment about conformation dogs being bigger than you like...any dog over 25 inches (the standard specifies 23-24 as "ideal" for a male) is disqualified from the ring. If you are looking for a dog that's smaller than the standard, you probably will have to stay clear of the "conformation breeders".
The only other thing I would add is that if you are considering dogs from "performance breeders" be sure to check out some of their dogs that are around 8-10 years old and see how well they have held up physically.
In this particular area, some of the so called "performance breeders" breed without a thought to structure and the dogs are no longer able to compete once they hit 8 or so years old because their joints and muscles can't take the jumping.



Thanks everyone, your thoughts, suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated. It has really made me realize I need to slow down the process a bit and do more research and goal setting before I jump into getting my new pup.
Both my dogs are fine with other dogs, Baylee will definitely get her nose bent out of shape at first but I think Beau will take it in stride and probably be a good mentor any new pup.
Today I went to the Palm Springs Kennel Club Trial and spoke with different obedience competitors regarding different Golden breeders and checked out some of the top performance dogs. I then went to the Golden confirmation ring and watched the dogs for a while. One of the dogs from the breeder I am considering was showing. One thing I noticed is that the breed dogs are much larger than my preference but it is all part of the process of figuring out the best route to go. I am also considering the best timing to have the least amount of disruption to my little household.
Any other thoughts along the way are welcomed. Part of me wants to wait a little longer and part of me is excited about getting started with a new pup.
It will be interesting to see where this process leads.
 
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