How to recognize a well adjusted puppy from a breeder's litter? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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How to recognize a well adjusted puppy from a breeder's litter?

Hi, when I visit breeders and see puppies from a litter, what should I look for so I pick a puppy that has fewer behavior problems? I would like a dog with a good, easy going temperament. I am often drawn to the quiet pups that seem a little submissive because they seem to want you so much. But a submissive dog may be a problem later on and develop anxieties and other problems etc. Can someone describe what puppy behavior is characteristic of a good, well adjusted temperament? Should the puppy seem independent and want to play more than sit with you, or more attached and want to be with you?? I am comparing only female dogs.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 01:14 PM
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I know there has been a lot of advice about this out there and I recently read that a lot of it can be misleading. I donít remember where I read it, but Iíve gotten that impression enough times now that itís stuck with me. I do think it matters what puppy you connect with if you go to visit a litter, but a lot of it is going to come from the breederís experience and knowing you and what you need. So I would say, communicate a lot with your breeder so they have the best insight into what to look for in a puppy for you. Temperament testing canít predict the future or give you any guarantees, but Iím pretty sure itís more complicated than the advice I was given, which was ďpick the puppy right in the middle, not too timid and not too playful.Ē What does that even mean?? Thankfully our breeder picked for us!

Maybe someone who knows more will post about the placement process a breeder goes through - I get the impression itís more complex than it appears. I do think the things you would be looking for, the kinds of things they look at in temperament testing, would be very hard to distinguish by the average person.

Regardless of which puppy you end up taking home, every puppy has potential for behavior problems, but the more proactive you are the easier theyíll be to address. You might want to look at puppy classes - it will be fun and provide you with support if you need it.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 06:49 PM
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I found this on the internet and believe the advice to be spot-on. Our Robbie demonstrated his dominate behavior at 6 weeks old.

1. Roll the puppy on its back and rub its tummy. How easily does it allow itself to be on its back with its tummy being touched?
2. Gently squeeze its paws. Put the pup on the ground and hold its two front paws, then hold onto its back paws. Restrain the puppy for a minute, but do not hurt the puppy. Does it allow its paws to be touched without getting annoyed or growling?
3. Play with the puppyís ears. Does the puppy mind if its ears are touched and gently tugged?
4. Hold the pupís tail. Does it allow its tail to be tugged?

When performing your test, be careful not to hurt the puppy. Any dog in pain may react. You are simply trying to see how well he tolerates being handled. Rolling the puppy on its back is putting it in a submissive position. A more dominating dog will not tolerate this as well as a puppy that is more on the submissive side.

How does the puppy approach humans and the other dogs in the litter? Is he standing high and proud, or is he holding his head low, as if he was a little sad? Dogs with higher dominancy levels will approach standing high and proud, ears perked. While this looks adorable, keep in mind this is how a dominant dog carries himself. A submissive dog will hold his head low, ears back, and slink himself down, trying to look smaller. Submissive dogs are easier to deal with than dominant dogs. If you do not feel you have a complete understanding of canines and what it takes to be a true pack leader to your dog, you should pick a submissive puppy. Read up on the subject because all dogs need a pack leader, no matter what their dominancy level is. All dogs need to have their instincts fulfilled to happily coincide with humans.

If possible, watch the litter at feeding time. Which pup is the most assertive at getting the food? Which pup tries the least? The pup that gets most of the food or is more pushy about it is the more dominant pup.
Place all of the pups up on something such as a chair (one that is at a safe jumping distance). Which pup insists on jumping off first? Which pup is content to stay longer and watch the others? The pup that is willing to sit back and watch will tend to be the more submissive pup, hence an easier pup to handle.
Watch the pups play and interact. Which pup is dominating the play?
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Kris and her big boy Robbie!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 02:21 AM
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All of those things I have read as well and unfortunately donít always hold true. Our Oliver was named for Oliver Twist who said please sir can I have some more. Referring to his soup. Our Ollie was the biggest of the litter by quite a bit and at feeding time he would go from one nipple to the next , pushing his siblings out of the way. He wanted some more. He would have appeared to be quite dominant in that circumstance, but he didnít act that way in play and now at 5 years old he has never shown any dominant behaviour. He is the most layed back, sweet, gentle little guy that we always refer to as a lover not a fighter. I donít know if the tests on there own work. I think they can help the breeder affirm what they have observed watching their pups behaviour. A good observant breeder is probably more reliable in predicting just from experience.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 08:58 PM
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Larger puppies will always push the smaller ones off of a nipple. It has nothing to do with their temperament.

My Father raised English Setters as hunting dogs. The first job (responsibility) I ever remember being given, was to watch the nursing puppies, and make sure the smaller ones always got enough. I was probably no more than 5 years old, which would have made it in 1955.

If there is a big difference in puppy size, we get the smaller puppies on the back nipples to start with, and put the large ones to the front. The back ones ("bottles" as my Mother always called them) almost always hold the most milk, and by the time the little ones are full, the larger ones are working their way back.

You can forget about "dominance" in companion dogs. Nothing about it applies to training Havanese.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 09:50 PM
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For what itís worth, our little girl was sniffing around on her own. She seemed disinterested in her siblings and was busy exploring when we met her. She was not scared in any way. Seemed very confident for a puppy. We could pet her and she wasnít scared, turned out perfect. Sheís confident, playful and tough but loving dog. Incredible disposition.

Chocolate Havanese Puppy Has Arrived. Sheís espresso color and some people confuse her for black in photos. White back feet and some white on the chest and beard. Emerald eyes
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