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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Met our Puppy and have questions about temperament

Hi all,
So we were finally able to make a trip out to see the puppy that has been on hold for us with our breeder. He's a super cute little guy but before we make a final decision I wanted to ask for some advice with regards to temperament. They are currently 7 weeks old.

We went and stayed for about an hour and a half and played with the puppies between their naps. The Mom is a very nice dog, great personality and very welcoming. Our guy was more reserved and less enthused about meeting us than the other pups were. When we first picked him up he was shaking a little bit and wasn't keen to look right in our faces. But he didn't hide or anything, he did come out with the group of pups and was certainly involved with the happenings. Some of the other ones were jumping all over me as I sat on the floor, pulling at my pant leg, etc.

This guy seemed less boisterous overall and more thoughtful, kind of wandering off on his own a little to smell something, not as quick to jump up underneath the coffee table or on the beds though he did do it with some encouragement. He wasn't as swayed to come over just by my presence, I had to really rile them all up to get them all jumping around on me. He played with his sibs, and could hold his own, but didn't seem to be the instigator. There were very clearly much more dominant, excitable/inquisitive pups in the group. He seemed to listen to Mom pretty astutely when she growled to tell them to stop chasing her for nursing and I feel like he stuck a bit closer to her than the others, at times.

He wasn't as squirmy when we held him; he seemed to settle in and kind of melt in the arms as some people have said. None of the other ones did that. He didn't seem totally pleased as punch to be held, but, he didn't try to get away really and let me turn him over on his back, play with his paws, whatever. But he didn't make really direct eye contact when I did that; more just kind of accepting his fate. The other ones were just totally trying to turn back over, get away, and just jump all over and lick my neck. I barely heard this guy whine and didn't hear him bark really. He would lick you a tiny bit with encouragement and if I made squeaky noises but wasn't non-stop about it (I'm not the biggest fan of licking because I have a mild allergy to dog saliva, so minimal licking is a cool/positive attribute with me).

The others were more demanding and/or vocal though none too much. After a while I felt like he warmed up to us, he did come over and engage in some play with me, playing with a rope and pawing a ball and stuff, but he was less hectic about it compared to the others, and when they would charge in he would kind of back off. When I put my head on the floor and used the high excited voice he did jump up on my head and chew my hair and stuff. When I would look at his face though when I handled him he would seem to have kind of a hesitant look... kind of "Ok, uh, do whatever you gotta do, I'm not too sure though".

So- will this guy be a good fit for us? I think the dominant guy and even the tiny sister would be too much of a handful, and they are all spoken for anyway. We're a childless couple who are moderately active but not planning on doing agility or anything like that. We need a dog who will be quiet because we live in a small condo, but also one that can deal with everyday ruckus because our street is SO noisy and there are really strange people and many other people walking dogs who come around our condo (kind of a rough neighbourhood here). So lots of sirens, firecrackers across the street, motorcycles, etc.

My concern is that this guy could be naturally kind of fearful and well, maybe a little less smart than his sibs? Or perhaps he is just more thoughtful? I feel like he would look to us more for direction instead of doing whatever he felt like like some of the others. He did respond to my encouragement to climb up on one of the little dog beds. Consider also that I have 3 pet parakeets who will be living in close proximity with our dog. I need a dog who will have a bulletproof "leave it" (with training of course) and who will not just pounce on a bird that flutters to the ground and attack it before thinking twice, you know? So that could be a positive attribute of this fellow.

My boyfriend likes that he is mellow and seems a bit like an old soul. I feel like this will make him pretty easy to groom. He seems pretty accepting of handling if a little timid initially. I am not clear how much socialization these guys are getting with the woman who owns the mother dog (where they're being raised in co-operation with the breeder). It seems like a pretty clean and nice home environment but I don't know how many people are around handling and interacting with the dogs, because she has been working a lot apparently. They do have larger dogs there that the puppies apparently get supervised visits with.

I have no experience picking puppies and I did meet some other potential candidates (with curly hair! Very cute but maybe difficult to maintain compared to this guy's silky tresses) but we did have our heart set on this guy initially and I want to give him a fair shake. He may in fact be the perfect dog for our lifestyle, but I really want to consider carefully to ensure it is a good match. The breeder heard our concerns and said she would spend more time over there soon (she had been involved with 2 weeks of hand-raising some orphaned pups and had been exhausted obviously!) and she would see how he developed. She didn't pressure us one way or the other, and said she could even hang onto him for another week when his sibs are in their homes to see how he develops when away from the little pack dynamics they have there. I feel like he is a bit repressed from the super-dominant ones.

Any thoughts from anyone with more experience with puppies, maybe their own dogs, comments etc? Welcome any input from this experienced group of people! We're definitely leaning toward taking him, and I'm committed to training a dog however it needs to be trained to bring out its best characteristics.

Thanks!!

Last edited by Naturelover; 03-08-2014 at 01:23 PM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 05:19 AM
Dana and John
 
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My thoughts are that it's too early to tell much and that early socializaton and training will take care of all your concerns. I feel the need to point out that this is clearly my "lay person" opinion and that others, including Krandall and Dave will provide better insight.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 05:50 AM
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I think this pup has the potential to develop into a wonderfully mello companionable dog. I do think that you will need to socialize him intensively with other people and gentle, vaccinated dogs from the moment he comes home with you. Take him outside in your arms so that he can acclimate to the noises in his neighborhood. Get him in a properly run puppy kindergarten class right away and continue with classes for his first coke of years. As a more reserved puppy, he will need lots of opportunity to build his confidence. Read a book titled The Focused Puppy and work on attention exercises from the beginning. Over the many years and puppies I have raised, I have had two ( not Havanese) that started with similar temperaments and developed into wonderful companions. More reserved puppies need lots of socialization and opportunities to build confidence but if you can commit to providing this they often are very sweet, calm and gentle. Be honest with yourself about your ability to provide a high level of socialization (lots of interactions with men, women, well behaved children, various indoor and outdoor settings and gentle well behaved dogs. If you can't provide the intensive socialization a more reserved puppy needs then you should probably wait for a pup with a more confident temperament.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 05:57 AM
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Actually, besides him shaking, he sounded perfect to me. I like the old soul, easy going dogs My guys are just that way, besides the shaking. I'm not an expert but I do know I like a more laid back pup. I do not like the real active ones. If u look directly into
a dogs eyes most will look away. My Scudder will look directly into my eyes but he is the only one of my 3 to do that. I hope one of the breeders or Dave chimes in'





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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 07:04 AM
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He sounds a lot like Timmy. He was pretty reserved and not as crazy as his litter mates but I didn't want a wild puppy either since I was bringing him into a cat household. Tim's breeder thought he'd be a good fit and we couldn't be happier. Now mind you I did start Puppy K with him immediately and socialized the heck out of him but he is still a very reserved pup. I thought about therapy work with him but upon getting to know him I think he would be stressed under new surroundings but he LOVES training and going to class so maybe there's Rally or Obedience in our future. I did get another dog recently, Mae, and she is my wild child. I wanted a more outgoing dog that I might be able to do therapy work with and a sibling that might help bring Tim out of his shell and my plan has worked magnificently. Don't be too concerned with comparing him to his litter mates and even if he is a reserved pup and you expose him to lots of different places and people I think he'll be great. There are benefits to a calm pup, Tim never jumps up on anyone and is one of the most gentle sensitive pups I've seen. I think he's an old soul too.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 11:58 AM
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It sounds to me like you ended up with the right one. They're different from one day to the next at this age, so it's not really fair to completely judge in an hour and a half. Socialize him as much as possible when you first get him, but don't put him in situations that will scare him.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 12:17 PM
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yeah I'm with Tom, seven weeks is when temperament tests are done but they are very limited and generally are a snapshot of the current moment. here's some tips on choosing a pup and what to be wary of.http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...ing-your-puppy

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot everyone, we feel more confident that this guy could fit into our lives. I was thinking to myself that if we had got there and 4/5 pups had been like him with our guy being the boisterous one I might be just as concerned about that! So it was more that he stuck out from the other ones behaviourally.

I think I really didn't realize that puppies could be so different or that they could even show a hint of shyness at this age. I think I expected them all to just be totally nuts and happy-go-lucky. My boyfriend (first time dog owner) thinks he would rather the work of building confidence in a more reserved dog than of trying to rein in a boisterous dog. And that makes sense to me too.

The other thing that set him apart is that he would mouth my hands and fingers, but not tear at them & wrestle them like the others. He sat there kind of slowly chewing on them but not very hard and not rambunctiously.

On the Ian Dunbar site it says that the pup should be like a ragdoll when you handle them- and out of the 5 he was the only one who would fit that description.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 02:23 PM
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yeah Ian is a firm believe in nurture vs. nature. It's what happens in the next five to nine weeks that is so important. Folllow the links in that article and read both before and after you get your puppy. They are free downloads. Hope you go for puppy classes. Very important. More reading http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...-view-heredity

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Last edited by davetgabby; 03-08-2014 at 02:37 PM.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naturelover View Post
Thanks a lot everyone, we feel more confident that this guy could fit into our lives. I was thinking to myself that if we had got there and 4/5 pups had been like him with our guy being the boisterous one I might be just as concerned about that! So it was more that he stuck out from the other ones behaviourally.

I think I really didn't realize that puppies could be so different or that they could even show a hint of shyness at this age. I think I expected them all to just be totally nuts and happy-go-lucky. My boyfriend (first time dog owner) thinks he would rather the work of building confidence in a more reserved dog than of trying to rein in a boisterous dog. And that makes sense to me too.

The other thing that set him apart is that he would mouth my hands and fingers, but not tear at them & wrestle them like the others. He sat there kind of slowly chewing on them but not very hard and not rambunctiously.

On the Ian Dunbar site it says that the pup should be like a ragdoll when you handle them- and out of the 5 he was the only one who would fit that description.
Scudder was the same way. As a puppy he stood out as being reserved. He was not hyper or loud. I just love that in a dog. He is definitely an old soul and very mellow compared to most hav's. I think it's a very good thing!!





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