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Choosing which puppy from a litter - advice please!

(45 Posts)
dogsblog Thu 21-Feb-13 12:11:32

So yesterday we went to view puppies, we were on the breeders waiting list, happy with breeder etc etc, all okay with that. We want a boy and there were 2 to choose from - but we just could not decide which one! They are only 3 weeks old and all black, so breeder had "marked" the 2 boys for us. As soon as we went in one of the marked boys came up to us immediately (there were 7 pups in all), DH said well he doesn't know he is still to be "picked" so he has chosen us, but I think it is more cats that "choose" you, isn't it the case that if a dog comes up to you immediately, he is dominant?! The other boy was bigger, but not particularly interested in us at all, he seemed very laid back, other pups were pulling his ears etc and he was not worried, but is that a sign that he is too shy? Is he being "bullied" - DH said the fact that he was bigger probably meant no, he obviously could get to mum's food so could not be too docile. The smaller one was very noisy too, didn't stop yapping and crying. He stopped when I picked him up, does that mean anything - i.e. he will want constant attention!! I held them both in my arms, both struggled slightly but then relaxed, when I held the shy one up he seemed to go a bit stiff. It was just so confusing, we do want a fairly placid pup but obviously don't want one that will be nervous or may have anxiety, I don't think he did, think it was just the case that they had woken up and probably if we saw them half an hour later their roles may be completely reversed. Breeder said she felt that the shyer one may be better, but I felt like we didn't do half the tests we should have done. We are going back again at the weekend to see them again, and just see the two of them on their own. Breeder said she will observe them both and see but she said they are so young, it is hard to tell - she had a pup from a previous litter who was very quiet but turned out to be a nutter - definitely don't want that. I know once you choose you just go with it and never know what the other one could have been like, but any advice/thoughts on what we could do at the weekend as we do have to choose one then!! Thanks.

Wallace Sun 24-Feb-13 10:11:14

We just went by gut feeling, knew the second we saw her which was our pup blush

digerd Sun 24-Feb-13 09:47:08

A litter of pups of the same breed and father all have their individual personalities, and a good breeder who has lots of personal contact with pups, will notice the differences, especially after 6 weeks. 4 weeks is still too soon.

However, I had a litter of 2 1 boy and 1 girl. From the start the girl was the bossy one and the boy very gentle, sweet and easy going.
The boy grew up just the same, but the girl became aggressive when her owners wanted her to do something she didn't want to do. Neither parent was like that.
She was always full on as a puppy but not aggressive, so I was shocked.

HotPinkWeaselWearingLederhosen Sat 23-Feb-13 21:01:18

I could've had the choice of three Labs. But from talking to me the rescuer had already picked mine out.

Conversation went

"You should have her. She's totally nuts and will take work but is lovely"

She is nuts, she does take work, she is lovely .... And she is perfect grin

needastrongone Sat 23-Feb-13 20:23:55

I agree with clam, you are probably over thinking this for all the right reasons! You might see the pups one day and think one is mega outgoing when actually, he's just woken up from a three hour sleep and eaten a big meal!!

Your breeder should know their personalities after 5/6 weeks or so.

needastrongone Sat 23-Feb-13 20:21:31

Our puppy was the quietest and smallest of the litter. The breeder had to feed him separately so he are food, he was too timid to fight for it. Rather than ending up with a nervous dog, we have ended up with a sweet natured, happy, placid, mega friendly dog who is eager to train and lives to please. And loves his grub!!

Being so good natured, he has yet to offend any other dog at all as he gives off the correct and rather submissive signals. Does all the circling, head turning, waiting to be approached, bum sniffs then PLAY!!!Therefore, he has yet to have a bad canine or human experience (we won't mention that he is likely to lose an eye but that is pure terrible luck, nothing more)

I did worry taking the small gentle one of the litter, I wouldn't change him for all the tea in china.

In fact, he's quite a little sod sometimes and is chancing his arm a touch this week!!

clam Sat 23-Feb-13 19:34:00

You might possibly be over-thinking this. Not that the way we did it was right! blush
We didn't even know if we wanted a girl or boy, but went in the end for a boy who was middle-sized and middling confidence-wise. No idea what the rest of the litter is like now, but we have ended up with THE most wonderful-natured dog on the planet. Not sure what happened size-wise, as he's the largest of his type we've met, but it doesn't really matter to us. He's a good-sized family dog that fits our house and us.

digerd Fri 22-Feb-13 17:43:00

Rule of thumb is never take a nervous puppy or one that terrorises his/her litter siblings. Also a yappy puppy I would not take.
Think your DH has it right. The best pup also will lie on its back in your arms relaxed and contented while you sit. 4 weeks is still very young.

Abra1d Fri 22-Feb-13 14:58:43

worsester you may find he's fine with your baby and accepts him/her as an extension of you. Will need sensitive handling, I am sure, but it may even help him to have a role: baby guardian!

worsestershiresauce Fri 22-Feb-13 14:20:59

Whatever you do don't get the least dominant pup of the litter. I did this, as I naively thought he'd fit in better with my existing dog as he wouldn't challenge or start fights.

Result, really bad separation anxiety and upset at being taken away from his mum. He screamed so much the neighbours (from several doors down) rang to tell me my dog was distressed. He certainly was. He even cried when I was in the room but out of sight.

A worse and on-going problem is nervous aggression. Despite living with another dog, and being well socialised around other dogs, he only accepts dogs he has known since he was a puppy (10 weeks). He is very very nervous of any other dog, and attacks if they approach. I have taken him to 100s of hours of training classes, and had many lessons with behaviourists, but it hasn't helped.

I love him, he's the sweetest dog, and very very attached to humans, BUT if I could go back in time I'd choose his more dominant brother. He is not a pleasure to walk, and I will not be able to take him out when my baby arrives as when he attacks he bites anything and everything within range. A baby in a pram would be in range sad.

Abra1d Fri 22-Feb-13 11:56:29

fanofthe Yes, when we are walking with no sudden appearances of rabbits, pheasants, deer, etc, our terrier is pretty good. Once a furry appears (or a leaf or bird) all bets are off. She stops hearing. We have do to sprints after her. Who needs interval training?

But she is sooooo funny. I love the way terriers grin at you. And I love their take on life: don't give up if you want something. Don't take any nonsense.

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 21-Feb-13 17:39:16

You'll have to post us a cute puppy photo Dogsblog. Good luck smile

dogsblog Thu 21-Feb-13 17:30:44

Thanks all for your stories about how you chose, I am sure whatever happens all will be fine, I am just a natural overthinker/worrier! Will keep you posted on who we choose!

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 21-Feb-13 17:30:38

There are a few working patterdales around here and they always seem very busy and focussed on the task in hand!

Floralnomad Thu 21-Feb-13 17:26:06

dogsblog I'm sure whoever you choose will be gorgeous . fan the horror story I heard was about a Patterdale and didn't surprise me in the slightest , my mum has Border x JRT and they're lovely and not too bad with birds in the garden etc whereas nothing is allowed to land here!

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 21-Feb-13 17:23:15

My spelling is truely appalling on a touch screen grin sorry!

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 21-Feb-13 17:21:42

He is a Border. I will never relax and trust him as it would be our fault not gis if it happened and we owe it to all of them to make sure all are safe. If the hamster is un his ball for instance then we walk with him.

dogsblog Thu 21-Feb-13 17:19:29

Hi Floral, he is a lab.

Floralnomad Thu 21-Feb-13 17:18:09

Sadly I've heard of that happening too , what type of terrier do you have ?

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 21-Feb-13 17:16:51

I think I would listen to your breeder then dogsblog. A good breeder should be experienced at matching people and dogs. My ds needs volume control and to be honest is about as quiet and calm as your average terrier grin

Floral, I think mine is just wired up wrong as he is every inch the typical terrier in every other way. Or else he is playing the long game with a view to lulling us into a false sense of security before snaffling the rest of the family pets at leisure!

Floralnomad Thu 21-Feb-13 17:15:43

Sorry if I've just missed it somewhere but what sort of puppy are you getting ? BTW I'm just nosey , nothing to say about picking one as we got ours from Battersea so it was take it or leave it !

Booyhoo Thu 21-Feb-13 17:10:18

i agree that different qualities suit different families. we just aren't a high energy family and i think ds1's quiet nature is what drew him to the pup he chose. we really are so lucky with him.

and NO you cant have him grin

i would just go with your instincts. i think you will know which dog is right for you. even if you dont think you know at the time of choosing.

dogsblog Thu 21-Feb-13 17:09:07

Fan - think breeder suggested quieter dog to us as my dds are fairly calm and quiet, although not always like that and obviously up for being out and about and playing with a puppy! I love hearing about your dogs, they all sound like so much fun, think ours will be fine with any animals as breeder has geese, chickens and cats so they will be allowed out and about with them soon, here's hoping as my cat is fairly placid but okay with dogs as long as they know their place! But this is why we didn't go for a terrier, although I do love them!

Floralnomad Thu 21-Feb-13 17:08:00

Mine has spent the last 2.5 yrs trying to liberate the rabbit so he can eat him . We had to dog proof the hutch with a huge wooden bar . Stupid rabbit thinks he could take him on so is not the least bit frightened . He did manage to kill a pigeon in the garden once and now just seems to have some kind of blood lust , I have to be very wary when he's off lead .

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 21-Feb-13 17:01:24

I think my mums cat got in early when he was 9 weeks old! She hissed and spat when he first walked in and rhat was it, he just accepted his place! He wags his tail and cries to try and get her to play sometimes but never approaches her. She will now lay on the opposite end of the same sofa now though. When my uncles cat came in he just sat down and tail wagged.

We have a hamster and dog gets in his bed if he is in his ball. He watches but if the daft ham goes up which he often does, the dog moves!

I would never rely on this state of affairs lasting though, he has a minder in tow when in furry company!

Floralnomad Thu 21-Feb-13 16:46:23

fan you're lucky if you've got a terrier that is good with small furries , my Patterdale embarrasses me regularly with his attempts to eat all the local cat population and there's no way he could go off lead in a wooded area !

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