Pickin a Lab

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Pickin a Lab

Postby Ducks » Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:33 pm

If ya`ll are new to labs and this is only pointers that over the years I have trained labs and I don`t mean to be rude or disrespectfull.
Is when you have the chance of the pick of the litter,,,,,,, now this is for the new commers like I said no harm ,,,,,,,, is to find the female runt of the litter and pay him his price!
Now if your like me and a cheep arse as I have before ,,,,,,,,,, i`ll not lie about it! I say hey bro thats the smallest dog ya got ,,,,, most fellas like the large dogs and want breading stock ,,,,, keep in mind this is one of those times they want a large dog for the house or keeping up with the croud!
The Runt is 9 times out of 10 much smarter and a female always wants to please her master!
Now thats not always the case but I`ll bet ya if you listen to me or look in the past who got the rut you will say gosh damm Ducks that is right :smile:
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one more thing

Postby Ducks » Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:41 pm

I am by no means the smartest feller around but I have connections ;) did ya`ll here who got the pandas in the usa from china ? Well thats was my uncles doings hes the head cheese for the memphis zoo and if there is ever a question I can`t find an answer too hes always there to help me :)

I would like to add about lab males, if you want a large dog thats fine and dandy but I don`t have room in my duck boat after my buddys load up and all the deeks;)
Ask around like I do I never take anyone persons advice !
God bless and dad blame it ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I am ready for the cold weather !I live for duck hunting !
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Postby cast-n-blast » Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:33 am

Interesting Philosophy, except with reguards to retrieving geese, I believe it pays to have a little extra braun for hauling a bigger bird. :salude:
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Postby AlaskaRedneK » Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:25 pm

It sounds good to me!

All of my dogs were the runt/outcast of the litter, and they all have grown up to be large, exceptional pups!

Good Thinkin' :salude:

-Stouff

(BTW- some folks on here are for sure going to feel quite differently on the subject..... but dont worry, I got ya bro! :thumbsup: )
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Postby shrpshtr » Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:57 pm

cast-n-blast wrote:Interesting Philosophy, except with reguards to retrieving geese, I believe it pays to have a little extra braun for hauling a bigger bird. :salude:


:withstupid:

although size doesn't matter to me when choosing a puppy. there are so many other factors to consider. i will say though, bigger dogs aren't near as intimidated or struggle when handling any of the goose species, especially giant canadas. i have heard of more than 1 60-80lb dog turn tail and run from a cripple giant. a lot of it has to do with the dog's temperament but even so...

i have owned 60lb labs and currently a chocolate over 125lbs so i have experiences with both.
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Postby 98ramtough » Mon Jun 13, 2005 4:03 pm

Choose the litter not the puppy. Choose the litter you want a pup out of, next seperate females from males. Close your eyes and grab one.


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Postby the_duckinator » Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:57 pm

Throw a pheasant wing for the pups, the one that shows the most intrest in it is usually the best hunter.
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:35 pm

i'm with ram. but i still like to pick me a cute one. but he is right. pick a good solid stud and bitch, and you'll get yourself a good solid pup. then it's just up to you not to ruin him. :oops:
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Postby cast-n-blast » Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:08 am

I like the wing idea!
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Postby defectivedabbler » Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:16 am

Great advice; however, I believe you need to do just a little more homework. Using Labs to simplify things:

1) Decide on physical stature.

Hunters from different areas of the country require different kinds of dogs. Here in Arizona, many of us migrate towards litters that are built more like field trialers. My dog has very long legs and a slender build. The longer legs help while dove and quail hunting to keep the mesquite and other brush from tearing his chest up.

During early dove and quail, the temps regurlarly reach into the 90's by mid morning. In addition to the extra steps we take to keep our dogs cool, you need a dog carrying less weight.

We also don't hunt big water per se as we are in the freakin desert. Most duck hunting is done all on small rivers, lakes, stocktanks and ponds. We dont need a big otter tail, block head lab weighing 100 pounds, that can swim the English Channel, twice in a day.

So what's the trade off ? While the short legged, otter tailed blockheaded labs can't hack the heat and land distances associated with hunting here in Arizona, my dog would likely not do well on some of the big nasty rivers that you boys hunt. While he has a medium length coat, the poor guy gets really cold when we hunt the White Mountains. Just prior to shoot light , the temps often run 9-14 degrees. I have to run a vest at all times and also lay down some burlap to throw over him between retrieves to allow the ice to thaw off of his coat.

So, assess the geography of your regular hunting areas and decide on a build type.

2) Disposition

You neeed to decide what type of disposition you want. Many hunters are still under the impression that you have got to have a hopped up, high strung, high energy dog in order to make a good retriever . I think this is absolutely false.

I didn't need a dog that required a boat, an atv or a horse to keep up with. I wanted a dog that was right in the middle. I didn't want a wallflower, but I didn't want want a pup that was in dire need of doggy downers either. I knew that my Lab would be meat dog and living with us indoors. (WHile we are at it, some in the dog community view the term "meat dog" as a negative comment, inferring that the dog cant compete in HT's and is therefore only good for hunting. Personally, and without besmirching those of you that run HT's, I use the term with fondness and affinity. It is a compliment.)

Evaluate sire and dam for energy levels and decide what's best for you and your family.

I watched each pups interaction while at play and with his littermates. One of the dogs I was interested in was constantly barking at everyone at only 5 weeks old. He was talking major smack. WHile I am certain he was going to make a great hunting dog, he was far too headstrong and high strung for me.

Two other pups wanted to avoid exploring, often electing to sit in your lap versus out playing with littermates. A little too quiet for me although both of these dogs have turned in to incredibly focused hunters.

3) Spend as much time as you can with pups

If at all possible, visit the litter more than once. I was fortunate that my breeder was 15 minutes from my house. I spent every day but three of the the first 7 weeks of the pup's life with them. I offered to help with the pups. Handling, handling and more handling as soon as the dam allowed us to do so. While highly unusual, this gave me a great opportunity to get to know each and every pup. While this isn't practical for many of you, you are fool if you cant take advantage of this type of opportunity. There isn't a breeder I have met who cant use a little extra help around the kennel.

4) Grab a teal wing or a clipped wing pigeon and set it in with a portion of the litter to watch reactions.

I used teal wings first. Most pups found it a new, interesting toy. One pup in particular would latch on to it and parade it around, draggin the teal wing as big as he was, around for all to see !

At 5 weeks, I was tossing the teal wing to the three pups I had my eyes on. WHile they all had some fun, one pup in particular would run out, attack the teal wing, then drag it back to me. He did it three times. Now, while I know this wasn't true retrieving, it was apparent the this pup enjoyed the wing and liked playing with me. In effect, the pup picked me.

WHile I know that picking a pup is a crap shoot, I still ended up with a well behaved, relatively calm (by Lab standards), dog that retrieves with a rabid zealousness out in the field. He retrieved 90 ducks and 55 quail his first season. Not bad for a pup under a year old. He's FF'd, CC'd and snake broke. In the off season, he hikes with me, goes backpacking with me (he has his own pack and carries his own food and water, fishes, camps and scouts. He is truly the perfect outdoor companion and indoor dog.


Finally, dont be afraid to pick a quieter pup, especially if you have small children and intend for your new pup to be part of the family. If your pup came from a solid hunting pedigree, desire can be enhanced through puppy games.
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Postby AlaskaRedneK » Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:36 pm

This all sounds like good advice! :thumbsup:

But hopfully ittl be alteast another 10 years b'fore I have to worry 'bout all this again..... :salude:

-Stouff
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Postby bullet » Thu Jun 23, 2005 7:57 am

The runt is not always the runt. There can be as much as 7 days (I believe) difference in age from 1 litter. Some pups my be 49 days old while the another may be 56 days old. The old pick the runt is a myth. I prefer males, for me easier to train. They're more like that punching bag you had as a kid that keeps bouncing back. Don't get me wrong I'm not abusive to my dogs, but males bounce back better to discipline. This is my own experience. Take it with a grain of salt. I'm not a field trialer but do work with some and they have elevated the breed to a different standard. My current pup will get to be 78 lbs like his dad. Speed, agilility and desire is what he brings to the table. My other Labs were good working labs through training but they were more of your 95-100 "Bench Labs"
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Postby DROPDUX » Thu Jun 23, 2005 9:29 am

He was a runt:

http://www.duckhuntingchat.com/album_pa ... pic_id=610

now about 80 lbs of Muscle
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Postby cooter » Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:42 pm

I agree with much of what is being said, then disagree with some also.

I believe that nothing is more important than the research and homework that you put into finding a dog. I'm not talking about $$$$, but that often times figures in. "I believe you buy a breeding." From this you should be able to judge size, ability, desire, etc.. There is always the exception, but you will be in the 99% range if you go with the research on the Sire & Dam.

As far as RUNTS, I don't believe that they are anymore or less than any other pup in the litter. They are just not getting as much tit as the others. To guys that want a smaller dog, find a breeding with the size parents you would like. A RUNT very, Very, VERY rarely means the dog will be smaller that the rest. Once they get to your house and start getting the food they need. Then the size will come. Most dogs that I have sold, when I see the larger pups versus the smaller at 1 year old, are closer to the same size, rarely any difference. So the RUNT thing just don't wash in my experience.

I also think the Picking is a Crap Shoot. To make a educated Pick, I believe you haft to see the litter at least 4-6 time in the last couple weeks to have a chance of really picking the type of dog you are looking for. I don't think the Wing Trick works at all. Hobbled Pigeons, Balls, Wings, etc. will let you see that the dog you pick has the desire to play with it, which is a good thing. But nobody knows the litter better than the breeder. So I would be telling the breeder exactly what type of dog I was looking for. And then, take his advise when I got there. That is the way I pick ALL my dog for my kennel, which most of the time are bought out of state and shipped to me. But the couple dogs, I could have got my personal pick, I still went with the breeders choice, from all the things I had told them I was looking for.

I see it to many times, where a person will tell me what they are looking for in a dog, and come out and make a different pick. This doesn't bother me, because they have a certain pick and that is their choice.

But here is what happens on Pick Day.
Say the client is coming out to pick at 10-11am. Well, I put the pups in the outside kennel (or where ever) at 7-8am, feed them, and they start playing grab @$$. By the time the clients get there the dogs that are the most energetic, ball chasers, etc., are wore slap out and laying around like they have absolutely NO energy, sleeping and can't be coached out for squatt. The pups that have sat on the sideline watching watching and waiting for the real fire pissers to tire, at this point are now the most energetic. So a guy looking for that High Energy Burner will pick one of the lesser energy dog, miss reading what is actually going on in a litter as a whole. Pups that will drag a pigoen or chase one all over the yard, will be laying around and not ready to play. The good thing is, with a quality litter you will still get a quality pup, but one of the pups might have been a little better pick.

This is where finding a quality breeder, with quality dogs can put you on the dog that really comes closer to the fit you are looking for. Alpha pup, a middle of the road, or one of the laid back personalities. The breeder will know this thing, or should. Most of the pups I have are shipped out of state, and I spend the time talking with EVERY client about what they want the dog for, what will be his environment, Field Trial, Hunt Test, Hunting, Companion, etc., etc., etc.. Quality Breeders are wanting you to have the exact dog you are looking for. It is good business, and gets you telling friends where you got your dog.

So, In Saying ALL That.
(1) I would buy a litter. (Heavily Researched) When you are asking questions, and all you can get is little short statements, like they don't have time to answer a question. Then I am done with them. If I am spending my money, I want someone to act like I am important, and they want to make a sale.

(2) I would ask for help in picking and listen very closely to a recommendation.

Dang, I am a wind bag. :thumbsup: Just a old mans opinion. :salude: cooter
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Postby bullet » Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:42 am

cooter wrote:
But here is what happens on Pick Day.
Say the client is coming out to pick at 10-11am. Well, I put the pups in the outside kennel (or where ever) at 7-8am, feed them, and they start playing grab @$$. By the time the clients get there the dogs that are the most energetic, ball chasers, etc., are wore slap out and laying around like they have absolutely NO energy, sleeping and can't be coached out for squatt. The pups that have sat on the sideline watching watching and waiting for the real fire pissers to tire, at this point are now the most energetic. So a guy looking for that High Energy Burner will pick one of the lesser energy dog, miss reading what is actually going on in a litter as a whole. Pups that will drag a pigoen or chase one all over the yard, will be laying around and not ready to play. The good thing is, with a quality litter you will still get a quality pup, but one of the pups might have been a little better pick.


You would hope a good breeder would let you know which dogs fall into what class. There no substitution for spending time with the litter
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Postby cooter » Sat Jun 25, 2005 6:04 am

bullet wrote: You would hope a good breeder would let you know which dogs fall into what class. There no substitution for spending time with the litter.


No doubt, but it is next to impossible to spend the time with a litter that it would require. Work, Kids Time, Family Time. etc. plus quality litters are not in everyone's area.

I do think good breeders will do their best to help ya. But it is hard to put your faith in a person you really don't know to make the choice, versus what your own eyes are telling you on Pick Day.

Good Luck on the Picks. Quality Pups come from quality Breedings. It is well worth your while to pay a extra couple hundred dollars to reduce the risk. cooter
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:01 am

cooter wrote:Good Luck on the Picks. Quality Pups come from quality Breedings. It is well worth your while to pay a extra couple hundred dollars to reduce the risk. cooter


Definately agree with that. Your going to have your dog for hopefully a long time. I a couple extra hundred bucks is going to up my chances of getting a little better dog or a little healthier dog. Then it is well worth it.
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